Travel Off the Beaten Path
Vacations are supposed to be a break from your ordinary life, a suspension of reality for a short time. This doesn’t seem to be the case when you spend a week in Las Vegas with flashing neon lights illuminating your vacation world, or in perfectly ordered Disney World, where everything is ordered and assured. Where is the adventure? Where is the thrill?
You have to travel off the beaten track. Instead of walking the Main Street of Disney World, you have to take a walk though the gritty streets of New York City or New Orleans. Instead of a cruise to the islands, you need to rent a houseboat in the Florida Everglades. Imagine spending an entire week without seeing another human being. That is suspension from reality.
Surprisingly, off the beaten track vacations are not necessarily expensive or difficult to arrange. And they are not limited to exotic and adventure travelers of the world. With proper forethought and planning, they can often be cheaper than the run of the mill vacations you usually take.
If you are a sailor, you probably already know about chartering a bareboat cruise in the Caribbean or the Virgin Islands. But even landlubbers can have a good time on the water if they charter a simple, easy to operate houseboat. In the east, the Finger Lakes, Everglades, Florida Keys and Louisiana Bayous offer an escape from the everyday and into the beauty of nature. Houseboats are rented many Midwestern lakes, as well as in the stunning settings of the canyon lakes in Arizona.
Abroad, but not Europe.
South America is much closer, and therefore much cheaper to fly to than Europe, and you will be stunned by the antiquity, nature and architecture there. Old Spanish colonies such as Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentine offer the visitor treasures that often rival Europe, and tours there are much less expensive. And for natural splendors, you cannot beat Iguazu Falls, the Lagos Colores of the Andes, or the stunning Patagonian peninsula.
Big cities are fun, exciting places, brimming with life, music and art. So why not skip the same old cruise and stroll the streets of New York and take in a show and visit the Met? How about a week in Chicago (in the summer, of course) for great jazz and museums? City people are vivacious, talkative and fun to know. It is another side of America if you are used to Main Street, Disney World.
On the other hand, city folk may want to try a step back in time and visit the country. So many rural areas of the U.S. are a delight to visit and don’t get the crowds of the beaches or show towns. Amish country in Pennsylvania is charming and peaceful and the neat, rolling, well-kept farmlands are beautiful to see.
This year, rethink your vacation plans and try a new destination that will excite your imagination and bring you new-found pleasures.
One of the best ways to enjoy a vacation is to hire a tour guide who will show you the area as the locals know it. My source has a lot of information on doing background checks before you hire a tour guide.