You’re not the only one with serious questions about travel. Google just revealed its “Year in Search” report, and the stats are in: Travelers are wondering about all kinds of things, from whale watching in San Diego, to packing for Cancun, to defining what constitutes a boutique hotel. Below are travelers’ most-searched-for questions of 2015. We’re also supplying the answers, so you never have to search for them again.
1. What to pack for Cancun?
The weather in popular Cancun, Mexico is almost always fine—and the beaches are pristine. As is the case when traveling anywhere, your packing list will depend largely on what time of the year you’re planning to visit and what you plan to do while there. Temperatures are at their lowest between December and February; if you’re traveling then, it’ll probably be too cold to swim in the ocean (unless Polar Bear swims are your thing). But bring a swimsuit anyway, because most hotels offer heated pools. And don’t forget to pack layers; the evenings can get pretty cool. September to November is the rainy season, so bring a raincoat, umbrella, and adequate footwear if you’re visiting then. The best time to visit is arguably April through June, when temperatures are warmest—beach attire, sandals, and swimsuits are essential.
No matter what time of the year you visit, be aware that there are tons of different activities on offer, each requiring slightly different styles of dress. If fancy restaurants, bars, and nightlife are your thing, bring along your best duds. If outdoor adventures are more your style, bring along sturdy footwear, layers, and some clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Need more guidance? Check out this comprehensive guide to packing for Cancun.
2. Where is Disneyland?
The Happiest Place on Earth can be found in Anaheim, CA. Planning a trip? Find out how much it’ll actually cost. (Spoiler alert: On average, travel, accommodations, and park admission costs a family of four more than $3,000.)
3. What airport is ORD?
This is the abbreviation for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the world. From O’Hare, it’s easy to get to downtown Chicago and a variety of Chicago hotels.
4. When is whale watching season in San Diego?
According to the city of San Diego, the best time to view gray whales is between mid-December and April, while the best time to view blue whales is between mid-June and September. Whale watching is a huge tourist draw to the city, which partly explains why there are nearly 1,500 hotels within San Diego.
5. What is a boutique hotel?
As it turns out, this is a tough question to answer. Different sources define the term differently, but, in general, boutique hotels tend to be smaller than big-chain hotels (think approximately 100 rooms or less), offer personalized service, and cultivate a unique atmosphere that’s developed through the décor and services on offer—thus, many boutique hotels center around a distinct theme. In short, boutique hotels should provide an experience that you can’t find anywhere but at that one specific location. Need some examples? Check out these boutique French Quarter hotels in New Orleans.
6. What to do in St. Louis?
Hip, pretty, and historical, St. Louis, MO does not disappoint. Stroll alongside the Mississippi River or in beautiful Forest Park, stand under the Gateway Arch, explore the City Museum, tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, or cheer on the St. Louis Rams. Or attend one of the city’s large-scale annual events, which include the St. Louis Art Fair (in September) and the Soulard Mardi Gras (from January to February).
7. What to do in Missoula, MT?
Between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Children’s Museum, and the Montana Natural History Center, there’s plenty to see in Missoula. The city is also home to a variety of affordable hotels.
8. What to do in Louisiana?
You can’t go wrong with a visit to New Orleans, which boasts an eclectic mix of cultures ranging from French to Creole, Spanish, and Native American. Live music, great food, unique art, and vibrant nightlife are to be found around every corner. All of this might explain why the city has earned distinction as one of the most-pinned travel destinations on Pinterest.
9. What to do in Albuquerque?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. Albuquerque, NM boasts a wealth of attractions, including Spanish and Native American art and culture, lively nightlife, unusual museums (including the International Rattlesnake Museum), and tons of opportunities to engage in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, birding, mountain biking, and horseback riding. (This might explain why Men’s Fitness Magazine has repeatedly ranked Albuquerque on its list of “The Country’s Fittest Cities.”) The city is also home to the annual International Balloon Festival, which features more hot air balloons than you’ve probably ever seen in one place.
10. Where is Yellowstone National Park?
Short answer: It’s in Wyoming. Slightly longer answer: It’s in northwestern Wyoming, right near the city of Jackson. And 2016 is a great year to visit, because America’s National Park Service is turning 100 years old.
Now that these questions have been answered, we’re excited to see what 2016 has in store for the world’s pensive travelers. No matter what perplexities arise, we’ll be here to guide you through them.