by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff
Each year, we choose our top destinations that offer bucket-list-worthy experiences at incredible prices. From the icy fjords of Alaska to the Eastern Cape of South Africa, here are our top choices.
Durban and South Africa’s Eastern Cape
Cape Town’s charms are well known, but for a less expensive, equally dramatic South Africa trip, the Eastern Cape and the buzz-y coastal city of Durban are the hottest spots for intrepid travelers. With miles of craggy and sandy coastline, game reserves, vibrant townships, and towering mountains, there is enough here to keep any traveler busy for weeks. In Durban, The Oyster Box hotel is known as both a perfect luxury retreat and a national landmark.
From the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to the Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson is a great place for history buffs. The city also features an up-and-coming culinary scene. Here, you’ll find everything from hole-in-the-wall gems to white-tablecloth restaurants. Favorites include Brent’s Drugs (which was featured in The Help), Saltine (best known for its oysters and ramen), and Walker’s Drive-In (a sit-down eatery that serves up seafood like fried lobster skewers).
Hudson Valley and the Catskills, New York
Removed from the bustle of New York City, the historic Hudson Valley and Catskills regions are home to charming small towns, excellent dining and boutique hotels, a microbrewery scene, and several prominent art institutions like the Storm King Art Center and Dia: Beacon.
There’s no better time than now to explore The Last Frontier. This year, the Alaska cruising season will stretch from mid-April to early October. During this time, 21 cruise lines will deploy 43 ships to sail the region, for a combined capacity of over 78,000 passengers. From intimate luxury expedition ships to family-friendly mega-vessels with something for everyone, you’re bound to find the perfect sailing.
If you love dense jungles, colorful wildlife, and complex history — and you’re looking for a new, under-the-radar destination to discover — then consider a trip to Guyana. Highlights include Guyana’s National Park, the Botanical Gardens and Zoo, and Kaieteur Falls. Plus, starting April 2, JetBlue will begin operating direct, daily flights into the country from New York’s JFK airport.
Hokkaido Island, Japan
Hokkaido is best known for amazing skiing and incredible nature (hot springs, volcanoes, caldera lakes, geothermal springs, and mountains). Its capital, Sapporo — which will host several Olympic events this summer — is famous for its beer and ramen. Floral enthusiasts should plan a spring or summer visit to to experience a variety of “super blooms.”
Northern California’s Inland Wonders
This rugged stretch of California is easy to miss if you’re headed to wine country or Tahoe, but a stop here, in an area that’s full of incredible natural sights, is more than worthwhile. Begin your adventure in Redding, which can be used as a base for exploring the region. At nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park, you’ll find colorful geothermal areas, meadows of flowers, and crystal-clear lakes.
Australia’s third largest city is not to be overlooked. From the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art to Streets Beach (the country’s only urban, man-made beach), Brisbane has something for everyone. Howard Smith Wharves, which is home to an array of drinking and dining options, opened earlier this year. Brisbane Airport isn’t missing out on the action either: aviation capacity is set to double with a new runway opening this year.
London, United Kingdom
It’s not just the improved exchange rates that make London a budget destination in our eyes. New flight routes have us excited for new — and, hopefully, less expensive — ways to get across the pond. We especially love the city’s charming Bankside neighborhood, as well as other spots in South and East London, both of which are suddenly home to dazzling skyscrapers, boutique hotels, and tech startups galore.
Yes, the kids in your life may be begging to visit Elsa and Ana’s homeland, but this wild Nordic country is so much more than the stuff of animated dreams. And, thanks to convenient, easy-to-use public transportation, it’s easier than ever to explore all corners of this dazzling destination — from sophisticated Oslo to the pristine Arctic, to the more off-the-grid areas Fjord country.