Where to visit next? This question dominates conversations at Lonely Planet more than any other. It's inevitable when hundreds of self-confessed travel geeks clock up hundreds of thousands of miles a year between them, exploring virtually every destination on the planet in the process.
Once summer holidays are done, we begin to debate where the hottest destinations to visit next will be, which places have seen significant change, and where everyone is talking about right now. This is what informs Best in Travel, our annual collection of simply the best places to visit and things to do in the year ahead.
People across Lonely Planet work all year to publish Best in Travel. The first step comes in the spring, when the team behind the book gathers suggestions from dozens of authors, editors and staff. Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet's co-founder (and Independent on Sunday travel columnist), and other travel experts then rank the destinations in order. What are the criteria? Topicality, above all – it's got to feel of the moment – but, like any traveller, we also look for value for money and that special something that elevates one place above another. Then, a team of writers – many of those involved in choosing the places – sets about writing the words explaining our selection.
Next, if previous years are anything to go by, the winners will celebrate and the debate will continue. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, we'll know within seconds whether huge numbers of people agree with the selection.
I think I might go on holiday; Sri Lanka looks nice.
Tom Hall is a contributor to Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013, which is published on Tuesday (£9.99). For more information, see lonelyplanet.com