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A new year – and, for that matter, a new decade – is almost here, and with it the requisite resolutions blasted at us from almost every direction. Not here, though. I’m using my last column of 2010 to share my adventure travel wish list for the new year.
I also want to wish you a 2011 full of excitement and adventure, wherever your journeys may take you, and encourage you to share your own wish list trips in the comments section below. Happy New Year!
Learning to rock climb. Interestingly enough, my interest in this emerging sport was piqued in the Caribbean, where peaks like the 3,232-foot Mt. Nevis and St. Christoffel in Curaçao provide an ideal way for a beginner to discover how much this sport, pardon the pun, absolutely rocks. Climbing offers not only a hard-core workout, but an addictive shot of adrenaline – not to mention some brag-worthy travel photos. Read more
HSI just announced invitations for 21 trips in 2011 to the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, which rescues and rehabilitates wildlife including lions, giraffes, zebras, hippos, warthogs, elephants, and many more. The cost of the trip (from an affordable $2,500 per person, including six nights in a luxury tent or chalet and meals) helps fund the sanctuary’s wildlife programs, which provide relief for animals that are victims of poaching, snaring or car accidents.
The inaugural trip runs from January 16 to 22 and is the first of the HSI’s Humane Travels initiative. Launched on November 5, the program will provide travelers with the chance to see sites where HSI has worked with animal protection programs, and how their travel fees can make a difference. Future trips could include destinations like Bhutan, Guatemala, and Canada. Read more
Winter is the perfect time to hop the pond as flight prices are slashed and the crowds dissipate in search of warmer climates. Savvy travelers are sure to note this trend and take advantage of United Airlines’ deal offering flights from cities nationwide to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with prices starting at just $412 round-trip! Escape to iconic cities, including London, Rome, Egypt, Prague, Istanbul, Paris, Amman, Oslo, Amsterdam, and more! Tickets must be purchased by October 26 for travel through March 31, 2011.
Round-Trip Sample Fares (Excluding Taxes):
• New York?London: $412
• Charlotte?Berlin: $564
• Boston?Budapest: $561
• Washington, D.C.?Prague: $608
• Phoenix?Rome: $645
• Philadelphia?Istanbul: $690
• Houston?Egypt: $726
• And more!
THE VALUE: These prices are up to $400 cheaper than summer flights!
THE CATCH: A Saturday night minimum stay is required and taxes and fees are not included in the price.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.travelocity.com to book your flight.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool and find a great hotel deal to complete your vacation!
Travel news these days is peppered with trips and deals centered on the memoir-turned-movement Eat Pray Love. Agencies are hawking women-centric, yoga-filled sojourns to Italy, India, and Indonesia, the destinations author Elizabeth Gilbert visited over the course of a year. Hotels – even ones where Gilbert didn’t stay – are offering EPL-themed discounts.
Hey, if all this hype inspires people who rarely venture out of the easy chair to dust off the suitcase, great. But I have to admit all the hoopla has me wanting to say, “Eat Pray Ugh.”
And I’m not the only one. Some of the locals in the EPL destinations are already annoyed by the hordes of tourists clamoring for Gilbert-esque enlightenment. One entrepreneur in Ubud, Bali (Gilbert’s final destination) has already come up with a T-shirt that has a mock book cover that reads, “Eat Pay Leave.”
So if the idea of a quest for personal fulfillment sounds appealing, but not so much the crowds of Gilbert devotees (or the unoriginality of following in the footsteps of someone else’s personal journey), then here are some suggestions where you can eat, pray, and love in peace. And not to mention, get a dose of adventure far beyond what a meditation class could offer. Read more
The Luxury Set on a 450,000-acre private nature reserve, set between the Namib Desert and jagged cliffs, the high-end Sossusvlei Desert Lodge consists of just 10 split-level suites built into a mountainside and featuring outdoor showers, fireplaces, and large skylights. The swimming pool is fed by an underground spring, while meals are served by lantern light on the veranda or in “surprise” locations in the surrounding dunes. Read more
The Luxury Set along the fine white-sand beaches of North Africa’s Djerba Island (said to have inspired the lotus-strewn locales in Homer’s Odyssey), the Radisson Blu Resort & Thalasso (“thalasso” means “sea” in Greek) features over 32,000 square feet of relaxation bliss, including 60 treatment cabins with views of the Mediterranean, a hammam, and a large outdoor whirlpool; all 238 deluxe rooms boast balcony sea-views. Read more
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