So I'm a professional freelance travel blogger, yet I somehow still haven't come up with an all-time dream destination.
Where ever in the world I end up is usually because I have been sponsored to visit the destination or because the flight was cheap enough to make an impulse decision and just GO.
I've made a bucket list of 101 things I would love to do before I die, yet I still haven't come up with a DREAM DESTINATION.
I need your help, here's what I like:
1) Hiking and Exploring Nature
2) Affordable Destinations
3) Cultural and Historical Locations
4) Yummy Vegetarian Food
5) Photography Friendly Spaces
Suggestions? I want to write a blog on my 5 dream destinations but need a little bit of inspiration.
New Zealand. The hiking tracks are incredible, and many of them have huts so you might not even need to bring a tent. They're all well marked and easy to follow. The Maori cultural stuff is pretty fun, so you'll get your culture and history. Everything there seems to be a good value, too.
You won't have a hard time being a vegetarian there. You won't believe the produce there, either. The farmer's markets are first rate, which is perfect since many of the hotels and hostels have kitchens.
Photo friendly? Think of all the movies and TV shows that've been filmed there.
And it's just a relaxing, easygoing sort of place to travel. Great outlook, really friendly society.
Hi Jenna, with that list I'd go for Guatemala. Though the veggie food won't be everywhere, you can certainly find plenty of it in places like Antigua. There's history abound, Lago de Atitlan is stunning (I describe it as paradise, away from Panajachel at least), and there are volcanoes to climb from The Lake, Antigua and from Quetzaltenango; the latter is less touristy. Happy travels from a fellow travel blogger :)
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Alicante definitely. Spain is a very mountainous region so you can go hiking, climbing, cycling, horse-riding, etc. There are beautiful little villages like Guadalest and gorgeous waterfalls at Les Fonts de l'Algar (Fuentes del Algar).
There are also great beaches all along the coast, including an award-winning beach at Carretera de la Granadella in Javea. There are cheap hotels or you can rent an apartment or villa, so it's a very affordable region. Plenty of photographic opportunities including the nature parks, mountains, beaches fiestas, historic buildings, etc.
Vegetarian food will be harder to find because the Spanish love their meat and fresh fish. However, there are plenty of vegetarian options and Alicante ticks all the other boxes for your dream destination.
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Well I suppose I would go with the Highlands of Scotland.
1. The nature and hiking is amazing to view with scenery unique to the area and not found anywhere else in the world.
2. Its pretty cheap. B&Bs are very cheap all throughout Scotland.
3. Obviously theres plenty of cultural and historical locations the whole UK is one big historical location.
4. Plenty of vegetarian here as there is a big vegetarian scene here as well.
5. Its crazy photo friendly !
Hope this helps a bit!
After about 3 hours in the city, I knew it was the place for me. Overall, Taiwan is extremely affordable, especially when compared to cities in North America and Europe. The food is extremely cheap, and so is the coffee! You can get tasty food from all over the world: Chinese, Indian, sushi, western, whatever you want! There are also traditional Taiwanese food and drinks like bubble tea, dumplings, shaved ice cream and spicy fried chicken.
The night markets in Taipei are amazing! With more food than you could ever eat, cheap and fashionable clothing, and endless people watching.
The weather is amazing. Warm and tropical in the summer, and slightly cool in the winter. But don't worry, you can go to the local hot springs for $1 USD (I'm not kidding, it's $1 for 3 hours).
Like hiking? Take a two hour train to Hualien City, home of the Taroko Gorge in Taroko National Park, a stunning gorge with marble walls. Visiting the gorge is actually free, which is great if you're trying to save money. You can easily do a day trip to Taroko, or stay the night in one of the many cheap hostels. My favorite part of my trip to Taiwan was going river tracing near Taroko. It's a combination of rock climbing, hiking and swimming. The water was so clear and fresh you could drink straight out of the waterfalls!
Like to surf? Head down to the east coast for a weekend. Taitung County is famous for it's surfing. I learned how to surf here!
Like culture? Taiwan still contains a lot of the ancient culture that mainland China left behind under Mao. Visit pristine temples where the locals pray with incense and drop wooden fortunetelling blocks. Can't get enough, take a 5-hour train down to Tainan for the weekend, where there's multiple temples on every block. The ancient capital of Taiwan, Tainan is a hub of Chinese history and culture. It's also famous for traditional foods like coffin cake and beef soup: things you can't get anywhere else.
While the Taiwanese love fried chicken, it is pretty easy to find vegetarian food. Enjoy noodles, tofu and vegetable dishes. There's also plenty of fresh fruit for breakfast!
Finally, the Chinese love to take photos, which means people won't shocked if you carry a giant DSLR around with you everywhere. I spent hours photographing night markets and temples, and even had locals pose for my photos. Other tourists loved to take my photo as well, and even had me do a mini "candid" modeling shoot around a famous temple.
As a fellow travel blogger, I totally understand how sponsored trips can really take the joy out of travel. My main goal is to make enough money through blogging and freelance writing that I can live in Taiwan next year. Definitely check it out, it's my all-time favorite country.
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For hiking and outdoor activity, have you looked at Ecuador? We went a year or so ago, and first headed into the Amazon. It was a quick 25 minute flight to Coca and then an epic 2 hour boat ride up the Rio Napo. We stayed at an excellent eco-lodge, Sacha Lodge for three nights-the setting was gorgeous, and our guide was excellent. They have multiple ways to view the area and wildlife-whether on food through their trail system, or on the suspension bridges or tree stands-birds, monkeys, owls, sloths, toucans! If you are lucky, you will have a thunder storm to beat all thunder storms.
From there we went back to Quito, which will tick your inexpensive button. Excellent walking town, old buildings, historic places and churches and amazing character.
Then-head over to the Galapagos. We opted to avoid the boat tours and did a land based tour with Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge. We had the absolute time of our lives! We saw whales and dolphins on the boat transfers from island to island, humonous tortoises, penguins, blue footed boobies (my favorite), flamingos, lizards, sea lions (both were on the deck of the lodge). The Floreana Island lodge was so remote, you won't believe the stars in the sky. Here-we swam with sea turtles-priceless.
You will have photographic memories to last a lifetime.
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I would say that Sri Lanka would probably fit your bill.
That has pretty much all the things you are asking for.
Another area which has it even more is the part of Brazil called Minas Gerais except that Brazil is not that great for vegetarians unless you eat at the restaurants where you pay by weight.
Every answer to this question is great. Since someone already said New Zealand...
I haven't been but I immediately thought of Darjeeling. It ticks every box of yours, while being a hill town nestled between Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, in the Himalayas.
Meanwhile, my dream destination, for now, is Patagonia in Argentina which also would fit your bill. And if you haven't been to Bali, then that might be your winner.