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Spring is in full swing and it’s now time to start thinking about summer vacation destinations. Whether traveling alone or with the family, I’ve come up with a few summer vacation destinations you might want to consider.
I’m avoiding any of the classic destinations like Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, and the rest of the overcrowded countries most people tend to frequent in the summer.
So not only will you save money by avoiding the tourist traps but you’ll also experience things you’d never expect.
See Also: Your Mexico Travel Guide for 2019
Peru – Amazing Latin America
Anywhere in South America is good in the summer because its southern hemisphere location means that come August it’s the middle of winter. Avoid the searing hot weather and see the great Machu Picchu without the crowds. Despite it being winter, it’s not cold and the rains are never around for more than a couple of hours every day.
I chose Peru because it’s safe, has a well-established tourist infrastructure, and has plenty to do.
This location is rich in Spanish colonial history, offers brilliant landscapes, and exciting food. So there’s something for everyone.
Here’s where I would personally recommend for an average length summer vacation:
Lima – The capital and your likely starting point. Here you’ll find Spanish colonial history and a diverse, modern city.
Cuzco – Often the starting point for many, this gorgeous colonial city is brimming with history.
Mancora – Quaint beach town in the far north of the country. Known as a surfer’s paradise.
Iquitos – The best place for a visit to the Amazon Rainforest. The majority of tours into the Lungs of the World will start from here.
There are so many other summer vacation destinations, of course, but these four will give you a taste of the many flavors of Peru. You should also take note that the best way to get around Peru is by flying. This is an enormous country and internal flights are cheap.
I will be honest, though, Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport is the WORST airport I’ve ever been to on the planet. It’s dirty, overcrowded, overpriced, and you only get one hour of free WiFi every 24 hours. So if you have to wait there, I’d recommend you bring your Amazon Kindle.
Australia – Down Under Without the Heat
Like Peru, Australia is experiencing what passes for winter in this part of the world. It’s still sunny and the temperatures are tolerable. This is also outside of the main local tourist season, so you’ll see prices drop and tourist destinations a little less crowded.
It’s still incredibly hot, though, so take a water bottle, like the GRAYL Ultralight Purifier. If you’re in the middle of nowhere you’re not always going to have access to a store if you run out of water.
But how should you visit a country that’s the size of a continent?
You should try to fit in a portion of the country. If it’s your first time, hit the classic summer vacation destinations to start with:
Sydney – The Sydney Opera House is an iconic piece of architecture known all over the world. It makes sense to visit the city for this reason alone.
Melbourne – This is Australia’s trendiest city, filled with art, culture, and great food. It’s quickly becoming gentrified, but it’s not too late to experience the authenticity Melbourne has to offer.
Tasmania – For pure nature, visit the little island off the south coast of Australia. It offers a totally different experience from the rest of Australia.
I recommend that you rent a car to get to all the natural wonders around the major cities. With public transportation alone, you’re going to be extremely limited unless you take a tour.
If you’re stuck with public transportation, stick with the Greyhound Bus or flying. There are trains, but they’re notoriously unreliable. Yes, the train network here has straight up lost trains for hours in the past.
There are also other regions of Australia to visit, including the Outback, but for the first timer, I’d recommend you stick to the more traditional route.
Slovenia – European Majesty Without the Crowds
But what if you would still like to experience a summer vacation destination in Europe? There are lesser known places that Europeans visit in order to avoid the crowds.
One such place is Slovenia. It’s one of the greenest countries in the world. Mainly made up of forests, you will find some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Central Europe.
Plus it rarely receives the crowds that Austria, Germany, Italy, and Croatia enjoy. I find it amazing that this is still largely undiscovered.
So what does Slovenia have to offer as a summer vacation destination?
Ljubljana – The capital and a city of Venetian-style waterways and surrounded by forests. You can be in the center and walk straight into a maze of hiking trails. You can actually walk across the entire country using just these trails.
Kranj and Kamnik – These are both day trips from Ljubljana. They offer a combination of stunning panoramic views and unique styles of historical architecture.
Lake Bled – This is by far my favorite place in Slovenia. Lake Bled is famous for its sweeping views of the Julian Alps, a brilliant blue lake with a church in the middle of it, and enjoyable lakeside dining options.
For outdoor lovers, you won’t beat Slovenia’s beauty. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world for taking photos. Try to get a wide-angle lens to take in these landscapes. Something like the Altura Professional Ultra Wide Angle Lens is just perfect for a DSLR camera.
Dominican Republic – The Caribbean at a Lower Price
You wouldn’t think that the Caribbean would ever be featured on a list like this. But the truth is that it’s low season in the middle of the summer. This is because it’s technically the rainy season. Don’t let that put you off, however. The rain does come, but it’s only for a few hours every day.
I’ve written a travel guide on the Dominican Republic before, so I won’t go into too much detail. Here’s a short guide of some of the essential destinations you should visit in the Dominican Republic:
Santo Domingo – The old heart of Spanish colonial power in the West Indies. Preserved colonial architecture and some great partying opportunities.
Jarabacoa – Mountains, forests, and excellent hiking opportunities in the center of the country.
Puerto Plata – On the northern coast of the Dominican Republic you’ll find some of the best surfing opportunities in the Caribbean.
If you’re looking to surf, do beware that surfers are a popular target for theft. To keep your things safe, bring along a waterproof phone pouch so you don’t have to leave your safety to chance.
Remember that the best part about visiting the Caribbean in the low season is that prices dip by up to 50% in major resorts.
Cambodia – Tick Something Off Your Bucket List
Now I know that you may be thinking that Southeast Asia in August is bound to be a nightmare. But the truth is this is the best time to visit. Cambodia’s hottest month and the most popular visiting season is actually in May. The true tourist season here is from December to May.
Bear in mind that the majority of crowding at tourist destinations in Southeast Asia is due to regional tourism, not Westerners.
Cambodia is a true bucket list destination, and cheap to boot. They use the US dollar here and you can buy a good beer for one dollar.
Here are some of the places you should absolutely visit:
Phnom Penh – I would describe this as a sad city. Its recent history under the Khmer Rouge has been tragic. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Killing Fields, the Asian Auschwitz.
Americans, in particular, will better understand their role in the region’s recent history here.
Kampot – If you want a perfect example of a beautiful riverside town, this is the place to be. It’s only a few hours south of Phnom Penh and, if you rent a bike, it’s a great way to get into the Cambodian countryside and see the traditional culture of the country.
Siem Reap – You’re going to visit Angkor Wat, so what more is there to say?
The rains in August are typically sharp, intense, and relatively short. Arguably, the landscape of Cambodia is at its most beautiful just after a rain shower.
Due to the country’s reliance on the tourist industry, more Cambodians speak English than you might initially expect.
Conclusion – Find Your Dream Summer Vacation Destinations This Year
I chose these five destinations because prices tend to be much lower in the summer than at other times of the year. They also provide you with a chance to avoid the worst of the overcrowding.
After all, nothing will ruin your dream trip to Venice like being crammed in with thousands of Chinese tourists all waving their selfie sticks.
Have you thought about where you want to go this summer yet?