Sports fanatics happily travel to all corners of the globe to watch their favourite sport or team but planning ahead is key to securing good seats and hotel rooms. So here’s a list of the Top 10 sporting event destinations in 2011 to help sports buffs plan their vacation next year.
1. The Australian Open (Tennis) Melbourne, Australia from Januray 17 - 30.Kick off the sporting year at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Between sets, travellers can explore Melbourne and be tempted by some of the best food and shopping experiences in Australia, visit the Eureka Tower for a 360 degree view of the city, or take a dip at St Kilda beach.
2. Super Bowl XLV (Gridiron), Arlington, Texas, USA on February 6. One of the most watched games in the world, a quarter of a million fans are expected to visit the Dallas-Fort Worth area for next year’s Super Bowl. After the celebrations head to Dallas for some Texan cuisine and explore the history of JFK’s murder.
3. Cricket World Cup Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka from February 19 - April 22. In between some great cricket matches visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawella, Sri Lanka, Old Dhaka in Bangladesh, or take a day trip from Mumbai, India to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, Elephanta Island, to explore 9th century caves and rock architecture.
4. IRB Sevens (Rugby Union), Hong Kong from March 25 - 27. This will be the 12th season for the Sevens Series with Hong Kong being the city to draw the biggest crowds. After the final whistle, the best way to explore the sights and sounds of Hong Kong is to hop on the Ding Ding tram which runs from Kennedy Town in the island’s west to Shau Kei Wan in the east.
5. FA Cup Final (Football), London, England on May 14. This tournament takes close to a year to complete, culminating on May 14 at London's Wembley Stadium. Take in the iconic sights of Big Ben and the Tower of London before joining the masses catching the train to Wembley to watch the match.
6. Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix (Motor racing), Monaco from May 26 - 29. The most anticipated event on the Formula 1 racing calendar, the action never ceases as fans mingle with the rich and famous, gamble at the famous Monte Carlo casino and dine at luxurious restaurants. The racing is held over three days so plenty of time to explore this city and visit places.
7. The British Open Championship (Golf), Kent, England from July 14 - 17. For four days, the town of Sandwich will be transformed into a hub for the world’s golfing enthusiast. While visiting Kent, history buffs will be able to visit some of England's most spectacular castles, gardens and historical houses.
8. FINA World Championships (Swimming), Shanghai, China from July 16 - 31. All water sports are on display including swimming, water polo and diving, so the pool deck will be busy. Visit the best of Shanghai, including the People's Square, the Bund and the Yu Yuan Gardens.
9. IAAF Athletic Championships, Daegu, South Korea, August 27 - September 4. Catch a glimpse of some of the fastest athletes in the world and take the opportunity during the day to climb Palgongsan Mountain for a bird's-eye view of Daegu. At night, head to Daegu stadium to watch the world’s best cross the line in the finals before heading out to try traditional Korean cuisine.
10. Rugby World Cup, New Zealand from September 9 - October 23. Rugby powerhouse New Zealand will host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, providing endless opportunities to experience some of New Zealand's natural wonders.