Asking a world traveller to choose his favourite destination is sort of like asking a veteran electronic cigarette user to choose his favourite brand. There really are no ‘favourites’, because all of them have something good to offer. Yet this hasn’t stopped Trip Advisor from listing the top destinations in the world for their annual list. The list is aimed more at the casual traveller rather than the professional.

The 2014 list ranks Istanbul, Rome, and London as the top three destinations on the planet. Trip Advisor put together a separate list for US cities, which we would expect from a US-based site catering to American travellers. The top three on that list are: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. New York ranks number 12 on the international list, having fallen 10 spots from a year ago.

So what makes for a popular tourist destination? That depends on your preferences. We will explain by using our previous comparison to electronic cigarettes. The comparison actually serves us very well.

Top Destinations

Overall Quality

In the e-cigarette world, quality can mean the difference between popularity and being virtually unknown. E-cigarette users, also known as vapers, look for quality products that give them an overall good experience as compared to smoking. After all, vapers use the products as tobacco substitutes or replacements. If the quality isn’t there, customers will not be interested.

Likewise, many travellers rank destinations by the overall quality of the experience. That quality includes the accommodations, dining options, infrastructure, financial and health services, hospitality service, and so on. That’s one of the reasons places like Mauritius and Seychelles do so well among wealthier travellers who prefer tropical environments. The overall quality of the luxury experience is outstanding in these locales.

Overall Price

There is a lot to be said about the price of travelling in the 21st century. Especially if you plan to go overseas. Just as the cost of tobacco cigarettes is rising to nearly unaffordable levels, it takes an awful lot of money to purchase a plane ticket to go overseas. This definitely affects destination choices.

In the vaping world, it is easily demonstrated that choosing electronic cigarettes over their tobacco counterparts costs significantly less money. Let’s do the maths here. At an average price of £8 for a pack of brand-name cigarettes, the 20-a-day smoker spends approximately £2,920 annually. A customer choosing a VAPESTICK XL rechargeable electronic cigarette would spend approximately £876 annually. That is a savings of approximately 70%. Where maximum savings are concerned, the e-cigarette user will choose the brand that saves him the most money.

When travelling, the same mentality applies. This explains why, in part, Istanbul is at the top the list of international destinations. It is an affordable city to visit at any time of the year. What’s more, you get an awful lot for your money. Istanbul is one of the most notable shopping centres in the world, it offers many incredible historic sites, it is home to some excellent dining venues, and the Bosporus River is absolutely incredible.

The idea of overall price does not apply to Rome and London all that much – they are rather expensive to visit unless you are willing to stay well outside of town. So what is their appeal?

Cutting-Edge Culture

The first electronic cigarettes to make it to Western markets came directly out of China around 2007. These early devices looked a lot like traditional tobacco cigarettes, right down to the glowing amber tip. Today’s e-cigarettes are very different. They are cutting edge products that blur the lines between the previous decade’s vaping and the vaping of the future. The cutting-edge nature of the industry is one of the things attracting younger smokers to take up the electronic alternative.

Similarly, cities like London and Rome are cutting edge in terms of their culture. London is easily the most technologically advanced in the UK, and near the top of the list throughout Europe. People who want to see where the future is headed love to visit London. In Rome, culture is about three things: art, fine dining, and cars. There is no place on earth like Rome if these are the things that interest you.

As you can see, what makes for a great travel destination is really up to the individual traveller. So take the annual Trip Advisor list for what it is: a list that simply tells you where the greatest numbers of people are going in any given year. You determine your favourite destinations based on your own criteria. You may find you absolutely love a city or region never mentioned by Trip Advisor. And that’s okay.

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