8 Of The Best Ways To Spend $5,000 On A Dream Trip
Over the weekend, we asked a loaded question: If you were given $5,000 for the trip of your dreams, where would you go, where would you stay, and what would you do there?
You responded by sharing your dream trips with us via email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Your creativity was astounding, your planning flawless, and your wanderlust admirable. Here are some of our favorite #5kDreamTrips from you, dear readers.
From @tanyabraaksma, via Twitter
@HuffPostTravel Uruguay – exploring Montevideo’s old town, searching out deserted beaches, and eating lots of dulce de leche #5kDreamTrip
While there, Tanya, hit up Malvin Beach and the desserts at Lo de Joaquin?
From Shary Weber, via Facebook
“My dream trip would be to go to the island of Kosrae. My hotel of choice is the Nautilus Resort, run by a wonderful couple from Australia and local staff. Diving and snorkeling are a must in these pristine waters!”
Waikato, New Zealand
From @Crazer57, via Twitter
@HuffPostTravel New Zealand, backpacking to all the Lord of the Rings filming locations, stay at the Hobbit Motel! #5kdreamtrip
Ella, you can see it all on a 14-day group tour, or hide out like a real hobbit in Waikato’s hillside Hobbit Motel.
From Courtney Brandt, via email
This dream trip would include a stay at the Summerland Hotel on Socotra, an archipelago off the coast of Yemen and one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Courtney says she’d complete research for a book and “visit all the unique flora and fauna,” like Socotra’s rare dragon blood trees.
From micheleherrmann, via Instagram
“I would explore Japan. From the city lights of Tokyo, to the springs of Hakone, to the peaks of Mount Fuji and the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.”
From @SifisoMaposa, via Twitter
#5kDreamTrip Zanzibar Island off Tanzania’s coast. StoneTown. Sauti za Busara Music Festival with visits to the spa & beach in-between 🙂
While checking out the Sauti za Busara Music Festival, which introduces visitors to genres like fusion, rumba, and afrobeat, Sifiso, check out some of the seriously serene outdoor massage patios.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
From Anna Lynn Racho, via Facebook
“I’d go to Brazil in a heartbeat with an adventurous friend of mine. watch a Spain match at FIFA World Cup ’14 (seats with the perfect view), stay at Caesar Park Rio by the beach, catch amazing sunsets, and go hang gliding in Rio.”
From cnbtine, via Instagram
“I would spend a week with my new wife hiking, touring, and otherwise enjoying the Hawaiian Islands. Ideally, we would cover most of the beaches, visit the volcanoes, and see the USS Arizona.”
9 Dreamy Trips For Under $2,500
By Beth Collins
There’s something about the stretch of time between Christmas and spring that feels positively never-ending. Days drag on, the cold weather refuses to leave, and even the most charming things about your city start to annoy you.
The cure: Get out of town. And we’re not talking a quick drive to the nearest B&B. You need a true vacation, complete with some indulgences and brag-worthy experiences.
Of course, one vacation definitely does not fit all, so we’ve rounded up our favorite getaways for 2014—and then grouped them into three categories: destinations for couples, families and friends traveling together.
Each trip offers its own unique perks—and all ring in under $2,500 (exclusive of airfare). Most important? They’re guaranteed to banish those winter blahs, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.
Beach Trip for. Families: Kaanapali Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii
Anyone who has ever traveled with kids knows that two things can take a trip from fine to fantastic: more than one room to spread out in, and a kitchen for preparing simple meals. That’s one of the many reasons why Kaanapali Beach Resort is ideal for families. Of the 11 lodging options on the property, more than half are condos or villas, giving your crew plenty of room to breathe—although with all of the activities offered at the resort, you’re not going to want to spend much time in your room.
The main attraction, of course, is Kaanapali Beach and its three miles of white sand, where you can kayak, snorkel, scuba dive, body-board and windsurf. On land, several resorts offer keiki (Hawaiian for children) programs, which let kids try their hands at cultural activities like making leis and dancing the hula. And don’t miss the atrium at the Hyatt, home to more than 21 species of birds, including Roger the macaw, who will wave and say hello to you (again and again and again). Lodging from $189; kaanapaliresort.com.
Adventure Trip for. Families: Kenai Fjords Tour, Alaska
Looking for a vacation that’s going to wow everyone in your household? Head to Alaska for the Kenai Fjords Tours Rail and Cruise getaway, which starts with a memorable ride from Anchorage to Seward on the Alaska Railroad. The base package includes an overnight at Seward Windsong Lodge, and once you settle into the cozy accommodations and see the stunning scenery, you’re probably going to want to extend your stay. Luckily, the package gives you the option to book an extra night.
Once in Seward, you can take a six-hour cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park, where the only thing cooler than the nearly 40 glaciers is the wildlife—sea otters, marmots, birds and, yes, bears. The base package for four people starts at $1,345.64 per person ($1,661.64 with an additional night in Seward);kenaifjords.com/packages/rail-cruise-overnight.
Resort Trip for. Families: Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego, Calif.
Some so-called family-friendly resorts pride themselves on making sure that parents don’t see their kids until bedtime. Others force so much together time that, by the end of the trip, families aren’t speaking to each other. Loews Coronado Bay Resort strikes the perfect balance by offering à la carte options. The Kid’s Club (ages 4 to 12), with activities like sandcastle building and scavenger hunts, is available by the hour, as well as half and full days. The teen lounge, outfitted with a PS3 and TVs, is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., so kids can come and go as they please.
But there are plenty of things families can do together, too, like playing in the outdoor pools (two are specifically reserved for families), going whale watching, taking a sailing excursion or spending the day at Silver Strand State Beach. With so many choices—and so much flexibility—the only thing your family will argue about is who’s having the most fun. From $219 per night; activities extra; loewshotels.com.
Beach Trip for. Friends: Now Jade Riviera Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico
When you only see your closest friends a few times a year (or less!), the last thing you want is to take a vacation where there’s so much vying for your attention from everyone that you barely get a chance to catch up. The solution: Book a stay at Now Jade Riviera Cancun. Yes, there are plenty of things to do—the region is known for its Mayan ruins—or you can spend the bulk of your time admiring, playing in or having a cocktail alongside the impossibly turquoise waters of the Caribbean—all activities that enhance friend time rather than detract from it.
Even better, the resort is all-inclusive, so there’s none of that awkward who-owes-how-much-to-whom business you inevitably have to deal with on getaways with friends. And while some all-inclusives end up being anything but, this one really does cover your bases, including room, meals, top-shelf spirits, water sports, bungee jumping and big-screen movies on the beach. From $235 per person, based on a double-occupancy room;nowresorts.com.
Adventure Trip for. Friends: Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah
Do you and your buddies get antsy when you sit still for more than 20 minutes? Skip the beach destinations and head to Park City. We love Canyons for a home base as much for its hard-to-beat rates as for its amenities: rooms with kitchenettes, a spa and health club, and heated pools.
If you’re planning to hit the slopes pronto—this is one of the top ski areas in the country, after all—you can text “Canyons” and your email address to 366-98 when you arrive at the airport, and you’ll get $30 off your lift ticket. For dinner, head downtown and settle in at High West Distillery & Saloon, where the hearty food will help you feel less guilty about tossing back a couple of shots of double rye or an artisanal cocktail or two. Looking for nightlife? Jupiter Bowl draws the après-ski set with 16 lanes and three pool tables. Rooms from $285; canyonsresort.com.
Quick Weekend Trip for. Friends: Palm Springs, Calif.
Time was when you heard someone say that they were traveling to Palm Springs, you could safely assume they were either over 65—or visiting someone who was. Not so anymore. Over the past several years, the desert oasis has transformed from a gathering place for the senior set to a playground for a younger, hipper crowd—a playground where you can sign up for midcentury architecture tours, shop along El Paseo (the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert”), hike miles of canyons and take a ride on the aerial tram.
There are plenty of hotels that bill themselves as prime friend destinations—like the new, 20-room Sparrows—but we like the idea of renting an entire house, particularly this midcentury gem. A five-minute drive from both the airport and downtown, the house is quintessential Palm Springs, with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the 1,800-square-foot back patio. Go for a swim in the saltwater pool, and then whip up dinner in the outdoor kitchen. When the sun sets, light the fire pit, mix some cocktails and talk the night away. House from $249 per night, airbnb.com.
Romantic European Trip for. Couples: Alegria, Provence, France
Want to hide away from the world without giving up the indulgences that make a vacation special? Head to Aups, a tiny Provencal village in the foothills of the Alps with narrow cobblestone streets and an outdoor market that will make you feel like you’re living in an impossibly adorable movie set. And speaking of that market . in addition to being known for its large supply of black truffles, Aups is also home to outstanding olive oil, goat cheese, honey and wine.
Bring your spoils back to Alegria, a boutique guesthouse a few minutes’ walk from the center of town, and set up a picnic under one of the many olive trees that dot the property. And once you’ve had your fill of lounging by the pool and playing a game of pétanque while sipping pastis, talk to the owners about arranging a one-of-a-kind local activity, like pressing your own extra-virgin olive oil or truffle hunting. Rooms from $189;alegria.tk.
Wine Country Trip for. Couples: The Vines of Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
There’s a time to skimp on vacation, and then there’s a time to splurge. When you and your partner are ready to go for it, book a few nights at the Vines Resort & Spa in the heart of Argentina’s wine country. The rooms aren’t exactly budget, but there are so many complimentary things to do once you’re there—gratis perks include mountain bikes, a climbing wall and a Bocce ball court—that you’ll barely touch your wallet during your stay. Another nice bonus: Breakfast is delivered directly to your room each morning.
And then there’s the setting. The 22 villas have floor-to-ceiling windows and private patios that are ideal for kicking back with a glass of rich Malbec and taking in the view of Mendoza’s vineyards stretching from the property to the base of the Andes Mountains. (Hint: The sunsets are incredible, so time your relaxation session accordingly.) One-bedroom villas from $560; vinesofmendoza.com.
Quick Weekend Trip for. Couples: Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley, Calif.
Sure, Napa is teeming with semi-budget B&Bs, but as a couple that needs a truly private getaway, do you really want to do the whole good-morning-how-was-your-night drill with overattentive hosts? Our favorite splurge-worthy alternative option for a long weekend: Auberge du Soleil. In 1981, long before chain hotels and opportunists realized what a goldmine Napa Valley would turn out to be, a Frenchman named Claude Rouas opened a little bistro that was as unassuming as it was outstanding. The modest endeavor grew, becoming one of the premier places to stay in Napa, complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa.From Alaskan fjords to Argentinian wine country, these trips for couples, friends and families will banish the winter blahs. ]]>