Travel the world
By Alexandra Jacobs
Everyone has a different idea of a fabulous vacation spot. For some, a week in one of the beautifully appointed Hamptons homes would be ideal. For others, a tropical getaway would be a dream come true. For adventure-seeking couples, however, one of these high-energy itineraries is sure to do the trick.
South Africa Safari
Want the thrill of the chase coupled with the convenience of a luxury hotel? South Africa is the place for you. Start your journey in Cape Town and check into the 5-star opulence of the Table Bay Hotel or the Radisson Blu Waterfront. Either option is a stunning base for your adventure. Eat at Azure for contemporary fusion cuisine or try On the Rocks for seafood caught just feet from where you dine.
When the luxury gets old, head for the wild. On one of South Africa’s many safari tours, guests get up close and personal with rhinos, giraffes, elephants and a myriad of other wildlife creatures. Choose a one-day trek to be back in your hotel by nightfall or a longer safari to experience Africa at its best. When the urge to return to civilization strikes, be sure to take the cable car to the top of Table Rock for the most stunning views in the country.
Cusco and Machu Picchu
Visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu is sure to get your blood rushing. This ancient Inca civilization is situated on the top of a high cliff, surrounded on three sides by steep, terrifying drops. Take the cable car to the top but be aware that recent restrictions limit the number of people allowed inside the area to 2500 per day in an effort to limit ecological impact on the sacred site.
Back in Cusco, marvel at the architecture of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Armas. For the ultimate in luxury, stay at the Hotel Monasterio. Cost conscious couples can stay at the beautiful yet moderately priced Casa Andina Private Collection. For dining, try Tunupa, a Novo Andean fusion restaurant, or MAP cafe for a Mediterranean feast.
Run with the Bulls in Pamplona
This vacation takes some planning, as the window of opportunity is small. If you can manage it, Pamplona is best visited from July 6 through the 14th when the Saint Fermin festival is in full swing. Participate in the run or watch from the sidelines before wandering through Pamplona’s eclectic streets filled with ancient architecture and modern marvels.
For a romantic experience; stroll through Taconera, Pamplona’s oldest park dating back to the 1600s.
Stay at the Blanca de Navarra, a beautiful mid-class hotel in the heart of the city, or opt for elegance at the Gran Hotel la Perla, a 5-star wonder. For dinner, try Sarasate, a local favorite of the vegetarian crowd or Basseri, an award-winning Basque restaurant.
There’s nowhere quite like Rome. Among the most photographed cities in the world, it is a visual wonder. From St. Peter’s Square to the Colosseum, there is something to marvel at around every turn. Toss your coins into the Trevi Fountain, shop in the popular Fashion District or head for the Parthenon for a photo opportunity of a lifetime.
Rome is filled with amazing places to spend your nights; Hotel Majestic Roma is among the fan favorites, as is Jumeriah Grand Hotel Via Veneto. For amazing dining try Da Lucia, offering traditional Roman fare since 1938, or La Pentolaccia, an Italian restaurant with a distinctive menu.
Dublin for Dollars
Dublin, Ireland is one of the least expensive vacation destinations on our list. Deals are plentiful and offered year round, often netting you 25% or more off of you travel bill. The attractions are no less stellar than in other areas; visit Ardgillan Castle for a taste of Irish history or double down at the Sporting Emporium Casino. Take a guided walking tour through the old streets and neighborhoods and get a feeling for what life was like during the Irish potato famine. From the mainstream to the outlandish, there is something for everyone on the Emerald Isle.
Although the Abbey Hotel and the Ashling Hotel Dublin are modern, clean and reasonably priced, you would do far better to spend your time staying at one of the hundreds of family-run bed and breakfast style homes spread throughout the city and in the beautiful countryside. The Blarney Inn serves traditional Irish food for lunch and dinner; however, a trip to Ireland would not be complete without a trip to an Irish pub. Try Duffy’s or Farrington’s for an authentic pub experience.
The five trips above are deceptively inexpensive and most can be had for the same price as a luxurious American vacation. Be sure to shop around and book early for the best deal. Don’t sit on the beach when you could be traveling the world!