Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

It’s Not Too Late to Book An Awesome Summer Vacation

Brook Wilkinson | June 19, 2017

Did summer catch you by surprise? In case you have no awesome summer vacation lined up yet, we’ve scoured the globe and found 14 places where it’s not too late to find availability of the best experiences. You can still travel in these locales without any compromises, as long as you reach out to the right destination travel specialist to mastermind the tricky peak-season logistics. Not sure who that is? Click to Ask Wendy.

Cuba

The golden hour, a sunset over Havana, Cuba. Photo: Michael Petit

The Cuba travel restrictions reinstated by the Trump Administration won’t affect trips this summer if the arrangements are made by a first-rate Cuba travel specialist. True, summers are hot and humid, but the upside is lower room rates. The Cuba specialist we recommend can guarantee a five-star experience because he’s already blocked rooms at the new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski through the end of 2017—and, of course, he can make the tourist crowds vaporize, thanks to his savvy local guides and expediters.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Cuba, and plan your Cuba trip through our site to ensure VIP treatment and get the best trip possible.

Tibet

A last-minute trip to Tibet? Can’t be done, you say—the necessary permits take months to obtain. Not always: Much of the Tibetan Plateau falls outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region, meaning you can visit permit-free. Summer is the perfect time, too: You’ll find clear blue skies across the plateau and warm days for hiking through the region’s mystical scenery. Whether you travel by foot or on horseback, you’ll overnight in boutique hotels or luxury tents outfitted with yak-wool blankets.

Contact Wendy for the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

England

Bodiam Castle and moat, , East Sussex, England.

Bodiam Castle and moat, East Sussex, England. Photo: Visit Britain

Business travelers fill London’s hotels for most of the year—and drive rates up accordingly. But come August, there’s little work being done, so accommodations are easier to come by—and cheaper too; many hotels even offer additional discounts if you stay three or more nights. It’s also easier to get theater tickets and reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants—and remember, most museums have free admission. August is also a wonderful time to see the countryside in bloom and meander through scenic villages on a side trip into the Cotswolds, where some hotels still have space and you can visit stately homes such as Blenheim Palace.

Read more in our Insider’s Guides to London, London Vacation Rentals, and the Cotswolds, and plan your England trip through our site to ensure VIP treatment and get the best trip possible.

Norway

person standing on a mountain in Norway

Norway is the happiest country on earth, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. Photo: Sorbyphoto/Pixabay

If sea kayaking around dramatic fjords, hiking to cascading waterfalls, and strolling through fishing villages sounds like your kind of summer vacation, there’s still time to make all of it happen in Norway—where the sun shines day and night in June and July. The right Norway travel specialists know which under-the-radar boutique lodges still have availability—and can even work their magic to get you into the supposedly sold-out properties.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Norway, and plan your Norway trip through our site to ensure VIP treatment and get the best trip possible.

Romania’s Danube Delta

Danube Delta, Romania

Danube Delta, Romania.

While much of Europe will be chock-a-block with tourists this summer, Romania remains relatively undiscovered and blissfully empty. Even many Romanians haven’t been to the Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved natural areas on the continent, rich in bird and marine life. It’s not too late to book a trip that combines a stay at a local guesthouse in the Delta with time in Bucharest, Transylvania (where brown bears still roam wild), and the country’s best wine region.

Contact Wendy for the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Northern California

gigantic Redwood trees at Redwood National Park

Looking up at the top of the gigantic Redwood trees at Redwood National Park in Northern California is almost impossible from the ground. Photo: Visit California/Carol Highsmith

This isn’t the year to drive the Pacific Coast Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles—sections of the road through Big Sur have been rendered impassable due to landslides—but Highway 1 heading north from San Francisco is less well known and arguably just as gorgeous. Base yourself in the charming town of Mendocino while you explore secluded groves of majestic redwoods and the family-run wineries of the bucolic Anderson Valley.

Contact Wendy for the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Kayaking Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Kayaking Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Tourism Australia/Delaware North Companies

July and August are two of the best months to visit the reef, thanks to lower humidity and rainfall, as well as excellent visibility for snorkeling and diving. It’s also a great time for wildlife encounters: You can swim with minke whales, glimpse migrating humpbacks, and dive with manta rays. There are plenty of romantic adults-only resorts, as well as many kid-friendly resorts for families.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to the Great Barrier Reef, and plan your Australia trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best trip possible.

New Mexico

If you think the Southwest is too hot to visit in summertime, think again. Where the elevation increases north of Albuquerque, you’ll find pleasantly warm days and crisp nights, with the occasional cooling afternoon rain shower. Santa Fe comes to life in summer with the opera season, the International Folk Art Market, and the Indian Market all in full swing. Near Taos, the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are a summertime playground with plenty of great options for hiking, fishing, and biking.

Contact Wendy to find the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Brazil and the Amazon

A picture-perfect sunset, as seen from the Negro River, , a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil

A picture-perfect sunset, as seen from the Negro River, a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil. Photo courtesy Matueté.

August is the start of the best season to visit the Amazon—when it stops raining and the white-sand beaches begin to emerge from the river—and there’s still time to charter a yacht to explore the region that month. You won’t have trouble finding luxury hotel digs in Rio either, thanks to the numerous properties that opened in anticipation of the Olympics. And for the same reason, rates are much lower there than they were a year ago.

Read more in our Insider’s Guides to Five-Star Brazil and the Brazilian Amazon, and plan your Brazil trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best trip possible.

Nepal’s Upper Mustang Region

Imagine hiking over the Himalayas, down to the Tibetan Plateau, and into the medieval Kingdom of Mustang. Although much of Nepal is drenched by summer monsoon rains, Mustang is shielded by snow-capped mountains. Here you’ll find villages surrounded by fruit trees and barley fields, the walled town of Lo Manthang, and a rip-roaring horse festival in August. You can even take a helicopter back to Kathmandu, so that you needn’t retrace your steps over the hills.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Nepal, and plan your Nepal trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best trip possible.

Laos

Journeys Within Tour Company

Plain of Jars, Laos. Photo: Journeys Within

Though less well-known than neighboring Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, Laos packs a similar combination of rich culture, long history, and a delicious culinary legacy. Plus, Laos is incredibly beautiful during the summer green season: The countryside is lush and vibrant, there are fewer travelers, and many of the top hotels offer discounts of 20% to 40% off peak-season rates. At the Kiridara Hotel in Luang Prabang, for example, you’ll save about $125 per night.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Laos, and plan your Laos trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best trip possible.

Spain

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy Casa 1800.

While Granada and the Alhambra are overflowing with visitors this summer, head west to visit the less-trafficked spots around Seville and Cadiz. Enjoy the top Spanish wine regions of Ribera del Duero and La Rioja before harvest (when they’ll be filled with tourists). You can even help prepare a meal—from picking to cooking—with the owners of a Michelin-starred restaurant there. And there’s still time to reserve hotels and special guides in Madrid, where an art expert can give you a curator’s experience of the Prado and a flamenco insider will introduce you to the intricacies of this art form.

Read more in our Insider’s Guides to Andalusia and Madrid. Ask Wendy for the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Belize

Home to the world’s second-largest coral reef, Belize is a snorkeler’s and diver’s mecca. Explore the tiny nation’s cayes by private, live-aboard catamaran. Swim, snorkel, dive, kayak, fish (the personal chef can prepare your catch for dinner), spot dolphins, or simply relax—each day’s pace is yours to set. You’ll drop anchor at various spots along the archipelago, from villages that abide by the motto of “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” to postcard-perfect desert islands.

Contact Wendy to find the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas

Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas. Photo: Roberto Trama/Cabovillas.com.

Did you know that the dry season in Los Cabos lasts longer than in the Mexican Caribbean and on the Pacific? All the way through July. What’s more, villa prices drop at this time of year (as much as 70% lower than peak-season prices), and you’re likely to get clued into smart locations and last-minute discounts if you know the right travel planner.

For example, houses in the Palmilla community are a short walk or golf-cart ride from one of the few beaches in the area that’s safe for swimming, and the Villa la Estancia resort—which has a fantastic kids’ club—is often overlooked because it’s on the quiet side of Médano beach. As for deals, one of our specialists has a line on a fully staffed six-bedroom villa with only a three-night minimum, making it a good value for long weekends with the family or special getaways like bachelor parties or milestone birthdays.

Contact Wendy to find the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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