If you are tired of doing the same thing every vacation then this is the year to experience a different kind of holiday. You can explore a culture that is completely different to your own, volunteer and make a difference, or just spend time marvelling the wonders of nature.
Cultural Tour of Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful country that is filled with French colonial architecture and stunning Buddhist Pagodas. If you book in advance you may be able to get some cheap flights, and if you have time you could even add in some other destinations on the way to break the trip up. You can explore the Củ Chi tunnels, an underground tunnel complex, used by the Viet Cong soldiers during the war.
A few other great places to visit are Ha Long Bay, Phú Quốc, Bái Đính Temple, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Fansipan, Pagoda of the Celestial Lady and the Bitexco Financial Tower. Vietnam also has fantastic food so be sure to try “bún chả” (rice noodles with grilled marinated pork), phở gà (rice noodles with chicken), and chả cá Lã Vọng (rice noodles with grilled fish.)
Volunteering with Bears
Spending your summer holidays volunteering is the perfect way to help others whilst teaching your children to be compassionate. In the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains there is a bear sanctuary located just outside the city of Brasov, Romania where you can experience the thrill of caring for bears who have been rescued from horrible conditions. The bears rescued here have previously worked in circuses, lived in cages and danced on chains.
You will get to observe these bears, prepare their meals and monitor how they adapt to the sanctuary. You will know that you have made a difference for these bears. You can get to Brasov via a 3 hour journey from Bucharest, so you can explore some other areas of Romania whilst you’re here.
Enjoy a Norwegian Fjords Cruise
Norway is known to have the highest concentration of Fjords and you can also see small villages, porpoises and seals along the cruise. A fjord is caused by glacial erosion and it is a stunning long narrow inlet with a steep narrow cliff. Travel through these narrow deep inlets is thrilling and you can see mountains that are 2000 metres high. There are also plenty of outdoor activities away from the cruise where you can explore Viking history, visit the capital city of Oslo, and try country skiing if you are up for the challenge.
Trekking in Nepal
Eight of ten of the world’s highest summits are in Nepal and it is a fantastic place for trekking, especially with older children. You need to be in really good shape to trek these enormous mountain ranges so make sure you work on your endurance and do some trekking on local hills before you leave home.
You will need special permits to trek in the National parks and there are several points where you will be checked to ensure that you have the right ones. Some of the most popular areas to trek are Annapurna Massif, Nagarkot, Sarankot, Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Dhampus and Gokyo. For your trek, make sure you’ve organised the correct travel insurance, but even if you forget, you can get insured whilst on holiday. This is particularly useful to know if you set off then realise a member of your group has forgotten to do it.
Exploring Glaciers in Argentina
Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina and there are 300 glaciers to explore. Perito Moreno Glacier is the most popular one that continues to expand and you can spend a whole day exploring this glacier.
You can go trekking on it, fly a helicopter over it and you can also take a boat tour to see it from the lake. There are many other glaciers to explore like Upsala and Onelli. Most of the tour operators provide crampons to make walking on the ice easier. El Calafate is a nice place for accommodations and there are plenty of places to choose from.