When the holidays come around, searching for the right Christmas gift for each friend and relative is not the only duty many of us have. Finding something fun and memorable to do on New Year's Eve is also a top priority. However, because it is such a common party occasion, there is a lot of pressure to do something original. One way to have a memorable New Year's is to spend it away from home; use your vacation time wisely and visit a top party destination. In fact, with these 10 hotspots, you'll be partying like it's 1999
Number 10 - Hawaii
Whether part of an all-inclusive package or on your own, there is a lot to do in Hawaii during New Year's. Romantically inclined couples will want to reserve a table at some of the state's finest restaurants and then relax on the beach with nothing more than a Mai Tai and some privacy. Even single men can keep busy, as many hedonistic-like parties take place along the beaches of Oahu and Hawaii's Big Island.
You can book a nightlong cruise from Waikiki as well, where a nightclub atmosphere and live band can be found on a luxury yacht. As midnight approaches, those onboard will have a great view of the New Year's Eve fireworks. Of course, each resort within Hawaii offers its own full party, replete with seven-course meals, dancing and champagne. Pick your poison on New Year's, because Hawaii has got it all.
Must-do: Try to get tickets to a Hawaiian gala, where traditional New Year's practices are mixed with good old-fashioned fun.
Number 9 : Vienna, Austria
True metrosexuals will appreciate a New Year's stay in Austria's fine capital. Substitute nightlong dance raves with dignified balls and loud club music with the world's best symphonies. The Old World city comes alive by offering the Kaiserball at the Hofburg Palace on New Year's Eve, as well as Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 performed by the famous Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Konzerthaus and a Champagne Brunch in an elegant Viennese hall, both on New Year's Day.
Numerous other classical music concerts are organized in Vienna, and there are several private galas organized by hotels. Research some of these events or simply have a go at Vienna without an itinerary. Either way, it will be a high-class, fun time.
Must-see: On New Year's Eve, the Vienna Philharmonic puts on a concert at the great Musikverein hall.
Number 8 : Madeira, Portugal
The Portuguese island of Madeira is heaven on Earth year round and only gets better with the busy holiday season. The linking of a great culture and unforgettable food with a party atmosphere makes this place a prime New Year's destination. You can rent out a villa and soak up the atmosphere and beaches, or join the populace in watching Madeira's famous fireworks and outdoor parties.
The latter is the most fun, as partiers from all over mingle in the streets and in discos, dancing to everything from techno to samba. To make your night even more special, Madeira offers some great drinks to go along with your night of clubbing. Instead of, or along with, champagne, try the famous fortified wines, as well as the Poncha and Nikita cocktails.
Must-do: Prior to the festivities, eat out and try Madeira's local dishes, like black swordfish and espetada (meat brochettes).
Number 7 : Goa, India
For five-star hotel treatment and white sandy beaches with a romantic backdrop, think about bucking the trend and visiting India's beautiful state of Goa. Here you'll find a great combination of sun, sand and surf. As such, this paradise is ideal for couples who want to spend New
Year's away from loud parties and drunks singing Auld Lang Syne. Aside from privacy, great beaches and idyllic scenery, the resorts and hotels in Goa will treat you like royalty. Holiday packages include complimentary tours of the state, planned New Year's events for those who want to mingle and several amenities to make you and your significant other more comfortable. With its perfect romantic conditions, couples will go gaga over Goa.
Must-see: Preface a memorable romp on the sand with a visit to scenic Baga Beach and a drink at Tito's, Goa's most popular nightclub.
Number 6 : Tokyo, Japan
For New Year's, two different but equally fun opportunities present themselves in Japan's greatest city. Traditionalists enjoy visiting Tokyo's Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to celebrate in style and pray for good luck in the New Year. Amazing festivals are held in these shrines, replete with music and dancers dressed in ornate costumes.
When you're done having wholesome fun with thousands of natives, test out Tokyo's famous nightclubs for a naughtier time. These spots bring in Japan's hottest techno and house beats along with some fine local tail. However, because these organized parties attract loads of people and the world's best DJs, you'll need to reserve tickets weeks, if not months, in advance. Check out Studio Coast, Womb and Yellow and let loose.
Must-see: On January 2nd, the Imperial Palace is open to the public. You can tour the grounds and catch a glimpse of Japan's Emperor.
Number 5 : Morocco
When the champagne-filled parties get old, it's time to consider something completely different. Certain Moroccan tour companies organize desert tours for New Year's, where travelers get to spend the memorable night in an incredible oasis. You can stay in the ancient city of Ouarzazate, then move out into the Sahara and experience a nomadic lifestyle with the natives.
The vacation doesn't have to be rustic either. If you don't want to join a caravan and "rough it," simply experience the New Year in the desert, enjoy the natural wonders and a new culture, and then adjourn to your hotel. For those with an open mind, Morocco offers great ways to usher in the New Year.
Must-see: After midnight, catch the bonfire and nomadic dances, which help transform the desert into an outdoor dancehall. Be one of the first to ring in the New Year and head to Sin City...
Number 4 : Sydney, Australia
All of Sydney comes alive for New Year's Eve as Australia's great harbor city offers a stunning array of activities that keep the energy up and the champagne flowing. The most popular spot to visit is the Harbor Bridge, where people come in droves to watch an impressive display of fireworks that starts over the water at the stroke of midnight. If you can't get on the bridge because of the big crowds, sit on the steps of the legendary Sydney Opera House. Better yet, book a private charter boat for the night (it's romantic and original) and observe the action from the water. Those who don't go for the fireworks can usually be found in one of the city's pubs. Try the Quay Bar or the Lord Nelson Brewery for a true Aussie New Year's Eve experience.
Must-do: Prior to partying, grab a window seat in one of Sydney's high-rise restaurants to get a view of the city's activities while dining on great food.
Number 3 : Las Vegas, Nevada
Want to gamble your money away, live in luxury and see the stars? If yes, then hit Sin City for the ultimate bash. The standard Vegas activities are revamped for New Year's Eve, as the strip is closed to traffic after 5 p.m. and is transformed into an enormous block party. Four hundred thousand people come to eat, dance and drink before visiting the shows or casinos. As an added bonus, you're likely to spot as many street performers as you do celebrities. The ultimate way to cap off your night is to check out one of the many concerts that take place. On December 31st or January 1st, Las Vegas offers performances by everyone from Metallica to the Goo Goo Dolls.
Must-see: The fireworks at midnight, which are best seen in front of Caesars Palace's Forum Shops or on the observation deck of the Stratosphere.
Number 2 ": Cape Town, South Africa
There's a lot to see and do in this diverse, vibrant South African metropolis. Cape Town holds a New Year's carnival, attracting 80,000 enthusiastic tourists and locals. This festival entertains in every aspect, offering great food, music and shows all night long. Aside from the carnival, New Year's Eve party organizers see to it that Cape Town turns into a welcoming city. Outdoor concerts, fireworks and a hospitable atmosphere in most restaurants mean you can find something to do in every corner.
As the hour draws closer to midnight, an array of jazz bars and nightclubs offer up a chance to party in Cape Town's unique setting.
Must-see: The V&A Waterfront, which is Cape Town's fine harbor area and a great place to grab a drink and watch traditional African song and dance in the many lounges nearby.
Number 1 : Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is a party city all year round, so imagine the ruckus that occurs when it's time to ring in the New Year. Copacabana Beach serves as the setting for many of the outdoor parties, which are characterized by thumping samba music and many, many beautiful Brazilian females. In accordance with tradition, the two million partiers who drink and groove on the sand are usually all dressed in white, so follow along and soak up the wicked atmosphere.
If the weather isn't as hot as the atmosphere, check out the nightclubs that run along Copacabana Beach. The parties are a guaranteed good time, but just like any other New Year's event, you must be prepared to pony up a fair amount of cash for entrance fees and booze.
Must-do: At the stroke of midnight, celebrate by going for a dip in the ocean.