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Everything That Makes South Africa An Amazing Vacation Destination

South Africa is slowly but surely becoming one of the most vacation0-worthy countries in the world. 

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I think it’s safe to say that when most people start thinking about where to go on vacation, South Africa is not very high on their list! Trust me. The country is amazing and more and more people are starting to realize it. So get in on the fun and visit the country before the tourism gets completely out of hand!

Here are the best things South Africa has to offer.

THE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE

If you can actually swing it, South Africa is best experienced by traveling to different areas of the country as it has all kinds of fascinatingly different landscapes and sights. Cape Town specifically offers crystal clear ocean waters and warm, sandy beaches, a bustling and exciting city, and breathtaking mountains just a short drive away. While the Kruger National Park offers more of a nature adventure with plenty of wild animals, wide plains, and even tropical forests.

HIKING TRAILS

If you’re an avid hiker, South Africa has to be on your must-visit list. The trails there are just incredible. Once again, Cape Town offers a bunch of great options that are easily accessible. But some of the other great hiking trails in South Africa include those at Lions Head and Table Mountain, which even has an awesome cable car that takes you to the top without the troubles of actually walking anywhere.

THE CLIMATE

More often than not, picking a vacation destination is all about climate. And I’m here to tell you, South Africa does not disappoint in that department! Not to mention, it has the massive bonus of being in the Southern Hemisphere. So it’s seasons are flipped from ours, making it the perfect place to escape any potentially brutal winter you may be subject to wherever you live.

But even the South African winter is pretty mild. For the most part, you’ll get to enjoy warm days and cool nights no matter what time of year you find yourself there.

THEY HAVE PENGUINS!

You heard me right. South Africa has penguins. Who doesn’t love penguins?! But so many people just assume you either have to go to a crowded zoo or to the dang North Pole to actually see some in person. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, people! There are literally wild penguins living on the beaches of Cape Town and you can literally swim with them. I mean… come on!

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

We already mentioned the beauty of Kruger National Park earlier in this article, but we’re going to mention it again. This park is really something to see. It’s actually the largest game reserve in the entire continent of Africa! The park itself covers roughly 7,500 square miles which, for reference, is bigger than New Jersey! You can see all kinds of amazing animals there too, including buffalo, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and lions.

PLENTY OF ACTIVITIES FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIES

South Africa is certainly more than just beautiful scenery and nice weather. There’s also plenty of amazing activities for the adrenaline junkie in you! You can do a little cage diving and swim the with sharks, go horseback riding in the beautiful wetlands, drop in for a little bungee jumping in Tsitsikamma, or hike the great Northern Drakensberg Traverse. Heck, I might need to go to South Africa more than a few times just get all this stuff in.

LUXURIOUS (AND AFFORDABLE) ACCOMMODATIONS

As tourism in South Africa has steadily increased over the last decade or so, plenty of new and amazing luxury hotels have gone up in Cape Town, among other cities. But here’s the great part: they’re not even that expensive! Mostly because the US dollar goes a long way in the country. The best cheap yet luxurious hotel in South Africa is easily 21 Nettleton. It sits up on a rolling hill so the views from every room’s balcony are truly incredible.

WINE COUNTRY 2.0

I know, I know… there’s only one wine country! And it’s in California. But I’m here to tell you: South Africa is a truly awesome vacation destination for wine lovers! They really make delicious wine there and it is incredibly cheap! You can get a really nice bottle for 4 or 5 bucks. California can’t beat those prices, people!

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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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Guides

Airplane Bathroom Hacks

We talked to some flight attendants who shared with us their awesome airplane bathroom hacks.

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An airplane bathroom may be the worst possible place to do your business but when you are 25,000 feet up in the sky, what are your other options?  They are small, inconvenient and not the most sanitary places, but when nature calls and you have nowhere else to go.

We talked to some flight attendants who shared with us their awesome airplane bathroom hacks. When is the best time to go, what you should bring, how to deal with the smell and when are the worst times to use the airplane restroom. Don’t be stuck thousands of feet in the sky with nowhere to go number 2 because there is a huge line, follow our airplane bathroom guide.

 

When to go

Flight attendants told us that there are two perfect times to use the airplane bathroom with having people lined up outside waiting. First is right after the pilot turns off the seatbelt signs. This window closes fast so be ready. Once the plane takes off, it usually takes about 5 minutes to reach cruising altitude, this is the height that the plane levels off and becomes flatter in the air. This is your opportunity so don’t let it slip away. Be prepared to get up the second the seatbelt sign goes off. You would have about 10 minutes to do your business without people lined up outside.   Flight attendants will be just getting up from their jump seats so you won’t have anyone in the aisles to block your path.

The second perfect window is right before the flight attendants start their drink service. Flight attendants don’t like when people are up during the drink service since the carts take up the entire walkway. Getting up right before their drink service takes some timing and situational awareness. Pay attention to the flight attendants, they should all be in the galley area prepping their drink carts, so this is your chance. Pop up quickly before they have a chance to tell you to sit down. Now you’ll have up to 10 minutes all alone in the bathroom. Also the best time to join the “mile-High Club,” if you know what I mean! Don’t stay more than 10 minutes or a flight attendant may come knock on the door and ruin the moment.

 

What to bring

I always travel with bathroom wipes because we all know how cheap airplane bathroom toilet paper is. Something to read is always a nice touch, but don’t be obvious, we don’t need the whole plane to know what’s going on.

 

Smell?

The smell can get you in trouble, not literally, just embarrassing. The flight attendant we spoke with told us a great hack. She brings a packet of coffee grounds into the lavatory to soak up the odor. Ask the flight attendant; they will happily give you one, because everyone will suffer if not. They will be trapped in the same sardine can as everyone else, so they want a no stink situation too.

 

Times to avoid

Right before landing is a terrible time to go to the bathroom. The flight attendants will be upset and the bathroom can be a little bumpy during landings.

The worst time to go is about 15 minutes after the seatbelt sign is taken away. This gives people time to realize they have to use the restroom so the line can be ridiculous.

 

Good luck and use the airplane restroom at these optimum times.

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