Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Best" vacations

A popular question: What has been your best vacation?
That can be a tough question for anyone. How can you choose between Yosemite and Yellowstone? Or between Italy and France? Block Island and Martha's Vineyard? Every destination is unique in some way, and every vacation has its own dynamics.
Nonetheless, I think my wife, my kids and I all agree that our best family vacation -- and probably the best overall, for that matter -- was a Christmas trip to Ecuador that included a week cruising and exploring the amazing Galapagos Islands. (The photo is of Pinnacle Rock at Ilsa Bartolome.) The column on the right-hand side discusses both the Galapagos and a hacienda in the Andes of Ecuador.
No. 2 on our list is probably Yellowstone, also a family trip. We planned the trip too late to stay in any of the park lodges, so we stayed at four different places outside the park: West Yellowstone; Chico Hot Springs in Montana; Cody, Wyo.; and Jackson, Wyo., which is just south of Grand Tetons National Park, which in turn is south of Yellowstone. We went rafting on fast-moving rocky rivers. We went to a rodeo in Cody. In Yellowstone, we swam in a geothermal-heated river, we saw loads of bison and moose, and we also saw loads of geysers.

What about you? What's your "best" trip?
What's the best place to take kids?
What's the best couples destination?
You can post your comments here or send me an email. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


  1. The best vacation is always going to be one without kids!! But if you've got the kids along, it's hard to beat Orlando. My kids are now 19, 21 and 24, so they've outgrown Disney World, but we went there five or six time when they were younger. The other parks give you other things to do and keep it from being the same rides everytime you go.

  2. My husband and I keep going back to Bali, which we first visited before we were married. It can be fairly inexpensive once you're there, the people are wonderful and the service is great. Best massages in the world!! I'm pregnant now with our first child, so we expect that how and where we travel may change, but we hope we'll still go to Bali. -- Linda S., Santa Monica

  3. Me and my girlfriend just had a great 1 week vacation in Barbados. October is really nice there. We stayed at Dover Beach. We paid $175 a night for a room on the ocean side. Barbados is an easy island to get around on. There are no mountains. The food was good even at the non-tourist places, we both had conch for the first time. Only problem was that we had to change planes in Miami and had a long wait on the way home. And we both got pretty sunburnt. This was our first trip to the Carribbean. Now we want to try all the other islands. -- R.G. (Detroit area)

  4. My best vacation ever was when me and and two buddies went to Europe for a month after our junior year in college. We went to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich and Milan, Italy. That was summer of 1993. I've been back to Europe three times since -- and I don't stay at hostels anymore -- but that's still the best trip.

  5. Our best vacation ever was our honeymoon in 1999. We went to Capetown and the wine towns in South Africa, then a photo safari in Kenya, and a few days each in Rome and Paris. It was almost four weeks -- we wonder if we'll ever take a vacation that long again. Now we have kids and a time share in the Dominican Republic, so that's where we go during the kids' spring school break.