By :Devin Morrissey
No matter where you live, that spring itch is starting to hit. And no, I don’t mean the sudden urge to clean every nook and cranny in your house.
Whether you live in the land of perpetual sun or in a town that feels more like a frozen wasteland right now, temperatures are starting to warm and the call of backyards, patios, and summer adventure is starting to call.
It’s time to dust off your hiking gear, dig out your bathing suits, and start planning your vacations for the year. For some, that means seeking refuge from the blistering desert heat, and to others, a pilgrimage to the ocean breaks up the miles of farmland. Whether you’re an avid foodie or an intrepid thrill-seeker, there’s something for everyone under the sun. Check out our picks for underrated 2018 vacation spots.
For the Budget Vacation: Zanzibar
Forbes took a gamble by calling out the cheapest vacation destinations of 2018 way back in January, and there were definitely a few surprises on the list. Most notable? Possibly their number two pick: Zanzibar.
The African archipelago is home to a number of tropical towns, offering everything from scuba diving to hikes to beachfront bars. The marine life is unparalleled and the island routine is welcoming, creating an unexpected haven for travelers. Luckily, it’s still an underappreciated gem, meaning that prices haven’t been driven sky high by demand yet; it’s definitely a need-to-see destination perfect for relaxing and getting away.
For the Luxurious Vacation: Yachting, Anywhere
If you want to truly shut out the real world and live the life of luxury for a week, take a page from celebrity vacation books and go yachting. While it may seem out of reach, the New York Times reports that if you do your research and the cost is shared, yachting can be a reasonably affordable getaway for a group.
If you’re a fan of nature, consider visiting the wildlife and natural beauty of Alaska. If you want something a little more swim-friendly and sun-tan inducing, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean offer an abundance of sun, sand, and endless blue ocean.
For the Active Vacation: Ecuador
If you hate the idea of lounging around for your entire vacation and want to stay active, make the trek to South America. Ecuador is covered in beautiful, hikeable forests and boasts some of the most underrated beaches in the world. Pack up your gear to surf some memorable beaches, or put together the essentials for backpacking through the countryside. If neither of those activities are quite your speed, there’s plenty of culture, history, wildlife, and food to explore.
For the Eco Vacation: Belize
If you’re ready to get out of town but can’t stomach the waste of most tourist destinations, turn your sights to Belize. The Central American country is seated along the Caribbean and hosts the world’s second largest barrier reef. Among the most notable attractions are the Turtle Inn, where guests can get involved with local conservation efforts, and Bike with Purpose, which uses student-led tours of a local island to fund educational initiatives for local youth. All the while, you’re sitting in the middle of postcard-worthy landscapes with a clean conscious about your environmental impact.
Start Planning Now
No matter what type of vacation you want to go this summer, there’s something available for everyone. It’s tempting (and easy) to go with tried and true destinations that everyone goes to. Trip information is more abundant, reviews are more plentiful, and there’s generally less work involved in the planning stage.
It’s totally worth it, though, to dig a little deeper and find somewhere less toured. If you’re lacking inspiration or have specific needs to fill, consult a local travel agent, ask one of your well-traveled friends for suggestions, or consult the infinite knowledge of the internet. The extra effort required often means you’ll find great deals on flights, hotels won’t be as booked, and you’ll have a better chance of getting an authentic experience (rather than being stuck in tourist traps all day).