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While we plan trips for all travelers taking all types of vacations around the globe, we specialize in destination weddings & honeymoons, adventure travel, and luxury travel. Our e-magazine, TraveLuxe, is produced quarterly and focuses on a wide range of luxury travel information. Our blog helps travelers with destination ideas and details, travel tips, travel industry news, and more!
[01/16/17] Do you use long weekends to travel? If so, where do you go?
[01/03/17] Happy New Year! Where will you travel to in 2017?
25 Days + 1 of Destinations, Day 26 (the +1!): Botswana
We've come to the top of the list. Botswana is the number one destination that I've visited. Specifically, I visited the Chobe region. Chobe is known for its abundance of elephants, and it did not disappoint. Neither did the Chobe Game Lodge, where we stayed. Botswana does not fence in its animals, nor does it import non-indigenous animals to ensure that you see them. What you see is what you get. They do fence the people in - in luxurious all inclusive game lodges of course. All of this is to say that if you want wharthogs hanging out at your front door, monkeys visiting your breakfast tables, and elephants, impalas, lions, babboons, and hippos (in the river) at every turn, head to Botswana. It is simply magnificent.
25 Days + 1 of Destinations, Day 24: Paris.
Paris is my favorite city in the world. Hands down. So to be clear, it is only two from the top because there are no further cities themselves on this list. I love everything about Paris - the fact that literally everything is beautiful. The people watching from sidewalk cafes. The styles, the art, the writer/lit history, the cemeteries (so many amazing cemeteries here), the fact that people literally walk down Rue Cler picking up cheese from the frommagerie and bread from the bakery and fruit from the markets for their dinner that evening. Literally everything. I know not everyone loves Paris. But I do. Tremendously.
1. I don't care how many times you've been there, take the car night tour from Cedric Tours. They take you in these tiny cars around the city at night with Champagne and it's amazing. No more than three or four to a car, max. Do it. The guys are wonderful the tour is an experience you don't get on the big city tours.
2. Visit all of the cemeteries. Truly, they are incredible. They honor their dead with the most amazing displays and memorials.
3. Go to the top of Montnarpasse Tower. It's very windy, as you can see in the photo of my cousin and I below. But the view is the best in the city.
4. Walk. You don't always need a destination. Just walk. Everywhere you can. Get outside of just the main tourist areas and immerse yourselves in the neighborhood.
5. Say good morning/hello in French before you start in on English (if you can't speak French). It goes a long way to show that you're greeting them and at least trying.
25 Days of Destinations, Day 23: New Zealand.
I went to New Zealand when I was 19, and if you think my pictures of Vienna are old, you can't even imagine the ones of New Zealand. But if you've seen Lord of the Rings, well, it looks like that. Just like that, for real.
New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful, and the people are the absolute friendliest people I've ever encountered in my life. It is also the capital of adventure. I went sky diving, glacier hiking, bungee jumping, jet boating, river boarding (literally going down rapids in the river on the equivalent of what looks like a mini boogie board). I went on a boat ride on Milford Sound. If you like outdoors and adventure, you have to go here. It's worth the incredibly long plane ride. Seriously.
On an unrelated note, I've realized that I somehow managed to add a destination along the way (guess I just couldn't decide) so we now have 25 + 1 days of destinations!
25 Days of Destinations, Day 22: Peru
I spent 10 days in Peru. I could have spent double that. I'm not sure I've ever seen a single country with a more diverse landscape. I spent time in the capital Lima, the Urubamaba Valley, Macchu Picchu, Cusco (at over 11,000 feet high, it is a much different city from Lima), and one of the two rainforest regions in the Amazon, Puerto Maldonado. Plus a day trip to Pucusana, a small fishing village, which was one of the highlights of the trip.
And we didn't even see the Nasca Lines, Colca Canyon (Peru's "Grand Canyon"), the Salt Flats, Lake Titicaca (the highest lake in the world), or Iquitos, the other rainforest region, famous for it's pink dolphins.
Every place you visit in Peru has an incredible story, It is overflowing with culture, natural beauty, history (including several historical mysteries), and the food!
Go, go, go. Give yourself two weeks. At least.
A few tips:
1. Cusco is at 11,000 feet above sea level, and altitude sickness is a serious issue. When you fly into Cusco, head directly for the Urubamaba valley- higher than most locations, but still a good bit lower than Cusco. Take the first night to get acclimated. Take another day to head to Macchu Picchu. Then, on the third or fourth day, head up to Cusco. By that time, you should be better acclimated, and the few thousand feet increase shouldn't be nearly as bad. Also, the descent into Cusco why flying in is steep, and directly over the mountains. Be prepared, it's a quick, steep descent. That's just how they have to do it.
2. If you're heading to the rainforest and your hotel/accommodations require a boat trip, you probably will have a low weight limit for luggage. Best to bring a small duffle or backpack to throw in just what you need. Most tour operators will have an office in Puerto Madero where you can lock up the rest of your belongings safely. Work with your planner/tour operator to know exactly what you can bring.
3. In the rainforest, you'll get muddy. As wet as I got in Victoria Falls is as muddy as I got in the Peruvian Rainforest. Also, muggy doesn't begin to describe it, and the bugs are everywhere. Bring light, covering clothing and tons of bug spray. Check the CDC to see what vaccinations are required, and work with your doctor to are suggested - it may require a yellow fever vaccination to enter, and your doctor may suggest other preventative vaccinations/medications.
4. If you get the chance, take a day trip to Pucusana. Pax On Board did our trip, and they were fantastic. The little fishing village with it's colorful boats and dockside fish markets is also home to some incredible waterside wildlife. Take a boat tour for sure!
25 Days of Destinations, Day 21: Vienna, Austria.
I visited Vienna quite a while ago, so I don't have any breaking news about it. But it has stuck with me all this time. Walking down the main pedestrian streets, the old world buildings turned multi-function spaces, with restaurants and stores on the bottom and living space on the top, feels very "real". Also, Palaces. I might be biased a bit here because I love Palaces, royal history, and anything of the like. I got to see Schonnbrun and Belvedere Palace, and both were absolutely worth a visit.
If you are heading to Vienna from elsewhere in Europe and it's possible to train in (as opposed to fly), do it. The countryside is breathtaking, and if you're lucky enough, you'll ride through the Alps.
Vienna is on my list to go back to, but in the mean time, my photos are old. As in film camera old. But you can get the picture (literally).
25 Days of Destinations, Day 20: Amsterdam.
This city is one of the quirkiest cities that I've ever been to, and still manages to be beautiful, with it's canals at every turn. It has history, architecture, shopping, dining, shopping, and is constantly full of life. There's literally never a shortage of something fun or weird or interesting to do.
You may not get quite as lost as in Venice, but you'll still probably get lost. It must be the canals. After a while, it's tough to tell which is which, and they wind their way around so that what may have been facing north to south at one point now lies east to west. Give yourself time, take in the sites and sounds, and people watch.
Go to the Anne Frank House. Early. And wait in line. It's worth it. I promise.
The city has separate lanes for bikes, pedestrians, cars, and busses/trolleys. Despite the fact that people are biking while texting, carrying a bag of groceries, and holding a child, they know what they're doing and won't hit you as long as you stay in your pedestrian lane and follow the rules. But respect them and follow the rules. Walk when your lane is allowed to, and otherwise, don't. They have a system. Don't mess with it or it won't end well for anyone.
There's more to the country than Amsterdam. Give yourself a few extra days to see the countryside.
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