American Airlines Group Inc. scrubbed over 1,800 flights over the weekend, the latest in a series of cancellations to disrupt travelers’ plans, as the industry struggles to steady itself a year and a half into the pandemic.
Wind gusts late last week triggered American’s problems, slowing arrival rates at the airline’s busy Dallas-Fort Worth hub, Chief Operating Officer David Seymour told employees in a memo Saturday. The cancellations snowballed, as pilots and flight attendants weren’t in the right places for flights.
More people are being vaccinated everyday and travel is already top of mind. Suddenly, the whole world feels in reach again, even if travel restrictions haven’t quite been lifted yet.
Most travel experts expect travel to re-open incrementally rather than all at once. We’ll see some countries loosening restrictions early on and others late to follow. At your destination, attractions and local protocols will change in phases, too. Remember, even if you’re vaccinated, not everyone else will be when you arrive at your destination.
Some travelers already know exactly where they want to go: canceled trips from earlier that have been rebooked or bucket list trips that seem more urgent after witnessing a global health crisis. For others, it might be more nebulous. Cabin fever might be constant but the details a bit fuzzy.
For anyone who’s having trouble narrowing down where to go, we’re sorry. Our list of fifty spectacular ideas might make it harder. Every single destination on this list is worth visiting—whether now or in the future—and is probably going to add more places to your wishlist. As they say…sorry, not sorry.
You’ll find one stunning landscape after another in the mostly rural Alentejo province of Portugal. With soft hills and calm-inducing sunsets, you’ll find an easy-going culture and not a lot of stress (exactly what you need after the year we’ve had).
Take things in slowly by cycling past beaches, lighthouses and fishing villages—or head inland for wineries, castles and farmers’ markets. Rent bikes in Évora and design your own route or book a complete package to have luggage transfers and accommodations taken care of for you.
Sitting along the Mediterranean, Algeria offers incredible Roman ruins without any of the crowds. As if that’s not enough, you can also head into the Sahara Desert or Hoggar Mountains to add a dose of nature to your adventure.
Visas are required for entry, but a little paperwork is worth it for access to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and heart-warming hospitality.
Known as the “aurora borealis city”, Alta offers conditions just right for northern lights hunting. Activity is high and, unlike other Scandinavian destinations, it offers a disproportionate number of clear nights for viewing. There are even “arctic dome” hotels (high-end glamping tents with transparent walls) that are friendlier on your waller than glass igloos in other locales.
When you’re this far north, aurora season is longer than you might expect, stretching from September through March. Still, a winter visit is recommended so you can enjoy dog-sledding, snowshoeing and reindeer sleigh rides while you’re there.
There’s no denying that Antigua, Guatemala is a touristy destination but its annual Semana Santa (Holy Week, or the week leading up to Easter) celebrations are worth the trip. Every year, locals create gorgeous “carpets” on the street out of colored sawdust, flowers and other materials. These intricate works of art are only viewable for a few hours before religious processions parade over them, destroying them as they go. While you’ll have missed this week in 2021, it’s already time to start planning travel for early 2022!
While this tradition is worth scheduling your trip around, Antigua is lovely the rest of the year, too. The colonial town has beautiful churches to visit, great restaurants and volcanoes to tour right outside town.
Purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to take advantage of early purchase benefits, such as medical coverage for pre-existing conditions and increased coverage limits.
Natural beauty abounds in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where you’ll find the Ozark Mountains. This is one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and other activities.
What sets this area apart, though, is how many activities there are even if physical pursuits aren’t your strong point. Scenic drives are abundant and head past rivers and waterfalls. You may even see elk. In town, the historic district of Eureka Springs is practically an artisan village and the Great Passion Play is scheduled to resume this spring.
Assam is closer to the Himalayas than the Taj Mahal, which keeps this part of India decidedly off-the-beaten-track. Ecotourism is the main reason to visit, with wild animals a surprising draw. You can search for an Indian one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park or explore evergreen forest at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.
The same fertile ground that makes it a good home for wildlife also makes the region ideal for agriculture. Add a tea plantation to your stay. The estates are beautiful and can be a great way to enjoy some of the smaller villages in northeast India.
One thing’s for sure: no one in the West learns about Ayutthaya in history class, despite the fact that it was the largest city in the world in 1700. Most of today’s visitors go to see earlier history, though. The ruins at Ayutthaya Historical Park date back to 1350. The park is expansive and from a different period and culture than renowned Angkor Wat, so don’t write it off before you go.
Trains from Bangkok leave frequently to make the 90-minute trip to Ayutthaya. In fact, most visitors arrive on a day trip but staying the night is even better. You’ll get to see the temples in early morning and late afternoon, when they’re at their quietest. Sunset in particular is beautiful and a great reason not to leave too early.
A lack of travel over the last year has put the spotlight on sustainable tourism as destinations reopen. One country that’s gotten this right for years is Bhutan, where hiring a guide is mandatory to ensure that travelers treat locals, communities and natural or cultural sights with respect. They strive to keep tourism “high yield, low impact.”
While having a guide is good for the Bhutanese, it’s also good for the traveler. Your guide will take care of logistical arrangements which is especially important in a world where travel restrictions are constantly changing. They’ll also tell you stories, add context and help you connect with locals along the way for a more meaningful experience.
Banksy fans may already be aware of what a great destination Bristol is—the street art is phenomenal—but it’s time for the rest of the world to catch on. Due west from London, Bristol is a mid-sized city with a spirited identity and lively atmosphere.
Narrowing down what to do can be difficult, but visitors should include touring Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the flagship M Shed museum to start. Netflix Bridgerton fans can day-trip to Bath fifteen minutes away to see filming sites in person.
British Virgin Islands
Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the BVI in 2017, leaving devastating damage in its path that took years to recover. Finally, the British Virgin Islands have rebuilt and reopened with enough infrastructure available that tourists can return and expect most of their favorites to be open.
Choosing which island to stay on can feel overwhelming, but there’s no bad choice. Pick one and stop stressing: You can visit others via day trip thanks to ferries and charter boats. If you truly can’t decide, you can always book a catamaran to sleep on instead of a resort so that your “hotel” room moves with you.
After numerous delays, this is finally the year the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open. The new museum will sit just outside the infamous Pyramids of Giza and, unlike the former Egyptian Museum downtown, it will be a gorgeous, modern look at Egypt’s past.
With brand new exhibits and never-seen-before artifacts from recent discoveries in Saqqara and Luxor, this museum will be worth the trip even if you’ve previously visited Egypt. Like all world-class museums, expect to spend a full day (or more) taking in all the exhibits.
Canadian High Arctic
Antarctica tends to get all the attention, but you’ll enjoy many of the same facets if you head to the other pole: an exclusive expedition to untouched nature, breathtaking scenery and astounding wildlife. The Canadian High Arctic also provides a glimpse into Inuit culture and history.
Opting for the Arctic can also be much more accessible. Group packages often meet in Toronto instead of Patagonia so flying is easy. On cruises, seasickness is less of a factor and itineraries start at only a week for travelers pressed for time. Prices are lower, too, despite offering an unforgettable experience.
If you’re looking for a European getaway but aren’t quite ready to assimilate into city life yet, the Canary Islands can be your perfect solution. Vacation rentals here are common (and affordable) so you have a little extra space when you want privacy. Many have beach access, or even private pools so you can take advantage of the climate.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canaries, making it the obvious choice if you intend to stay awhile. The landscape varies from coastline to volcano to forest, so you’ll never be bored, and there’s everything from party cities to small villages to explore. Pro tip: even if your rental has a kitchen, allow plenty of flexibility to stop in bodegas and tapas bars, too. The Canaries have a cuisine of their own separate from Spain, of which it is a province. Be prepared to savor octopus in every possible permutation imaginable.
Few places manage to blend nature and history in equal proportions but Cappadocia excels. Best known for its moon-like scenery with rock formations referred to as “fairy chimneys”, this part of central Turkey is also home to underground cities that were built for protection during the Arab-Byzantine Wars.
Day tours introduce you to the fascinating history and allow you to explore churches built directly into rocks, some with well-preserved frescoes inside. Hikes of all lengths and difficulties are available for more active travelers while cave hotels, hot air balloon rides and hammams round out your visit.
Colchagua Valley, Chile
One of the four wine regions near the capital city of Santiago, Colchagua Valley is one of the most loved. The terroir is exceptional which is why there are so many award-winning reds, with classic favorites like cabernet sauvignon and merlot as well as carménère, Chile’s flagship varietal.
What moves the Colchagua to the top of the travel list is that it offers so much more than wine alone. In-between tastings, you can enjoy fine dining, luxury hotels and spectacular vistas. At 2.5 hours outside of Santiago, the light pollution is also nearly nonexistent, making it great for stargazing and other astronomical tourism at the Cerro Chamán Observatory.
Because the National Museum of Qatar opened in 2019 and the country closed its borders for the pandemic, most travelers haven’t had the chance to visit this spectacular museum yet. It tells the surprisingly rich story of Qatar’s history and culture and makes a natural complement to the Museum of Islamic Art, also in Doha.
Since the country of Qatar is relatively small—approximately the size of Connecticut—you’re not likely to fly halfway around the world for a visit. Luckily, Qatar Airways makes it easy to include a one- to four-night stopover in your flight itinerary. Since they fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide, it’s an easy way to break up your journey.
The nature island of Dominica isn’t like other Caribbean islands. A trip here is less about beaches and resorts (though they have those) and more about exploring the extensive natural park system. You’ll find volcanoes, forests, freshwater lakes, geothermal activity and waterfalls, with plenty of hikes to enjoy them thoroughly.
Dominica also makes it easy to learn more about the cultural heritage than islands where you stay within resort confines. Head to the Kalinago Barana Autê to get insight on Kalinago traditions from hundreds of years ago. The cultural center shares arts, dancing and demonstrations in a respectful, informative way.
Eastern Shore, Virginia
You might already be familiar with Chincoteague, VA where you’ll find wild ponies and NASA’s Wallops Island. You may not know that’s the northern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the entire region is worth a visit. Along with Chincoteague, the area is home to towns Onancock, Wachapreague and Cape Charles, among others.
Regardless of where you choose to stay, traveling up and down the peninsula will give you opportunities to explore barrier islands, tour a family-run winery and swim the warm, calm waters of Chesapeake Bay. Be sure to sample plenty of local oysters, too (yes, they taste different based on where they were harvested along the shore).
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Honestly, there’s never a bad time to go to the Galapagos but this time might be better than average. With international tourism still somewhat slow, not all cruises are operating due to a lack of passengers. If your voyage is scheduled and confirmed, you’ll have fewer ships to share waters with (and possibly fewer passengers onboard, too).
If all of that sounds a little too unpredictable for you, skip the cruise and book a land-based trip instead. You’ll have to prioritize a handful of islands that best fit your interests. For example, the tortoise breeding center is on Santa Cruz Island but there’s great snorkeling off San Cristobal at Kicker Rock.
French Canada is so much more than Montreal and Québec City so make this the year you get out of the city and into the province. Unlike its metropolitan neighbors, the Gaspé Peninsula offers small towns, strong heritage and several wilderness areas. The best way to visit is by road trip, which will allow you to stop in villages and national parks along the way.
This region also has incredible cuisine. Expect a blend of classic French with a uniquely Canadian twist, like a bouillabaisse gaspésienne made from local seafood or artisanal chocolate with local balsam fir. Hearty dishes, to keep you warm in cold winters, are also prevalent here.
As it is, Poland usually isn’t one of the first places that Americans visit in Europe and Gdańsk is even less on a traveler’s agenda. What a shame that is, since this northern city along the Baltic manages to hit the trifecta of being beautiful, interesting and affordable. New flights from the U.S. to Poland even make it easier to reach.
In Gdańsk, travelers should visit the European Solidarity Center to learn about Polish Communist history. The modern museum includes an audio guide to further explain the solidarity movement. Another new and worthwhile stop is the Museum of the Second World War, which explains another significant piece of Poland’s history.
West Africa can feel intimidating, even for frequent travelers, but Ghana has a stable government and friendly, welcoming locals. Fly into Accra (nonstop from New York JFK) and dive in. Bustling markets, Atlantic beaches and nightlife can keep you busy for days before you head to Ghana’s rainforest or savannah safaris.
No trip to Ghana would be complete without a visit to the Cape Coast and acknowledgment of its position as a major hub in the slave trade. Learning about this part of history shows how far we’ve come as a world—and reminds us how far we still have to go.
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Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The new Museum of Underwater Art can be found down under…literally. A series of sculptures has been installed underwater off the coast of Townsville, Australia, giving scuba divers yet another reason to plan a visit to this classic favorite destination.
Although it’s possible to snorkel at the “Coral Greenhouse” exhibit in John Brewer Reef, diving will give you a closer look. Take time now, before Australia’s borders are open anyway, to get certified and/or brush up on your skills.
Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country but ironically it’s mostly untouched by tourism. Hop on a nonstop flight—it’s about four hours from Miami or six from New York—and then strap on an adventure mindset. It’s easy to arrive and communicate, but it’s distinctly off-the-beaten-path. Don’t expect luxury or a seamless transition.
Travelers who put in the effort will be rewarded with some of the most impressive nature you’ll ever see. Kaieteur Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world and there are striking mountainous landscapes as well. Wildlife-watching is also a draw, with possible sightings including giant river otters, giant anteaters or potentially even jaguars.
Every winter, there are dirt cheap airfares from the U.S. to China and now you have a reason to go: Harbin’s International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest and most elaborate in the world. A modified version was held in 2021, so it’s relatively safe to expect it’ll occur again in 2022.
Although this festival is amazing every year, the timing of next year’s event lines up well to combine with a trip to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an easy two-hour flight south.
Foodies should consider Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you’re practically in Italy; in fact, there’s a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You’ll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.
This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite).
Head to the province of Jujuy in Argentina’s Andes mountains to see a side of the country most people have never heard of. The scenery is mind-blowing, with a unique combination of mountains and desert. Colorful peaks, like the Cerro de Siete Colores in Purmamarca and Serranía de Hornocal in Humahuaca, pop like rainbows under the right lighting conditions.
It’s not just about the scenery and the outdoors, though. The Pucará de Tilcara is a set of pre-Incan fortifications, some of which have been rebuilt. Go to tour the ruins and learn more about the Omaguaca who lived here during the twelfth century.
For such a small country, Luxembourg packs a big punch. You can drive from top to bottom in just over an hour, but in-between you’ll see medieval castles, untouched nature and historic tunnels. Stay in Luxembourg City if you want to see the old and new juxtaposed or head to fairytale Vianden if you prefer a smaller town.
Believe it or not, Luxembourg has its own airport with flights to numerous European cities. However, since it borders Belgium, France and Germany, it can be equally easy to drive in as part of a road trip. Highways and other infrastructure make it easy to visit on your own.
Choosing a country for safari can be overwhelming, especially since almost everywhere is likely to be amazing. What makes Kenya stand out is the ability to book a trip at a more reasonable cost. Generally speaking, Kenya’s park fees are a bit lower than its neighbors and most parks have nearby budget lodges for travelers who want something in-between outright camping and a luxury stay.
Don’t think you’re skimping on animal sightings, though. Although the Serengeti in Tanzania is best known for the annual “great migration,” the exact same herds cross the border into Kenya at the Masai Mara National Reserve every summer.
Move over, Bali. Lombok is where you should head if you want tropical relaxation without being overrun by tourists and global brands. You’ll find surf breaks, a looming volcano, waterfalls, beaches and temples.
Right now, flights to Lombok are only from a handful of international gateways, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (most people fly or ferry in from elsewhere in Indonesia). Because of that, Lombok is relatively untouristed…for now.
Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
Botswana’s zebra migration isn’t well-known, perhaps because it was hindered for decades by cattle fencing that previously cut off migration routes. Now, the fences have been removed and 25,000 or more zebras migrate each year to take advantage of lush, green feeding grounds.
Booking a trip to see this spectacular sight is best done with a knowledgeable safari agent. Since the zebras are on the move, you’ll need an expert to tell you where to go based on your exact timing. Be aware the migration is most dramatic during the low (rainy) season, so choosing navigable routes and finding open lodges is also a consideration.
The Greek isles will always be beloved by travelers but do yourself a favor and skip the most-heavily visited islands this year. Milos, while certainly not “undiscovered,” is less crowded than other islands and cruise ships rarely stop here.
Milos is best known for the stark white Sarakiniko Beach but the Catacombs of Milos and Kleftiko Caves are equally worthwhile. And, like all Greek isles, don’t underestimate how much time you’ll want for swimming, sunbathing, wining, dining and chasing the sunset.
With two national parks in and around Moab, this city deserves to be on a travel list every year. This year, it’s especially inviting since there’s a whole new way to arrive. The Rocky Mountaineer train launches this year, taking travelers on a scenic journey from Denver to Moab or vice versa.
The luxury journey includes views of places you can’t see from the road, including Ruby Canyon on the way toward Arches National Park. Once in Moab, you’ll want to spend a few days taking in the red rock landscape the area is known for as well as scenic rivers, forests and mountains nearby.
The Oruro Carnival is a party like no other. Held each winter, the festival blends Catholic rituals with local Indian rituals for an extravagant, colorful festival. The parades are exceptionally long, lasting up to twenty hours, and feature folk dancing, music and elaborate costumes like nowhere else in the world.
Outside of Carnival festivities, Oruro is a small, sleepy town without a lot of tourist attractions. However, it pairs perfectly with Sajama National Park outside town, where you’ll find the snow-capped Sajama Peak, geysers, hot springs and prehistoric rock paintings.
There are 365 churches in Puebla, one for each day of the year. There are also several art museums, a dozen restaurants that claim to have the best mole and one stunning view of a smoking volcano in the distance. Puebla is giving Mexico City a run for its money and is only two hours away.
The university town of Cholula, about 12km away, is nearly always combined with Puebla and for good reason. The Great Pyramid here is a huge draw for travelers and is worth climbing to the top as well as touring the underground tunnels. It’s also excellent for dining and nightlife, with more trendy options than you’ll find in Puebla itself. For an authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration, look no further. Puebla is the only city in Mexico that actually celebrates the holiday.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If being stuck in your own home for a year has you antsy, head straight to New Zealand’s adventure capital. Queenstown offers everything from bungee jumping to riverboarding to satiate your need for adrenaline.
Once you’ve checked a few activities off your bucket list, you can enjoy Queenstown’s gentler pursuits. This small city on the South Island is also great for scenic lake cruises, fly fishing, golfing and more. The Kiwi Birdlife Park will let you get up close and personal to New Zealand’s most famous bird.
Go ahead, pull out a map. Saipan is in the Northern Mariana Islands, in a part of the Pacific often forgotten about. It was an important World War II battle site and travelers can easily visit the exact location of historical events with a rental car. The American Memorial Park Visitor Center, a National Park Service site, can provide context and directions.
As you’d expect from an island, there are also glorious beaches and amazing diving, including one site with a sunken WWII plane wreck.
If you haven’t been to Colombia’s coffee country yet, it’s time to consider a visit to Salento. This mountain town makes a convenient base for side trips to organic coffee plantations, the Cocora Valley (known for its iconic wax palms) and Los Nevados National Park.
Within town, you’ll want to walk the colorful Calle Real and visit the Plaza de Bolivar Salento, which are great excuses to constantly pull out your camera. Outside of town, most tours focus on outdoor adventures: hiking or multi-day treks, mountain biking, paragliding and horseback riding.
Samoa gets very little tourism compared to other parts of Polynesia. Perhaps because of that, their culture shines brightly. The Fa’a Samoa (or Samoan Way) isn’t something fake or exaggerated for tourists. As a visitor, you will be welcome to observe and participate in local customs.
This is the type of destination where you should go out of your way to support local businesses. Choose small restaurants, personalized tours and family-run hotels and avoid international chains. The beaches and tropical paradise might entice you to Samoa, but the warm hospitality will make you long to return.
Easily accessible from Puerto Vallarta’s airport (PVR), Sayulita feels a world apart from this tourist center. Like Tulum was before Instagram discovered it, Sayulita has the tourist amenities and services that vacationers want without losing its Mexican identity entirely. Enjoy it responsibly so that visitors in years to come will be able to enjoy it as well.
While surfing is what first brought tourism to Sayulita, there’s also fishing, snorkeling and shopping for local Huichol art. If you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll still find virgin forest and hidden beaches or maybe even the city’s best street tacos.
Australia did a great job of keeping life normal so when they finally reopen their borders to international visitors, you can guess that there will be plenty to do. While there are plenty of must-see sights for first-timers, the real draw to Sydney is the events and festivals you’ll find. There’s always something to do.
One of the city’s best annual events is Vivid Sydney, which features outdoor light installations and projections across the city for an immersive experience. Music and other performances encourage you to explore beyond Sydney’s main landmarks and discover a new neighborhood to return to in the future.
Taipei is a foodie’s dream. There are Michelin-star restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries and street food 24 hours a day, each with delicious delicacies to offer. Start your day with pineapple cakes and oolong tea and work your way toward beef noodle soup and black pepper buns. Or head into one of the shrimping bars on Zhìshàn Road, where you literally catch your own dinner.
Of course, you have to do something other than just eat, and Taipei excels at that, too. Hit up the city museums and temples, do some shopping or day trip to Beitou for hot springs and hiking.
New routes and increased frequencies to Montrose airport have made Telluride more accessible than ever before. This small town in western Colorado has gorgeous mountain scenery with a wide assortment of active pursuits but a new twist compared to resort towns like Vail or Aspen that you may have been to before.
The best part about Telluride is that it’s lovely in both winter and summer. Choose to ski with shorter lift lines and varied terrain at Telluride Ski Resort. In summer, activities include favorites like hiking and off-roading. Plus, in either case, you’ll find great dining and cocktail options to round out your trip.
Tufi, Papua New Guinea
Realistically, anyone who goes all the way to Papua New Guinea will likely head to multiple areas but Tufi should be one of them. The pristine town sits next to a fjord (here, fjords are referred to as rias and were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions).
The scenery is only the beginning. You could easily fill a whole trip with diving alone with world-class sites and tremendous visibility. In addition to being known for macro diving, there are also rare white hammerhead sharks, wrecks and schooling barracuda.
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East Africa is best known as a safari destination, but Uganda bucks the trend. Sure, you can see incredible wildlife here (and absolutely should) but it offers a more well-rounded travel experience. The country has stunning crater lakes, wild whitewater rafting and multi-day treks in the Rwenzori Mountains.
Among the places you shouldn’t miss on your first visit are Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park, one of the most powerful cascades in the world.
With a mild climate, Uruguay makes for a year-round destination with more variety than you could possibly fit in a week. The coastline tends to get the most attention, and with Punta del Este’s fabulous beaches and epic nightlife, it’s no wonder that’s where many travelers start.
Other highlights of the country include picturesque Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its many historic buildings and idyllic cobblestone streets. An hour away, the town of Carmelo has been up and coming for a few years now but hasn’t quite taken off. Go now, while you can still enjoy the peaceful countryside, blossoming wine scene and steakhouses galore.
Travelers who wish to explore Central Asia will find Uzbekistan to be one of the easiest -stans for independent tourism. The capital city of Tashkent’s metro system is both convenient and beautiful and high-speed rail links the city to other must-visit destinations like Samarkand and Bukhara.
Mosques and mausoleums dazzle with intricate designs, making the architecture a draw as much as its Silk Road history and culture. Slightly off the standard tourist trail, the Western Tien Shan mountains are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and skiing. On the other side of the country, the nearly-dry Aral Sea hosts a bewildering graveyard of former cargo ships.
Valdez offers an incredible microcosm of all that Alaska has to offer: glaciers, fjord cruises, salmon and halibut fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and wildlife-watching. It’s also a photographer’s dream. The drive-in on the Richardson Highway will leave you gaping at the scenery.
Since this small city isn’t on most first-timers’ radar, it’s not terribly busy even in peak season, but services are limited and you’ll need to make reservations in advance for hotels and tours. When you do, allow some flexibility for bad weather. Valdez gets a lot of rain (and snow), which keeps waterfalls looking spectacular all year long.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Waiheke Island is close enough to Auckland to make it a day trip but smart travelers will allow more time. There are over two dozen vineyards on this island, all of which are worth sampling. Olives are also grown here, thanks to hot summers, and olive oil tasting is an unexpected addition to your New Zealand experience.
When you need a break from your culinary experiences, Waiheke Island is also a terrific destination for biking or bushwalking. You can slow down entirely by heading to one of the island’s beaches, too. The coast on the north side of the island is typically best for white sand and swimmable waters.
Walt Disney World, Florida
Disney’s 50th-anniversary festivities begin October 1, 2021 and are expected to last 18 months, giving you plenty of time to join the party. Specific celebrations haven’t been announced yet, but you can expect magical entertainment, specially-themed souvenirs and treats and new park decor.
Waiting until 2022 for the initial crowds to lessen may actually be in your favor, especially since some favorite festivities like fireworks and parades are currently paused. Holding out for smaller crowds may also speed up your wait time on new rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.
Every week, we get a little closer to traveling again. More people get vaccinated every day and Covid-19 cases are thankfully dropping. As these trends continue, the ability to travel will become more of a reality and these destinations will be waiting. Which one you choose for your first post-pandemic trip…well, that’s up to you.
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Demonstrations have been staged in cities across Morocco against a coronavirus vaccine passport required to access indoor activities and travel. Proof of vaccination has been mandatory since Oct. 21 for all Moroccans to enter their place of work and restaurants and for domestic and international air travel. The North African kingdom’s vaccination rate is the highest in the continent, with more than 58% of its 36 million people fully inoculated. But a vocal minority is opposed. Protests were held Sunday in the capital of Rabat, Casablanca, Tangiers in the north and Agadir in the south.
DEKALB, Ill. –Nick Markanich (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) scored in the 84th minute, off an assist from his twin brother Anthony Markanich (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) to lift the 16th-ranked Northern Illinois University men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory 19th-ranked Akron on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 30) at the NIU Soccer Complex, clinching the Mid-American Conference regular season championship for the Huskies.
Pepe Martinez (Sant antoni de vilamajor, Spain/Western Michigan) opened the scoring in the first half, the Zips equalized in the 64th minute before the Markanich brothers combined to give NIU its first MAC regular season crown since 2006.
“It is a tremendous accomplishment for our team, for our program and for the athletic department to win this one,” said NIU head coach Ryan Swan. “I’m really proud of the guys, they have been bought in all year, it comes to a head today, but throughout the season this was the goal, to win the conference regular season championship and push the season on as long as we can.
“I thought it was a great day, it was a really good game of soccer, two nationally-ranked teams and we are delighted to have come out on top.”
NIU came out on the front-foot from the opening kickoff and Enrique Banuelos (Mexico City, Mexico/Virginia) nearly opened the scoring with a volley in the eighth minute, but Akron goalkeeper Will Meyer got down to his left to tip the shot out for a Huskie corner.
Four minutes later, Meyer was whistled for handling the ball outside his box, giving the Huskies a free kick just over 18 yards from goal. Nick Markanich took the free kick, but Meyer made a good save.
NIU made the breakthrough in the 23rd minute as Martinez scored his sixth goal of the season. Martinez collected a long ball from the back just wide left of the Akron box and dribbled inside toward the top of the ‘D’ before firing a shot back across his body and inside the post, beating Meyer and sending the Huskies into a frenzy.
The Huskies were on the attack two minutes later when Nick Markanich flicked a ball over the top of an Akron defender to create space for a shot, but Meyer was able to make the save and hold on.
In the 39th minute, Banuelos hit a low cross into the run of Nick Markanich but an Akron defender did just enough to force the Huskie forward to scuff his chance wide as NIU took a 1-0 lead into the interval.
After the break, Akron had its best spell of the contest and Dyson Clapier nearly leveled the match with a shot from the corner of the box in the 55th minute. Clapier looked to chip a shot over the head of Huskie goalkeeper Martin Sanchez (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) inside the back post, but Sanchez was able to get his fingertips to it and tip it away.
The Zips were level in the 64th minute through Ryan Kingsford. A cross from the left by Diogo Pacheco found Kingsford near the top of the six and his first-time volley beat Sanchez from close range to draw Akron even.
Following the Akron goal, NIU began to reclaim a hold on the contest and Banuelos fired high in the 82nd minute and then hit a free kick wide from about 30 yards a minute later.
Nick Markanich made the NIU pressure pay off as he put NIU back in front with just over six minutes left with his 14th goal of the season. Anthony Markanich dropped a ball in behind the Akron backline and Nick Markanich latched onto it just outside the box, controlling it as he neared the penalty spot before tucking a left-footed shot just inside the post past Meyer as the Huskies, and the crowd, went berserk.
“They both look so dangerous throughout the game,” said Swan of the Markanich twins. “Anthony was getting into great spots; Nick was making great runs. I don’t think anyone will be too surprised that the conference championship was delivered on a pass from Anthony to his brother Nick, and what a composed finish from Nick. Well-deserved from those two, I thought they were excellent throughout the game.”
In the final minutes, Akron earned a corner and Sanchez rose above a crowd near the top of the six-yard box to claim it as the Huskies improved to 12-1-2, 4-0-2 in the MAC, unbeaten in their last 12 matches and clinched the conference regular season crown.
Meyer finished the contest with four saves for Akron, Sanchez made two stops for the Huskies.
NIU will close the regular season on the road on Wednesday, Nov. 3, when the Huskies travel to Portland. Kickoff against the Pilots is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT. The Huskies will then host the MAC Tournament with the semifinals scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 11. Additional details about the conference tournament will be made available soon.
According to local legend, Antelope Canyon was discovered by a young girl while tending her sheep. Regardless of how and when it was discovered, it is no doubt one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the United States. Formed by water over millions of years, reddish-brown Navajo sandstone gracefully bends and curves as it stretches through one and a half miles of slot canyons just outside of Page, Arizona.
Opened to the public in 1997, Antelope Canyon has become one of the most popular attractions in northern Arizona, attracting over one million visitors a year. And for photographers, it’s become a bucket list destination. Supposedly, professional photographer Peter Lik sold a photo of Antelope Canyon for $6.5 million. And while that story can’t be verified, it underscores the popularity of this otherworldly site and the thousands of ways it can be captured by camera.
It’s important to plan your trip to Antelope Canyon carefully, so here are eight tips to make the most of your visit.
Note: My husband and I had the chance to tour Antelope Canyon recently thanks to Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell and Ken’s Tours, but all opinions are my own.
1. Getting To Antelope Canyon
Located on Navajo Nation land, Antelope Canyon is east of Page, Arizona, just a bit south of the Utah border. The closest international airports are Las Vegas McCarran International or Phoenix Sky Harbor in Arizona — each about a 4 and 1-half hour drive to Page. Public transportation is limited in the area, so it’s recommended to have your own car or rent one at the airport.
2. Know The Difference Between Upper And Lower Antelope Canyon
There are actually two parts to Antelope Canyon; upper and lower, and each requires separate tour bookings. Be sure to consider in advance which one you’d like to see and plan accordingly.
The most famous photos come from the upper canyon, so photographers will likely choose this option. Due to the shape of this canyon — wider at the bottom like an inverted “V” — the sun often appears as beams of light jutting through the sandstone and onto the canyon floor. And it’s in the upper canyon where photography tours can be arranged. There are five approved tour companies for the upper canyon, all of which are more expensive than tours for the lower canyon.
We had the opportunity to tour lower Antelope Canyon, and while not as photographically famous, it is still spectacular. It also tends to be a bit less crowded. Here you’ll see tourists happy to snap pictures with their iPhones. It is also twice as long as the upper canyon, giving visitors plenty of time to enjoy this natural wonder.
Lower Antelope Canyon does require climbing down five flights of very steep stairs at the start of the tour. Anyone with limited mobility — or a fear of heights — may not want to select this option.
3. Book Your Tour In Advance
Since both canyons are located on the Navajo Nation land, they can only be visited with an approved tour company. There are five such companies for the upper canyon and just two for the lower. Prices range from $50 to $100 per person with discounts available for children and military members. Some upper canyon companies also offer discounts for “non-peak” times of day.
We had the opportunity to visit lower Antelope Canyon with Ken’s Tours and had a great experience. Currently, group sizes cannot exceed seven people, yet we were fortunate to just have four. For this company, it’s strongly encouraged to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the tour which gives ample time to grab a snack and browse the gift shop.
Tours to both parts of Antelope Canyon book far in advance especially during peak seasons — late spring and early fall. As soon as you’ve scheduled your travel time, be sure to make your reservations.
4. For The Best Photos, Come At The Right Time
Any photographer knows the importance of good lighting, and that certainly applies during a visit to Antelope Canyon. Each canyon has an optimal time for photos, which varies depending on the time of year. In general, mid-day (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) between the months of March and October is the best time to photograph these slots, with the shafts of light shining down from the openings above. For more specific information, contact your tour company prior to making a reservation. Our tour was at 11 a.m. and I found the light to be great using both my iPhone and digital camera.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to use a digital camera, do a bit of research prior to your trip about recommended camera settings. At the start, I was disappointed that the color of the sandstone was not accurately reflected in my photos. Our guide was able to assist me, and they improved, but I wished I had been a bit more prepared instead of scrambling to remember how my camera worked.
5. Understand How The Weather May Impact Your Tour
The canyons are located in the desert, and as a result, high heat and flash floods can be a problem. In the event of rain, the tours are canceled for everyone’s safety. But tours do continue during the summer months when it can get very hot. During the peak of summer, you may consider an early morning tour. July is the hottest month in the area, so this may not be the ideal time to visit.
6. Consider The Limitations Of This Experience
I had high expectations for my visit to lower Antelope Canyon, and they were exceeded. This really was an incredible experience that I highly recommend. However, this may not be for everyone. If you have a fear of heights, I’d recommend the upper canyon. Anyone who is claustrophobic should also proceed cautiously. At points, the chambers of both slot canyons are very narrow. Once in the canyon, there is no quick and easy exit. Also, the floors of both canyons are sand, so they are not accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, etc. You will need to be able to walk at least a half-mile for the upper canyon and over a mile for the lower canyon.
No purses or backpacks can be brought into the canyons with the exception of baby carriers. You are permitted to bring cameras, cell phones, and water. If you have questions about bringing young children, I’d suggest contacting the tour company directly before making reservations.
7. Combine This Tour With Nearby Sights
For me, just seeing Antelope Canyon would make the trip to Page, Arizona, worth it. But it would be a shame to leave the area without enjoying a few other sights. The region of northern Arizona and southern Utah is full of national and state parks and monuments that are well worth exploring.
This was my second trip to Page, so I’ve had ample opportunity to explore the area. Here are a few of the sights I’d recommend seeing before or after Antelope Canyon.
Horseshoe Bend: This famous bend in the Colorado River has become a well-recognized sight on Instagram. I recommend avoiding the crowds and coming at sunrise — the light over the desert early in the morning is great for photos.
Glen Canyon Dam: Rising 710 feet above the Colorado River, this dam provides for the water and power needs of millions of people in the West. I recommend heading to the Glen Canyon Dam Observation Point to appreciate the engineering feat of the dam along with the steep and colorful walls of the canyon.
Toadstools Trail: About 30 minutes North of Page — in Utah — is a short trail to a unique rock formation that looks like giant toadstools. At just 1.5 miles roundtrip, this pet-friendly trail is great for families.
Within 2 and 1-half hours are three national parks; Grand Canyon (South Rim), Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Consider planning a road trip through Utah and Arizona to combine these experiences.
8. Stay For A While In Page, Arizona
A 2-night stay in Page will give you the time to explore all the area has to offer. I’ve been fortunate to stay at the Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell twice and definitely recommend it. Reserve a room with a canyon view and enjoy a colorful sunset over the desert. A hot breakfast is included. Packages are available that combine the room and Antelope Canyon tour.
While I’d seen hundreds of photos of Antelope Canyon prior to our visit, it was even more beautiful in person. The varying sandstone formations and the changing light created endless surprises. I look forward to the chance to return and explore these canyons further.
The latest update of maps by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has shown that Spain is currently the safest European Union destination to travel to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the figures that have been published by ECDC, the majority of Spain’s territory is coloured green, which makes the country a safe destination for those who want to travel there during the autumn and winter breaks, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Currently, all of the following regions of Spain are placed on the green list:
Castile and Leon
Such categorisation has been made since all of the above-mentioned regions have identified less than 50 COVID-19 infection cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last couple of weeks and have had a test positivity rate of not more than four per cent.
As for the other regions, they are all placed on the orange list since they have registered slightly higher numbers of Coronavirus infection cases. Nonetheless, they still remain safe for travel.
Taking into account that almost the whole territory of Spain has managed to keep low infection rates, travel to and from the country is not discouraged, especially for those who have already been vaccinated or recovered from the virus.
However, it is highly advised that everyone checks the country’s entry rules before planning a trip in order to avoid any inconvenience.
Spain has its own categorisation of countries based on their risk, which is updated every week. Currently, the majority of EU countries/regions are part of Spain’s high-risk list, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Denmark, among others.
In line with the current rules that Spain has, travellers who reach the country are required to present a valid EU Digital COVID-19 Pass or another equivalent document.
More precisely, they need to show a vaccination certificate indicating that the holder has been immunised with one of the vaccines that Spain recognises for travel or a recovery certificate indicating that the holder has recovered from the virus during the last six months.
The United Arab Emirates is open to tourists again. However, there are requirements to enter, including testing before arrival. Semprini believes that with Dubai’s high vaccination rate, no quarantine requirements for tourists and Expo 2020 beginning, the city “will be one of the most visited destinations in wintertime in Asia,” he said. “In the last weeks, we have already noticed a 50 percent increase over 2019 in terms of bookings.”
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram did not travel with the team to Cleveland to face the Browns in Week 8, according to ESPN’s Kimberly Jones.
Ingram is out with a listed groin injury but has been the certain of most headlines throughout the week with repots he’s seeking a trade by the Nov. 2 deadline.
Ingram is reportedly upset with his lack of play time after taking the field for just 26% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps in Week 6. Head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed he did have conversations with Ingram about the matter.
Tomlin said Ingram’s absence from the Steelers’ final practice was due to his groin injury.
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