Adventure Travel on a Motorcycle

An exotic, mystical and enchanting land with remote hill tribe villages, ancient ruins, beautiful coastlines and spectacular mountain views. Now imagine how much better it is to be visiting on a motorcycle, with the wind blowing against your face, sights, sounds and smells unmuffled by rolled up, tinted windows. The temptation is not to wear a proper motorbike jacket, but when you are in a foreign country it is essential to wear the proper safety equipment. A decent jacket is a must. 

You see things differently on a motorcycle. You are no longer a passive observer watching the scenes go by, instead you are in the scene. The acrid smell of burning logs tickles your nose and the cold mountain air tingles your skin. You raise your arms for the low hanging tree branches, and the leaves brush by your fingers.

An adventure travel on a motorcycle is one of the best ways to see a country, especially in countries with challenging road infrastructure. Compared to its more glamorous counterpart, it is easier for a motorcycle to edge pass potholes and bomb craters. A motorcycle also makes it easier to go off the beaten track and explore narrow dirt roads.

And there are a lot to explore in countries like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The mighty Angkor Wat in Cambodia, mysterious Plain of Jars in Laos and picturesque Sapa in Vietnam are but some of the famous attractions. There are plenty of waterfalls, lakes, rivers, hot springs, caves, mountains, jungles and temples to keep the traveller occupied. These South East Asian countries are also blessed with deep history and rich culture.

Because of the cultural and language barriers, it might seem difficult enough just to visit the countries, let alone renting a motorcycle and traveling cross-country. But many foreigners, including me, have made the same trips without much problems. Sure, the motorcycles do break down and we do lose our way once in a while. But, these are just part of the adventures and you can always depend on the friendly locals, who are armed with an uncanny ability to repair motorcycles and are always willing to point you out to the right direction.

By: Atticus Fits

Atticus Fits is an avid traveler and the owner of Adventure Vacation Trip, a website which chronicles his adventure travels in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China and other exotic locations.

Be sure to check out his page on Adventure Travel on a Motorcycle!

Planning Romantic Vacations in the Caribbean: 6 Easy Steps

Do you want to take a romantic vacation with your partner? Whether that getaway will be a surprise or if you plan it together, you need to take a number of steps. Luckily, planning a Dominican Republic Vacation is actually a lot easier than it sounds! 

So, what do you need to do?

1 – Order Passports

Unless you have traveled out of the country before, you need to order a passport. Both you and your romantic partner need to have valid passports. You cannot travel by air to and from Jamaica without them. Passports take up to two months to arrive. Order them in advance.

2 – Decide Where to Travel

You already decided to travel to the Caribbean. Where in the Caribbean? You have so many amazing options. The Caribbean is a phrase that describes a beautiful and large area. Inside that area, you will find the Bahamas, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, just to name a few.

If you do not have a preference, quickly examine and compare travel costs. Look for the cheapest. Or, examine nearby attractions and vacation resorts. Choose the destination that can make your travel dreams come alive.

3 – Decide When to Travel

As previously stated, a passport is required for travel to and from Jamaica from air. Since it can take up to two months for passports to arrive, give yourself this time. Book your Caribbean travel package at least three months in advance. Not only does this give you travel preparation time, but early reservations often result in the best deals and accommodations.

In addition to deciding when to travel, determine for how long. You can visit the Caribbean for as few as 2 days or as long as you want. On average, travel experts recommend that those on romantic vacations spend at least 5 days in the area. There is so much to do and see, but 5 days gives the best chance of enjoying most.

4 – Examine All-Inclusive Resorts

No matter where you travel to in the Caribbean, you should have all-inclusive resorts available. Closely examine these resorts. They are not like traditional hotels or vacation resorts. The costs will seem high upfront, but examine the package. You get more than just a hotel or resort room. The cost of accommodations, food, drinks, tips, and some forms of entertainment should be included. Yes, you do pay more for an all-inclusive travel package upfront, but you get the best value for your money in the end.

Since there are many all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, closely examine each. Choose the resort with the best travel deals and discounts, as well as the one that gives you your wants and needed. Do you want to spend your days relaxing by the beach? Opt for an all-inclusive beach resort. Do you want to spend your afternoons playing a game of golf on the green? Opt for an all-inclusive resort with an onsite golf course.

5 – Make Your Travel Arrangements

Once you have researched and compared your travel options, make the plans. If your all-inclusive travel package does not include airline reservations, make these first. Ensure you can get a flight down before paying for your hotel or resort. To get the best prices and the best accommodations, book travel plans well in advance of your trip. As stated above, do so at least three months in advance. This prevents any last minute surprises from hampering your romantic Caribbean getaway.

6 – Research Area Attractions

If you opt for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, you are at an advantage. That advantage is you have the world within your reach. All-inclusive resorts are designed so you never have to leave! There is so much to do onsite. Beachfront resorts often have water skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and windsurfing available for guests. All resorts should be home to swimming pool and fitness center. Still, research area attractions. If you want to get out and explore the Caribbean island of your choice, have an idea of where to go. Know ahead of time if admission fees are charged, how to get there, and if the area is safe for tourists.

In short, you can easily plan a romantic vacation in the Caribbean in six easy steps. After these steps are complete, sit back and wait. Before the trip date arrives, pack your luggage. It really is as easy as that!

By: Tony Hagar

The Perks of Private Jet Rentals

introFrequent travelers have often complained about the hassle of mainstream airlines: scheduled flights, long layovers, crowded waiting areas. This is why private jet rentals are gaining ground, especially among business travelers. More and more businesses are opting for rent a jet NY services, and reaping the benefits in terms of comfort and convenience.

Private jet rentals are known for much higher service quality than commercial airlines. Because there are usually fewer passengers, it is easier for them to tailor their services to each person’s needs. This is true for all aspects of the trip, from booking to in-flight service to arrivals. For instance, booking can be as easy as placing a phone call or making an online reservation—there’s no need to check airline schedules and coordinate with other travelers. For business travelers on hectic schedules, this convenience is well worth the price.

Some private jet companies offer more specialized service; for example, some operate mostly within certain zones and others have a wider range of routes. Companies can specialize in upscale business travel for a few people or offer cheaper options for larger parties. This is why it often helps to do localized research—you want to work with a carrier that serves your area, your kind of business, and your budget.

Travelers on private jets also avoid most of the restrictions that come with commercial airline travel. While most airlines have special procedures (and often fees) for bags of nonstandard size, such as those carrying special equipment, private jets usually allow them and will take note of any delicate or fragile cargo. Weight limits also tend to be higher in private flights, and overweight charges are uncommon.

Of course, the biggest advantage of private rentals is personalization. Most travelers are all too familiar with the routine of waking up at less than ideal hours to catch early flights and waiting in long lines for boarding, customs and baggage. With private jet rentals, you can leave at any time that’s convenient for you and your party and arrive in your destination as planned. There’s no need to stand behind dozens of other passengers to get to your seat or get through the immigration counters. And because the luggage is handled by the airline—not the airport—waiting times are much shorter, and there’s little to no possibility of losing your luggage in the mix.

Finally, once you reach your destination on a private jet, you can get from the airport to your hotel right away, instead of taking shuttles or walking several blocks to your rental car. You can park a reasonable distance from the aircraft so that you can get to business as soon as possible. With the time and energy you save on travel, private jet rentals are well worth looking into.

Green Bus Rentals: A Better Way to Travel

56-passenger-interiorEnvironmental issues have touched nearly every aspect of modern life, and transport is no exception. From cycling to public transport to electric cars, we continue to find ways to get around while keeping our carbon footprints small. Among the newest trends, green bus rentals are getting the most attention, both from leisure and business travelers.

Bus rentals aren’t exactly new, but business has picked up with the renewed focus on practicality and environmental friendliness. They make for cheaper company trips and family outings, and it’s always a good feeling getting from Point A to Point B without shelling out for cabs or car rentals. With green bus rentals—where buses run on cleaner forms of energy—the perks also include doing your part in making the world a better place.

Companies are among the biggest proponents of green bus rentals, most likely because they help build a positive corporate image. Regardless of their business, a “green” image can only come in handy in a world where helping the environment is increasingly becoming a priority. Of course, on the more practical side, bus rentals are cheaper, especially for large corporate trips. More and more high-ranking officers are giving up first-class air travel for more eco-friendly choices, setting a good example both for their employees and for other businesses.

Green bus rentals also work well for leisure travel. Whether it’s getting from the airport to the hotel or getting around in a new city, it’s a great way to keep a group together and organize half-day or full-day activities. It’s also much more practical for large groups, because everyone can chip in and end up paying less for transport.

Traveling for events is also much more convenient with bus rentals. Concerts, school functions, and sporting events often attract large crowds, most of them in large groups. Bus rental services make it much easier to organize transport in such events, especially when people come from other cities. It also solves parking problems, which can otherwise keep people from visiting.

With more and more travelers taking interest, the choices in green bus rentals are set to increase over the next few years. Services are already in place in most major destinations, especially in the U.S. and the U.K. Companies like Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation offer sightseeing tours and employee transport programs. Others focus on adventure travel, while others offer airport pickup and drop-off services.

There’s a wide range of options when it comes to bus rental services, whether in terms of vehicle type, area of coverage, or any other factor. The most important thing is to shop around for the best deal in your area. Whatever you choose, green bus rentals are sure to get you places for cheap while contributing to a great cause!

Finding a Hotel in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is the largest city in the state Oklahoma. This city offers competitive business opportunities, as well as, employment opportunities. However, apart from business and employment opportunities, this city is also known for having lovely museums and theatres.

This city is also close to breathtaking sceneries like the canyon in the Wichita Mountains and the Glass Mountains State Park. Business opportunities, national parks, national protected forests, historical sites and recreational sites; these are just a few reasons why many people visit Oklahoma City.

If you are planning to visit this place, the very first thing you need to do is to make sure that you have a good place to stay after your long day of travel or after touring around Oklahoma.

For many inexperienced travellers or tourists, looking for a nice hotel OKC can be a bit difficult. Now, here are a few tips that will help you make sure that you get the most ideal hotel deals in Oklahoma.

1. Create a list of hotels in Oklahoma using the internet. Search for hotels using an online search engine like Google or Yahoo.

2. Jot down all the hotels you can find in Oklahoma. Make sure you write down the contact details of each hotel you find i.e. contact person, phone numbers and/or email address. Don’t forget to jot down the location and direction of each hotel.

3. Contact each of the hotels you find and ask for their room rates. It will be better if you can also ask if they have promos like free dinner or breakfast for two or if they offer discounts.

4. Be sure to look at their room photos, so that you have an idea of what their rooms look like. Most people tend to forget about this. If you don’t do this, you may end up not liking your stay in the hotel that you chose or worse, it may affect your whole stay in Oklahoma.

5. Look for travel review websites and find out what hotels people are talking about. Find out which hotels have been rated with 5 stars and which hotels have the most complaints.

After doing these 5 steps, you are now ready to choose between the hotels in your list. Just remember, when choosing a hotel, you need to consider your budget, your length of stay, the experience of previous customers of the hotel, and the experience that you want to expect.

Private Jet Charters

Jet charters are a popular choice for corporate travelers, who are often on hectic schedules and need to cut down on travel time. Private jet rentals eliminate the waiting time at airports, the luggage checks, and other bureaucratic hoops that make mainstream travel so time-consuming. Of course, the cost is usually the catch: jet charter rates can be prohibitively expensive, especially for small companies just getting started in international business.

Different factors come into play in determining jet charter prices. Some of the most important are distance, number of passengers, and extra amenities requested. For example, big cities such as New York and Chicago are popular destinations and may cost less, while landing in a smaller airport will entail further costs for land travel.

The type of aircraft also influences the price; most companies now use Boeing, Lear, Westwind, Legacy, Citation, Hawker, and Gulfstream. These models offer different pros and cons in terms of comfort, speed, and capacity. In most situations, rental costs can start at $1,200 per hour, although some deals can get you lower rates.

There are also cheaper options for companies on a budget, such as empty leg flights. Empty leg flights are available when an aircraft is booked for a one-way flight, and thus has to make the return trip without any passengers. Such flights can cost as much as 75% less, as the rental costs are based simply on the actual flight time. There is an element of luck here as not all destinations will be available at a given time, but it is worth looking into.

At current rates, private jet travel is more expensive than commercial travel, but the convenience it offers is often worth it, especially in businesses where time is essential. Many companies hold meetings on the go, something that would not be possible on a commercial airline. In addition, traveling privately offers better flexibility: you can plan the trip according to your needs, instead of sticking to predetermined departures and arrivals.

No matter how you choose to book your private jet, it’s important to look around and make sure you get the best rates. Most companies will be happy to give you a quote, which you can use to get an idea of the going rate. Also make sure to look beyond the price and see what you get for it: for example, some companies have a required commitment time, others offer more amenities, and others have a limited number of routes. It all depends on what your needs are, and whether or not it is worth paying extra for certain features.

Europe’s Best Ski Resorts for Easter

Winter may be in its tail-end, but the advent of Easter means another peak season for ski resorts and enthusiasts. This is especially true in Europe, where the landscapes and temperatures lend themselves particularly well for late-season skiing, and where companies like MadDogSki offer tempting travel packages. If you’re on the prowl for a last-minute ski vacation, here are some of this year’s top picks.

St. Anton: A well-known stop for avid skiers, this Austrian corner of the Alps offers a variety of tough and easy slopes, as well as a great selection of bars—perfect for kicking back after a day on the slopes. Mountain climbers and trekkers are also drawn to its slopes throughout the year. The scenic backgrounds are of course a welcome perk.

Val Gardena: Located in Northern Italy, this ski resort is known for being family-friendly. Kids are well provided for in the nursery slopes, and can safely move up to wooded areas and intermediate slopes later on. Rock climbing is an equally popular sport especially in the low seasons. Val Gardena is also home to Isolde Kostner, an Olympic alpine skier and two-time world champion.

Crans-Montana: The selling point of Crans-Montana, located in southwest Switzerland and straddling six municipalities, is the accompanying Caprices Music Festival, which takes place later in the season. With an elevation of close to 5,000 feet above sea level, it also offers an unmatched view of the Valais Alps, including the Weisshorn.

La Tania: France’s Trois Vallées resorts get lots of good press, but La Tania is no doubt its most underrated member. Although small, it offers eight runs and easy access to the larger areas of Méribel and Courchevel. It’s also home to École du ski français, the country’s largest ski school, and two pistes that are open year-round.

Verbier: More than a few top skiers have settled in this charming ski village, one of the world’s best-known off-piste destinations. With steep slopes and year-round snow in some places, it calls out to avid and casual skiers alike. It boasts more than 400 km of marked ski runs, as well as Jardin de Neige, a more level area designed for children and beginners.

Val Thorens: Talk about being on top of the world. The highest ski resort in Europe, this custom-built French ski resort peaks at well over 3,000 metres, offering great views alongside the adrenaline rush. Its altitude also means ample snow for longer periods; the resort usually opens in mid-November and stays open until May. Le Monde, a bar famous for its spacious sun terrace, is also a major draw for après-ski drinks.

Chamonix: Few skiers would pass up a chance to experience this bustling, world-class resort town. Chamonix is a gateway to some of the most well known slopes, including Mont Blanc and the Vallée Blanche. Challenge-seekers will also want to check out the Couloir des Cosmiques, a steep, 2,600-ft corridor that totals 10,000 vertical feet to the bottom. The 13-mile Vallée Blanche offers a milder ride, with a stunning view of the Alps as a bonus.

Caravanning for Beginners: Your First Trip

For new caravan owners, the first outing can be as stressful as it is exciting. Questions like how to stay safe, how to make sure everyone has fun, and what to do in an emergency can crop up. But caravanning doesn’t have to be stressful—in fact, much of its appeal comes from the promise of a fun, stress-free vacation.

Driving the van is one of the first and most important things to consider. Although it takes some experience to make it second nature, it’s not rocket science either. Your best recourse is to do a few test runs before your first outing. You can do this on your drive way or the storage site, or wherever it’s convenient.

Something that doesn’t always come up, at least at the beginning, is caravan insurance. Companies like Caravan Club can keep you covered whether you’re on or off the road, and provide coverage for contents and equipment as well. While caravanning is safe for the most part, there’s no way to tell what can happen on the road, or even off it—and it helps to know you’re protected when the unexpected does happen.

That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to stay on the safe side. For starters, make sure you load your caravan properly. The heaviest items should stay at the bottom and the tires must have the right pressure to support the weight. You also want to double-check the van’s stability devices and road lights, as well as the transport weight limits and other road restrictions. Remember, road rules are for motorists’ own safety, so it wouldn’t hurt to read them over.

Safety devices are always a must, even with comprehensive insurance. At the very least, you should have a hitch lock or clamp to keep the caravan in place when it’s unhitched, or when you’re away. Trackers and alarms also add another level of safety—and they may also get you better rates from insurers. Check with your insurance company to see which security devices they require.

Once you arrive on site, the first thing you want to do is find a good available pitch. Some caravan parks will reserve a spot for you when you book, but often you’ll be able to pick your own. Flat, easily accessible pitches are best; you may need to drive around a few times to find the perfect spot. Pitching can be tricky at first, but most new caravans are designed to be easy to stabilize and even first-timers can figure it out on the first try. You can use a clear water bottle as a level indicator.

The next things to keep in mind are accessing power and water supply, as well as making the essential functions work—these include drainage, heating, and ventilation. Parks provide outlets for these, and more depending on what amenities are offered (e.g. barbecue areas, laundry facilities, pools, and hot tubs). It takes time, but once everything’s set up, all the hard work is always worth it!


Traveling on Eurail

Eurail, the most popular form of cross-country transport in Europe, is a boon for travelers looking get around on a shoestring. Essentially a consortium of European train carriers, Eurail allows non-European citizens to visit up to 22 countries in one trip. The arrangement makes it easy to plan itineraries, as well as save on train or plane tickets.

Passes are bought for a specific number of days within a given period, such as four days out of one month. They can allow access to one or multiple countries; the Global Pass allows you to visit all 22. The system is designed so that there’s a package for every budget and itinerary.

One thing that makes Eurail attractive is that passes can be bought in advance, eliminating the lines upon arrival and allowing tourists from outside Europe to get straight to their destinations. A backpacker, for example, can land on any European country covered by the pass and hop on a train right away.

It must be noted that Eurail passes bought from outside Europe are different from those bought upon arrival. Many train seats are meant for Eurail pass holders (as opposed to ticket holders), and some are reserved specifically for U.S. travelers. This is mostly a bid to make train travel more attractive to tourists. In any case, you’ll want to get your tickets online well in advance, especially if you’re taking long-haul trips and want to get good seats.

The most popular passes are the single-country pass, the Select Pass for three to five countries, and the Global Pass, which allows you to visit five or more. Single-country passes often also allow access to bordering countries for a limited period. The Global Flexipass offers flexible travel days for those without a fixed schedule. Schedules are counted in travel days, which are usually any 24-hour period. This means that trips starting within a 24-hour period uses up one day on the pass, although some routes have night trips.

Rail Europe is one of the best and most reliable places to buy a Eurail pass. It allows you to choose from a number of popular passes (usually France, Italy and Spain) or create your own itinerary. The passes are delivered by trackable mail, and will need to be validated (marking the travel start date) on your first train trip. You can get further information on itineraries and scheduling from Rail Europe, or from an affiliated rail service in your destination.

Travel Health: Be A Proactive Tourist!

With travel budgets going down across the board, a lot of hype has grown around “proactive” travelers—the kind of traveler who foresees unwanted expenses and avoids them way ahead of time, saving more than a few pennies. These include everything from cuts and scrapes to lost luggage, as well as vaccinations. The U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control) advocates this view, offering practical advice to help travelers stay safe on the go.

There are three things worth considering before you board your plane: your destination’s health risks, local laws, and your own medical condition. The first thing you want to look at is the level of risk—health and security-wise—of your country of choice. Both the CDC and the WHO (World Health Organization) publish regular notices on countries that pose specific health risks to visitors. These may include epidemic outbreaks or airborne diseases, as well as potential natural disasters. In the weeks or months leading up to your trip, check these updates once in a while to see if you need to take any precautions.

Next, you’ll want to read up on the culture of your destination—not just the food and the must-sees, but also the laws and cultural norms. While most major cities are used to tourists and will tolerate non-traditional behavior, it’s always best to try to fit in. It can be the way you dress, speak, or use nonverbal gestures such as shaking hands. It can also be where you park or cross the street. Try getting in touch with a local who can tip you off on any specific rules.

Finally, it’s important to get a checkup before you leave, especially if you’re in a delicate situation—for example, if you’re pregnant or are undergoing medication. While authorities can give general travel advice, only a doctor who knows your medical history can tell you whether you need different or additional medication, or even whether you can travel at all. Be as detailed as possible during your checkup, and schedule another one shortly after you arrive to make sure you’re not harboring a virus.

If you’re not sure where to start, check your city directory for local travel clinics. In the U.S., there’s one in most public or state health departments; otherwise they can point you to the closest one. Private travel clinics might cost you more, but they might offer more detailed information if you have a complex itinerary or are traveling to a little-known country.

Where To Go for Museum-Hopping

If you’re one of those travelers who like to take home a bit of knowledge, chances are you’re always seeking out the museums wherever you go. While many cities are famous as museum hotspots—Montreal and New York are among the best—other cities have just as much to offer, minus the crowds. Here are some of Frommer’s top picks for museum-hopping around the world.

Mexico City: It’s not the first place you’d go for a Caribbean adventure—that honour belongs to Cancún—but it beats the rest of Mexico when it comes to museums. It’s home to over 150, enough so that the typical local would probably not have seen them all. Start off with the Museo Nacional de Antropología, thought to be one of the best archeological museums in the world, with endless displays of Mayan and Aztec artefacts. Those with more specific interests can check out the National Shoe Museum and the Comic Museum, as well as Caza Azul, or Frida Kahlo’s home.

Cairo: Of course, you’d expect one of the world’s oldest civilizations to pay homage to its place in history. Egypt’s capital houses the Egyptian Museum, the place to go for a good dose

of local culture and history; feast your eyes on over 120,000 historic artefacts including King Tut’s golden mask. Also worth checking out are the Geological Museum, the Children’s Museum, and the Coptic Museum. Many of the museums are artefacts in themselves, being housed in ancient, beautifully restored buildings.

Berlin: Not only is it one of the most museum-packed cities in the world; its museums are also considered world-class. The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin boasts a huge collection of natural historic artefacts, and the Deutsches Historisches Museum showcases German history with pictures, artwork, and well-preserved objects. There’s also the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the Jewish Museum, offering a look into foreign influences in German culture.

Beijing: China’s capital arguably tops the list when it comes to variety. From bees to coin-collecting to outer space, there’s a museum for virtually every interest under the sun. You can start with a more general themes such as the Beijing Museum of Natural History, where you’ll find dinosaur exhibits and interactive children’s displays. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum offers a look into Chinese medicinal practices from the past and present, and the Beijing Folklore Museum takes you to the world of Chinese tales that have been told through generations.

Surprise Yourself: Alternative Summer Holidays

If you’re looking to spend summer off the beaten path, this may just be the year for you. Whether it’s the recession in the developed world or a newfound interest in the environment, countries that were previously off travel lists are now making a name for themselves. Paris, Rome, Athens, and the Caribbean are still worth a visit, but far-off places hold a lot more appeal for experienced travelers. Here are some that are worth checking out.

Muscat—Beaches off the beaten path

Crowds ruin the beach experience for even the most avid beach bums, so the 1,700-km coastline of relatively unknown Oman is a real treat. In Muscat, the capital, one can hit the beach without the hassle of parking or traffic. Although there’s none of the glam of Miami Beach or the laid-back charm of Mexico, you get your peace and quiet, stunning scenery, and a good selection of world-class resorts.

Kerala—A new way of cruising

India may be one of the world’s most populous nations, but the quiet seaside town of Kerala is a welcome break from the rush. Located in the country’s southwest, it makes much of its livelihood from trading rice and other agricultural products on traditional more info

Kettuvallam houseboats. Today, these vessels double as cruise boats for tourists who want to explore the region’s unspoiled natural beauty. You can opt for a quick day-long tour or a luxury three-day cruise in a glammed-up version of the boats.

Iceland’s Golden Circle—A cool retreat

Icelandic summers offer a welcome respite from the scorching heat of more popular destinations, while still being comfortable. The Golden Circle comprises the old parliament of Thingvellir, Geysir, a giant hot spring, and Gullfoss, a scenic waterfall. The highlight, however, is the iceberg formation at Jökulsarlon, and the nearby Westmann Islands where puffins come to nest. Following a series of volcanic eruptions and near bankruptcy, tourism has become key to Iceland’s survival—and it has risen to the challenge by becoming one of this year’s top destinations.

Sidi Bou Said—Greece on a budget

To the untrained eye, Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia can pass for a slice of Santorini. Just an hour’s drive from Tunis, the capital, this town boasts stunning architecture composed largely of traditional guesthouses called riads. At Sidi Bou Said, riads offer breathtaking views of the city and its predominantly blue-and-white buildings. It’s an especially attractive haunt for artists, with a large population of artists and previous occupants including Paul Klee, August Macke, and Louis Moillet.