#1  
Old 10-05-2019, 06:27 PM
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It's Vacation Time!


Okay, so I've recently come into some money and having not even been in an airplane for some ten years I've decided that I'm due for a vacation some time after Christmas. But what to do?

I can, in theory, go where I want for the space of two or maybe three weeks. I've been thinking about a cruise to Barbados and environs over the course of ten days. My vacations have generally involved 40 pounds of gear in a backpack so it would be nice to experience something different in a place I've never been. I've always fancied spending 3-5 days going into then coming back out of the Grand Canyon, but I don't know about doing so alone in that sort of environment; desert camping is completely foreign to me.

Rome tempts me but I understand the crowds are a killer, and I wouldn't mind seeing London again but I don't think I could make a two week vacation of England in the winter. It might make for a good three-day stopover before moving on, though. What's the best time of year for a cruise through the Greek Isles?

Is Hawaii bonkers expensive? I have the resources to put together a hiking vacation and could stay on the cheap, but what does a lazy vacation there cost?

Exotic and comfortable more than luxurious and decadent is what I have in mind. I think five grand is quite a lot to spend on a vacation, and ten grand feels like class treason. On the other hand, I've always wanted to summit Kilimanjaro. I can travel comfortably in hostels and pensiones but I don't necessarily need to.

Any bright ideas?
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2019, 06:33 PM
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You can find Hawaii packages. "Cheap" depends in part where you're flying from. You could embrace winter and go on a Hurtigruten Scandinavian Northern Lights cruise.

Have fun!
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:57 PM
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When you say "after Christmas" are you talking about in January/Feb? If so, the Grand Canyon will be snowy and cold, the North Rim access is closed. London, Paris, Rome, would all be great places for a short layover that time of year, but the weather will dictate what you want to do.

I'd look at southeast Asia; Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. That area offers amazing terrain, activities, food, and culture, and it's set up great for travel. Bangkok, Ankor Wat, the islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Chiang Mai, Phnom Pen, with a layover in Hong Kong or Singapore. When I was last there you could get a beachfront bungalow for $5-10 a day, but I'm sure prices have gone up. Do you scuba, or like to snorkel? I traveled there in Nov/Dec and the weather was wonderful.

If you're in Barbados you're close to St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, so you can island hop (or the cruise will do that for you).
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:01 PM
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If you can swing it financially, I 100% urge you to consider Sydney, Australia.

If not, a cruise is never the wrong answer.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:49 PM
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One of the "10 best hikes in the world" happens to be in paradise. Kauai.

I've done the first part but not the whole thing. Kalalau trail.
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:58 PM
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Thanks all.

A friend has done the north coast of Kauai, he recommends it as well and I haven't ruled it out. If I were to do the Grand Canyon I would put it off until spring, but getting away from yet another Canadian winter would be a nice treat and I've never been further south than Utah so the tropics have a lot of appeal.I've never scuba dived or snorkeled, it's something I'd like to try.

Why Sydney? What does it offer that other cities don't?
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by The Tooth View Post
Why Sydney? What does it offer that other cities don't?
A unique and very lively downtown/waterfront area with major attractions. Very friendly people. A particular brand of exoticism that I find very attractive.

YMMV.

Oh yeah, an opportunity to see kangaroos in the wild.
  #8  
Old 10-06-2019, 07:34 AM
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My wife and I did a "12-day Southern Caribbean" cruise about 10 years ago in January (we live in NJ so I get the whole get away from winter thing).

It was great, highly recommend if you want to do the "lazy" thing.

1 pro tip: if you have to travel to get to the cruise departure port plan to travel a day early and get a hotel room for the night. That way if you have flight delays or whatever you don't miss the boat leaving.

Have fun!
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:57 AM
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Sydney has wonderful, brightly-colored birds.
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:54 PM
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If I could go anywhere again, it would be Turkey. I had 2 days, I want 2 weeks.
  #11  
Old 10-08-2019, 02:04 PM
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My go-to answer is Costa Rica. It has everything from mountains to beaches, hiking to snorkeling, primitive camping to all inclusives - all within day trip distances. It's a can't miss destination, IMHO.
  #12  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:32 PM
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Hawaii would be a good choice. At the time you're considering, the humpbacks will be around the islands. So you'll have a good chance at seeing some (particularly around Maui).
It will be a bit cooler, but still plenty warm to swim/snorkel. 2 weeks is enough time to enjoy at least 2 of the islands. I'd recommend Maui and Kauai.
My experience is that if you stay further from the more popular areas, you can find reasonable lodging. You will want a rental car, though (and gas is expensive, but you won't be going far).

If you'd like to go further, Australia is definitely a good call. But I'd recommend Cairns. Sydney is cool, but it is a big city. Up near Cairns is the rainforest, so it is more tropic-like, and you can see/hike around the rainforest.

It will definitely be too cold for the Grand Canyon, and it sounds like you're trying to escape that type of weather (it is beautiful with the snow, though). Other areas in the southwest may be nicer, but it can be a gamble.

Places nearer the equator don't vary much, weather wise, throughout the year. So some other places to consider: Indonesia, the Galapagos islands, Peru (plenty of time to hike the Inka trail to Machu Picchu !).
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cormac262 View Post
Hawaii would be a good choice. At the time you're considering, the humpbacks will be around the islands. So you'll have a good chance at seeing some (particularly around Maui).
It will be a bit cooler, but still plenty warm to swim/snorkel. 2 weeks is enough time to enjoy at least 2 of the islands. I'd recommend Maui and Kauai.
My experience is that if you stay further from the more popular areas, you can find reasonable lodging. You will want a rental car, though (and gas is expensive, but you won't be going far).
Hiking the north coast for a week or so then taking it easy on a beach for a week has appeal.


Quote:
If you'd like to go further, Australia is definitely a good call. But I'd recommend Cairns. Sydney is cool, but it is a big city. Up near Cairns is the rainforest, so it is more tropic-like, and you can see/hike around the rainforest.
That's more my speed.

Quote:
It will definitely be too cold for the Grand Canyon, and it sounds like you're trying to escape that type of weather (it is beautiful with the snow, though). Other areas in the southwest may be nicer, but it can be a gamble.
This surprises me, but okay. If this happens it'll happen in the spring or fall. And while I'd like to go after the Christmas rush, I'd like to see the southern bits of the Appalachian Trail too, and I imagine that'll be pretty warm but awfully brown after Christmas. But all the pictures make it looks warm and green and lush and I hear tell of this thing Americans eat called barbeque.

Quote:
Places nearer the equator don't vary much, weather wise, throughout the year. So some other places to consider: Indonesia, the Galapagos islands, Peru (plenty of time to hike the Inka trail to Machu Picchu !).
All good ideas. Shame there isn't a cruise to Machu Picchu.
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2019, 09:20 PM
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And while I'd like to go after the Christmas rush, I'd like to see the southern bits of the Appalachian Trail too, and I imagine that'll be pretty warm but awfully brown after Christmas.
Not really, it will be cold and potentially snowy. The Appalachian Trail runs in the mountains, and even down south that means possible cold weather. Thru hikers don't usually start until March/April because the weather is too uncertain until then.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:18 PM
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There are, however, cruise-based tours with flights that include Galapagos and Machu Picchu. Look at Celebrity.
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