Author Topic: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?  (Read 3648 times)

Jomar

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Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« on: September 05, 2014, 02:24:58 PM »
Hi everyone, my wife and I have been trying to decide where we'd like to travel this winter, any input/ideas from you would be appreciated! Some background: my wife is currently on maternity/parental leave from her job as a teacher until the start of the school year in September 2015. Being a teacher, her normal holidays are during peak travel times, so everything is more expensive (especially flights and accommodation). I'm not taking any parental leave, but instead am taking 6 weeks off some time in January-March (exact dates not yet decided) so we can take advantage of the cheaper time of year to travel for once. I bank overtime at my job and have saved all my vacation (3 weeks) so far this year, so will be paid for the entire 6 weeks at my normal 37.5 hours a week (plus we'll still get EI for my wife). Being from Winnipeg, we want to go somewhere warm! Last winter was a killer. So far our ideas have included:

-Australia (my Dad lives near Melbourne so we could stay there, but the flights are insanely expensive, and 6 weeks with my Dad is very excessive)
-Somewhere in SE Asia (we've been many times- Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and my wife taught in Bangkok for a year so we know a few people there, it's cheap, and it's close enough to Australia that we could perhaps visit my Dad, but again the flights are pretty pricey)
-Somewhere in Central America (most likely Nicaragua or El Salvador, maybe Panama- it's cheap and the flights are cheap, I also have enough points to fly us there for free, plus I love the Pacific)
-Caribbean somewhere (flights are somewhat cheap, again I have enough points, accommodation is more expensive depending where you are, full of package tourists, and not a huge fan of the warmer saltier water)
-Portugal and somewhere in North Africa, Tunisia or Algeria or Morocco or something (flights are a little more expensive, accommodation way more expensive, weather maybe not as nice)
-Turkey (on the Mediterranean, not as warm, flights expensive, but Turkey is so gorgeous!)
-And my personal favourite: drive down to Mexico, specifically Oaxaca most likely (the gas would be cheaper than the flights, the climate impact isn't as great (this is important to me), it's relatively cheap, a little more adventurous, but it would take a week to get down there and a week back, and that's a long time for our little guy to sit in a car seat- I guess alternatively we could fly to Mexico too)

So, what do you all think? Does anybody have any recommendations for a relatively chill beach town we should head to? Somewhere cheap, bohemian, and preferably with decent hiking? Maybe some waterfalls to swim in haha. Some of our favourite warm places we've visited include: Pai and Mae Hong Son (northern Thailand), Koh Kut and Koh Mak (Thai islands), and the Necoya peninsula (Costa Rica). Thanks!

JoJo

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 02:42:47 PM »
That time of year is beautiful in the Philippines.  For some reason it's usually cheaper to fly there than many places in SEA.  It's not too overrun by tourists (depending on locale).  I loved the rice terraces in north Luzon, Sagada, Palawan, Coron, El Nido.  It's not quite as cheap as mainland SEA but still reasonable.  For example, in El Nido a basic room near the beach $15, dinner out $5, a full day tour of snorkeling and lunch $17.  In Sagada basic room $10, buffet dinner by a French chef $15, guide for caving $5.  Cheap internal flights.  Everyone speaks English.

Jomar

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2014, 03:11:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion JoJo! We've talked about the Philippines (we have a ton of Filipinos in Winnipeg), but for some reason my wife wasn't interested. But I just looked up El Nido- maybe once she sees a few pictures her interest might be piqued!

JoJo

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 03:16:03 PM »
I also like the Andes countries of South America.  They're almost safer than central America these days.  I LOVE Colombia and Ecuador.  Colombia is better for beaches (Tayrona on the Caribbean, for example).  I loved the little town of Salento and walking in the palms there.  Both countries have mountains, jungles, colonial cities, markets .  Peru is good too, but definitely more touristy.

deborah

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 03:17:49 PM »
January to March in Australia is rather hot - especially as an El Nino is predicted this year. January is insane, as the summer school holidays are on, and everyone is at the beach.

However, using Melbourne as a base, traveling the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, across into South Australia to visit Naracorte Caves, Mt Gambier and the wine regions (Barrossa, McLarinvale and Claire Valley) and up to Lake Mungo (site of world's oldest burial and cremation) is a realy nice loop. The outskirts of Melbourne - Yarra Valley (wineries), Healesville and Dandenong Ranges National Park are worth a look, and a loop east - Wilsons Promontory, King Valley and the Australian Alps is also a good trip.

All these destinations could have bushfires at that time of year, but there have been none in those areas that I can remember in the past few years, so the scenery is pretty good (if brown in January to March). I have recently visited many of these areas.

JoJo

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 03:22:07 PM »
One more post...
I have a blog and pictures from Philippines for more tips here
http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/marqual/4/tpod.html

Johnez

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 04:56:18 PM »
One more post...
I have a blog and pictures from Philippines for more tips here
http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/marqual/4/tpod.html

Read and thoroughly enjoyed your blog and pics, although I'd love to've seen those 7 ton clams! Guess I'll have to see for myself. ;+) Sounds like an amazing trip.

MountainBeard

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 05:08:24 PM »
Oaxaca is very cool, plus there's lots of fun stuff to see on the drive down...  If you went that route Chiapas is just a bit further and then you could see all the highland/lowland Mayan historical sites.

chasesfish

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014, 06:01:31 PM »
Why not Hawaii? 


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Jomar

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2014, 01:37:30 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone! Chiapas is definitely on the list if we head to Oaxaca MountainBeard. And Hawaii would be all right chasesfish, but the flight is pricey, as is everything when you get there... so there's that. And thanks for the further tips and blog JoJo! We're leaning further towards the road trip to Mexico at the moment, but the Philippines is now firmly on the radar! 

Exhale

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Re: Traveling this winter- where should my family go?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2014, 02:04:18 PM »
If you ever go/get back to Turkey, be sure to check out Fethiye and the surrounding area (setting for the novel Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres). Bon voyage!