Destination Guides: Travel Inspiration
It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going. What kind of adventure are you looking for? Maybe you want the thrill of a hiking trip in the Swiss Alps. Perhaps a stroll through the boisterous streets of Naples is more your style. Or possibly you prefer to lay on the famous beaches of beautiful Bali. No matter your destination, we have the best in-depth guides to help you make the most of your trip.
Adventures in North America
A long-popular destination for Americans, sprawling Mexico has lots to offer in the way of culture, beaches, history, world-famous cuisine, and much more. Visit Mexico City to experience the vibrant life of the city streets or venture into the Yucátan for white sand beaches and ancient ruins.
Say aloha to Hawai'i, where beautiful beaches, sunny skies, and a strong surf await you. Whether you've come to Hawai'i to see historic sites like Pearl Harbor, marvel at the volcanoes in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, or try out surfing in Waimea Bay, Hawai'i is an excellent choice for any vacationer.
The Sunshine State lives up to its name with warm weather and sunny skies, but that's not the only reason to take a trip south to Florida. Thrill-seekers flock to Disney World in Orlando everywhere (hoping to ride the Tower of Tower), as well as Everglades National Park (hoping for a peek at the famous crocodiles). Looking for something a bit more fast-paced and flashy? Head to Miami for Cuban eats, buzzing nightlife, and city-side beaches.
There's a reason so many people are California Dreamin'. With two unique metropolises, miles of gorgeous beaches, plenty of State and National Parks, and fantastic food, California draws travelers in for many reasons. Travel down the Pacific Coast Hawaii, visit Big Sur, hop between glitzy Los Angeles and hippie San Francisco, or head down south for laid-back surfing near San Diego.
Head down to the bayou to get a taste of the unique Louisiana flavor—and we mean that literally. Dive into the creole cuisine, listen to the jazz music sounding from every street corner, and plunge into the thick of the nightlife on Bourbon Street.
Everything's bigger in Texas, but you'll have to see it to believe it. People flock to the Lone Star State to experience rodeos up close and personal, sink their teeth into some of the best barbecue in the US, and hop between big cities like Austin and San Antonio and small, historic towns like Nacogdoches, an old Spanish settlement.
With warm weather, crystal-clear water, unique small towns, diverse cultures, and fascinating colonial histories, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Caribbean. While it's hard to get an exact number of nations and territories that are included in the larger Caribbean, most sources list between 25 and 30. The majority of these nations and territories are islands, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Barbados, and Jamaica, among many others.
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Vacations in South America
When in France, embrace la vie francaise and take your time to enjoy each day. For some, that means spending a quiet hour people-watching with a cafe au lait and a croissant from a Paris cafe, for others it could be a leisurely day spent tasting wines in the countries famous Bordeaux region. France is more than just spectacular food and casual elegance—you'll also find beautiful nature, picturesque small towns, and a captivating history.
Diverse Spain deserves is an ideal place for any kind of traveler. Nature lovers will enjoy doing a portion of the famous Camino de Santiago, history buffs will marvel at the Alhambra in Granada, foodies will dive in to the thriving scene in San Sebastian, and beach bums can take their pick from any of the Balaeric Islands. That's not to mention the cultural touchtstones of Barcelona and Madrid with their many beautiful parks, unique museums, and buzzing bar scenes.
La bella Italia ranks high on many people's dream vacation lists for a reason: Italy is a mecca for gourmets, a center of ancient history, chock full of beautiful beaches as well as towering mountains, and gifted with fairly temperate year-round weather in many of its most popular cities. Snap pics at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, stroll where famous historical figures one did in Rome, try the most authentic pizza you will ever taste in Naples, or embark on a colorful trek through Cinque Terre.
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Far-flung: Trips to Asia
The westernmost region the volcanic Sunda Islands of Indonesia, Bali stands out as both a cultural mecca, a religious experience, and a nature-lover’s dream. Bali invites you to take a deep dive both literally, into the coral reefs off the eastern coast, and metaphorically, in the exploration of oneself through traditional practices of yoga and meditation. In the so-called “Island of the Gods”, visitors will find that the old deities of nature and spirituality have collided with the new divinities of modern culture to create a fascinating community that is unlike anyother.
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More Long-Haul Destinations
30 Places To See Before Turning 30
We know travel has no age limit, but if you're looking for some inspiration before you turn the big 3-0 we've found 30 of our favorite destinations to add to your bucket list! We've included anything from out-of-this-world hiking destinations to legendary nightlife hotspots, so you'll be sure to make the most of your 20's.
1. Samoa: The Sua Ocean Trench
This unique land formation consists of two holes, one without water and one with a beautiful turquoise swimming hele that can only be accessed by a thin ladder. Definitely worth the trip to swim in one of the coolest places in the World.
2. California: Yosemite National Park
Located in northeastern California this is one of the most well known national parks in the U.S. The park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, meadows, ancient giant sequoias, vast wilderness, and breathtaking views. Rock climb the famous El Capitan or hike the 20 or so mile Half Dome Trail.
3. Koh Phangan, Thailand: Full Moon Festival
Thailand has a lot to offer, but something pretty special is their Full Moon Party. Basically, it is an enormous beach party filled with drinking and dancing held each month during the full moon. Approximately 30,000 partiers gather on the shores of Haad Rin covered in neon paint ready to dance the night away.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
Widely considered the adventure capital of the world—Queenstown, New Zealand is full of extreme activities guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. From heli-skiing to canyon swinging, there is no shortage of activities to get your heart racing. We highly recommend the Nevis Highwire Bungy Jump: a 440 ft. drop!
5. Norway: Trolltunga Hike
We’ve all seen the pictures of one of Norway’s most popular hikes. The scenic hike ends at the “trolls tongue” a thin sliver of rock perfect for photos. It’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list. The hike is 13.6 miles round-trip and takes about 10-12 hours. The views at at the top will make you forget how hard it is.
6. Calgary, Canada: Banff National Park
Canada’s oldest national park is home to some seriously amazing views. With rocky mountain peaks to climb and turquoise glacial lakes to jump into there will be no shortage of adventure. Be sure to visit the the electric blue waters of Lake Louise.
7. Banos, Ecuador: The End of the World Swing
Swinging on a playground will never be the same again after the rush you’ll feel hanging 8,500 ft about sea level. Located at La Casa Del Arbol in Banos, Ecuador the swing hangs over a steep slope overlooking the beautiful and terrifying view of the Tungurahua Volcano. The surge of adrenaline, feeling of freedom, and amazing views are certainly one-of-a-kind.
8. Utah: Zion National Park
Located in southwest Utah, this park is distinguished by Zion Canyon's steep red cliffs. You can choose to climb to the top of them on the daring hike to Angel’s Landing, where you finish your trek by walking up a narrow path lined with metal chains to keep you from falling—or you can hike through the canyon itself in The Narrows, where you’ll find yourself trudging through chest-deep water at times. It’s a wonderful place to experience the natural beauty of the U.S.
9. Santorini, Greece: Kamari Beach
No one needs a second reason to spend a vacation in Santorini, but Kamari Beach is a must-see for anyone with cliff diving on their bucket list! You’ll get to dive at one of the most exclusive beaches in the world. It’s a great place for experienced and beginner divers who want to take that heart-stopping jump with an unforgettable view.
10. Zimbabwe, Africa: Devil's Pool
Located at Victoria Falls, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Devil's Pool sits on the edge of the 419 ft. falls. Between September and December you can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls without being swept over. It might look terrifying to those afraid of heights, but it’s a bucket list worthy location for travelers seeking a rush.
11. Cape Town, South Africa
From beautiful beaches, to incredible mountains, and cheap wineries, Cape Town really does have it all! Make sure to check out the penguins on Boulder Beach or go cage diving with great white sharks, if you're feeling adventurous. Don't miss a ride through South Africa's wine country on the Franschhoek Wine Tram.
13. Costa Rica
With plenty of zip-lining, white water rafting, and hiking opportunities, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for adventure seekers. Check out Corcovado National Park, an incredible reserve on the southwest coast filled with jaguars, macaws, and squirrel monkeys. Head to La Fortuna to check out the Arenal Volcano and relax in beautiful hot springs.
14. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Head to Tanzania to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Add a safari to the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater to catch the Wildebeest migration. Treat yourself to the beautiful beaches on Zanzibar after summiting Kilimanjaro.
15. San Antonio, Texas
The River Walk is an urban waterway with restaurants and shops along the San Antonio River below the streets of the city. Thrill seekers should head to Six Flags Fiesta Texas early to avoid lines to the new Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Roller Coaster!
16. Faroe Islands
Denmark's Faroe Islands are one of Europe's best kept secrets. Go kayaking in the ocean, rappelling, or head out on a hike through the mountains to immerse yourself in nature on these gorgeous islands. Divers can explore seaweed forests and grottos filled with sea creatures.
17. Cambodia: Angkor Wat
Known as a Wonder of The World and Unesco World Heritage Site, Cambodia's Angkor Wat is not to be missed. Go early to see this incredible temple complex at sunrise. We recommend hiring a tuk-tuk for the day because the temples are spread quite far apart.
18. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Chefchaouen is known as one of the prettiest mountain towns in Morocco with it's eye catching blue-washed buildings. Take a day trip to Talassemtane National Park and then go shopping in the Medina before feasting on couscous for dinner.
19. Sri Lanka: Kandy & Hikkaduwa
Sri Lanka is known for its ancient Buddhist ruins, rainforests, and stunning beaches. The Sacred City of Kandy is a Unesco World Heritage site located in the center of the country filled with incredible temples. Those looking for some rest and relaxation should take the train to Hikkaduwa, a seaside resort town that's home to a coral sanctuary and sea turtles.
21. Munich, Germany: Oktoberfest
This legendary festival runs from mid-September to the first weekend of October every year in Munich, Germany. Expect tents full of tourists and locals alike, with no shortage of massive beers, bratwurst, and fresh pretzels.
22. Cairo, Egypt: Pyramids of Giza
Needless to say, this last remaining ancient Wonder of The World deserves a spot on any bucket list. Take in the awe-inspiring pyramids, then dive into the hustle and bustle of Cairo—which is sure to impress any adventure traveler, foodie, or history buff.
23. Dublin, Ireland
It's hard not to be charmed by this lively Irish capital city! Dublin is an increasingly young city with tons of up-and-coming neighborhoods to explore. Just don't miss a night out in Temple Bar to get your fill of live music, Guinness, and friendly locals.
25. Chile & Argentina: Patagonia
This stunning region spans Northern Chile and Argentina. Any outdoor enthusiast will be in heaven—with activities including whale watching, glacier walking, and bucket-list hikes. Check out the Torres de Paine to see the spectacular contrast between the bright blue lakes and dramatic mountains.
This vibrant country is home to fascinating history, friendly people, and the majestic Himalaya mountains. Visit Kathmandu for sightseeing, then get out into the countryside to explore hidden monasteries and national parks. If you're feeling extra adventurous, plan a trek up to Everest base camp!
27. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans offers excellent live jazz, iconic bars, and delicious Creole cuisine. The center of it all, Bourbon Street, won't disappoint any party-lover with it's neon lights, endless rows of bars, and oversized to-go cups. Bonus points if you can plan your visit over Mardi Gras!
29. Isle of Skye, Scotland
This island in the Northwest of Scotland looks like something on another planet. It's hard to believe this place isn't magical with rock formations like the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. Once you've gotten your fill of hiking, be sure to try some of the famous local whiskey.
30. Ibiza, Spain
You'll find the best of both worlds on this Spanish island. Party the night away at world-famous mega-clubs, and then hike to gorgeous hidden beaches during the day. Whatever you do, don't miss the stunning sunsets from the west side of the island.
Five Places That Don't Want You to Visit—And Where to Go Instead
Tourists flock to destinations like Venice, Barcelona, and Machu Picchu for their stunning beauty, well-known sites, and immense popularity. However, the responsible traveler will recognize that large numbers of tourists can have negative effects both environmentally and socially for the people who live there and the places themselves. Many such destinations have started to take measures to decrease the impact of tourism, but conscious adventurers can help in their own way. Instead of visiting these five spots, try one of the off-the-beaten-path alternatives we've selected to get a similar (and yet wholly unique) experience.
1. Instead of visiting Barcelona, Spain try Buenos Aires, Argentina
Why Barcelona doesn't want you to visit:
The Catalan city by the sea has warm weather, interesting architecture, beautiful parks, fascinating museums, and amazing food, so it's unsurprising that it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However, locals have grown tired of the noise, traffic, soaring rent prices, and constant masses of people that have come to dominate city life. Although steps are being taken to decrease tourism to Barcelona, many worry that it will not be enough to slow the tides of visitors.
Why you should go to Buenos Aires instead:
The so-called “Paris of South America” is ideal for those who are looking for European energy with a little something different. Argentina’s capital boasts countless art museums celebrating influential South and Central American artists, an interesting culinary scene, and several vast and verdant city parks. Take a walk through the hypercolor La Boca neighborhood, sample Mendoza wines in a cafe on one of the tree-lined Palermo streets, and see what’s on at the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires).
2. Instead of visiting Machu Picchu, Peru, try Takeda Castle, Japan
Why Machu Picchu doesn't want you to visit:
In 1911, historian Hiram Bingham was led by local Peruvians Melchor Arteaga and Pablito to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Since then, the popularity of the site for tourists has steadily increased—Machu Picchu saw more than 3.8 million visitors in 2017 alone. The influx of tourists has resulted in heavy erosion at the site and on the trails, as well as large amounts of pollution.
Why you should go to Takeda Castle instead:
Often referred to as “the Machu Picchu of Japan”, Takeda Castle in Asago, Japan embodies the same ethereal beauty as Peru’s most famous Inca ruins. Nestled atop a mountain, the Takeda Castle ruins are often enveloped in misty clouds, appearing as an otherworldy vision in the midst of lush green mountainside. Visit in the fall to admire the kaleidoscope of colorful leaves as you walk the abandoned castle walls.
3. Instead of visiting Venice, Italy try Suzhou, China
Why Venice doesn't want you to visit:
You may have heard that Venice is slowly sinking—visit the city and you’ll probably experience firsthand the flooding that is now commonplace in public spaces. Heavy tourism only makes the problem worse, leading to a heavy strain on sewage resources and public works. Residents of Venice complain that it’s becoming almost impossible to live in the city given the mobs of tourists that outnumber the local population.
Why you should go to Suzhou instead:
Located on the Yangtze River, a little over 60 miles from Shanghai, is the city of Suzhou. Steeped in history, Suzhou offers colorful, meticulously-crafted gardens, small restaurants serving local delicacies, and its crowning glory, the beautiful canals that intersect under centuries-old stone bridges. Once you’ve taken in the canals (especially beautiful at night in the soft glow of the lanterns), explore the numerous pagodas and attractions dotted throughout the city, such as the Panmen Gate, a land and water gate that is built into the ancient city wall.
4. Instead of visiting Santorini, Greece try Chefchaouen, Morocco
Why Santorini doesn't want you to visit:
Santorini, with its iconic whitewashed buildings, warm, sunny days, and electric blue waters, has long been a tourist hotspot. In recent history, the island’s popularity has become something of a burden for locals, as Santorini’s infrastructure is no match for the heavy tourist traffic. With no options to expand into the surrounding area (it is an island, after all), Santorini finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
Why you should go to Chefchaouen instead:
Where Santorini dazzles in white, Chefchaouen hypnotizes in blue. This city in the northwest of Morocco is known for its buildings, which have been painted in varying shades of blue. The vivid hues of the narrow side streets and sweeping plazas are a photographer’s dream, and visitors will find themselves mesmerized for hours simply by strolling through and taking it all in. Venture outside the city to hike through the surrounding mountains for impressive views, or wander in and out of storefronts in the Old Town to admire hand-crafted local goods.
5. Instead of visiting Cinque Terre, Italy try Valparaíso, Chile
Why Cinque Terre doesn't want you to visit:
The beautiful coastal region of Cinque Terre, which is made up of five picturesque villages, has long attracted visitors for its colorful houses, staggering ocean views, and small-town Italy vibes. However, while the area’s popularity has grown, the villages have not, and it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain the high numbers of tourists in an infrastructure that is not built to support them.
Why you should go to Valparaíso instead:
A brief 2-hour bus journey from Chile’s capital, Santiago, lies the seaside town of Valparaiso. Like the villages of Cinque Terre, Valparaíso is known for the collection of brightly painted houses that have been built up from the coast into mismatched terraces of color. Wander between the houses to admire the eclectic street art and check out Pablo Neruda’s old house, which also function as a museum. Proximity to the coast means you can also hit the beach and enjoy fresh-caught seafood on a budget at local restaurants.
by Grace Henes