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     Travel writers are often asked to name a few "new destinations" for vacationers who like to travel differently.  And dutifully, they respond by naming places of which you've never heard.
 
     I don't like that approach.  In my experience, "new destinations" are often that for a reason--they deserve their lack of notoriety.  North Korea is a "new destination", but you wouldn't want to go there.
 
     To me, the best of "new destinations" are well-known locations that simply don't receive the amount of visits to which their remarkable attractions would normally bring.  And first among them, this year, is Japan.  All of us know about "the land of the rising sun", but the cost of staying there has been so prohibitive in the past, when the Japanese yen was exchanged at about 70 to the dollar, that most Americans stayed away. 
 
     That has now all changed.  A U.S. dollar now buys 120 Japanese yen, and the cost of hotels, restaurants and sightseeing in Japan has literally been cut almost in half.  Japan today is a moderately-priced nation for Americans, and if you haven't been there, you surely will want to go.
 
     Canada is certainly not a "new destination"; we all know about it.  But fewer Americans went to cities like Vancouver or Banff or Quebec or Toronto, than should have gone to these remarkable locations when the Canadian dollar sold at par to the U.S. dollar.  Ask your neighbors whether they have ever traveled to the Canadian Rockies or Vancouver or Quebec City, or to "The Maritimes" (Prince Edward Island, Halifax, Newfoundland) and you'll usually get a negative shrug in response.
 
     Today, as amazing as it may seem, the strong U.S. dollar now buys $1.40 in Canadian dollars, and suddenly, everything in Canada costs 40% less.  If you have never gone to the places I've listed--to the enchanting Lake Louise in Alberta, to the theatre scene in Toronto, to the French culture of Montreal, you surely owe a visit.
 
     Russia is surely a "new destination", though not always a desirable one (more later).  Moscow and St. Petersburg used to be among the most expensive places on earth to us Yanks.  But now, with the Russian ruble having plummeted to a level of 70 to the U.S. dollar (a drop of two thirds from what used to be), Russia is enjoyably cheap (but the sometimes-discoureous attitude of Russia toward us U.S. adversaries of theirs, might still keep you away).  The choice is yours.
 
     Colombia, in South America, is surely a "new destination", this time in every sense of the term.  An attractive country, with an unusually pleasant climate and gracious people, it was "off-limits" in recent years because of a high level of concern about the safety of visits to such cities as Bogota or Medellin (where a guerrilla insurgency and a high degree of drug-related violence) made visits iffy.
 
     All that has now changed.  The insurgents have been quieted through a general amnesty and a peace treaty, and the "narcos" have been driven from Medellin.  And justifiably, a surge of tourism to that nation has occurred, and you too might consider a trip.
 
     Not all the destinations I've listed are truly "new".  But they have all been sufficiently under-visited in the past to make them interesting and "different" to the U.S.tourist who picks them now for a vacation.


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