It's the travel world's Oscars: Travel & Leisure's annual World's Best Awards winners have just been announced. It's basically one big bucket list of any kind of vacation you could ever want (African safari, any type of cruise, islands everywhere).
The primacy of print media has been on the wane for years, but the World's Best Awards has retained its ability to radically boost the profile of hotels, destinations, and even airlines. Few of the places here are under-the-radar — even the otherwise comparable Lonely Planet lists of best cities/regions/countries are relatively low-key — but if you want to know where to be right now, here you go.
One solid sign that the magazine isn't moved by novelty: Its choice for the top U.S. city, Charleston, keeps its title after 10 years in the top spot. On the other hand, the South Carolinian gem did give up the crown for best city worldwide, which went to Mexico's San Miguel de Allende. (And if you want to hear about how increased popularity has radically changed the mountain town, just go and ask anyone who's lived there for more than a couple years.) The top city in Asia? Thailand's Chiang Mai. In Europe? Another 10-year winner: Florence.
The magazine also ranks airlines — and it's a sad thing, if no surprise, to see top place for U.S. airline go to Virgin America, soon to get sucked into Alaska. You can still fly on Singapore, the mag's top international choice. Eight of the top 10 international carriers were Middle Eastern or Asian, with the two remaining slots going to Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand.