[dropcap]Summer is quickly approaching and vacation planning is in full swing. If you’re looking for something new and exciting, or just an twist on a classic vacation destination, there’s an endless array of choices available. Your options are limited only by your imagination.[/dropcap]
1. Eco-friendly: Eco-tourism is being practiced by some of the most luxurious resorts and hotels in the world. Not only are these adventures fun, challenging and relaxing, they make you feel good about your trip afterward, too. But all operators are not created equal. It’s important to do your homework and find a company that works closely with local residents to benefit them. True eco-tourism isn’t just zip-lining through the jungle; it helps the local economy and is sustainable.
2. Family-friendly: With family members often separated by thousands of miles, summer can be a great time to bring everyone together for a multi-generational vacation. Just remember, trips that include three or even more generations need to have activities that will appeal just as much to a toddler as they will to a great-grandmother. It’s wise to keep the activities varied and the opportunities for downtime (and nap time) plentiful.
3. Bucket List: When was the last time you traveled somewhere that changed who you are and how you see the world? Assess your bucket list (or create one) and start planning a once-in-a-lifetime journey. For some that may mean visiting an ancestral homeland, exploring exotic destinations, sailing the open sea or embarking on a South African safari. Wherever your trip leads you, make it personal and meaningful.
4. Passion Pursuits: Combine your passions with wish-list destinations. You might learn a new language before visiting a country where it’s spoken by natives, learn to cook in Italy, follow the chocolate trail through Europe or taste wine in California. Self-improvement and travel can make for interesting bedfellows.
5. Spiritual Awakenings: Mission trips, temples and yoga retreat centers can all offer transcendent vacation experiences in which you can explore your spiritual self and make a difference in a local community. Sometimes it’s not just where but how you travel that adds a spiritual dimension. Deliberately unplug from email and your phone, move slowly or stay in one place, engage in self-reflection or return to a place of profound natural beauty time and again. Seeing life in new contexts is one of the abiding gifts of travel.
No matter the type of trip you take, the act of traveling can change your perspective on the world. Do something for yourself this summer; make memories, take chances and go where the adventure leads you.