Best Vacation Places, Pictures and Information


alaska, usa, double rainbow in wrangell st elias national park. eric rolph

If you want to see the USA’s most northern state defrosted, the magnificent panoramas and wildlife of Alaska, this is the time to do it. Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park by Eric Rolph.

Vacation Places Guides July – August 2017

Americas     Europe     Africa      Asia     Australasia

July – August are the busiest holiday months in the Northern Hemisphere but also not the perfect time to travel worldwide, with tropical monsoon rains in parts of Asia, stormy weather in much of the Caribbean, excessive heat in north Africa and the Middle East and winter chills in the Southern Hemisphere, so choose your vacation places with care!

Seminyak beach, near Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Fashionable Seminyak beach in July 2016, near Kuta, Bali.

Bali island in Indonesia is the lowest cost major beach holiday destination outside Europe. The island hosts plenty of excellent beaches along with a selection of brilliant temples and a fascinating culture, though heavy traffic is an ever-present downside. July-August is the dry season in Bali so there is little rain and low humidity unlike much of the rest of Asia. Temperatures range from 23C (73F) – 33C (91F).

Low cost vacation places in 2017

Mexico’s currency is suffering from Trump nerves, it’s easy to reach and sunny though hot and humid during these months so plenty of bargain vacations can be found.  For example  Mexico’s Maya Riviera beaches such as Cancun  – with  incredible Maya sites are only a couple of hours away – and Cabo San Lucas on the Baja peninsula.

The consensus on  interesting Europe vacation destinations  that are good value in 2017 and perfect in the summer months is that it includes Portugal,  Greece, Croatia, Budapest (Hungary), Prague (Czech Republic).

London’s accommodation is expensive  but  there are a huge number of world-class free activities available, such as sensational museums, art galleries and car-free city walks. Moreover these months get a very good chance of warm, sunny weather. The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe Festival (i.e. the wacky one) take place in that gorgeous Scottish city August 4-28.

Outside Europe, decent weather during July – August and always good value is Bali island (Indonesia: the best beach and trekking season is the dry months from April – October). Another regular in the low cost holiday listings is South Africa, especially based in Cape Town, where it’s winter and cool, but not cold unless you’re on top of Table Mountain or trying to swim without a wetsuit. Otherwise finding a place that is cheap and blessed with good weather…good luck!  

The Americas July – August 2017

US July – August

A big wheel at Burning Man Festival, Nevada, US

And the big wheel keeps on turning at the Burning Man Festival, Nevada, US. This gloriously ridiculous event on the salt pan of the Black Rock desert is the best liberal-arts-wacko festival we’ve ever experienced. It happens this year 2017 from August 27-September 4.

USA Map

Beach vacations get steamy in southern USA at this time, especially in Florida where temperatures in the 90’s (32C+) are not unusual and come bundled with sticky air (95% humidity) and unrefreshingly warm seas. This includes America’s favourite theme parks in Orlando in case you were thinking it was sufficiently north to be cooler. Not! In addition hurricanes or at least severe storms are not unusual. 

Further up the east coast and over on the west coast there should be excellent beach weather. Los Angeles’ Venice Beach should be clocking up highs of about 82F (28C) with almost no chance of rain. Check America’s best beaches for more information.
Hawaii temperatures can reach 80-90F (upper 20’s C) but this is not peak season for surf or prices so it’s a pretty good time to see what it’s all about with the family.

This is also a terrific time to take a road trip around America’s awesome canyons and national parks, especially the Grand Circle canyons near Las Vegas for incredible rock formations and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (mostly) for volcanoes and wildlife.

Summertime is also a terrific time to experience some of America’s great festivals such as the Calgary Stampede in Canada 7-16 July, Cheyenne Frontier Days (rodeo+music) in Wyoming USA 21-30 July, Hog Heaven at Sturgis’ massive bike jamboree in South Dakota  July 30 – August 15.

Caribbean Vacation Places July – August

Vacation Places on Caribbean Map

Caribbean Map

Weather in much of the Caribbean these months  is likely to be stormy or at least cloudy, with beaches strewn with seaweed and flotsam. But a handful of budget islands in the far southwest near Venezuela continue to get fine tho’ hot weather thru August. These are mainly ABC – the Dutch Antilles of Aruba, Bonaire (speciality: scuba diving) and Curaçao.

Bermuda’s not in the Caribbean, it’s about 1,000 miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic.  The best time to visit the island is from June to October when  the pink-sand beaches sprawl in temperatures of about 30C, with long daylight hours, low rainfall and warm seas around 25C.

Mexico’s currency has fallen in value, it’s easy to reach and sunny though hot and humid during the summer so plenty of bargain vacations can be found on  Mexico’s Maya Riviera beaches such as Cancun  – with  incredible Maya sites are only a couple of hours away – and Cabo San Lucas.

Canada, July – August

Canada’s main vacation places

Whistler in summer, mountain biking, Canada

Whistler in summer, mountain biking, Canada

Canada’s currency is not too high and they have no problems with terrorism so this could be another good year for Canadian tourism.

Summertime is the best season and some of the best attractions are:

Best cities: Vancouver (British Columbia), Toronto ( Ontario), Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec) province.

Best summer festival: Calgary Stampede, Alberta.

Best beaches: New Brunswick (Atlantic Provinces) and Vancouver (British Columbia).

Best natural wonders: Banff lakes and mountains (Alberta), Niagara Falls (Ontario).

Best  wildlife: Quebec province.

Best landscapes: British Columbia, Alberta and North West Territories.

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Canada Map

Latin America July – August

A Capybara photographed in Brazil’s Pantanal by Berrucomons

A Capybara photographed in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands by Berrucomons.

This is the world’s biggest rat (about the size of a Labrador dog), but actually a nice cuddly creature and not at all scary. It’ll swim away from you as fast as it can!

In Latin America Brazil is about the only place that’s good to visit at this time, especially to spot animals in the vast Pantanal wetlands and the northern regions. 

Other South American countries can get very cold since this period is, of course, mid-winter. Peru, for example, is very chilly in high tourist places and the Inca Trail may be blocked by snow on high passes.

Europe, July – August

Castro de Barona, Rias Baixas, Galicia, north Spain

Castro de Barona, Rias Baixas, Galicia, north Spain. An ancient Gaelic fortress straddled by beaches and an easy drive from Santiago de Compostela.

Europe Map

Europe during these months is brilliant though southern areas of Spain and Italy will be unpleasantly hot. Decent hotels get packed out in August, so try to holiday in early July. If not, never mind, there will be crowds but book accommodation ahead and enjoy rubbing shoulders with humanity!

This is a great time for festivals, both inner city and out in the country, so check our European Festival listings for July and August if you fancy a cultural break. We are particularly fond of the lovely Chaumont International Garden Festival in France’s Loire Valley (from April to November 2).

For English speakers London is a great choice with its world-beating free museums and invigorating summer life. Other sensational cities of central Europe such as Paris,  Barcelona and Vienna are also perfect for historic sights, pleasant strolls and odd happenings in warm/hot weather.

Beach seekers can find varied, unusual vacation places with the necessary sunshine and good value north Spain, along with some spectacular cities such as Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao and San Sebastián-Donostia

Island and beach hopping in Greece is a great way to see a lot but not a very cheap option. Still fast ferries do the job smoothly and conveniently. Hop from Athens to Santorini island (Atlantis!), to Mykonos, to Crete etc. 2/3 days each. If you plan to holiday in Greece take various payment options including debit cards and a good wad of cash along to cover possible bank/ATM failures.

Favourite Europe photos

Africa Vacation Places, July – August

Olive baboons with deer photobomb, Serengeti, Tanzania. Harvey Barrison

Olive baboons photobombed by impala, Serengetti, Tanzania. Harvey Barrison

This is the perfect time for wildlife viewing in Africa’s great game parks such as Tanzania and Kenya big game safaris or even the massive, beastly migration. Meanwhile Namibia, Botswana and South Africa offer wonderful self-drive wildlife safaris – and don’t forget that South Africa is still one of the world’s cheapest holiday destinations.

North Africa is overheated during these months unless you’re by the sea so Egypt’s Red Sea is cheap and attractive. Morocco’s Atlantic Coast (some of it called the Sahara!)is also useable and  backed by a colourful and interesting culture not far away.

Asia Vacation Places, July – August

Sheep outside Lhasa, Tibet

A sheepish welcome to Lhasa, Tibet, China

Summer is really the only time to visit Tibet and especially Lhasa, a high altitude destination with a brilliant local culture but considerable poverty and recent influx of Han Chinese. If you are not very fit or very young beware flying in from sea level as the chance of experiencing severe altitude problems is, appropriately, high. See AMS

Around the rest of Asia the monsoon rains will be falling, and/or heat and humidity will be oppressively high.

Best vacation places at this time are Bali’s beaches (currently the cheapest regular vacation destination after Europe) and calm culture, or the exotic attractions of Tibet, Russia (St Petersburg is amazing and the Hermitage Museum incredible) and Papua New Guinea.

Thailand is not at it’s very best but if you avoid west coast beaches where rain is frequent it should be acceptable and very low cost. We are fans of Koh Samet, easy to reach from Bangkok airports, relaxed, varied accommodation and foods, lots of beaches.

Australasia Vacation Places, July – August

A Dingo on Fraser Island beach, Lake Mckenzie, Australia

A dingo on Fraser Island’s incredibly beautiful  freshwater beach,Lake Mckenzie, north of the Gold Coast. The critter didn’t look threatening from where I was standing, especially compared to Australia’s really dangerous animals.

Northern Australia is terrific from May to October, meaning mainly the activities resort of Cairns, the (sadly bleached and dying) Great Barrier Reef zone and Darwin, but Sydney’s weather will be cool and probably damp.

Recent reports suggest that up to 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral is bleached, aka dead or near death. If you really want to dive on the reef head far northeast past Cairns. I got my Padi dive licence off Cairns 15 years ago and even then Australia’s GBR was looking decidedly short of colour, due partly to ocean warming and not helped by tourist overdose and farming/industrial  chemicals washed into the sea via rivers.

Northern Australia is fine from May to October, meaning mainly the activities resort of Cairns and north to Darwin. Down south Sydney’s weather will be cool and probably damp and grey too.

New Zealand is heading into winter so less than perfect at this time but still fine for walking, the country’s favourite activity.

Dangerous Countries as Vacation Places?

We don’t want to discourage adventurous travelling but should clarify for novice travelers which parts of the world are problematical – troubled by disease, terrorist attacks, high levels of crime or aggressive disrespect for single women.

Egypt is looking better now for robust travelers who can find reliable flights (with proper safety checks) going to Luxor and the opportunity of seeing incredible sights a) at low cost b) more importantly without the massed crowds that are normally there stuffing up the ambience.

Turkey still seems a little volatile these days but almost certainly OK for beach or Cappadocia holidays. But in winter it’s a Must-Not-Do anyway, wet and miserable, so that’s a pass.

Here are some broad generalisations on where NOT to go on vacation if you have a nervous disposition.

Avoid

Africa except for Morocco, Egypt (at the moment seems OK!), Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritius.

Middle-East except for Israel, Jordan (if you’re nervous about flights but really want to visit wonderful Petra, fly to Israel on the world’s safest airline – El Al – and drive into Jordan), Oman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi.

Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti. Some drug-cartel regions of north Mexico are also off the tourist trail.

Solo women travelers should think twice before going to Pakistan, Philippines, North Korea, Indonesia, India, east China and even Thailand.

Whatever, wherever, safe travels!

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