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Best Cities for Your First International Trip

The first trip is always the hardest when traveling abroad because you have no idea what to expect. That is completely understandable, traveling can be a stressful experience to many, but it gets easier. The more you travel, the more comfortable you become at experiencing new things and cultures. This list of the best places to visit on your first international trip should put you at ease, because these destinations are super tourist friendly.

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The first trip is always the hardest when traveling abroad because you have no idea what to expect. That is completely understandable, traveling can be a stressful experience to many, but it gets easier. The more you travel, the more comfortable you become at experiencing new things and cultures.

So many questions run through your mind when you are planning to travel internationally for the first time.  

Will I understand the language?

Will I like the food?

How will I get around?

Will I be safe?

These and many more questions may be running through your mind right now, but I’m here to alleviate your concerns. This list of the best places to visit on your first international trip should put you at ease, because these destinations are super tourist friendly.

 

Copenhagen

Copenhagen makes a great first city to visit because the language barrier is non-existent and the food is to die for. Most people in Copenhagen speak fluent English and are accustomed to foreign travelers. The city is also quite walk able, so getting around is a breeze. You can dine at cute little bistros while touring around the city center and canal-lined streets. The city has a very European feel and the architecture is so cute, you’ll fall in love.

A convenient metro can get you to or from the airport in 15 minutes and most travelers rent bicycles to get around like a local.

 

Sydney

If you are traveling to Australia for the first time, Sydney should be your choice. A true metropolitan city, Sydney is a melting pot of cultures and diverse locations. From the urban beaches to beautiful city parks, Sydney is a beautiful city.

Australia is far form the US so plan of some exhausting travel days so its recommended that you make it an extended stay. Sydney is built around its stunning harbor and everywhere you go, it’s the focus. Breathtaking views all around, Sydney would make a great first international trip.

 

Paris

Paris should be on everyone’s list of must visit cities, so it’s no surprise it’s on this list. An incredible tourist friendly city, Paris is built to have visitors. The ample hotels and multitude of fantastic attractions make Paris a favorite of world travelers. The food is second to none, the wine is divine and the atmosphere is palpable. Lover’s city is a great way to describe the romantic feel Paris exudes.

There is so much to do, its tough to see and do all in just one trip. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, Paris has so many iconic attractions that you would be remise f you didn’t visit at least once.

 

Madrid

Madrid is often referred to as the traveler’s favorite city because it offers such beauty and enjoyment. Europe’s third largest city, tourism makes up a fraction of their income so it never seems overly packed. The Spanish lifestyle of long lunches, siestas and late wine-filled dinners are things of legends but you can live them with one quick visit. A walk able city with an abundant amount of cheap accommodations, Madrid is an n excellent choice for first time travel. A convenient metro system and close airport make this an easy city to travel to.

 

Barcelona

The second Spanish city on the list, should tell you that Spain is a tourist friendly country. Barcelona is the new Amsterdam, traveler’s form all around are flocking to the extremely liberal city. Every language is spoken here with diverse amounts of nationalities represented, making it a tourists dream location. With magnificent beaches and unique and colorful neighborhoods, Barcelona is one of my favorite cities, period.

 

Check out these cities for your first ever international trip. The water is warm, just jump in. Hopefully you find your love for travel just like I did and you can change your life forever.

 

Photos courtesy of StartUs, lonely Planet, only, startUs, startUS, southseas

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Destinations

Best Vacations for the Recently Retired

Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel?

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Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel? It’s time to enjoy your golden years and travel to some fun destinations. If you saved for your retirement, hopefully you put in some sort of travel budget so you can see the world, and stay in amazing hotels like the Marriott. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and that means a huge influx of retired travelers is set to hit the world’s top destinations. We can’t travel like we used to so let’s explore some excellent vacations for retirees.

Ireland

Who hasn’t dreamed of strolling through the rolling green hills of Ireland? The lush green country is a perfect vacation destination for the retired set. Dublin is a great place to start to see some of the oldest buildings in all of Europe and taste the perfect pint at the Guinness brewery. There is so much to see in Ireland you can really take your time on an extended trip and enjoy everything Ireland has to offer.  The perfect vacation for the recently retired.

Sicily

If Italian food is your favorite or if ancient architecture is your bag, Sicily is for you. Who hasn’t wanted to check out Palermo, the lively capital that boasts spectacular cathedrals and delicious street food? The small island off the coast of Italy’s big toe is the perfect destination for retired folk. The islands slow pace and miles of gorgeous beaches make Sicily a great spot. Many Italian-Americans track their heritage to Sicily and those Baby Boomers can visit their ancient roots.  Retired people will love the vibe of Sicily.

Australia

The flights to Australia will take up to 21 hours so you need to spend some time there to make it worth it. Now you are retired and you have literally nowhere to be, it’s the perfect time to take an extended vacation to the land down under. Australia has something for everyone, with major cities, extreme outback and wonderful beaches. You must see Sydney Harbor, the Great Barrier Reef and a kangaroo. Other than that, explore Australia at your own pace; you have all the time in the world.

U.S. Road Trip

If times what you have, why not take a coast-to-coast road trip across our great country. America has so much diverse landscapes that you can experience so much on a road trip. For a real adventure rent a recreational vehicle and take your time, see all the sites you want and do it in style. An RV can be rented at very affordable prices and offers a unique experience many have never lived. See the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, drive historic Route 66 or make your own route.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Why not take a road trip on the most scenic highway in America, the Blue Ridge Parkway. This picturesque 470-mile drive connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountain national Park in North Carolina. The road follows the peaks of numerous mountains along the way giving off spectacular views and winding through some cute little towns.   There are some seriously cute places to stay along the way and more than enough activities to keep you entertained.

Rocky Mountaineer

Maybe you should let someone else drive so you can soak up all the incredible views along the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in the Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury train. Enjoy sitting in glass domed train cars so you can see beauty at every angle. There are multiple options available to satisfy any urge. You can get coastal views or strictly mountain routes. You can decide among many options to make the vacation fit exactly what you want.

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Destinations

Why You Should Visit Hawaii

 I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one

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Hawaii is paradise on Earth and one of the most traveled to destinations on the planet, so why all the hype? I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one. Check out paradise in each of its unique forms from the laid back vibes of Molokai to the big city by the beach in Oahu’s Honolulu.

 

Oahu

Oahu is home to the largest city in all the Hawaiian Islands and is the most populated. There is a huge military population on Oahu as the Navy has its base, Pearl Harbor. Honolulu is the island’s only “big” city and Waikiki is the party destination if you are into that sort of thing. Not all of Oahu is a party destination, as many parts of the island operate at a much slower pace. Check out the North Shore for bohemian beach towns and world-class surfing.

For some interesting attractions, check out the Polynesian Cultural Center or the sunken remains of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. The beaches are world-class and the resorts are massive.

 

Hawaii (Big Island)

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands by far is Hawaii or “the Big Island.” This massive island features almost every climate in its rich ecosystems. There is often snow on top of the mountain peaks that are surrounded by rainforests and deserts. The big island features a wide variety of terrain and activities. Check out some of the best surfing, snorkeling and hiking the world has to offer. The island is split into two main sides, the leeward side, which is very dry and arid, and the wayward side, which is the wettest region in America.

Make sure you check out Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain, measured from the sea floor up. There are also two active volcanoes to check out where you can see lava flows.

 

Maui

The most all-around island in the chain, Maui has a little bit of everything. Every major resort has a luau and we recommend checking one out for some culture and unlimited mai tais. This island has all the outdoor activities you could ever want with some incredible hiking, surfing and snorkeling. The weather is perfect and the sun is usually shining.   Take a hike to the crater of a volcano at the Haleakala National Park.  

 

Kauai

Known as the garden island, Kauai is easily the most beautiful of the main islands. This is also known as the lovers’ island and the retirement island as most guests are on their honeymoon or well, old. There aren’t too many spots open past 8pm and the island’s nightlife is almost non-existent. There is some of the best hiking and outdoor activities in the world.

Check out the Na Pali Coast, a rocky, 20-mile section of the island that is unreachable by car and where you’ll recognize the beginning of Jurassic Park. Take a helicopter tour of amazing waterfalls and secret beaches galore.

The most impressive feature is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon.

 

 

Lanai

The smallest of the Hawaiian Islands that are open to the public, Lanai is mostly owned privately by billionaire Larry Ellison (Oracle). This island used to be a huge pineapple plantation and is now home to two Four Seasons resorts. Golf is god here as two of the best courses in the US are located here.

 

Molokai

The most remote Hawaiian Island is Molokai, which has hardly any infrastructure and has very few visitors each year. The pace is slow here and they only operate on island time. Come here if you want to chill hardcore and not do many touristy activities, as they don’t really exist here.

 

Find which version of paradise you like the most and check it out. Hawaii has a little of something for everyone; you just have to find it.

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Destinations

Top Sights To See In Haleakala Park On A Bike Tour

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While traveling 27 miles downhill in Haleakala Park, visitors to Maui have the chance to see some amazing sights. This dormant shield volcano provides adventure-seekers an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the largest volcanic craters in the world and its unparalleled views. 

Whether at sunrise, before sunrise, as a day tour, or even a self-guided tour any time, this phenomenal bike ride at a starting elevation of 6,500 feet is one of the most beautiful destinations in Maui – and it is not to be missed. 

Here are some of the top sights to see in Haleakala park on a bike tour: 

Sunrise and Other Sights From the Summit

Sunrises are always beautiful. But, a sunrise from the summit in Haleakala Park is entirely different. It is one of the most impressive sights here. Although it means getting up early, the colors that will blast through the clouds will take your breath away. 

If you’re up for an even earlier bike ride, a pre-sunrise ride will present you with the chance to stargaze and potentially see a meteor just before daybreak. 

Spectacular Views of the Ocean and Island

It’s Maui. There are going to be ocean and island views that will never want to make you go back home. It doesn’t matter what time you sign up for your bike ride, the views all around you are better than you can imagine. Mix in the sounds and smells with the sights, and it just feels good. 

Red Cinder Cones and Black Flows

Haleakala National Park is full of colors and you will see them all with this ride. But, one of the ones that will stand out most is the red cinder cones and the black flows of old lava. As you start heading downward, keep your eyes open for this. 

The Leleiwi Overlook

Riding along a massive volcanic crater and the lush Ko’olau Gap is not something you have the opportunity to do every day. Why not take a moment to enjoy it? A short stroll and you can at the Leleiwi Overlook. 

Plants and Wildlife

Believe it or not, plants and animals are also very prevalent in this park – and spotting them is a must. You may find beautiful and endangered plant species like the silverswords or Ahinahina or encounter Hawaii’s state bird, the Nene Goose. Both are extraordinary and unique. You may also find the small honeycreepers, birds with brightly-colored feathers related to the rosefinch. 

The diversity found throughout Haleakala means finding plants and animals you have likely never seen before. 

Switchbacks and Double Views

In all, your downward bike ride gives you 21 easy switchbacks that will give you bi-coastal views of the serene West Maui Mountains as well as Maui’s central valley. 

Rolling Pastures

Riding alongside endless green pastures, tree-filled slopes, and fragrant lavender is sure to awaken the senses. But don’t let it carry you away too far or you will miss the fertile crop fields of Kula and their botanical garden. 

The Town of Makawao

Eventually, you will arrive in the small ranching and agricultural town of Makawao. It can make you feel like you have stepped back in time with its Hawaiian cowboys and wooden storefronts. Here you will find lots of shopping and art galleries.

The Town of Paia

Another small town you will find yourself strolling through is Paia. You will find many boutique shops and surfing emporiums to spark your interest. This beach community is home to the Maui Dharma Center and is often used for a peaceful retreat. 

Mountain Riders offers many options for experiencing all of these sights – and more – with their Haleakala bike tours. Learn more at www.MountainRiders.com

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