10 Emerging Travel Destinations You Need to Visit NOW

Italy. Australia. Thailand. These popular destinations are on most everyone’s travel bucket list, and for good reason. They’re rich with history, vibrant culture and sensational food. And while the language, landscape and customs may be different in each country, they share one thing in common: tourist crowds.

Some people may not mind sharing their vacation with hordes of strangers, but for those who prefer to visit places that are off the typical tourist’s radar, here are 10 incredible locations you should consider traveling to now before the secret’s out and the crowds start rolling in.

10. Nepal

Photo By: Shutterstock

Since a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the country in 2015, Nepal’s tourism industry has suffered tremendously. In the two years since, the people have been doing all they can to repair infrastructure and treasured monuments to draw travelers back to the area.

Home to Mount Everest, Nepal is most commonly visited by those who dare to climb the Earth’s tallest mountain. But this South Asian country, which is landlocked between Tibet and India, has plenty to offer for adventurers of all kinds—including trekking, wildlife safaris, rafting, paragliding and bungee jumping, among others. If your preference is to visit urban areas, the country’s capital city, Kathmandu, is overflowing with bustling markets and historic temples to explore.

9. Myanmar

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For many decades, it wasn’t possible to visit Myanmar (formerly Burma) due to the military dictatorship that ruled the country. And even though it’s now welcoming of tourists, Myanmar is often overlooked in favor of more popular neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam. But that will most certainly change in the near future.

Known as the “Golden Land,” Myanmar is home to the historic region of Bagan, a vast landscape dotted with over 2,000 temples and pagodas built between the 9th and 13th centuries. This magnificent landscape can be explored on foot or by bike, but a hot air balloon ride offers the view of a lifetime.

8. Mongolia

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With over 250 sunny days per year, Mongolia is aptly known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.” It is also one of the least densely populated countries in the world, which makes visiting feel like a truly off-the-beaten-path experience. An adventure lover’s paradise, Mongolia offers pristine landscapes that extend as far as the eye can see, perfect for trekking mountains, horseback riding and searching for dinosaur fossils in the Gobi desert. You can also camp anywhere for free (yes, really).

In fact, half of the country’s population still lives nomadic lifestyles, endlessly traveling and setting up their gers (white felt tents) wherever they stop. But this number is shrinking, as many are abandoning the pastoral lifestyle for work within the cities. So if you wish to experience Mongolia at its most authentic, be sure to get there sooner than later.

7. Canada

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The United States’ northern neighbor turns 150 this year, and to celebrate the country is offering free admission to all of its near 50 national parks. This incentive, along with a favorable US dollar, has drawn international travelers to many of Canada’s most popular areas, including the mountainous coast of British Columbia in the west and the laid-back vibe and wildlife of the Maritimes in the east, a region that consists of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This sudden spotlight on the country’s beauty has skyrocketed it to the top of many people’s bucket lists; so don’t delay your visit if you wish to experience the land as if it were your own private paradise.

6. Montenegro

This small country, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006, has attracted the famous and wealthy for many years. But the rest of the population is only just starting to catch on to the pristine beaches and the historic medieval villages it boasts. The adventurous can explore the dense forests and beautiful waterfalls of Durmitor National Park or raft along the river in the Tara River Canyon. And with over 250 days of sunshine each year, it’s a sailor’s heaven. Needless to say, this paradise likely won’t stay under the radar for much longer!

5. Madagascar

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After breaking off from India 88 million years ago, Madagascar became a secluded island paradise home to countless plant and animal species that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Its landscape is diverse, ranging from dense jungle to desert to incredible coastline. Visit Parc National de Ranomafana for its relaxing natural hot springs or head to Camp Bandro at Lac Alaotra for a day of lemur spotting. But such untouched beauty won’t last forever, as some of the landscape is already transforming into the tourist resorts. Visit now to experience the country at its most natural.

4. Serbia

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Western Europe gets all the attention. Consisting of countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal, it’s no wonder. But those who’ve already visited such places, or others who simply want to experience a different side of the continent, are now looking to Eastern Europe for their next adventure.

Serbia is just one of the emerging countries in this region. Its capital, Belgrade, boasts not one, but two riverfronts, as it’s located where the Danube and Sava rivers meet. The pedestrian-friendly streets make it easy to take in the elaborate nineteenth-century buildings of the old town, and its nightlife is among the best in Europe. This gem of a city certainly won’t stay hidden for long!

3. Patagonia

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Mountains, abundant wildlife and a sprawling coastline are just a few of reasons drawing people to Patagonia, a region that is shared between Chile and Argentina. You can trek across glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park or travel to Península Valdes, a UNESCO heritage site that is home to Magellanic penguins and a stunning location to go whale watching. You can also drive inland and visit an authentic Estancia (ranch) in Argentina to learn about the country’s history and culture from the locals. Head there soon to enjoy Patagonia’s unspoiled land; this adventure lover’s paradise won’t be kept secret for long!

2. Colombia

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Long associated with drug cartels and corruption, Colombia has transformed from a nation in crisis to a budding new South American travel destination. Urban explorers should travel to Bogota, the country’s capital, which has seen a recent boom in unique hotel and restaurant offerings. Or visit Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, one of the best-preserved colonial cities on the continent.

Or, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, trek the six-day hike to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida, located atop the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. Only just discovered in 1976, the city’s construction dates back some 650 before Peru’s famous Machu Picchu.

1. Sri Lanka

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India is a popular travel destination at the moment, but it can be quite challenging to navigate. For a similar experience, tourists are now turning to Sri Lanka, which is just as rich with history, culture and customs, but without the complications. The country is home to vast amounts of wildlife; visit Yala National Park to spot elephants, leopards, sloth bears and buffalo roaming in the wild.

Or see the country’s spectacular landscape by train. Board the Yal Devi Express for an unforgettable journey from Colombo to Jaffna. You can also surf some waves in Arugam Bay, with a beach of golden sand located in the south east of the island. You can truly choose your own adventure in Sri Lanka, but get there soon before others catch on to its abundant beauty!

The World’s 10 Most Thrilling Bungee Jump Destinations

If you were to Google bungee jumping, you would find endless websites offering this experience in way of a vacation. 10-20 years ago, you would have been lucky to find more than 1 or 2. Thanks to the extreme sport enthusiasts, bungee jumping now has a unique devil-may-care following. Millions have taken the plunge, with millions more right behind them to try this adrenaline fueled activity. Bungee jumping began as a rite of passage for the Naghol tribes’ youth on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It was done with tree vines tied around their feet, the young would pass through a spiritual journey into manhood. One enterprising man named AJ Hackett witnessed this ceremony and came up with a marketable, exhilarating adventure for the bravest of souls. There are now over 15 Hackett sites all around the world and AJ himself has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest bungee jump from the Macau Tower in China. To those who love bungee jumps, the thrill only gets bigger, and more extreme. We scoped the globe to come up with bungee thrills unmatched by any other and put together this top 10 list for your next leap of faith.

10.  Taupo Bungee, Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Taupo Bungee is billed as “the highest water touch bungee in New Zealand”. It is not the highest point to fall from, but frightening nonetheless. The staff leaves the water dunking up to you. That is to say, how far down into the freezing water would you liked to be dropped? The guides at Taupo bungee use your weight to figure out how to get you very deep into frigid temperatures. Once you have reached your deepest spot under the water, you are suddenly ripped back up into the sky, leaving a disorientation pulsing through your whole body. Surrounded by amazing scenery is the platform on top of a cliff overlooking the Waikato River leading from Lake Taupo. There is a wide range of activities to choose from along the meandering path of the Waikato River. The jump is intense, and somewhat maddening. You have the options of doing a solo or tandem bungee jump, or you can opt for a rope swing. Either way, this is the only place in New Zealand where you also get to swing cliff side.There is also HukaFalls Jet and tandem skydiving available in adventurous Taupo. Taupo is a resort town located on the banks of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The popular destination has a variety of recreational activities. For those less inclined to fly amongst a cliff or be submerged into chilly water, there is always fishing, boating, jet skiing, and whitewater rafting.

Taupo Bungy

9. Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, USA

In 1929, construction on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado was finally completed, making it the tallest bridge in the United States. If the workers only knew what this bridge would become famous for perhaps they would have wanted to jump from it too. The bridge is 1,260 feet long and suspended from towers over 150 feet high. For serious adrenaline junkies, this is the highest place to take the dive from. In fact it is so popular that a series of extreme activities takes place here every year. The ‘Go Fast Games’ offer legal BASE jumping over a 3 day period. This allows thrill enthusiasts to legally BASE jump without consequences. The September event is hosted by invitation only and caters to bungee jumping and BASE jumping, offering competitive and fun games. Royal Gorge also offers a different twist on bungee jumping; taking up to three riders on the Royal Rush Skycoaster. The ride begins at the edge of the canyon, pulling the three riders on a bungee swing then overtly dropping them to swing out over the canyon in speeds excess of 50 mph. The Skycoaster runs from mid-March through mid-October for those considering the wicked rush.

Royal Gorge Bridge Colorado

8. Verzasca Dam, Val Verzasca, Switzerland

James Bond did it! One of the best stunts in film history took place at Verzasca Dam in Val Verzasca, Switzerland. It took Pierce Brosnan’s stunt double a week to muster up enough courage to pull this stunt off. He finally surrendered and plunged into a 7.5 second free fall parallel to the enormous dam. Standing out from the abundant scenery is the 380 meter long and 220 meter high dam wall called the Contra. This majestic man made dam gives all its enthusiasts the shivers. For those serious about their extreme sports, make this jump a priority. The Contra Dam is well lit with flood lights and even the moon. It can be reached from Gordola by way of a 2 kilometer long section of road, showing the way to the jumping station in the middle of the dam. What makes this a favorite for bungee jumpers? It is the only known bungee jumping site where you can fall from a bridge by the moonlight, taking the gregarious experience to a whole new level. Adrenaline seekers have nicknamed this jump as either ‘007’ or ‘Goldeneye’. This jump will bring out the ‘James Bond’ attitude and skill in all of us.

Verzasca Dam

7. Macau Tower, China

Just off the coast of Hong Kong, is the highest Bungee jump in the world at the Macau Tower, home to A.J. Hackett’s Guinness Book of World Records bungee jump. This massive tower stands at an impressive 764 feet high, and in the last 15 years, the site has been commercially developed to offer a world class urban adventure park. The latest technology is recognized here; such as the HD advanced video system. During this time Macau Tower and A.J. Hackett have implemented over 10 exhilarating activities for flight enthusiasts. This includes Skyjump, Xposure, Tower climb, Base Camp, and Skywalk, offering an alternative form of entertainment. Night Bungee is also available for those who cannot sleep. Macau Tower can be seen in many movies as Hollywood seems to love this as a location site. Macau is a rapidly growing city, and is quickly becoming a tourism mecca for all travelers. It is often called ‘the Las Vegas’ of Asia. Macau can be reached either by plane or a one hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. This free fall adventure is designed to provide the ultimate bungee jump experience. If cliffs and bridges get boring, try the Macau tower. This is definitely a top ten location for extreme sports and the city-minded brave hearts.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

6. Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe Zambia

Zambia’s tourism minister took the jump after a woman’s safety cord snapped mid-jump; he wanted to focus on safety. Since then, tourists have jumped the stunning Victoria Falls, calling it the most spectacular free fall in the world. The thrill is in The Zambezi River beneath and the falls behind you. If you are going to take the leap of faith, this eye-popping scenery is the place to begin. The jump is straddled between two countries, on top of an old railway bridge which an enterprising young man named Cecil Rhodes ordered to be built. He was reported to have said “build the bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”. This bridge is also the site of unsuccessful peace talks which resulted in a 9.5 hour stand-off in 1975. The loud crash of Victoria Falls plummets down the huge cliff behind you. The locals promptly named Victoria Falls “the smoke that thunders”. Beware of the hungry crocodiles circling in the mighty Zambezi River as you snap back up in a sheer moment of uncertainty. Victoria Falls Bridge is a historical attraction and for the less courageous they offer a walking tour under the main deck, or you can participate in a stunning zip line activity. There is also a small museum and a quaint little café to divert your attention from smashing heights, and jumbled nerves. Victoria Falls Bridge rates as some of the most amazing landscape in the world in which to free fall.

Victoria Falls Bridge

5. The Last Resort, Nepal

Not many people would think of Nepal as a vacation destination spot (unless you’re into mountain climbing), and they are less likely to believe a world class bungee adventure is tucked away in the mountains of Nepal. Yet, way above the Bhote Kosi River in Nepal sits a cliff-top adventure known as the Last Resort. Located on a sharp ridge of a canyon with shanty houses of the locals is an adrenaline rush just waiting to happen. Deemed as a very scary jump, the dive is done from a pedestrian bridge over the small sliver of the narrow canyon, as the locals sit by and watch each time. The Last resort is about 60 miles east of Kathmandu and 7 miles from the Tibetan border. This resort is full of exhilarating adventures for jungle lovers. After the terrifying dive, you can partake in whitewater rafting on the rapids of the Bhote Kosi River or mountain bike in some rugged jungle terrain. The Last Resort also offers a thrill called the Canyon Ride, and serious hiking into hidden, secret canyons. This hidden gem of Nepal is an untouched and raw kind of adventure for those truly seeking a cultural, primitive time. Complete this jump with some white water rafting down the Bhote Kosi River. They also offer team building courses for schools and organizations. The Last Resort will not disappoint an adventure seeking enthusiasts’ demands for a good time.

Photo by: Steve Hicks (Flickr: P5166787) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Steve Hicks (Flickr: P5166787) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Niouc, Switzerland

Switzerland is often pictured as a blown up version of America’s magnificent Rocky Mountains, so it is no surprise that it’s home of Europe’s highest bungee jump done from a scary suspended bridge. This nerve-raking leap will take some serious faith and downright courage to complete. Bungee jumpers willingly climb the shaky structure, appropriately nicknamed “Spider Bridge” and wobble their way out to the middle of the knife-edged bridge. The Spider Bridge has an intricate cobweb of cable wires, and the 190 meter footbridge is a heart-racing climb. Even more blood pumping, is that this jump not only drops you, but also swings you in all directions at the same time. There is complete surrender here, but at least you are free to enjoy the scenery as you finish the spins. Remember, every jumper is as nervous on some level as you are. Try to embrace the surrounding snow-tipped Alpine peaks and the quizzical views of the Navizence River as you muster some bravery climbing across Spider Bridge. You have arrived, in a land so mesmerizing, with the world famous Matterhorn right in front of you, and a beautiful little ski town called Crans-Montana waiting to set you for your next adventure. There is much to do in this part of the world aside from bungee jumping, and should be explored in between the leaps into 700 foot canyon. Mix this jump with every adventure the Alps has to offer.

Photo by: subrolita/Panoramio
Photo by: subrolita/Panoramio

3. Nevis Highwire Bungee, New Zealand

Another fear invoking bungee jump called the ‘scariest bungee jump on the planet’ is the Nevis Highwire Bungee in New Zealand. Enthusiasts of this harrowing free fall say it begins from the very first ride as you head on up to the jump. It is a bumpy mountain ride on a narrow passage climbing until you arrive at the stony and stark Nevis gorge. In the middle of the bridge, blowing in the wind, hangs a cabin. A small cable car takes you out to a suspended pod between two mountains leaving you vulnerable and at the mercy of the winds. The tiny cabin sways back and forth as you attempt to muster enough courage to make the leap, while also trying to make sure your equipment is safe. The free fall is eight seconds of frightening proportions. This is a place which should be a title contender for the world’s most terrifying bungee jump. The Nevis in New Zealand now has the World’s Biggest Swing designed to propel you fast over the gorge and leave you dangling on a high wire cable. It is without a doubt, second in thrills to bungee jumping.

Photo by: Wikipedia
Photo by: Wikipedia

2. Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa

Did you know that of all the people who decide to jump from Bloukrans Bridge only about 80% actually do? People who free fall from this frightening bridge suggest having an ‘emotional sponsor’. It is just that terrifying. You can feel safe though, as no one has ever had an injury from this bridge in the whole 23 years of bungee operations. Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa is a problematic crosswind jump but provides a metal grated bridge to sturdy your feet. Carefully navigating your foot work across the bridge you cannot help but notice the abundance of rocks some 700 feet below. You are treading on the underbelly of this bridge with some serious high winds. This is enough to provoke the thought that this will be your last view, here on this vast bridge surrounded by the South African wilderness. The free fall lasts for eight seconds; and when you survive, it is the best feeling in the world. The Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the entire world. Bungee enthusiasts say this site gives a double dose of thrill—jumping from the fourth highest jumping pod and a see-through bridge revealing a panoramic view of the amazing wild side of Africa. If you have second thoughts about Bloukrans Bridge, remember, Prince Harry and Jack Osborne have both braved this jump and survived.

Bloukrans Bridge

1. The Pipeline Bungee, New Zealand

This is the place where it all begins. The Pipeline Bungee of New Zealand is the brainchild of bungee pioneer A.J. Hackett. It’s the world’s first commercial bungee jump and is also the most popular bungee site. The Kawarau Suspension Bridge of Queenstown offers leaps over the Kawarau River at an amassed height of 141 feet. It takes 20 minutes to drive from Queenstown to this jumping site. It is here A.J. Hackett and Henry Van Asch first demonstrated the art of bungee jumping to the locals of Queenstown in 1988. Over 25 years have passed since then and the site remains the world’s most beloved bungee jump. Many people wishing to make that first jump, do it here if possible. Thousands of bungee enthusiasts make the trek to New Zealand every year to learn their very first lessons of the art of bungee jumping. For those followers of this extreme sport and those to come, they will be eternally thankful to A.J. Hackett for making their life an open casting call to feel free, to feel brave, and live in a moment on the jumper’s edge. This niche in extreme adventures has taken millions to a courageous place inside the human spirit, and will continue, as the thrill seekers scout the world for a place to fly.

The Pipeline Bungee, New Zealand

The 10 Craziest Runways in the World

Being a pilot takes skill on a good day, but throw in some crazy approaches, interesting landscapes and some of the world’s shortest runways and you had better hope your pilot has both precision and confidence. While many airports around the world are pretty straightforward, there are a few that challenge even the most experienced of pilots and crew. These 10 runways are known as some of the craziest in the world for all sorts of reasons including last minute banks, short runways and some seriously scary approaches. Here are the 10 craziest runways in the world:

10. JFK Airport -New York City, USA

With so many flights in and out of this busy New York hub every day, most passengers are probably unaware of the challenges of JFK’s runway 13L, but it’s a challenging situation that puts pressure on pilots. Not only is the runway surrounded on 3 sides by Jamaica Bay and wet marshlands, but the circular approach forces pilots to deal with a 1,500 ft ceiling and 5 mile visibility, while also avoiding interference with the air traffic from nearby Newark and LaGuardia airports.

Photo by: Wikiwand
Photo by: Wikiwand

9. Princess Juliana Airport -St. Maarten

They say a picture says a thousand words and in the case of St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport, any picture of a plane landing here speaks volumes to the white knuckle approach. This airport sits on the Dutch half of the popular Caribbean vacation island and was actually a former military airstrip. What makes this airport unique is the incredibly low approach that takes planes directly over the popular Maho Beach, with the edge of the runway just across the road.

EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

8. Barra Airport -Scotland

Barra Airport lies in the bay of Traigh Mhòr on the northern tip of Scotland’s island of Barra. Not only does it have a short runway making it somewhat dangerous, but it’s the only airport in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. In fact, Barra Airport has 3 runways on the beach laid out in a triangular format. They’re all marked by permanent wooden posts because at high tide the runways are submerged underwater, meaning flights at this Scottish airport are scheduled based on the tides.

Spumador / Shutterstock.com
Spumador / Shutterstock.com

7. Gibraltar International Airport -Gibraltar

There are a few factors that make the International Airport of Gibraltar an interesting and somewhat nerve-wracking experience for pilots. First of all, the single runway was built right on the sea and stretches across the width of the peninsula. Not only do pilots have to carefully circle around the mountain of Gibraltar before landing, but if they overshoot the runway at all, the sea awaits. The other hazardous factor is that the only way into the city of Gibraltar is straight across the airports runway and the road is closed by railway-type crossings when a plane is landing or taking off.

Gibraltar International Airport

6. Courchevel Airport -French Alps

Courchevel Altiport is a small airport servicing the Courchevel Ski Resort in the French Alps. Oblivious vacationers may not be aware of the challenges of this airport but you can bet that the pilots that fly here know all too well. At only 537 meters, the super short runway is only suitable for helicopters and  small fixed wing planes and it also has a very tricky 18.6% up-slope. Not only is the short runway a danger factor but the surrounding terrain is treacherous with close by ski runs and jagged mountains. The last (and maybe most scary) factor is that this airport has no instrument approach procedure or lighting aids on the runway making landing in fog or snowy conditions extremely dangerous.

Photo by: Wikipedia
Photo by: Wikipedia

5. Ibrahim Nasir International Airport -Maldives

Also known as Malé International Airport, this is the main international airport of the Maldives and is located on Hulhulé Island. The airport has only 1 runway which sits a mere 2 meters above sea level and spans the entire length of Hulhulé Island. This means one wrong move or error during takeoff or landing could send aircraft careening into the ocean on either side.

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport

4. Gustaf III Airport -St. Barts

If you’ve ever been to the popular Caribbean vacation island of St. Barts, you may have flown from Gustaf III Airport and not even realized it’s unique dangers. Like St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport, Gustaf III (also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport) also lies incredibly close to a popular public beach. But in this case, it’s the takeoff that sees departing planes from the short runway soar right over the heads of vacationing sunbathers on the beach of the Baie de St Jean.

Gustaf III Airport

3. Telluride Regional Airport -Colorado, USA

Telluride Airport is another single runway airport with an approach that’s both stunningly beautiful and completely nerve-wracking all at once. This Colorado airstrip brings skiers to high altitudes and services the many ski destinations in the area. Pilots are challenged by the fact that the single runway lies on a plateau with a dip in the middle and hazardous terrain all around it. The plateau sits amidst high terrain exceeding 14,000 feet with a 300 meter drop off the plateau to the San Miguel River below.

Photo by: Flickr/Granger Meador
Photo by: Flickr/Granger Meador

2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport -Saba, Caribbean

Of all the short runways in the world, the sole airstrip at Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is considered the shortest commercial runway in the world at only 396 meters. This means only very small airplanes and helicopters can reach the airport which is the only one on the Caribbean island of Saba. The runway essentially touches the edges of the peninsula on which it sits with cliff drops into the Caribbean Sea on 3 sides and hazardous hills on the 4th.

Photo by: Flickr/Patrick Hawks
Photo by: Flickr/Patrick Hawks

1. Tenzing-Hillary Airport -Lukla, Nepal

Also known as Lukla Airport, Tenzing-Hillary lies amidst the mountains of Eastern Nepal and provides flights for those adventurous travelers heading to hike in Kathmandu. Lukla is also the most popular starting point for the climb to Mount Everest. Tenzing-Hillary is surrounded by flight challenges; the runway is 527 meters long making it suitable for only helicopters and small fixed wing planes. At the north end of the runway there’s high elevations, while to the south, lies a steep drop off of nearly 600 meters, meaning there’s no second chances at this airport.

Jiri Foltyn / Shutterstock.com
Jiri Foltyn / Shutterstock.com

10 Great Budget Vacation Destinations

The dream of traveling the world is an image that most people have at some point in life, but one that is not recognized by many due to financial restrictions. With accommodations to arrange, travel to book and sights to see, the cost of a trip abroad can be intimidating to potential travelers. However, many wondrous locations are available to visit even for those on a tight budget. All it takes to plan an affordable vacation is some careful research, a bit of planning and a reasonable expectation of your trip. A little flexibility goes a long way in the world of travel so while expensive destinations may be out of reach there are still plenty of amazing places than can be seen on a budget. Read on to hear about these 10 great budget-friendly destinations:

10. South Africa

In the summer of 2010, the eyes of the world focused on South Africa, as Johannesburg prepared to host the World Cup final. Since then, South Africa has seen a decline in tourism, with rates down 8% from 2013. Now is a great time to take advantage of all there is to see and do. The region is home to a number of great beaches, as it intersects the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Kruger National Park, a popular destination for safari, costs only $20 to visit. Travelers can also visit the Nelson Mandela National Museum where Mandela lived from 1946 through 1962, where bullet holes and scorch marks remain showing the scars of the countries troubled political past.

Cape Town South Africa

9. Latvia

This small hockey-mad Baltic nation is a hidden gem in Europe that is renowned for its great culture. The capital city, Riga, is located right on the Baltic Sea, and in 2014 was named the official European Capital of Culture by the European Union. Not only has the city received that honor, but the city of Riga was also awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage site. St. Peter’s Church and the famous Riga Cathedral are just two of the many medieval era buildings that can be found throughout the city. Visitors should also consider taking a trip to the Latvian National Opera building to take in an opera, ballet or choral performance.

Riga Latvia

8. Cambodia

A country that has long been preferred by backpackers, Cambodia can be a remarkably cheap destination for tourists. Though the flight to the country may cost a considerable amount, a visitor can find accommodations for as little as $4 a night at a hostel. Food in Cambodia is also relatively cheap, and there are plenty of free things to do for entertainment. The Chroy Changvar Bridge for example, is a suspension bridge built in 1966, and then rebuilt in 1995 after being destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. The centuries-old hilltop temple of Wat Phnom is nearly free since it costs visitors only $1 for admission, however the elephant rides within will cost you, but a stroll through the site itself alone is worth the visit.

Siem Reap Cambodia

7. Spain

News about the current financial status of Spain has significantly lowered the cost for potential visitors. Hotels, attractions and shops are all cheaper than they once were so it’s a great time to visit this treasured European country. Spain boasts a number of world-class cities, such as the capital Madrid, Barcelona and of course, the party capital of the world, Ibiza. The country is home to a number of the finest futbol (soccer) clubs in the world, with a fan-base that is just as passionate as the players on the pitch.

Park Guell Barcelona Spain

6. Northern Ireland

A destination popular for its music, literature and dramatic arts, Northern Ireland is a region often overlooked when considering a location to visit. Budget Travel magazine reported that the country has invested $25-million in its tourism industry, and that since 2012 more flights than ever before have traveled between the capital, Belfast, and London which is good news for passengers as more flights means lower airfare rates.

Derry Ireland

5. Greece

Similar to Spain, Greece is another European destination that has seen financial troubles in recent times. With businesses dependent on tourism dollars fearing empty rooms and airline seats, the price of a trip to Greece has plummeted. For the price it once cost to simply fly to Greece, a pair of visitors could have a week long vacation. Greece is home to many great historic sites all across the country, and can provide sight-seers with a look at buildings and culture dating from the ancient Greek and Roman eras, through the Byzantine and medieval era, all the way up to modern society.

Island greece

4. Turkey

Bordering Greece is another destination for tourists on a budget. Just north of Greece is Turkey and the famous city of Istanbul, once the cultural capital of the world back when it was known as Constantinople, which is home to a number of great attractions such as the Haiga Sophia and Basillica Cistern. Across the Aegean Sea, Antalya has a plethora of beaches and 5-star resorts as well as a number of ancient ruins. Hotel rates have dropped 25% in Turkey, with some premium hotels costing only $100 per night, which makes it a great spot for those looking to save.

Amasra town Turkey

3. Nepal

According to Lonely Planet, a trip to Nepal could cost as little as $5 to $7 dollars a day. It should be noted, however, that this would not be for those with picky taste buds as that price is based on eating local cuisine. Visitors looking to spend in a mid-range would be looking at around $20 a day, and in the top-end around $50 a day. A current lull in tourism has created a situation where businesses are looking to attract visitors, and are forced to lower their prices to do so. This is a destination that at the current rate, is a definite steal.

Kathmandu, Nepal

2. Dominican Republic

Perhaps the most common image conjured up when picturing a vacation is a blue sky, a white sandy beach, and a warm ocean breeze rolling in. The Dominican Republic offers just that, and at a very reasonable $212 per night for a pair of travelers. Most resorts in the country offer packages of activities that include swimming with dolphins, driving dune buggies, snorkeling and much more. A visit to Los Haitises National Park provides a chance to get in touch with nature at a protected forest, and for an additional $3 (plus a licensed guide) guests can rent a kayak and traverse through lagoons and canals to get a glimpse of local wildlife.

Altos de Chavon Dominican Republic

1. Czech Republic

The capital, Prague, once the center of the former communist Czechoslovakia, is a lively city that is one of the top tourist destinations of Eastern Europe. For as much as $30 a day, visitors can sight-see, have three meals, sample Prague’s famous beer and even get accommodations, according to Triplogist. Prague is a city that managed to avoid the bland designs of Soviet era development, and has retained its fantastic culture for hundreds of years.

Charles bridge, Czech Republic

Top 10 Travel Destinations on the Rise

The travellers have spoken. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, enlightenment, history, food, or just a chance of pace, there’s a place for everyone among these destinations on the rise. According to TripAdvisor, these are the 10 places you need to visit in 2014:

10. Fortaleza, Brazil

Jericoacoara Beach is an isolated coastal utopia, but it’s only one of dozens of five-star beaches. The endless sand is perfect for the tranquility of sunbathing or the thrill-seeking of dune buggy rides. Sports enthusiasts will understand the national zeal for soccer when they catch a game at the Arena Castelao. And when the sun sets, the sensuous hum of Brazilian nightlife pulsates, whether your taste is for a bumping dance club or a hole-in-the-wall beer pub.

Fortaleza, Brazil

9. Corralejo, Spain

Avoid the hubbub of Madrid and venture instead to this restorative holiday island. Pristine beaches, romantic catamaran cruises, and the rush of kite-surfing complement the sparkling water. If by some miracle you tire of the beach, go with EEE Bikers to see the volcano from a mountain bike, or take off your shoes to amble through the Corralejo dunes.

Corralejo, Spain

8. Hanoi, Vietnam

You’ll find it hard to believe how affordable an excursion to the Vietnamese capital is. Experience the charm of a walk through the Old Quarter. Learn from an array of diverse museums: fine arts, ethnology, women’s history. Water-gaze at the Lake of the Restored Sword, take a moment to reflect in Hang Boc temple, or meander back through time at Ho Chi Minh’s residence.

Hanoi, Vietnam

7. Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo has much to offer in its prestigious Asian cuisine, unique parks, and young energy. First, see everything at once from the Mt. Okura observatory. Then hit the Olympic-famous slopes of the Sapporo International Ski Place. Stroll though the Sapporo Artpark, where avant-garde aesthetics are blended into the purity of nature, or opt for the flowery fields of Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park. Great for families and foodies alike.

Sapporo, Japan

6. Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes

The Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef is one of the most iconic diving locales ever. Post-dive, spend the latter parts of your day from a golf cart, exploring the jungle ruins of the Marco Gonzalez Maya site, perusing the largest collection of Belizean art at The Gallery of San Pedro, Ltd., and getting high on the Toucan Jumper Bungee Trampoline while the sun sets behind the palm trees.

Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes

5. Cusco, Peru

No place in the world boasts a more impressive set of ancient Incan ruins than Macchu Piccu, and with its peak in the clouds, the mountain is unparalleled in grandeur. Scenic railroads like the environmentally-geared Vistadome or PeruRail’s more traditional Hiram Bingham train are the perfect way to take in the countryside. Then spend an evening in Cusco’s heart, the Plaza de Arms – shopping, restaurants, and people-watching abound.

Cusco, Peru

4. Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem holds appeal for Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, as well as anyone with a proclivity for the historic. Put a prayer in the Wailing Wall, take in the view from the Mount of Olives, and wander through the Garden of Gethsemane. Biblical history isn’t all Jerusalem holds though: the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial is the world’s leading Holocaust museum, and the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens provide a lush contract to an otherwise beige city.

Jerusalem, Israel

3. Kathmandu, Nepal

Many sites in Kathmandu are attractions for the spiritually inquisitive – between the crisp mountain air, the architectural intricacies of the temples, and the mystic Buddhist history, Kathmandu is a mecca for anyone seeking peace and Zen. The Himalayas don’t only offer enlightenment though – hiking, camping, and even paragliding are for folks of any spiritual walk.

Kathmandu, Nepal

2. La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

Boasting the country’s most active volcano, beautiful waterfalls, and natural hot springs, La Fortuna de San Carlos is next to Eden. With lodging prices through the floor and the accessibility of exotic flora and fauna, this city isn’t to be missed. The best way to experience the canopy of the rainforest is by horseback tour –the sketchier your guide, the better. Sometimes the horses aren’t as tame as you’d think.

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

1. Havana, Cuba

Smoke the most famous cigars of all time. Feel the sensuality of the Rumba loosen your hips. Tour the gritty historicity of a legendary revolution and the literary haunts of Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. Local music, adamant baseball, gourmet chocolate, legendary sport-fishing…with the shadow of the Castro family paled, Cuba looks more appealing, and the tropical climate sure doesn’t hurt the draw.

Kamira / Shutterstock.com
Kamira / Shutterstock.com