Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

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

by Brook Wilkinson | May 7, 2019

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.

Los Cabos

poolside view of the ocean at a private villa in Los Cabos Mexico

Villa Stella, Los Cabos. Photo: 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 luxurious Resort at Pedregal has a tranquil atmosphere while sitting just minutes from the heart of Cabo’s marina, downtown, and main beach. As for deals, one of our specialists has a line on a fully staffed ten-bedroom villa with only a three-night minimum, making it a good value for long weekends with the family or milestone birthday or anniversary celebrations.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Cabo Villa Vacations, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

England

The Italian Garden at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Park land designed by Capability Brown.

The Italian Garden at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. 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. (Add to that the weaker pound courtesy of Brexit, and prices look even better.) 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 use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Cuba

exterior of Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in CUba with an old fashioned car

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, Cuba. Photo: Kempinski

The new Cuba travel restrictions for U.S. citizens won’t affect trips this summer if the arrangements are made by a first-rate Cuba travel specialist. A country preserved in time and full of history, Cuba is great for family trips and graduation celebrations. 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 2019—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 use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Spain

Cathedral in Seville, Spain

Cathedral in Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy Casa1800.

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). 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.

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

The Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles may be California’s iconic road trip, but Highway 1 heading north from S.F. is less well known—and therefore less trafficked—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.

Belize

aerial photo of Tobacco Caye with sailboat and blue green ocean

Tobacco Caye. Photo: Absolute 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.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Belize, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Norway

Reine, Lofoten, Norway. The village of Reine under a sunny, blue sky, with the typical rorbu houses. View from the top

The village of Reine in Lofoten, Norway. Photo: Shutterstock

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 it never gets dark 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.

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

Romania’s Danube Delta

Pelicans in Romania's Danube Delta

Pelicans in Romania’s Danube Delta. Photo: Beyond Dracula

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.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Romania, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef from an airplane

The Great Barrier Reef, seen from above. Photo: Tourism Whitsundays

June, July, and August are three 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 near the reef’s northern reaches, 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. This July also sees the reopening of the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, a family favorite that suffered major damage during Cyclone Debbie two years ago.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to the Great Barrier Reef. Ask Wendy for the right local expert to design your trip and ensure you get VIP treatment.

New Mexico

Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer statue in front of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe New Mexico

The Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer statue in front of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo: Tourism Santa Fe

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

sunset over the trees in the brazilian rainforest of Amazonas

Sunset over the Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Shutterstock

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 2016 Olympics. That glut of rooms also means that rates are lower than they have been in years past.

Read more in our Insider’s Guides to Five-Star Brazil and the Brazilian Amazon, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Tibet and Ladakh

Ruins at Leh Palace, Ladakh, India

Ruins at Leh Palace, Ladakh, India, in the Himalayas. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

A last-minute trip to Tibet? Can’t be done, you say, given the hoops one must jump through for the necessary permits. 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. Parts of the plateau have been heavily influenced by China, but Kham and Amdo retain the traditional Tibetan way of life—as does Ladakh, today a region of India but once a major Tibetan stronghold. Ladakh is particularly well suited for families, as there’s hiking, river-rafting, and camel trekking to keep the kids entertained.

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

Nepal’s Upper Mustang Region

Monks in the medieval Kingdom of Mustang, Nepal

Monks in the medieval Kingdom of Mustang, Nepal. Photo: Myths & Mountains

Imagine hiking a rock-lined trail across the Himalayas onto the Tibetan Plateau and up to the medieval Kingdom of Mustang, just south of the Tibetan border. Mustang, where locals live as they have for centuries, is shielded by snow-capped mountains and escapes Nepal’s summer monsoon rains. Here you’ll find isolated, picture-perfect villages surrounded by fruit trees and barley fields, arid hills bathed in pastel hues, ancient caves with Buddhist paintings, and medieval forts and palaces. For most, the destination is the magical walled town of Lo Manthang, host to a rip-roaring horse festival in late July/early August. Those who prefer not to walk can take a helicopter up to Lo Manthang or drive the dusty road that crosses from Tibet down into Nepal.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Nepal, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

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.

Read more in our Insider’s Guide to Laos, and use Wendy’s trip request form to plan the best trip possible. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

 

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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