Tag Archives: last minute

Beautiful Nature Norway natural landscape aerial photography. lovatnet lake.

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

overwater bungalows at St Regis Bora Bora

Holiday Vacations You Can Still Book

Now is the time to book your Christmas and New Year’s vacations if you haven’t already. Many of the most popular destinations have filled up, but the Trusted Travel Experts on our WOW List know about last-minute availability and have other ideas for off-the-beaten-path escapes. Browse our list of holiday getaways and get planning asap.

(For Wendy’s personal picks, see Unexpected Holiday Travel Ideas. Also consider making a holiday gift to the locales you love that were affected by this fall’s onslaught of natural disasters. Here’s where you can donate to hurricane and earthquake relief.)

New Years Eve fireworks Reveillon Copacabana beach, Rio, Brazil

New Year’s Eve in Rio

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most exciting cities for ringing in the new year, rivaling New York, Sydney, and London. “It’s not just the size of the Réveillon celebration that makes Rio stand out,” says Paul Irvine, Trusted Travel Expert for Brazil, of the fireworks display and festivities on Copacabana beach. “Everyone dresses up in white and throws flowers into the sea as offerings to Yemanja goddess for prosperity during the new year, which makes a spectacular sight.” There is still availability at The Emiliano, a design hotel that opened last year on Copacabana beach and that hosts its own New Year’s party with fabulous views of the fireworks.

Read Paul’s Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro, and reach out to him through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: New Years Eve Réveillon on Copacabana beach, Rio, Brazil. Courtesy: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr

overwater bungalows at St Regis Bora Bora

Island Getaway in French Polynesia

A few overwater bungalows are still available, as well as some catamaran yacht charters, says Tahiti travel specialist Kleon Howe, and no matter where you decide to spend the festive week, he can score you a table for a romantic dinner at La Villa Mahana (maximum seven tables per evening with Chef Damien) with almost 360-degree views of the Bora Bora lagoon. Of course he can also arrange private snorkeling trips to see the manta rays and leopard rays off Bora Bora.

Read Kleon’s Insider’s Guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti, and French Polynesia, and reach out to him through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: St Regis Bora Bora

Playa Grande Eagle’s Nest, Cabo San Lucas. Photo: CaboVillas.com

A Villa Vacation in Cabo

This area was not affected by this fall’s hurricanes, so pack up the family—or a group of friends—and relocate to a sunny Cabo villa rental for the holidays. The weather is perfect, the water is beautiful, and when you rent a house, you can enjoy the festive season almost as if you were at home, but with more perks: ocean views, panoramic terraces, gourmet kitchens, private chefs, private pools. Wendy's Cabo travel specialist Julie Byrd still has several available properties over Christmas and New Year’s, including: Villa Bellissima (8 bedrooms, 2 pools, a gym, and oceanfront views), Villa Grande (6 bedrooms, oceanfront views ideal for whale watching), Villa Bahia de los Frailes (off the beaten path close to Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, a great home for divers), Villas del Mar (beachfront in Palmilla), Villa Real (located on a golf course). These villas have a seven-night minimum, and Julie has a ton of others with only a five-night requirement. “Remember that we can have the villa completely decorated for any holiday and we can provide in-villa chef services—even better than some restaurants.” Of course, if you prefer to hit the town and sample Cabo’s foodie scene, Julie can steer your crew to the best restaurants for holiday feasts.

Read Julie’s Insider’s Guides to Los Cabos Villa Vacations and Beach Vacations, and reach out to Julie through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Playa Grande Eagle’s Nest, Cabo San Lucas. Courtesy: CaboVillas.com

pool at the Azerai hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos

Exotic Affordable Luxury in Laos

“Laos is the one country I have to convince travelers to visit…and the one I get the best feedback about on their return,” says April Cole, one of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts for Southeast Asia. There’s still availability in lush, exotic Laos this holiday season, thanks partly to the new Azerai hotel in Luang Prabang. It’s right across the street from LP’s famous night market and a close walk to restaurants, the National Museum, and Mt. Phousi. Combine a stay at the Azerai with visits to colorful villages, traditional Baci ceremonies, a float down the Mekong river (while enjoying a foot massage, no less), day trips to Kuang Si waterfalls, and a homestyle cooking class.

 Ask Wendy to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Azerai hotel, Luang Prabang, Laos

Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Pixabay

Authenticity in Portugal

Mike Korn, one of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts for Portugal, knows of availability in Lisbon, in the Alentejo, and in Madeira. “Lisbon has a mild winter climate, and in the cooler months you can really feel the history,” says Korn. “It is less crowded, and all the buildings have that distinctive type of low-sun shadow that only older European cities have (a photographer’s dream).” He recommends Pousada de Lisboa, describing it as an underrated luxury boutique hotel with an authentic Portuguese feel (it was formerly the home of the Ministry of Internal Affairs). In the Alentejo, he recommends the off-the-beaten-path Torre de Palma Wine Hotel for its many activities, outstanding food, and a 360-degree view from the estate’s main tower. Korn can arrange a visit to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site Évora; a private cooking lesson in a local home with an expert chef; and a traditional Christmas Eve in a small village with a local family. “The villagers gather in the town square to light an enormous bonfire (Madeiros in Portuguese), while singing (and drinking) the night away.” In Madeira, an archipelago about a 1-hour-45-minute flight from Lisbon), he says, “The weather is mild and offers city life, great hiking through the famous levadas, island hopping to places like Porto Santo which has beautiful beaches.” What’s more, he adds that New Year’s Eve in Funchal, Madeira’s largest city, is known for having one of the best fireworks displays in the world.

 Ask Wendy to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Lisbon, Portugal. Courtesy: cristinamacia/Pixabay

landscape of coffee region in Colombia

Best of Both Worlds in Colombia

Colombia offers an easy way to have two vacations in one: a vibrant party-filled scene in Cartagena, paired with a quieter escape in the green hills of coffee country. Eric Sheets, Wendy’s Trusted Travel Expert for Colombia, describes the city at this time of year: “It’s a festive scene where café tables are pulled into the roads for celebratory dinners, lights are hung from brightly hued colonial houses, and music is emanating from all directions,” he says. “And the New Year’s party at the Sofitel Santa Clara [which still has availability] is not to be missed.” In the countryside, he still has access to rooms at Hacienda Bambusa, where you can visit coffee estates to learn how the beans are produced, and he still has space at a private three-bedroom farmhouse in coffee country, ideal for families or groups of friends.

Read Eric’s Insider’s Guide to Cartagena, Colombia,  and reach out to him through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Colombia's coffee region. Courtesy: Latin Excursions

Christmas in London

Affordable Festivities in the U.K.

The UK and Ireland remain good value destinations for festive season as the dollar is still relatively strong. “Our hotels in key cities such as London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Bath, and Belfast still have great space, and the value is good. Many of our hotels are offering great specials such as four nights for the price of three on key dates, and others are offering other great specials such as discounting second rooms for families,” says Jonathan Epstein, one of our Trusted Travel Experts for England, Ireland and Scotland. Christmas and New Year’s packages at castles, country houses, manors and resorts can also still be found, and, he adds, “We also have some really great guided experiences such as touring London Christmas lights by mini cooper and even a Charles Dickens Christmas tour around London.” However, he notes that space is going faster than normal as those who had Caribbean vacations are now moving their plans farther north in the wake of a terrible hurricane season.

Read Jonathan’s Insider’s Guides to Scotland and the Cotswolds, and reach out to him through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Christmas in London. Courtesy: visitlondon.com

The Vatican and St. Peter's Square at Christmas, Rome, Italy

Christmas Traditions in Rome

Rome is a natural pick for celebrating Christmas. “You not only get Rome’s festivities, but also Vatican City’s celebrations,” says Andrea Grisdale, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy. “At the Vatican, the Pope delivers a Christmas Eve midnight mass, and tickets for this sell out well in advance, so if you want to guarantee your position in St. Peter’s, book now.” Andrea can help travelers find spots in coveted accommodations such as J.K. Place Roma, Villa Spalletti Trivelli, and Portrait Roma (though she notes these rooms are selling like hot cakes already, so act fast). She can direct you to iconic Christmas activities and can suggest plenty of family activities to keep everyone feeling young at heart, such as the oldest known nativity scene (a 13th-century marble scene now housed in the museum of Santa Maria Maggiore), the annual Christmas concert in the Nervi Aula in the Vatican, and the huge Christmas market in Piazza Navona.

Read Andrea’s Insider’s Guides to the Amalfi Coast and Italy’s Lakes Region, and reach out to her through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: The Vatican and St. Peter's Square at Christmas. Courtesy: Patricia Feaster/Flickr

Gustavia harbor, St. Barts

Sunshine in St. Barts

"St. Barth is on the road to recovery and officially reopens for tourism on October 30,” says Peg Walsh, our Trusted Travel Expert for the Caribbean island of St. Barts, which was hit by Hurricane Irma. “It is amazing that some villas had very little damage, other than loss of foliage. A few are ready for rental right now; others November 15 and still others December 15.” She notes that still others were hit harder, so they are postponing their openings until 2018, although many restaurants and hotels are ready for visitors already, so contact her for first-hand input on what’s available and where.

Read Peg’s Insider’s Guide to St. Barts Villa Vacations and St. Barts Beach Vacations, and reach out to her through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Gustavia harbor, St. Barts. Courtesy: St. Barth Properties

Rosewood Puebla hotel exterior Puebla Mexico CR Rosewood

Beyond the Beach in Mexico

While the recent earthquakes caused heavy damage in some areas of Mexico (including Oaxaca state), other parts are fine and will be welcoming visitors as usual this holiday season—when tourism dollars will be appreciated even more than in past years. Zach Rabinor, Wendy’s Trusted Travel Expert for Mexico, reports that there is still good availability in Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Queretaro, Mexico City (“we are hopeful and confident it will be fully recovered in time for the festive season,” he says) and Puebla (“it’s miraculously true that the Rosewood Puebla was undamaged”). The Pacific Coast of the country also has openings, he points out, especially in less popular destinations such as Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Costalegre, Costa Careyes—and he’s even still seeing some availability in Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita too.

Read Zach’s Insider’s Guides to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, and the Riviera Maya, and reach out to him through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Photo: Rosewood Puebla


Be a smarter traveler: Follow Wendy Perrin on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

Pool at Kura Design Villas Cost Rica

These Trips of a Lifetime Are Better if You Book Last Minute

The most extraordinary trips usually require a fair amount of planning. But there are a few destinations where, right now, even a top-of-the-line trip can be planned on the spur of the moment—and should be. Here’s where and why.

Costa Rica

Honeymooners are steering clear of Costa Rica right now—the best resorts, which are typically full, are running at 60 to 70 percent capacity—and the Zika virus could be to blame. If you’re of a reproductive mindset, sure, it’s wise to stay away (Zika is a major concern only for women who are or hope to soon become pregnant). But if not, now is a great time to visit Costa Rica. This summer, top properties such as Finca Rosa Blanca Resort, Hacienda AltaGracia, Kura Design Villas, Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, and Lapa Rios Eco Lodge are offering discounts to entice travelers, but Michael believes the biggest value is in the extra-special service that you’re sure to receive when a hotel’s staff has fewer guests to care for: A naturalist might take some extra time to find that elusive bird species with you, a restaurant might surprise you with a private dining experience for free, or the front desk clerk might upgrade you to a suite if one would otherwise sit empty. (These things are certainly likely to happen for WendyPerrin.com travelers who use a recommended expert off of Wendy’s WOW List.)

ecuador with snowy mountain, green meadow, and sheep grazing

Ecuador’s mainland is seeing fewer visitors than usual—which means now is the perfect time to visit. Photo: Southwind Adventures


An April earthquake and fears of Zika virus have scared some travelers away from Ecuador. But the major tourist areas of Quito, Cuenca, and the Galapagos have seen little effect from either scourge: The quake’s area of damage was confined to the coast, and as for Zika, mosquitos don’t live in the Andean highlands and are unlikely to carry the virus in the Galapagos (due to the same strict environmental controls that have made the islands malaria-free). Tom Damon, Trusted Travel Expert for Ecuador, tells us that, while you’re unlikely to find space on a last-minute Galapagos cruise (travelers book these far in advance, and few have cancelled), the mainland is seeing fewer visitors than usual—and there’s so much there to see, from highland haciendas to rainforest ecolodges, craft villages to UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ecuador’s economy relies heavily on tourism, and the government will have to do much rebuilding along the coast. This is why Quito’s mayor, Mauricio Rodas, has said: “The best way to help Ecuador is to visit Ecuador.” Go now, and you’ll be greeted by grateful citizens eager to make yours the trip of a lifetime.

Monk and flowers, Nepal.

Monk and Flowers, Nepal. Photo Courtesy Toni Neubauer


“Because of the earthquake in April 2015, tourism is still quite slow in Nepal, so if you have a last-minute desire to see or trek the Himalayas, now is definitely the time to go,” says Antonia Neubauer, Trusted Travel Expert for Nepal. Infrastructure, hotels, and trekking routes are all largely functioning as they were before the quake—and you won’t run into hordes of hikers on the most popular trails, as would have happened in the past. Surprisingly, hotel rates have gone up as concrete, food, and other supplies are having to get shipped in from other countries (many farmers missed the planting season last year). But remember that your tourist dollars are desperately needed: “A good portion of the population is still struggling to rebuild. When you come to Nepal, know that you are giving back to the country just by being there,” says Antonia. While summer is the monsoon season, fall is prime for trekking, biking, and festival-going.


It’s not at all unheard of for China to revoke permits that have already been granted to travelers headed to Tibet. “The Chinese government can close travel to Tibet at any time,” says Sanjay Saxena, Trusted Travel Expert for Tibet, “which means that it’s difficult to plan a trip for next year. However, our ears in the tourism ministry forewarn us a few weeks in advance if a closure is expected, so with a last-minute booking I can with great certainty determine whether or not we will be able to get a permit.” The overland journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal, is one of Sanjay’s favorite travel experiences, but after last year’s earthquake, this border crossing was closed and all such trips had to be cancelled. Sanjay has just gotten word that it will be reopened in June, making this iconic journey through two Himalayan kingdoms possible once again.


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