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Top five travel destinations for 2016

This year offers new opportunities to travel, both to far-flung locations around the globe and some hot spots slightly closer to home.

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    Ethnic Intha fishermen dressed in customary attire with traditional fish-traps pretend to catch fish for tourists to take pictures in Inle lake, northeastern Shan state, Myanmar (Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015). Myanmar offers a variety of attractive options for tourists seeking a change of pace.
    Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP/File
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Well, 2015 has come and gone. The great news? 2016 is here! With each year comes new reasons to visit different countries around the world. Here's my take on which countries you need to visit in 2016.

1.  Bolivia

The only land-locked country in South America, Bolivia is still considered the "third world" by many. But with more and more infrastructure being built in the Andean nation, visits to the world-famous desert of Uyuni or a trip to the silver mines of Sucre are getting easier and easier. La Paz is very high and cold, but cities like Cochabamba and Santa Cruz are much more tropical. You can find direct flights from the U.S. departing from Miami.

2.  Colombia

This was also on my list of countries to visit in 2015, but if you didn't get there last year, the thought still stands: Colombia is awesome, and you should visit. From the beaches of San Andres and Cartagena, to the perfect weather of Medellin, to the bustling capital city of Bogota, Colombia is well worth a trip. With JetBlue and Spirit flying direct from the States (and it only being a 3 hour flight from  Miami), you really have no excuse.

3.  Cuba

This seems to be on everyone's list, but as (most) of the travel restrictions from the U.S. to this small island nation were lifted this year,  you can now travel without special permission from the U.S. government. While straight tourism is still officially a no-go, you may now visit for journalistic or humanitarian purposes. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer and write about the country for your new blog, and this country is rich with culture, beaches and food.

4.  Myanmar

Once isolated, Myanmar is starting to pop up as a hot vacation destination in Southeast Asia. There have been nice hotels here in Burma since the turn of the century, and the Communist government has been a lot more open to tourism in recent years. Spend time on the beaches in Nabule, or get inspired by the beauty of the Buddhist temples and shrines dotting the country. No matter what your vacation style, there's something for everyone to explore and enjoy in Myanmar.

5. The United States

You don't have to leave the country to find some amazing travel destinations! The U.S. is a vast and beautiful place with so many different kinds of vacation spots that are both cheap and easy to get to. Test out a new city this year - take a tour of my hometown of Austin, or check out the new hip neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York. No matter where you roam, there are new experiences waiting close to home.

This article first appeared at Brad's Deals.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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