There are a lot of choices of destination when you are going on vacation. The main questions are how big is your budget, what sorts of things do you and your family love doing, and are you traveling domestically or internationally. Ask any traveler and they will have numerous suggestions, but here are top-rated places to go that should suit every taste and budget. The overseas suggestions will be worth a visit no matter what the exchange rate. 1. Singapore This is a fantastic island-country and city with the best food in the world at the most affordable prices. The accommodation ranges from tourist to five star, all at affordable prices. Book online for a package deal. There’s so much to do that you won’t be spending time in your room. The public transportation is superb, so you can get anywhere you need to go. Buy a travel pass when you arrive at Changi airport and head out for adventure. The tourist buses called "ducks" will take you around every attraction in the city center, plus onto the river. Nearly everyone speaks English and the British influence is still strong. Try the chocolate buffet at the Fullerton Hotel on Saturdays and the original Singapore sling at the world-famous Raffles bar. Even the height of luxury is affordable in this paradise. 2. New Zealand If you get a good deal from Air New Zealand during the "off season", which are the spring and fall in the Northern Hemisphere, you can head down under for a song. They also offer multi-airfare passes so you can get up to six internal flights for only a bit more than the cost of the international ticket. You will usually fly into Auckland on the North Island and branch out from there. For those who love the tropics, head north to the beautiful Bay of Islands for a beach holiday. If you want a spa holiday, head to the middle of the island, Rotorua. Are you a fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Head to Wellington on the North Island for tours of many of the locations used. If you love skiing, head for Queenstown on the South Island to ski the Remarkables, filmed so lovingly in the movies just mentioned. Best of all are the backpackers hostels - you can stay in a Microtel for around 6 USD per night. The food is fantastic, as is the local wine. 3. Ireland Ireland is full of fun, food and fabulous attractions. A flight to Shannon Airport is only about five hours from the east coast of the US. Ireland is full of castles, unspoilt nature, and seafood. Public transportation is easy and cheap, everyone speaks English, and they are all very friendly to North Americans. Great bed and breakfasts abound. Expect to pay around $13 for a meal and $35 for accommodation each night outside Dublin. Dublin caters to tourists, so it does not have the real Irish feel of Cork or Galway, but it does have a fantastic amount of attractions, including Trinity College and the two cathedrals. The youth hostels near Christ Church Cathedral are clean and modern. Expect to pay $20 to $100 per night, depending on season and number of people in the room. 4. Portland, Oregon This is a family-friendly city with lots to do and superb public transport. It is also the gateway to all sorts of scenic locations, including the glacier Mt. Hood, where you can ski all year round. The variety of restaurants is as good as New York City, but for a fraction of the price. Don’t miss Powell’s - the largest bookstore in the world. 5. Nashville Affordable, family friendly, with lots to see and do. It beats Disneyland/world by a mile in terms of value. There are seven theme parks within driving distance and attractions of every kind to enjoy, from music to museums - all at affordable prices.
The Travel Enthusiast