“Work hard and play harder,” that’s what they say, especially when the weather’s nice and warm! We’ve been closed off in our comfortable cubicles and offices, shielding ourselves from the brutal cold, for long enough and the time has come to not only relax but to explore the globe. Most of us spend time during the cold months fantasizing and collecting travel photos to pin to our vision boards as inspiration for our next trip. From Ibiza to Rio to Anchorage, whatever you’re into, there’s a special place for you and with a little bit of luck, if we try harder to protect our planet, future generations will also get the opportunity to experience these exotic locations.
Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple traveling together for the first time or a seasoned road tripping family, this list will have something for you and if you’re needing more trip ideas, look for Girls Love Travel on Facebook. This is a wonderful group of women, who inspire and support each other facing wanderlust, so do visit their Facebook page. Anyway, as I researched some of the world’s most popular spots, my top five ranges vastly in terms of cost, likeability, activities/attractions and overall friendliness of the people, so let’s get right to it!
- New Zealand
Located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand boasts many national parks with picturesque lakes. The clearest water in the world can be found in Blue Lake, at Nelson Lakes National Park, so if you’re into hiking and the great outdoors, it’s worth a visit. In 2008 and 2009, Wanderlust Magazine voted New Zealand as the best country in the world! With Auckland being the largest city and also the cheapest place to live, puts NZ on every top five list, so if you’re a budget traveler, then Auckland might be your best bet. Flights aren’t the cheapest, but if you do your research and take advantage of airfare + hotel deals, you’ll surely save a buck or two. You’re in luck if you’re a big meat-eater because NZ is the no.1 exporter of lamb and goat, and they’re organic! So don’t overlook this beauty when planning your next vacation.
- London, England
One of the few countries in the world ruled by a monarchy is known for its sophistication, classical elegance and rainy summers. It’s one of the countries where everyone needs to visit at least once, just to experience the exuberance of a country with such rich history. $150 USD wouldn’t take you very far, however you can still manage to enjoy your vacation comfortably. For less than 70 pounds you and a guest can enjoy a meal at a restaurant, however, it’ll take a lot of searches to find a hotel under 100 pounds, nonetheless, it is possible. Regardless of the pretty penny, you’ll likely spend, London has so much to offer. You can ride the tube and visit London Bridge, River Thames, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster’s Cathedral all in one day! If sightseeing isn’t your thing, there’s always a show going on at one of London’s many playhouses, so you’d be in luck. The city is beautiful in the summer, whether it rains or not and the people are every bit gracious, so go ahead and plan your trip!
Known for its rich cuisine, beautiful beaches, many temples, and islands, but far more superior-its hospitality. Thai people are known to be friendly and welcoming, which makes your stay even more pleasant. Like with every foreign country, customs are different and so like the saying goes, “when in Rome…” It’s really one of the cheapest places to visit. Many visitors rave about their hostels and food being incredibly reasonable, especially the street vendors, so you’d never have to worry about paying a fortune for a plate of food. If you are open and adventurous, in addition to the many sandy beaches that Thailand has to offer, you’d love the “Tree-Pod Restaurant,” which nestles at 36ft up into a tree! There you can dine and enjoy the beautiful beach views down below. You can always fly budget-friendly if you know where to look and it helps tremendously to book in advance. There’s always an adventure waiting for you in Thailand, so go book your flight!
An island country in the southern Caribbean Sea, surrounded by several smaller islands, is a hidden gem. Its tropical climate makes the island even more exotic with its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, lakes, hot springs and many waterfalls. The country is known as “the isle of spice” due to its overabundance of spices such as nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger, and cocoa. Grenadians are some of the nicest people you’ll meet, but you can’t always let your guard down. JetBlue is the only airline offering nonstop flights to the island, so you can expect relatively cheaper flights from January to May, and then again from September to November. Food is rather cheap unless imported and hotels are also reasonable. If you’re looking to save money on lodging, consider renting a room at a guesthouse as they sometimes come with free meals. Overall, you will not be disappointed with your stay in Grenada.
- Miami, FL
One of America’s southernmost cities, Miami is known for its rich culture and diversity. If you’re into dancing and dining then it is the place for you. Florida is a highly laid back state, hence the reason most people retire there and those attracted to the beach life will not be disappointed. There are plenty of beaches in and around Miami to visit including South Beach and Pompano Beach, about 40 miles north of the city. Personally, I find Floridians to be welcoming and friendly people, and the quality of life there plays a significant role. Hotels can be a little pricey, but if you’re open to staying outside of downtown Miami, you’d be pleasantly surprised. Restaurant prices vary, however it’s not uncommon to find a delicious and nutritious meal for under $10. There’s an array of activities to choose from, so you’d never be bored, from a day trip to Key West to a fun afternoon of shopping at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise. If you’re looking for culture and adventure, visit Miami and do remember to go on a Thriller boat ride!