Do you have a passport? Most Americans unfortunately do not; only about 33% of Americans have their passport.
If you’re thinking about being adventurous this summer, with the desire of going somewhere other than Six Flags, here are five best vacation spots that might give you some ideas.
If anything, it will hopefully encourage you to go somewhere you normally wouldn’t consider. Maybe you’re concerned about money, like many of us our these days, but there are numerous things you can do to save money and still go to one of these best vacation spots.
The longer you put off going to one of these best vacation spots, the more the idea becomes a dream, rather than a possibility. Go ahead, max out that credit card! You only live once. Here are 5 of the best vacation spots that I personally went on and now it’s time for you to put that passport to good use!
The Best Vacation Spots #1: San Pedro, Belize
To get to the town of San Pedro [from the mainland] you have to take a $50 charter flight––It’s not a bad flight, considering the scenery (see aerial photo below.)
Ambergris Caye is a 25-mile long island located off the coast of Belize–a small, Central American country that no one ever goes to. A bit of an exaggeration, but compared to Cancun, or Cabo San Lucas; no one ever goes, but that’s a good thing.
Located near Ambergris Caye is the Great Blue Hole, if you’re a certified diver don’t even think twice about going. Along with the pristine beaches amazing scuba diving locations, there are multitudes of companies in Ambergris Caye that offer day trips that take you cave exploring, diving, exploring the rainforest and others.
If your staying on Ambergris Caye, you can do some exploring yourself and see plenty of wildlife, just watch out for crocodiles. I ran into a few while I was there and the reptiles in Central America tend to be much bigger than the ones we have back home.
If you’d rather skip out on the crocodiles, most of the hotels/resorts on Ambergris Caye offer the free use of kayaks and snorkel gear.
Which you can use to paddle a short distance offshore and snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef.
The reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef. You might not run into any crocs, but keep an eye on the fishies around you, one of them might be hungry.
CoCo Beach Resort (pictured above) is rated #4 on the island and has great rates, but its not exactly a “resort,” more like a nice hotel because you have to prepare all your meals, but the rooms do come with over-sized kitchens. The hotel staff will go grocery shopping for you, but not out of the kindness of their heart, so be prepared to pay up… a complete waste of money if you ask me.
Part of the experience is exploring the village and grocery shopping in foreign countries always proves to be entertaining. Another great thing about Belize is the fact that the tap water is potable, meaning you can drink it without gettin’ squirty.
Surrounding those houses are kids, lots of kids, which is when the candy/snacks would come in handy. By bringing them some treats, your making their day and they always seem to be extremely grateful, even if they only get a pack of gum.
But be prepared because it can be rather depressing. You will also most likely be asked, by the young locals, if you’d like to purchase illegal items (I was offered marijuana), but I strongly advise against getting involved with that.
For those interested in the nightlife, there is a club on the island (pictured), but I wouldn’t recommend going in…you might not come out. I highly recommend that you visit Belize, it just might become one of your best vacation spots, but either way you won’t regret it; you’ll just regret having to leave.
The Best Vacation Spots #2: Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
When you think of Germany, you probably picture Germans running around wearing lederhosen, clutching a German beer and snacking on some streusel, but that is sadly a very wrong stereotype. If you go to some parts of Bavaria, you’ll most likely see something similar to that stereotype.
Because it’s considered the bicycle capital of the world, you can be sure to find the city streets covered in bicycles. In Germany, it’s not uncommon for people to ride their bike to work…even if they’re 50-years-old and it’s snowing.
One of the great things about Muenster, is the fact that there isn’t a lot of tourism and I’d be surprised if you ran into a fellow American while you were there.
When I spent over two months there, I only ran into two Americans, which is a good thing, because that means Muenster isn’t a very touristy place.
The good thing about there not being a lot of tourists, is that you get to experience ‘real’ Germany and the German culture, not some fake, touristy crap. I might just be biased, but this country never fails at being one of the best vacation spots.
Some of the best things to do while in Muenster:
The Best Vacation Spots #3: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mexico never fails to amaze with its spectacular beaches. Just be careful and watch out for kidnappers. Unfortunately, Mexico hasn’t exactly received much positive publicity in the past few years.
This has drastically impacted its tourism industry and best vacation ranking, but that shouldn’t stop you from going. You most likely won’t be kidnapped. Crimes, such as kidnappings, are nothing new to Latin America and, if you’re smart about it, you can avoid both being kidnapped and loss of property.
Usually, if you stay at a large, all-inclusive resort (the best deal for your $$) there is plenty of protection and, if you choose a resort that is directly on the beach, there is no need to leave the property. The Grand Riviera Princess Resort Beautiful place, but I don’t recommend staying here (see below).
There are hundreds of hotels and resorts in Xaman Ha (near Playa del Carmen), which gives you an abundance of options when deciding on where to stay and the resort above should not be one of them.
The resort experienced a natural gas explosion last year, killing 7 and severely damaging the resort’s main lobby and platinum suites.
With Mexico’s bad publicity, the current recession and a fatal explosion; the Princess resort has suffered greatly, causing a disruption in the quality of service and overall satisfaction of its guests.
I’d give Orbitz another go and search for another resort, one that hasn’t recently experienced a massive gas explosion. Putting explosions and kidnappings aside, the beaches are beautiful. Hopefully, a shark attack doesn’t ruin your day.
In all seriousness, Mexico has some of the best beaches in the Northern Hemisphere for a beautiful vacation, along with unbeatable prices. When Playa del Carmen is compared to Cancun, Cozumel, or Tulum; PDC wins every time.
Mexico can be one of your best vacation experiences, but, just like any foreign country, it can also be a nightmare. Think ahead and have a plan of action, in case you’re faced with explosions, or kidnappings, or death by sharks. Always check the government’s travel warnings before you leave. Getting kidnapped doesn’t exactly set things up for a best vacation experience.
The Best Vacation Spots #4: Oakura, Taranaki, New Zealand
Mt. Egmont (pictured) stands at 8,261 feet and is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. If you’re serious about traveling, visiting the small island country of New Zealand is definitely worth the time and money needed to get to this faraway, fairy tale-like country.
The North Island’s coastal town of Oakura has all the ingredients for a perfect vacation; in a single day you can get surfing lessons, explore the beautiful countryside, or climb a mountain.
I’m sad to report that you won’t be running into any hobbits if you get the chance to go to this beautiful country. However, you can bet you’ll see plenty of sheep, considering that the population of sheep outnumber that of the human population.
The colloquial term for New Zealanders, and what they prefer to be labeled as, are “Kiwis.” The citizens of Oakura are friendly and don’t mind being pestered with questions for directions, or when asked for information on local hotspots.
However, beware that they might invite you in for tea and ramble on about whales and penguins, while blasting new-age elevator music (happened twice). Kiwis love sheep so much they even have them as pets. Go surfing without my pet sheep? Don’t be Ridiculous.
If you’re lucky enough to go to New Zealand, make sure to plan on spending at least two weeks in this amazing country. It takes literally days and an enormous amount of energy getting there and anything shorter than a two-week stay would just be disappointing. This is one country you cannot possibly experience your best vacation ever over a long weekend.
The Best Vacation Spots #5: New York City
A vacation list wouldn’t be complete without including one of the world’s most famous cities and New York City always has something to offer.
If you’re an American, visiting New York should be high on your best vacation list, no other city is like it and you’ll be missing out if you decide not to have a taste of this apple.
Sure the city is loud, smelly and over-stuffed with people, but its an experience that is entertaining, enjoyable and easily on of the best vacation destinations in the entire world.
Unless you’re a farmer from Nebraska, then you’d probably end up crying in the middle of Time’s Square, wishing you were planting apple trees, not tasting them. Here’s a few more photos of my New York trip:
There’s always Coney Island, if you’re a risk taker. I’d stick to the boardwalk.
To read a first-hand experience of Coney Island click, Attack of the Carney.
Time’s Square!…You won’ t ever catch actual New Yorkers here.
The John Lennon memorial, the picture was taken on the anniversary of his murder.
I wasn’t able to see Yoko Ono, but I did meet a hobo that said he was a former Beatles member and then attempted to prove it by singing. I gave him a dollar to stop.
Good luck on all of your traveling this summer, and remember; whether you’re going to Central America, Europe, or a town only a few hours away, get life insurance, just in case you don’t come back.
Getting killed in an explosion, or becoming a kidnapping victim may suck, but at least you’ll be covered. Don’t give up on your pursuit for your best vacation experience, its worth the wait. Happy traveling and don’t forget to check out the rest of shenkitup.com while you’re here!
Thanks for getting shenked today!