If you take a look at the New Year’s Roll Call Trip Report you’ll notice that the tradition of being out of the country for New Year’s Eve began in 2000 in Cancun, Mexico. From there it increasingly improved until last year’s destination which undoubtedly was the lamest place to ring in the New Year.
- 2000: Cancun, Mexico
- 2001: Toronto, Canada
- 2002: Montreal, Canada
- 2003: Cancun, Mexico
- 2004: Acapulco, Mexico
- 2005: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- 2006: Tokyo, Japan
- 2007: Paradise Island, Bahamas
- 2008: Dubai, UAE
- 2009: Bali, Indonesia
- 2010: Panama City, Panama (should’ve stayed in Cartagena, Colombia)
- 2011: New Orleans, Louisiana (The Sugar Bowl New Orleans: Celebrating Brady Hokel)
- 2012: Goa, India
- 2013: Cape Town, South Africa ($77,000 Trip Heard Round the World)
- 2014: Mandalay, Myanmar (Happy New Years from Mandalay)
- 2015: Orlando, Florida (Jet Lagged! The Citrus Bowl Trip Report Debrief)
- 2016: Bangkok, Thailand (New Years 2016! My Last Binge in Bangkok)
This year the tradition continues but for one problem: where to go?
Here are the guidelines:
- It can’t be in the United States. How can there be last call on NYE? Rookies go to Vegas for NYE so that’s not an option.
- It has to be a party city. Mandalay certainly was not.
- It can’t be somewhere I’ve already been. An Acapulco remix trip would be great but there’s no way to duplicate dancing with the devil from a decade ago.
- It can’t be somewhere cold. What’s the point of chicken & broccoli then?
- It ideally would be a new country so I can add to the Country Count List which stands at 72 as of today. Alternatively, it would be in close proximity to countries I haven’t been to so I can see them before or after.
- New Years is an expensive time to travel so I want to use points to cover my hotel stays. I’m stacked with Hilton, SPG, Hyatt, & Club Carlson points.
As is the format of the segment ¿Sí o No? from the worst sports show on television, Highly Questionable, I’ll put some options out there for destinations and respond as to whether or not I’m intrigued.
- Cartagena, Colombia: Oh, si, si, (in papi voice) I’m very intrigued. The chance to make up for the disaster that took us from Cafe del Mar in Old Town Cartagena to a hell bus ride from Panama City to Bocas del Toro only to find a bunch of surfers and rain would be a good choice. The problem with Cartagena is that Club Carlson won’t let me book the rooms using e-certs. There aren’t SPG or Hyatt choices and redeeming Hilton there doesn’t provide a good value.
- Punta del Este, Uruguay: Oh, si, si, I’m very intrigued. Argentinians fed up with the heat of BA head to what usually is a quiet fisherman’s town for Ibiza style partying. By most accounts, renting a villa in La Barra is the way to go. There is a Conrad there but it is sold out. The Best Western is even $500 a night. So while this would be a good choice from a celebration standpoint, the lack of hotel availability and the fact that I’ve been to Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil before may force me to pass.
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Oh, si, si, I’m very intrigued. There is SPG. There are beaches. There is party but damn it I’ve been there for Carnaval. Read the Guns & Butter: Rio Travel Guide to see why it may be worth returning.
- Margarita Island, Venezuela: Do you want to party with prisoners? I thought you’d be intrigued. This has the makings of a good TPOL Trip Report.
- Australia: No, I’m not intrigued. My friend, a risk averse person, wants to go somewhere ‘safe’. There’s a fine line between safe and boring. Australia is a great country to visit but for New Years I don’t see how it’s any different from partying in Los Angeles.
- Manila, Philippines: Another friend of mine has embraced TPOL’s Shut Up & Book! philosophy and makes the trek at least once a year to SE Asia for some great debauchery. This year he’s taking a few of his friends on the backpacker’s trail with stops in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Boracay. For New Years he will be in Manila, a city he says has great nightlife. I’ve been to Boracay so Philippines wouldn’t be a new country and the rest of the stops would obviously be fun but how many times can I party with ladyboys in SE Asia? Perhaps one more time.
- Beirut, Lebanon: This comes from a friend that is risk loving. I’m not intrigued primarily because the weather isn’t great. Temperatures in the 60s and an unstable region, how’s that a fun time? The food and the culture is top-notch making Lebanon a country that I want to visit in the near future.
- Europe: Not intrigued, it’s cold.
- Caribbean Islands: Good weather, delicious rum, and some decent points options make the Caribbean intriguing. The cost of excursions and food does not. Furthermore, where in the Caribbean besides Bahamas is a big party spot? I guess cases could be made for Jamaica and Dominican. The issue with the Caribbean is its proximity to the US. I could go there any time making it not as adventurous as other places on this list. Still, I’m not ruling it out as a stop along the way.
- The Moon: I could always pick a random place, buy a bottle of Jack, and get after it.
Well this did nothing for me. If you haven’t gone to some of the gems on the list like Bali or Dubai for New Years then count yourself lucky. You still have options. If you have recommendations for me feel free to share them. TPOL might come meet you there.
Oh, and I don’t care for fireworks so that’s not a factor despite every ‘top list’ showing a slide show of them going off throughout the world.
In case you’re curious, here’s how it all went down: