It’s hard to believe, but we are already into summer. You might ask, “Where have the months gone?” If you have not yet decided where to vacation this year, now just might be the time to start considering where you wish to travel.
Late summer and early fall offer some of the best weather you can experience in many parts of North America and in selected parts of the world. If you choose to travel overseas consider London. It’s the capital city of the United Kingdom and is in a world unto itself. You will enjoy many museums, the Tower of London, good dining and assorted interesting sights. And, British Airways offers a non-stop Phoenix to London flight most days of the week. You won’t have to bother changing planes. The flight takes about 10 hours. Going, you fly all night and during the day on the return. In coach, British Airways will serve you a hot meal or two as well as most any beverage you might desire. You also get a blanket and pillow. It is so much easier to fly direct to a destination than to have to change planes.
I suggest you take the hop-on hop-off buses to begin your London exploration. You can decide later which locations you wish to spend some time in.
London is an expensive city so be prepared. There is also excellent live theatre here. Choose from plays to musicals. The musicals are most popular with tourists. I suggest spending at least four to five days here before moving on to other locations in England and Scotland. You might even wish to book a round-the-country tour. The trains are generally good and quite fast. You can take the train from London to several cities in Scotland in four-and-a-half hours. Also, you can rent a car and travel at your own pace. Personally, I’m afraid to drive on the other side of the road, so we take trains and motor coaches. The British countryside is wonderful, fresh and beautiful in late summer and fall.
Paris is another one of my favorites. The “City of Lights” is loaded with famous landmarks, parks, museums and palaces. There is only one Paris in the world and within a week to 10 days you can enjoy many of the sights you have read about or seen on TV and in movies. There is the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame to begin with, but Paris also keeps experienced travelers returning to revisit many old sights as well as new ones.
There are new restaurants being recognized each year for their menus and don’t forget the palaces both in Paris as well as those situated throughout the countryside. French trains are some the fastest in the world and can rush you to various locations southward and to the east. Be sure to take time for a day tour of Paris to first acquaint you with the major sights, and then you can return if you wish on another day to really examine more closely those of interest to you.
If you have at least two weeks, plan the first week in London and area, then take the Chunnel Train to Paris, which takes only 2 hours and 15 minutes for your second week.
Going the other direction the Hawaiian Islands may be right for you this year. Airfares are bearable and hotel and resort rates are about the same this year as last. None are cheap, but usually offer good value for your money.
I suggest booking lodging at a beach. This is what you really go to Hawaii for, the beautiful blue sea. Even if you don’t plan to swim in the ocean it’s wonderful to have the surf just outside your balcony or window.
My favorite Hawaiian islands are Maui and Kauai. These are away from the mob scene at Waikiki on Oahu and feature beautiful, lush, tropical scenery. Maui caters to a range of budgets, even more so than the other islands.
Perhaps you don’t like heat and are looking for a cooler destination. I suggest you consider beautiful Vancouver Island. It’s rather close to Seattle and offers the interesting city of Victoria as well as countryside filled with rolling hills, tall pine trees and rugged coastline. There are some very fine hotels and resorts here, but you should plan ahead and book lodging before you depart home. Many resorts fill up during the summer and fall.
Let’s talk about San Diego. It’s rather close to home and you can drive there in a few short hours. San Diego is one of the most well rounded destinations in the U.S. where there is literally something for all. Here you will find world class resorts, great beaches, many activities and don’t forget the San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is fun to drive through anytime.
Yosemite National Park is about the best nature destination California has to offer. You can drive by and photograph famous landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan, or get some exercise hiking the John Muir Trail. You can make it a camping trip or go the log cabin or hotel routes if you prefer. I suggest booking lodging in advance since Yosemite is very popular during the summer and fall. Norma and I drove through here only last summer and I had almost forgotten how stunning it is.
Yellowstone is for the nature lover. With streaming geysers, multicolored pools, bubbling hot springs and hiking trails that go for miles you’ll find plenty to photograph. Be sure to stop at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn more about wildlife in the area. Old Faithful still performs almost every hour.
Close by is Las Vegas which is basically a giant playground for adults. Here you will find some of the best live shows in the world. There is great shopping, casinos, large swimming pools at the hotels and resorts, along with a general carefree feeling. A good place to unwind!
Sedona is even closer with its majestic red rock formations and fantastic sunsets. Here are rock climbing and hiking opportunities, fine resorts, dining, friendly people plus a new-age environment with palm readers and vortexes.
Myself, I like cruising. With more than 400 cruise ships in the water I have no trouble selecting destinations all over the world. Some day, I even hope to take an around-the world cruise lasting over three months. Nothing like seeing the world from your private balcony at sea!