Best Vacation Places, Pictures and Information

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Vacation Places: 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.

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!

Low cost vacation places in 2018

Currently the cheapest long-haul tourist destinations worldwide, based on typical holiday spending are:

1: Tokyo, Japan

2: Cape Town, South Africa

3: Mombasa, Kenya

4: Colombo, Sri Lanka

5: Hoi An, Vietnam

6: Bali, Indonesia

7: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

8: Orlando, Florida, USA

9: Penang, Malaysia

10: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Vacation Places July – August

Americas      Europe      Africa      Asia      Australasia

The Americas

US Vacation Places May – June 2018

Big Wheel at Burning Man Festival, Nevada, USA

And the big wheel keeps on turning at the Burning Man Festival in 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 2018 from August 26-September 3.

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 may be clocking up highs of about 82F (28C) with almost no chance of rain.
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 North America’s great festivals such as the Calgary Stampede in Canada 6-15 July;  Cheyenne Frontier Days (rodeo+music) in Wyoming USA 20-29 July;  Hog Heaven at Sturgis’ massive bike jamboree in South Dakota  August 3 – 12.

Caribbean Vacation Places July – August

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 2018

Jumping into Whistler's Lost Lake in the summer, British Columbia, Canada

Western Brook Fjord in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canada.

Canada’s main vacation places:

Canada tourism begins properly in May and runs thru September.

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

Best wildlife: Churchill (Manitoba), British Columbia, Alberta.

Best winter festival: Ottawa Winterlude, Ontario.

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 cuisine: Quebec province.

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

Latin America Vacation Places, July – August 2018

Machu Picchu high view, Vacation Places Peru

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 northern Brazil.

Other South American countries can get very cold at this time since this is 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 vacation places, July – August 2018

Lake Geneva giant fork, Vevey, Vacation Places Switzerland

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

Europe during these summer 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 ‘Culture Vultures’ London is a great choice with its world-beating free museums and galleries. Other sensational cities of western 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 in France, Croatia,  and north Spain, the latter which also offers 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.

Africa Vacation Places, July – August 2018

Dune 45 in Sossusvlei National Park, with climbers, Vacation Places Namibia, Africa

A leopard hanging out in the Eastern Serengeti, Tanzania wildlife safari. Photo by 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 is also useable and  backed by a colourful and interesting culture not far away.

Asia Vacation Places, July – August 2018

Kyoto's Kinkakuji, Golden Temple, Vacation Places Japan

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. 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 2018

Fraser Island, Lake McKenzie beach, Australia, Vacation Places

Kepler Track, South Island, New Zealand, a very well-built 60 km (37 miles) circular trail passing through the spectacular scenery of Fiordland National Park. Photo by Samuel Bordo.

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

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 weather in the south – Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road etc – will be cool and probably damp.

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.


Africa except for Morocco, Egypt (not Sinai peninsul), 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!