With a vibrant mix of cultures, innovative experiences and a thriving arts scene, Australia has long drawn visitors from around the globe. While the Australian culture defines itself by its Aboriginal heritage, its tourism attractions range from outdoor adventure, wine tasting and opera to city exploration and wildlife viewing. The beauty of Australia lends itself to just about any type of vacation paradise.
Travel games. Check. Beach toys. Check. Sippy cups. Check. Add passports and sunscreen and pack up the brood for a beach vacay in the Caribbean. Keeping kids happy even while on a winter holiday can be a challenge but scoping out the best beaches before you head for the airport is the main ingredient for hassle-free family fun under the sun.
If sun loungers on endless stretches of sandy beaches, unlimited fine dining and starry nights aren’t enough, try a resort that caters to grown-ups without distractions like teen discos and crowded buffets. A Caribbean vacation without the kids is all about swapping pint-sized dinner plates for side-by-side massages on the beach.
In the land around the Sacred Valley of Peru, life is happening everywhere you look. Kids lead piggies on lengths of twine. Women walk the roads working yarn spindles with their hands. Men carry bundles of grass down from the mountains to add strength to their bricks, for it is brick-making season in the Sacred Valley. Warm sun, and a lack of rain are perfect brick making conditions.
A rising star on destination wish lists, Belize seems to have it all, inviting visitors to enjoy its sun-drenched shores and crystal-blue waters, tropical rainforests, and ancient ruins. Belize is a small country of about 341,000 people, located in Central America, between Mexico and Guatemala. With most direct flights lasting 4.5 hours or less, Belize is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the United States. Additionally, the country’s official language is English, making it ideal for tourists who want to experience the Latin American and Caribbean cultures, but who are not fluent in Spanish.
I first learned of this easternmost city in Germany in the days when it was a nearly forgotten place in the German Democratic Republic. Though lining its winding streets and spacious squares were more than 4,000 architectural monuments of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau and other 19th-century architecture, they had long been neglected. But then, 25 years ago when Germany was united and UNESCO recognized Goerlitz as an architectural treasure, federal funds were allotted for its restoration. Today, it has become not only a prime tourist destination, but a prime site for film-makers, too.
The Baltic has long attracted adventurers, from Hanseatic League merchants, who first plied its waters six centuries ago, to modern-day visitors, who now cruise its harbors on ferries and luxury liners. Emerging triumphant from World War II and later Communist domination, the Baltic capitals offer some of Europe’s most dazzling cultural attractions as well as innovative, locally sourced cuisine.
Why you may wonder, are Belgium’s city of Mons and the Czech Republic’s Plzeň (or Pilsen as Americans would recognize it), marketing their distinctly different cities together? Yes, you could combine visits to both Mons and Plzeň via Eurail or Rail Europe rides taking seven hours, or a less than a two-hour flight, but no, that is not the link, at least not this year.
Simply put, no resort chain knows the Caribbean better than Sandals. With fifteen properties on six islands (Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bahamas and Antigua), the adults-only all-inclusives sit pretty on the calm side of every island fronting beaches that are protected by offshore reefs.
One-stop-shopping for vacationers who covet the convenience of a no-wallet holiday, the upscale resorts come with high-end perks like a Rolls Royce pick-up at the airport, gratis Wi-Fi and butlers who are delighted to unpack your luggage, deliver breakfast in bed and cater a candlelit dinner on the beach. Upping the all-inclusive ante, the properties offer tour desks, spas, diverse dining and unlimited pours from top-shelf bottles from Napa’s Beringer Vineyards. Courtesy of a host of incentives for travel agents, Royal Bahamian in Nassau and Emerald Bay in Exuma are perennially popular for clients shopping for an everything-included vacation.
There are weddings and then there are really great weddings and although taking the plunge in the Caribbean is reliably great, creative nuptials beyond barefoot on the beach come with pretty good odds that you’ll never forget your anniversary. Whether it’s the first time down the aisle, three times lucky or vow renewals, Valentine’s Day, or any day as the winter winds blow at home, it is the perfect time for a heart-pumping new beginning that comes with a laundry list of conversation starters once you get back home.