Many members of today’s workforce fail to take all the vacation time they earn each year. The growing number of gig-economy workers are often forced to decide between much-needed breaks and making enough money for rent. When you do get some time to yourself, you want to make the most of it.
If you’ve scrimped and saved to get away but don’t know where to trek, consider the seven destinations below. Whether you want to explore ancient ruins or soak up the sun, you’ll find something to please every whim and budget.
Pardon the pun, but there’s no place like Rome. If you adore history, you’ll enjoy exploring everything from the Colosseum to the Acqua Marcia. Hop over to nearby Venice and enjoy a real gondola ride that makes the ones in Vegas pale by comparison. Don’t forget to learn more about the price of a Gondola ride in Venice before you make your way down.
Are you Catholic or simply fascinated by religion? You can tour the Vatican and marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. You can’t beat authentic Italian food for the health benefits and, above all, the flavor. Whether you spring for fine dining or find a favorite local cafe, your taste buds will delight.
2. The Caribbean
The chilly season has arrived in many parts of the U.S., with some locations experiencing snowfall in September. Beat your winter blues before they start by taking a Caribbean vacation or a cruise. The temperatures range between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, meaning you can get a tan lying on the beach in January.
If you like staying active, you can snorkel or scuba dive through pristine blue waters. You’ll find tons of all-inclusive deals, meaning you won’t blow a ton of money on food and umbrella drinks. Some resorts and cruises focus on the family while others devote themselves to adult entertainment.
Imagine sleeping in a glass igloo under the stars. No matter how frightful the outside temperatures, you’ll stay comfortable and cozy. If you’re lucky, the Northern Lights will give you an unforgettable show.
You can enjoy a one-of-a-kind cocktail in a bar made entirely of ice. You can also warm your freezing bones after cross-country skiing in a smoke sauna.
4. New Zealand
Are you a fan of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies? If so, you can tour the set and soak in the natural majesty seen throughout the films. You won’t need to scale the slopes of Mt. Doom to rid the world of any pesky rings, but if hiking is your jam, the landscape here can’t be beaten. Vistas span sea and sky and scream at you to photograph them for Instagram. There are also hiking tours from New Zealand Trails in some of the most stunning locations you will ever see.
If you want to view pyramids without visiting the tempestuous Middle East, you can do so in Mexico. Take a jungle excursion to see ancient Mayan ruins. Then, turn your sights beachside and enjoy snorkeling with dolphins. You could also simply kick back on a hammock with an authentic, to-die-for margarita.
Is there anywhere more picturesque than New England in the fall? Even though the famous Red Sox won’t be hosting any victory parades this year, you can soak in the wonders of the cobblestoned streets of Boston. Dine on some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat for far less than you’d pay further inland.
Do you live for all things that go bump in the night? Hit up the Festival of the Dead in Salem to celebrate Halloween. Tour the dungeons where suspected witches spent their final hours and visit the graves of those lost.
7. The American Southwest
From the Grand Canyon to Sedona to Bryce Canyon, the American Southwest offers landscapes that seem downright Martian to visitors from the coast. No trip to one of the seven wonders of the world is complete without dining at the historic El Tovar.
From there, hit the road and travel to Four Corners, where you can stand at the intersection of four U.S. states. Get your mystic groove on at one of the many vortexes in the miles of red rock wilderness surrounding the tiny town of Sedona. Explore ancient Native American ruins at Montezuma’s Castle.
Everyone Needs a Vacation Now and Then — Make the Most of It
More Americans than ever desperately need a break. Make the most of your next getaway in one of these destinations. You’ll create memories that last a lifetime.
Dylan Bartlett, aka, The Regular Guide, writes about the outdoors and similar topics on his site. Check out Just a Regular Guide for more, or follow Dylan on Twitter @theregularguide for updates on his work.
New Zealand, guys! I dig this list Dylan. Having spent a few months in NZ last year, it is about the prettiest, most pristine place on earth. JAW-dropping beauty over there.