Travel

The Best Vacation Spots Are the Least Known

Cinque Terre is one of the best Italian cities
Cinque Terre is one of the best Italian cities

Updated August 01st, 2018

I think that one of the best vacation spots you can pick is actually a place you've never heard of before.

The first vacation I ever took was with family to an island off of the coast of Greece. This was long ago when vacations tended to involve coming home with t-shirts that read, "I went to Cyprus and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" next to a picture of Snoopy that was 100% unlicensed. This type of vacation would wind up evolving into postcards of naked people lounging on the beach saying, "WISH YOU WERE HERE!". Now I'm in my 40's with a family, and it is a mixture of both.

Cyprus was, at the time, one of the best family vacations you could take, and my family who admittedly wasn't one of the most widely traveled of families had been there twice before. My family liked the tried and true. It's why half of the summer-based photographs in our family albums took place in one of three places. There wasn't a doubt that it would be my very first out-of-the-country vacation, and I liked it well enough because of the hot weather and company. On my first week back at school, a friend returned from Tunisia with a belly chain. I then realized that there was more to the world than what everyone in my family had already seen.

The world was, literally, so big that the possibility of seeing every mile of it in five lifetimes is still an impossibility. That captivated me, and though my friend's belly chain had coins on it, I had my t-shirt and a goal: To see the best vacation spots in the world according to me.

The Traveler Spirit

I traced my family history a few years ago. I got to a point where one-quarter of it seemed to be traveling from one spot to the next. That made sense to me. By then, I'd been to a lot of places I hadn't known existed, let alone that I wanted to go. That had to come from somewhere deeper than a familial rebellion and mild jealousy over Jojo's mid-term trip to Tunisia.

It was comforting for me to know that I wasn't the only one in my past (or future) that wanted to travel, and I'm pleased to report that both of my daughters are seemingly taking after me in that retrospect, which taunts their Cancerian father to no end. (He likes to nest).

Since having kids, my love of travel hasn't calmed itself down, from theme parks to hiking trails to other outdoor activities, and I suspect it never will.

Some of the Best Vacation Spots

Also since having the kids, we've tried the all-inclusive vacation packages touted by friends. They do nothing for us. I have a rebellious spirit that can likely be traced back to the travelers in my family history and, therefore, I really hate to be told what to do.

The more I'm told what to do, the least I am going to do it, which my parents discovered when they told me to do my homework and not get a tattoo to which I didn't and I did, respectively. But with vacations or who sees what as the best vacation spots, I don't think that's something an outsider party can say to you. Also, this wasn't exactly a trip to Los Angeles, New York or San Diego - or any place that you're already somewhat familiar with. My family wasn't sold on Cyprus by an outsider on commission: They went to Cyprus because they wanted to go.

I get my travel ideas from movies and conversations. I wanted to see national parks, coral reefs, botanical gardens and heritage sites. Seeing a beautiful place on screen is only seeing the top of the mountain from a flight. It's just not all there is and it's not all for me. I want to see these places with my own eyes and I don't want to be told how I'm going to get there or that spending money on a tour guide who isn't local is going to help me to get the full experience.

French Polynesia. The Eternal City. Central Park. The best vacation spot should never have to mean a spot that EVERYONE likes. Not now, not ever.

One Family's Disneyworld is Another's Machu Picchu

While I'm not craving to take my family high up into the Andes for a moment or two overlooking the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, I'm also not really craving the loud chaos of family resorts or resort packages. If I'm going to listen to screaming children on rollercoasters, I would rather it be on my latest Audible audiobook as I walk along Playa Cacaluta-Mexico's heart-shaped beach at sundown.

If my daughters had ever wanted to go to Disney or something like it, I wouldn't have stepped in their way. I know from experience that one person's belly chain is another's t-shirt and vice versa, and each of us enjoys different things in different ways. So yeah, I'd have to suck it up if that was their version of one of the world's best vacation spots. (Even if they would be entirely wrong).

My husband says I'm too judgmental when it comes to this stuff, but I like to think of myself as a proponent for the vast amount of beauty this world has to offer, and because I once bought the kids One Direction tickets before the cute one left, they both agree with everything I say.

It's just that sometimes, there is so much beauty on our planet that I can't take it, and all of it is there on our figurative doorsteps to see.

The Best Vacation Spots Are Wherever You Feel Good

Most crassly and, my husband is right but don't tell him that, I'm going to say that the best vacation spots on our fine planet are wherever makes you feel good. And I'm going to take that into account the next time a workmate tells me about her plans to scale the Eiffel Tower because maybe those things inspire her the way those secluded walks inspire me.

And maybe, just maybe, she and her family will find something else more unique to enjoy along the way.