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Author Topic: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?  (Read 4554 times)

Offline LemonButt

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Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« on: April 29, 2011, 01:45:22 AM »
I'm a young 20-something and I grew up with parents who worked for the airline and flew all over the place for free.  Flying to MSP to go shopping at the Mall of America for a day or flying to wherever the Indians were playing for a baseball game was no big deal.  As a result, I've done a fair amount of travelling, but my wife hasn't as she has been forced to stay local due to aging family members etc.

I work at one of the largest executive search firms in the US and I won the grand prize of a sales contest back in 2007.  The trip was supposed to be at an ultra-luxury timeshare where you stay in $3 million mansions and they had properties all over the world you could stay at.  I brokered a deal with the President of the company that I couldn't take the trip until I went back to college and completed my 4 year degree and they would pay the tuition, which I did successfully.  In the interim, the timeshare company went bankrupt as well as the owner of our company who filed for personal bankruptcy.  The owner is now out of bankruptcy and to make a long story short--there is no trip left to take anymore.  To compensate for this, they are going to pay for me to go wherever I want in the world for a week or two (with the wife) and have the bill sent to them (within reason) and they'll cover the cost (they're also paying for graduate school now).  Now, instead of ~50 spots on the map, I can go anywhere.

I've been pretty much everywhere I've ever wanted to go in the world due to my airline benefits through the parents, but my wife hasn't.  She doesn't want to hijack the trip, so she wants me to decide where we're going and what we're doing.  The question is, where the heck should we go?  I live in western North Carolina and I'm a 2 hour drive from CLT and 3 hours from ATL, so we've got 2 of the largest airports in the world nearby and should be able to get pretty much anywhere with relative ease.  My wife is a wedding planner, which means Februrary through April (non-wedding season) works best for a trip and I'm thinking we need to be going to the southern hemisphere where it will be Summer.  Any ideas on where we should go and what we should do?

Offline BobTheCactus

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 01:56:45 AM »
To be honest, I suggest Paris. While it seems like a really cliché choice, if you haven't traveled, there really isn't a better place to go. If you want to do the exotic thing, you could try Australia, however there isn't much to do but go to the beach, drive in the desert, hold koalas, and swim. If you enjoy shopping, I suggest Dubai, because their economy is hurting and everything is mad cheap there, and they have good tourist attractions as well. If you want adventure, I'd suggest trying an African safari. If you want drugs, pretty much anywhere in central/south america should do (KIDDING). If you enjoy eating food, I suggest a cruise. Carnival is the best from what I've heard, although I've also heard that Royal Carribean is good too. If you don't want to travel too far and are into nature, I suggest Sedona, Arizona. If you want to visit Asia, I suggest Singapore, as it is the most tourist friendly place in the area. If you want danger, I suggest a package tour into North Korea (completely serious. I've heard that it is a great and UNIQUE experience). If you want a traditional romantic getaway, I suggest Hawaii. If there is something else in particular that you or your wife wants, mention it and I can come up with a good suggestion.
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Offline CVACEO

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 02:53:31 AM »
I've done quite a bit of travelling and several cruises.  If you contemplate a cruise, please consider Holland America Line.  You simply cannot do better.  They are tops in my book.  Norwegain Cruise Lines would be a close second.  Both lines have wonderful itineraries in the Mediterranean for the time of year you mentioned and there really is no better way to see all you can in a short space of time.

London is my favorite city in the world and, contrary to what might seem logical, early Spring is a wonderful time to visit as the temperatures are mild and the fares are not yet peaked for the high season.  Plan a trip to the Cotswolds region as the quaint little villages with stone, thatched-roof buildings are charming.

I've also been to Helsinki and really love that city.  Prague is also a beautiful city and was lots of fun to visit.  And the locals in both these cities were very friendly and welcoming.  Copenhagen is also a wonderful city to visit.

Offline BobTheCactus

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 03:02:36 AM »
I second Helsinki and Copenhagen, very nice cities, but London gets dreary with the rain and poor weather between February and April
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Offline RushmoreAir

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 04:06:51 AM »
I second Helsinki and Copenhagen, very nice cities, but London gets dreary with the rain and poor weather between February and April

I'll third Helsinki and Copenhagen, but I would add Iceland as well.  Make it a "scandinavian adventure".  I really like Iceland, it really has a unique personality, and despite the name, is not really cold in the spring.

Offline psw231

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 04:42:45 AM »
  Barcelona and Madrid are two of my favorite European cities, even in early November it was nearly 80 F and the beaches were full in Barcelona. Some time in either and a side trip to the Basque region with its' amazing cuisine, tapas and local dishes, is worth some time. Spain is very cheap by western European standars so you should be able to live it up there.
  A side trip from Madrid worh mentioning is Segovia, here you can see an historic disneyesque castle and a massive roman aquaduct, A good day trip by rail.

Offline Sami

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 05:49:42 AM »
I second Helsinki and Copenhagen

But only during the warm and nice summer months, unless you like to be in snow up your knees. (btw. here in midsummer the un never sets; very much light also in middle of the night .. confusing.)

I think Iceland is quite cheap now as their currency has been devalued?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 05:52:10 AM by sami »

Offline Wing Commander Chad Studdington

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 06:42:24 AM »
After just coming back from there I would say if you can go to New Zealand. I've been to a handful of places round the world, Boston (USA), all over Europe, South Africa and most recently NZ and I would say it is one of the most amazing places I have ever been.

You'll be Southern hemisphere so you can get there in summer time, the country just looks amazing, the people are wonderful and there is literally something for everyone. Be that visiting countless vineyards, throwing yourself off things only attached with an elastic band, walking, shopping (in the right places) lots of scenic flying opportunities. It's also pretty cheap, at least it was using coming from GBP, US$1 is NZ$1.24. 

Ilyushin

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 10:25:36 AM »
If I were you, I'd go to the Maldives. That is, if you like beaches, diving and sun, a life without cars but with lots of floatplanes and boats. ;D

See for yourself here.

The weather there is practically always good.

If you want danger, I suggest a package tour into North Korea (completely serious. I've heard that it is a great and UNIQUE experience).

I would love to try this, no joke. ;D

(Maybe flying Air Koryo is one of the main reasons. :-[)

This documentary is pretty interesting. It's about an American who goes to the DPRK and films practically everything. A very good watch.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 10:29:36 AM by Ilyushin »

Offline BobTheCactus

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 11:04:13 AM »
If I were you, I'd go to the Maldives. That is, if you like beaches, diving and sun, a life without cars but with lots of floatplanes and boats. ;D

See for yourself here.

The weather there is practically always good.

As for North Korea, I would love to try this, no joke. ;D

(Maybe flying Air Koryo is one of the main reasons. :-[)

This documentary is pretty interesting. It's about an American who goes to the DPRK and films practically everything. A very good watch.

I'd love to go to DPRK too, and as an Indian national, I don't have to deal with the restrictions on American people :D

As for the Maldives, I've been, and I don't suggest Feb to April because it gets HOT. (same climate system as India, except they don't have the monsoons to the same extent meaning 44 degree weather and no rain to cool you down)
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GEnx

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2011, 11:32:12 AM »
Bora bora, definitely.

Offline alexgv1

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2011, 11:56:55 AM »
If I were you, I'd go to the Maldives.

Yes you could fly with 5* MALDIVES AIRWAYS  ::)

On a serious note I'd throw my two cents in for Istanbul, Turkey. It was the European capitol of culture in 2010. It has a great history so there is plenty of interesting things to do in the day such as visiting the landmarks, seeing the museums. There is also a decent nightlife in the upmarket places. As far as capitol cities go, it's about £2.50 for a beer (which is how I measure these things) so quite cheap, plus the exchange rate for Turkish Lira is good at the moment.

You will get pleasant weather most year round, and with the dates you mentioned, the weather will be nice and warm but not overly hot like it can be in the summer. If you fancy some sand then you could take a cheap return flight to a beach resort for a few days (Dalaman, Bodrum, Antalya, etc.), internal flights with the low costs like Pegasus can be under 100 euros return.

Good luck choosing, hope you enjoy this holiday wherever it is.
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Offline CUR$E - God of AirwaySim

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 12:05:45 PM »
Bora bora, definitely.

Or, for cheaper money and more adventure Tora Bora :D

Offline LemonButt

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2011, 12:46:38 PM »
Paris, London, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Iceland, Barcelona, Madrid: Europe is almost "too easy" to get to for us.  We want to take a trip we'd never take otherwise and we can fly to Europe for ~$500/each for the cheapest flights.  I have an aunt that lives in Hamburg and my wife's mother is from Munich and she has relatives back there that my wife has never met who are older and don't speak English.  It could be really akward visiting them, which is another reason why Europe isn't high on the list :)

Australia: Literally the opposite side of the world from where we live and the leading candidate. 

New Zealand: My wife's crazy friend who is nuttier than squirrel sh*t had her head shaved and got a henna tattoo on the back of her head of the "Air New Zealand" logo to be a walking billboard and get free roundtrip tickets to New Zealand.  I've heard more than one person say it's the most beautiful place in the world they've ever been.

Dubai: There was a story in the news about a British couple who were jailed for kissing in public, which has my wife completely turned off from Dubai.  We're also your stereotypical white Americans and while Dubai is an international city, the Middle East isn't the friendliest place for Americans to visit :)

Africa: Wife and I have zero desire to go here--especially the northern countries going through revolutions right now.

Sedona, Arizona: Too close.  I've been to Sedona (I used to live in Las Vegas), but the wife hasn't.  We can fly out on our own dime for a couple hundred bucks.

Singapore: I'd love to go here, but the wife isn't too gungho about it.  Same goes with Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, etc.  Asia is like a different planet compared to America in terms of culture and way of life, but I fear we'd tire of big cities rather quickly--New York City is easily one of my least favorite places on earth to visit (my wife's from NYC).

Hawaii: High on the list.  Wife has a strong desire to go here, but it is rather expensive.  We can fly to San Diego and take a cruise to Hawaii (which is the preferred way to get there), but a 15 day cruise is probably too long for us--see cruise section below.

North Korea: My best friend was in the Army and stationed at Camp Casey just outside Seoul and has crazy North Korea stories.  We have zero interest in an "adventure" such as this.  See stereotypical white American comment above :)

Maldives: Looks amazing...need to do more research.

Bora Bora/Tahiti: High on the list, but very expensive to get to and I've read some pretty ugly reviews online of vacationing in the area.

Tora Bora: Hell on earth.

Cruises:  I've been on at least 10 cruises in my life and my wife has been on 3-4 and just got back from a girl's only cruise last week.  I'm 100% fine on the boat, but my wife never feels 100% as she gets motion sickness.  I've been on Carnival all but once when we chanced it on Royal Carribean and I wouldn't recommend them.  The food on Royal Carribean was really mediocre (I have a culinary degree) whereas we were used to Carnival's higher expectations (think ranch steak versus filet mignon).  The Royal Carribean boats are laid out terrible as well.  Carnival has all the clubs and activities on the upper decks with cabins on the lower decks whereas Royal Carribean has everything intermingled--our cabin was right by a night club and you'd hear loud music through the night.

If I had to book it right now, I think the plan would be Australia with a cruise.  We can fly Atlanta to Sydney for $3000 round trip and take a 9 day cruise to Nomea, Fiji, and Vanuatu for another $2000.  We can spend a few days in Sydney or otherwise taking in Australia, but this option doesn't get us to New Zealand at all.  Part of the allure of a cruise is that the actual travel part is relaxing.  You wake up each morning at a different destination versus battling airport crowds and being stuck in an airplane seat.  If anyone has any other Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand ideas, please let me know...

Offline BobTheCactus

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2011, 02:14:40 PM »
Personally, I'd rather go to the maldives than take a cruise from australia, but that might just be me
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Offline Pilot Oatmeal

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2011, 02:33:51 PM »
Heres a weird one for you, why not try Budapest?  I went there last summer with my girlfriend who is hungarian and I LOVED IT... Great food, and great people... they have a giant lake called Lake Balaton with surrounding beaches that we went to and its incredible...

alternatively the bahamas are a great place to go the hotel atlantis is stunning, I used to live in Florida and took regular flights to Nassau in my dads mitsubishi, a great vacation.

J. Oates

GEnx

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 05:38:53 PM »
The reason those exotic islands (British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, etc.) are sometimes ill received by western tourists is because of the huge cultural gap between ours and theirs. The locals score really high in what is called "uncertainty avoidance", which means that if you are a bad whining and troublesome tourist, they'd rather avoid your table than serve you better. This sounds incredibly weird to us, but to them, it only makes sense, again due to the cultural gap. So if you just don't make a fuss about everything like the usual whiny tourist and simply have fun with the employees, you'll be fine. :)

So I'd still recommend Bora Bora, Tahiti, Mauritius, etc.etc. Also, the Netherlands Antilles are great (St Maarten, Aruba, Curacao etc.). For the typical white American it is really great. I believe a lot of cruises also sail in between those caribbean islands as well.. Should make a perfect vacation. :)

Edit: Talking about sailing.. Why not try a sailing cruise for once? There are really huge sailing ships which have full restaurants, cabins etc. out there. It is really of a completely different class of cruising, and being an avid sailing enthusiast myself, I'd really recommend it. http://www.starclippers.com/eu/our-fleet/royal-clipper.html
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 05:52:40 PM by Quinoky »

Ilyushin

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2011, 06:15:11 PM »
I have been to Bonaire and it was beautiful! But the sea there is really for divers only, not to take a 'casual dive' cause you can't stand anywhere (coral, etc)

The rest of the island is pretty dull, btw.

Offline MRFREAK

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 10:22:03 PM »
Unbelievable that no one has said Japan yet.

Tokyo is a fantastic city, it's modern but still with an old traditional touch, great culture, kind people and there is a lot to see there.

Kyoto: Also in japan, the old capital of japan, alot of old and traditional exciting things to see, such as teahouses/shops Ginkaku-ji (a temple made out gold) and much much more.

Japan is generally a fantastic country with lots of oppertunities. A place you have to go before you die!

Offline BobTheCactus

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Re: Trip anywhere in the world--where to go?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2011, 11:13:19 PM »
It is not unbeliavable in the slightest.
Now is not a good time to go to Japan for VACATION. They are rebuilding, are leaking nuclear fuel, and vacation will turn into cancer treatment, not the desired outcome. I agree that it USED to be one of the greatest cities in the world to visit, unfortunately not any more. Give it a year or 2, and then I will readd it to my list of good places to visit.
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