In part three of this series, we take you to the far corners of the world. But there are also some incredible vacations pots close to home. It’s nice to be able to travel a great distance, but don’t forget to think about those places that might be in your own backyard. As always, if you have any suggestions that we can add to this list – please send them our way.
South Lake Tahoe
The southern shore of Lake Tahoe is known as “South Tahoe”. It straddles two states and is known to be the more appealing shore. There is a booming craft beer scene, and they even have a beer map for visitors. Some standouts are locally owned Lake Tahoe Ale Worx and the Cold Water Brewery. South Tahoe is home to a couple of Winter Olympian Gold Medalists and several 2018 Olympic hopefuls. In October 2017, an 11-foot bronze sculpture by artist, Gareth Curtiss, was unveiled at Champions Plaza called the “Spirit of Competition,” inspired by local Olympic athletes.
This small island nation is easy on the wallet and big on experiences. Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka irresistible. You might say Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight. Countless scores of travelers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of uncertainty kept Sri Lanka off many itineraries. Now, however, all that has changed.The country is moving forward quickly as more and more people discover its myriad charms. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s history, culture, and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. It’s the place you haven’t been to yet, that you should.
The second largest city in Morocco, Fez has an enchanting souk, lively markets, fascinating leather tanneries (which you can sniff out before you see) and quaint cafes serving Moroccan mint tea and local pastries. Fez is also filled to the brim with palatial riads, Moroccan homes built around a central courtyard or garden, which feature cozy rooms and rooftop terraces where you can relax after a walk through the bustling labyrinth of alleyways right outside your front door.
Windhoek is the capital of Namibia, but it’s just the jumping off point. What’s great about Windhoek, is that the U.S. dollar is strong enough to make travel, accommodations, and activities all relatively inexpensive throughout the country. Windhoek is cheap in itself and has plenty to see, between exploring the local scenes like at the Namibia Craft Centre and checking out the city’s German influence like at the Christuskirche church. Five-star properties, such as the Hilton Windhoek and The Olive Exclusive All-Suite Hotel can be booked for less than $150 per night, thanks in large part to the preferable exchange rate to Namibian dollars. But some of the best sights to see are located outside the city limits. Consider day or multi-day trips to get your outdoor fix and to see the stunning scenery and dunes that make up the majority of the country.
The Golden City of Jaisalmer is often overlooked by travelers because of its distance from Delhi (a 14-hour train ride), but it is absolutely worth a visit for its stunning architecture and magical atmosphere. Situated in the heart of the Thar Desert, the Jaisalmer is made entirely of yellow sandstone and looks like an enormous sandcastle rising out of the desert. Can you handle being on a train for that long? If so, this might be a destination for you to check out.
When I think of top vacation spots, I definitely don’t think of Slovenia. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a place you should visit. In fact, it’s been called the New Zealand of Europe. You should check out Piran, which is located on Solvenia’s Istria, which is on the Adriatic Sea. Explore this coastal town — a little Venice — and savor a fresh seafood meal for under $10. It’s the perfect place to visit on foot. Meander through the alleyways and visit the market. Climb up to the city walls and to the top of the bell tower for spectacular views. Or rent a bike and cycle through the countryside.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, travelers might be reluctant to visit the territory of Puerto Rico. But Puerto Rico is not only rebuilding, but it’s in fact, thriving. If you don’t have a passport — or if you have one that’s closed to expiring or being filled — one of the best parts about visiting Puerto Rico is that no passport is needed for U.S. citizens. With plenty to see both in San Juan — from the charm and bright colors of Old San Juan to checking out where one of the most famous rums in the world is made at the Bacardi Factory ($15 for a historical tour) — and outside, such as a trip to El Yunque National Forest, you’ll be kept busy. Flights to San Juan generally will run you less than $250 from the East Coast, making it a perfectly close and affordable getaway. While there are several affordable chain hotels, boutique hotels flourish — especially in Old San Juan.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is one of those places that most people don’t even really know about. But that’s to your benefit. Kuala Lumpur has a mix of different cultures, from Asian to Indian. (This makes for some really great cuisine). There is a great mix of cultures, which even shows up within the attractions. The one to check out is Sky Bar, which has a pool and overlooks the Petronas Towers. Hotels are super cheap, as well: You can get a five-star hotel with an infinity pool on the rooftop for only $42 a night. Check out D’Majestic Place by Swiss-Garden. Kuala Lumpur is also the hub for cheap flights throughout Southeast Asia. You can get a roundtrip flight from Kuala Lumpur to Thailand for $24.