Yes, the countdown to 2015 is still many months away, but the start of a new Lunar New Year is fast approaching. This won't mean much for some, but for globe-trotters, Jan. 31 will be a hectic time for travel. An estimated 3.6 billion trips are expected to be made during the Chinese New Year holiday, according to officials with the Chinese government.
Most of the trips are expected to take place within Asia but the countdown to Chinese New Year always brings a renewed sense of mysticism around the world. Each New Year ushers in a new zodiac animal, the Eastern equivalent of horoscopes.
Zodiac animals are divided up into 12 creatures and are assigned according to the year you're born, rather than the day. Similar to astrological horoscopes, zodiac animals govern many aspects of life including wealth, health, romance and even travel.
This year brings the year of the horse, making it a fortuitous year to travel if you're born in the year of the monkey, rat, or dragon, according to Paul Ng, a Toronto-area philosopher and geomancer.
As with many predictions using astrology, there's always a healthy-level of skepticism. But Ng, who makes his predictions based on mathematical calculations, has a solid track record.
Last year, the former computer scientist predicted 2013 would be a good year for airlines. In December 2013, a lobby group predicted airlines would reap in a record-high USD$12.9 billion in profits, according to Reuters.
For the average traveller, Ng suggests the west and south-west parts of countries to expect a boom in popularity for 2014. For his other predictions, take a look at Ng's breakdown for your zodiac animal. And if you're not sure what your zodiac animal is, give this site a visit.
The Horse (2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930)
Gallop your way north, says Ng. Horses are typically full of energy and don't do well when they're told to relax which means cruises and all-inclusive resorts down South are ill-suited. Instead, take some time to climb the majestic <a href="http://www.banffadventures.com/things-to-do/winter/banff-ice-climbing.aspx" target="_hplink">frozen waterfalls of Banff, Canmore, or Lake Louise</a> in Alberta. Not a fan of the cold? Head even further north to Nikkaluokta Sarri in Sweden. This <a href="http://www.visitsweden.com/sweden/places/northern_sweden/visitsapmi__nikkaluokta_sarri/" target="_hplink">"gateway to the mountains"</a> is an ideal spot for summer hikes and for horses to burn off all that excess energy, surrounded with clean air and a peaceful atmosphere. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Sheep (2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943. 1931)
Make your way west, says Ng, In general, sheep aren't overly social, but this year will be a good time to capitalize on your good relationships with other people, especially male sheep. If that's the case, a West Coast road trip would be an excellent opportunity to make some memories as you and your entourage cruise from Vancouver through to Los Angeles and back. Just do so with caution, Ng warns. This year might be ripe for small accidents, so drive carefully. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Monkey (2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932)
Swing your way down south, says Ng. Monkeys are encouraged to move around if they want to succeed this year and travel will be a perfect excuse for those born under the sign. Monkeys can be on the stubborn side so a solo trip or a meticulously-planned itinerary will likely be in the books for monkeys. Money and adventure are also items monkeys have in spades, so why not do it up this year with an island hoping cruise through the Caribbean? Start in Florida and head south with stops in St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Puerto Rico before making your way back to Fort Lauderdale. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Rooster (2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933)
Fly (or is hop?) east says Ng. Roosters are usually chatty and expressive and Ng predicts a lot of love heading toward roosters this year. With this in mind, perhaps a trip east to the United Kingdom will present itself with any <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/nov/30/england-pub-crawls-leeds-cambridge-london" target="_hplink">one of six epic bar crawls</a> involving anything and everything from a game of Monopoly, to trains, to groups of friends dressed in fancy attire tied together. Yep, that last one's pretty popular with the students. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Dog (2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934)
Scamper you way north, says Ng. According to the geomancer, Dogs tend to be self-centred and prefer short trips. This year will be a lucky one for dogs with good fortune in the realms of money, love and work. With that in mind, perhaps a three-day jaunt to Vegas could be an excellent opportunity to strike it rich. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Pig (2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935)
Go west, young pig. Ng predicts 2014 will be a good year for making friends. As he's said in the past, pigs (or boars as they're also known) are sociable and make awesome travel partners no matter what year it is. With this in mind, a backpacking adventure through Portugal, Spain, Germany and France might be the best way to turn those strangers at the hostel into future travel BFFs. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Rat (2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936)
Scurry your way south, says Ng. Rats are typically lucky and good with money but 2014 may be a year marred by some financial loss. That said, perhaps it's best if rats stick to staycations or aim for budget destinations. South Africa makes for a prime location with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/budget-travel/best-budget-destinations_b_4426916.html" target="_hplink">hotel rates dropping around 8 per cent across the country,</a> according to Budget Travel. The magazine also recommends heading east to visit the Indian beach for surfing and swimming. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Ox (2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937)
Travel east, says Ng. Oxen tend to be stubborn and this year is no exception since they're forecasted to be in conflict with the year of the horse. What this means for travellers born under the animal is that group tours, cruises and backpacking are probably bad bets. Instead, make your way to Japan to the Kinosaki Onsen, an entire town built to cater to the every whim of tourists seeking a relaxing hotspring getaway. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Tiger (2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938)
Go north, says Ng. This will be a good year for tigers with plenty of prosperity in the areas of romance and luck and plenty of learning opportunities. Tigers typically love the spotlight and love to be acknowledged. A trip to New York City would be well-suited for tigers as they'll get a chance to soak in new information at the American Museum of Nature, Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim. Afterwards, use all that knowledge you've gathered to impress your friends at any one of <a href="http://www.timeout.com/newyork/bars/50-best-new-york-bars" target="_hplink">these 50 bars</a>. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Rabbit (2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939)
Hop on over to the west says Ng. This year can easily be summed up in one word for rabbits: romance. Romantic engagements await rabbits this year -- provided they get out there and find it. Now, rabbits are typically moody travellers, meaning they tend to take things to the extremes. One possible interpretation suggests a far-flung getaway to Venice, Italy. Wine, candle-lit dinners, masquerade balls and gondolier rides along the canals are good bets to satisfy die-hard romantics. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Dragon (2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940)
Fly south, says Ng. The year of the horse will a good one for dragons with health and wealth arriving in spades. Travelling dragons typically have high energy and will want to make use of that energy in South America this year. Exploring the Galapagos Islands and its bountiful wildlife, climbing Machu Pichu in Peru or dancing the night away in Buenos Aires's night clubs could all make for excellent trips for dragons in 2014. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
The Snake (2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941)
Slither your way east, says Ng. This year will be a good in terms of finances with stocks, bonds adding extra dough to your regular income. With all that extra coin, snakes should consider a luxury cruise either to the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Both destinations provide plenty of beach-front spots that'll appeal to snakes' senses of adventure and subtly-conservative nature. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25802865@N08/sets/">Choo Yut Shing</a>
UP NEXT: More Chinese Zodiac Predictions For 2014
Horse: Born in 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918
The year of the horse means there is leadership associated with this sign this year, so your authority may increase, according to Ng. However, the impulsive behaviour of the horse can lead to recklessness, so stay away from gambling and speculations. <b>Work</b>: Those in positions of authority will do well, but chancy businesses, like the stock market, are a bad idea. <b>Wealth</b>: Don't expect to make a lot of money, and value the income you have. <b>Relationships</b>: There won't be a lot of excitement in your love life, and if you are engaged, you might want to delay your marriage until next year. <b>Health</b>: Watch your health this year — you'll get tired and may catch bugs easily. Make exercise and rest a priority.
Sheep or Goat: Born in 2003, 1991, 1979 ,1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919
This is a "connecting" year for you, says Ng. Take advantage of your good relationships with other people, particularly for male sheep. <b>Work</b>: Those who work in cars, analysis, public relations, entertainment, surgery, butchery and police work should expect to do well this year. <b>Wealth</b>: Expect stability, with a slight increase in money this year. Simplify your investment portfolio, advises Ng. <b>Relationships</b>: You'll be quite beloved this year, so watch out for love triangles. If you're married, make sure to demonstrate love toward your spouse. <b>Health</b>: You are healthier this year than last, but be careful of small accidents. Drive carefully and take your time when working.
Monkey: Born in 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920
It's important for monkey signs to spread themselves around in order to gain success this year, says Ng, either travelling or moving. <b>Work</b>: Industries that are good for the monkey to work in include sales and marketing, law, education, travel and the financial world — things based around movement. <b>Wealth</b>: Money is looking good for monkeys, with the potential for promotions and investments reaping rewards. <b>Relationships</b>: If you're single, this won't be a great year for you, but those who are married can feel confident in the endurance of their union. <b>Health</b>: Your overall health is good. Be careful of accidents such as from driving.
Rooster: Born in 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921
This is gearing up to be a big year for roosters, according to Ng. There are many opportunities for your work or business, but your personal relationships might be volatile. Rely on your friends for help. <b>Work</b>: You do better outside an office than inside, in jobs like police work, law and politics. <b>Wealth</b>: Be careful with your money this year — don't gamble. <b>Relationships</b>: There's a lot of love headed your way, but watch out for fights in your relationships. Take a step before continuing to argue, or they could end. <b>Health</b>: Small accidents could be an issue for you, and pay attention to your heart and lungs.
Dog: Born in 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922
This should be a lucky year for dogs, notes Ng. Everything from work and investments to relationships are on the upswing. <b>Work</b>: Work within your natural creativity in the arts, music, architecture or writing. Even the stage is great for you. <b>Wealth</b>: Use instincts, rather than logic, when making investments — it will help keep your money stable. <b>Relationships</b>: Consider proposing if you haven't already, and if you are married, demonstrate more love toward your spouse. Be humble when interacting with others. <b>Health</b>: Enjoy your good health, but watch out for overeating.
Boar or Pig: Born in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923
Get ready for a great year, says Ng — you'll make friends, have breakthroughs in business and be surrounded by help. However, this all will need some effort at the beginning. <b>Work</b>: Great industries for you include metaphysics, religion, public relations, human resources, media and politics. <b>Wealth</b>: Money will be stable for you this year, but don't gamble or invest in speculative markets. <b>Relationships</b>: Nothing exciting, but nothing bad here either, as your relationships stay flat but stable. <b>Health</b>: You will feel much better than last year, and even if you get sick, you'll recover quickly.
Rat: Born in 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924
The rat is in opposition this year, so this could mean losing some money. However, the rat sign is generally lucky, which can help keep you out of trouble. <b>Work</b>: Show business is great for you, including things like pageants and the arts. Be sure to stay away from gambling. <b>Wealth</b>: Ng holds to the old saying, "If you are not greedy, you will not lose money." <b>Relationships</b>: Try to be quiet and patient this year, as otherwise, many of your relationships will consist of arguing. <b>Health</b>: Areas of the body to watch for include the lungs, kidney and waist. Get lots of exercise and rest.
Ox: Born in 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925
The ox is in conflict with the horse, which could mean arguments with other people this year, says Ng. However, the ox is a sign of authority, potentially signifying promotions. <b>Work</b>: Good environments include politics, the army or police work, where a promotion might be waiting for you. But watch out for enemies. <b>Wealth</b>: Don't expect a lot of money, but your income is proportional to your authority level. <b>Relationships</b>: There isn't a lot of romance expected for you this year. Be patient with the people in your life. <b>Health</b>: Your health is fine, just watch out for small accidents.
Tiger: Born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926
This should be a good year for tigers, according to Ng. It could bring luck, joy, romance, spirituality and learning opportunities. <b>Work</b>: You do well in business that have to do with blood, such as surgery and the army, as well as teaching and philosophy. If you are self-employed, expand your business. <b>Wealth</b>: This should be a year of stability for your money. <b>Relationships</b>: Romance is in the stars. If the opportunity is there, consider marriage. If you're married, watch out for temptations from extramarital affairs. <b>Health</b>: Watch out for sharp objects, and be careful of accidents and bleeding.
Rabbit: Born 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927
This will be a year of romance and controversy, with lots of happiness everywhere for rabbits. Just be careful about your non-romantic relationships with others. <b>Work</b>: Entertainment, speaking and sales roles all suit you — mental work is better for you than physical. <b>Wealth</b>: This year, the more you work, the more you make. <b>Relationships</b>: Romantic entanglements await, but watch out for love triangles. <b>Health</b>: There's a mild concern about sharp objects.
Dragon: Born in 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928
This should be a good year for dragons, as horses and dragons together have great energy. Health and wealth abound. <b>Work</b>: Working with both blood (surgery, butchery, soldiers) as well as spirituality (philosopher, priest) are in your favour. <b>Wealth</b>: You would do well in travel or trading businesses. Invest based on your intuition. <b>Relationships</b>: It does not look like a particularly romantic year for dragons. <b>Health</b>: You have a general tendency to get into accidents, but other than that, you'll be very healthy.
Snake: Born in 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929
Last year was a year of conflict for the snake, says Ng, so this year is a money year. <b>Work</b>: Keeping in line with your money year, businesses that are good for you include finance and the stock market. Entertainment can also work for you. <b>Wealth</b>: Bring in the dollars! Both your regular and speculative incomes are looking good. <b>Relationships</b>: Think about marriage, if you haven't already. And be sure to express love toward your spouse if you're already hitched. <b>Health</b>: Keep your immune system boosted, as you'll be prone to colds and the flu. Exercise and rest plenty.
UP NEXT: What Does Your Horoscope Say About Your 2014 Travel Plans?
If You're An Aries (Mar. 21 To April 19)...
Adventurous rams need a place that challenges them, lest you grow bored and cranky. Your love of being surrounded by people nixes any suggestions for isolated islands, or off-the-radar destinations. You want to be front and centre, your every need catered to. Lack of good service at a hotel or restaurant can make rams lose their cool, so great hospitality is key. With that in mind, Arians need to head to Waikiki Beach on Oahu to soak up Hawaiian sunshine. Sign up for surfing lessons or hike up to Diamond Head to quench your desire for action-packed getaways.
If You're A Taurus (April 20 To May 20)...
Fridays are lucky days for bulls, so start your getaway then. Compassionate and dependable, yet stubborn with a tendency toward being over-sensitive make you a great travel companion, as long as you get your way. You’re the one likely to pick where your crew is headed for dinner and you’re not prone to changing your mind. Your ideal vacations surround you with close friends. Renting a villa in Tuscany suits you where hanging out with your peeps is the activity of choice with great food and drink added to the mix.
If You're A Gemini (May 21 To June 20)...
A less structured holiday is the way to go for you, Gemini. Strict itineraries are not your thing and you grow impatient when the group needs to zig and you want to zag. Have it your way with a driving vacation where you can travel at your own pace and, with you at the wheel, you have control, something you are oh-so fond of. Head to San Francisco, rent a car and make your way down the Pacific Coast Highway towards Los Angeles. Last-minute hotel booking appeals to you, but don’t leave it too late or you’ll be sleeping in your car.
If You're A Cancer (June 21 To July 22)
Cancer is a water sign, so naturally you gravitate to where sun and sea meet. Family is important to you and you’ll go to the ends of the earth to make them happy, but you tend to brood and shut down if they cross you. If you can keep those ever-bubbling emotions in check, take a family vacation this summer to Prince Edward Island, where you can romp on the red-sand beaches and breathe in that clean ocean air. But leave the vacation planning to someone else. Your indecisiveness may get on everyone’s nerves.
If You Are A Leo (July 23 To Aug. 22)...
Leos, despite your ability to bite and claw at people who don’t agree with you, are romantic at the core. As a fire sign, you love to be in love. And, as part of a couple, Leos take the lead about where to vacation, because you usually think you're right and a natural born leader. Book a trip to Iceland this year -- a place that is a bit exotic and has some fiery properties of its own, with the famous Blue Lagoon thermal spa and plenty of volcano action. The lively bars of Reyjavik bring opportunities to socialize and impart advice and wisdom to patrons, an oh-so-Leo trait.
If You're A Virgo (Aug. 23 To Sep. 22)...
Driven, ambitious Virgos seriously need to just chill. You prefer to burn out rather than to rust out, so the ideal antidote is a beach holiday. Of course, the hotel has to be impeccable to suit your tastes. A hair in the bathroom sink can ruin your entire day. Book yourself a week at the Ritz Carlton on Miami’s South Beach. You’ll surround yourself with beautiful things and equally beautiful people and there will be bliss in your world. Explore Little Havana to learn some Spanish, something that appeals to your pragmatic side.
If You're A Libra (Sep. 23 To Oct. 22)...
Gregarious Libras love a good party. You are quick witted and love to laugh. Affection comes easy for you, so you’ll feel at home in cultures that are especially warm and welcoming. Consider a trip south, way south, to Buenos Aires, where people live large and place a high value on nights of eating, drinking and dancing. Sign up for a tango lesson or two, so you can mingle with the locals. Do budget carefully for your travels. Your over-indulgence can lead you into trouble.
If You're A Scorpio (Oct. 23 To Nov. 21)
There’s nothing too hot or steamy for you, Scorpio. Las Vegas beckons as your hedonistic playground. If single, the original Sin City offers oodles of chances to bolster your ego as the life of every party. And once you’ve spotted an object of desire, say at the opulent pools of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, nothing stops you from getting what you want. Those coupled with a Scorpio need to be careful not to incite jealousy by dressing too sexy for a night out.
If You're A Sagittarius (Nov. 22 To Dec. 21)
You have a real knack with words. You express yourself clearly and you know how to rouse someone out of a funk by saying the right things. As such, you appreciate others who do the same. This is the right year for you to head to England where celebrations for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday are in full swing. If you have time, squeeze in a visit to Glasgow, Scotland, one of the world great literary cities where Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns once lived and worked. Be cautious with your heart when you travel. Vacation romances aren’t your thing.
If You're A Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
This year, make that trip to Thailand you’ve thought about for forever. You’ll fit right in with the wonderful people there who value qualities like calmness and loyalty. Bangkok might be too chaotic for your tastes, so take a trip to more serene destinations like Ko Phangan, the site of numerous Buddhist temples and the rollicking annual dance festival, the Full Moon Party. You don’t take orders well, so consider going solo and determining your own path. Your bursts of temper can alienate fellow travellers.
If You're An Aquarius (Jan. 20 To Feb. 18)
Affable Aquarius, you need to stoke your creativity with new ideas and concepts, preferably in a destination next to water. Book yourself a stay in New York City, a city that starts trends and unleashes them into the world. Do stray out of Manhattan to up-and-coming areas like Brooklyn. Book a table at <a href="http://seersuckerbrooklyn.com/" target="_blank">Seersucker</a> for phenomenal Southern soul food. Your friendliness earns you new instant companions when you grab at seat at the bar of a local hangout, like <a href="http://drambar.com/" target="_blank">Dram</a>. However, your flightiness means they’ll be in your life for one night only, but what a night it will be.
If You're A Pisces (Feb. 19 To Mar. 20)
As the zodiac’s reigning culture vulture, you appreciate art and music with a depth few others can match. It stirs your soul, yet you keep your emotions hidden. You’re not interested in acquiring stuff, only knowledge. Consider a trip to India this year with stops in Mumbai and Chenai. You’re not one to get flustered easily, so the confusion of India’s train stations and airports won’t bother you. You’re the type that would feel at home in a place like the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Goa. It will help tame those mood swings you’re famous for.
With previous files from Rebecca Zamon and Brian Vinh Tien Trinh
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