Author Topic: Planning FIRE travel. Places to go...tell your favorites and not so favorites  (Read 6545 times)

Sayonara925

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Well, it's time to start the travel aspect of our FIRE experience.  The most intense period of traveling will probably be over the next 10 to 12 years, then slow it down a bit.  We'll have a lot more time to actually plan things now vs before FIRE (get better deals, more efficient routes, less rush).


Please mention a fav destination you really enjoyed on your travels and one that disappointed you.

GettingThere

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My favorite region is South East Asia, having been there around 7 times in the last 15 years. Especially Indonesia and Thailand. It has a great mix of great food, inexpensive travels, culture and great people.

It's hard to say you don't really like a place in particular, but if I had to name one it would be Egypt. I love the Middle East as a whole, I just did not have that many positive experiences in this  country.

Have fun and safe travels

kpd905

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The desert southwest would be a great way to start your first year to keep expenses low (helps sequence of returns risk).  If you enjoy hiking, then Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Sedona could easily fill up a winter/spring.  The best part is that there is tons of BLM land in Utah where you can camp for free or $5-10 a night.

okonumiyaki

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Iran (Ishfahan especially) and Japan (Kyushu especially) Amazing places, lovely people.

Disappointing:  China.  The Cultural Revolution ripped out the heart out of the country, and IMHO, they still haven't recovered.  Taiwan, or somewhre like Penang in Malaysia, has more sense of tradition & culture.




choppingwood

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Favourites would be Morocco - especially Marrakesh and the mountains. Amazing artistically -- architecture and tilework and 3500 km of coastline. And Kauai. Still many places where you can spend a day hiking or on a beach with few other people.

Most disappointing was Maui. Though there are beautiful spots and it once must have been beautiful, it has been shot environmentally through water diversion and excessive development. Difficult to find a quiet spot to yourself for more than a few minutes.

Dee18

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China would be at the top of my list.  It is changing rapidly, but it is a fascinating country with tremendous variety.  If you are slow traveling, consider spending a few months in Xiamen, on the southeast coast across from Taiwan, where you won't encounter the pollution problems of Beijing. 

My all time favorite single spot was Machu Picchu, along with a two week trek in Peru (not the trial to Machu Picchu, which I understand is very heavily traveled). 
Another favorite is New Zealand.  And a camping safari in Africa.

KCM5

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Turkey!

Selcuk, Cappadocia, Cirali, Istanbul - loved it all. We haven't made it to the eastern part of the country yet and I don't think I would go to the southeast now(Kurd/ISIS/whatever else is going on) but it's a really really great place to visit. Relaxing, full of history, beautiful vistas, welcoming and friendly people. I think I could just spend the rest of my days drinking coffee in a cafe playing backgammon.

Jesstache

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I would highly, highly recommend Sri Lanka as a place most people might not think to go but was really amazing and interesting.  We stopped there as part of our honeymoon for one day and it was a place we both agreed we'd like to go back to.  My husband documented our 40 day honeymoon on our website jessicaandtodd.com  Pictures and descriptions of what we did in Sri Lanka are on Day 32.  Also, one of my other favorite places from the trip was the Similan Islands off the coast of Phuket, Thailand.  The particular island we went to was called Ko. It was paradise. 

AZDude

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British Virgin Islands, if you are looking for beautiful country and some peace and quiet. Went there in 2010, had an entire 1/2 mile long beach entirely to ourselves. This was spring, during a major recession, but still, I imagine even in busiest times its not anything like St Thomas. Plus, you avoid the complications of international travel since their currency is US dollars and you only need a passport, no visa.




rob in cal

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    Travel research is right now my current hobby.  Places I hope we get to over the next few years are the Croatian coast, Slovenia, Carinthia (in Southeast Austria), Vienna, Budapest, the usual suspects in Italy plus less visited parts like Umbria, cities like Lucca, the northern Lake districts. In Germany I'm obsessed with taking the "least bombed cities" tour of Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Regensburg, Erfurt and Weimar.  Of course, I change my places of interest every six weeks or so.

Sayonara925

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Thanks for the replies, and insight!...and don't forget the second part of the OP: please also mention a place that failed to meet your expectations (if this has happened to you).  These experiences will be equally as helpful.

For me it was Amsterdam.  Okay in the day but transformed into an aggressive, intimidating place after dark.  Also Macau was a fruitless journey for us, so we made a u-turn and raced back to Hong Kong on a hydroplane.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 10:33:27 AM by Sayonara925 »

Dexterous

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I've been fortunate to be able to travel to ~45 countries and live in 6.  Out of those places, my favorite mountain location is Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Interlaken is cheaper to spend the night a few minutes down the road), favorite island is Corfu, Greece, favorite city is Budapest, Hungary, and favorite beach is a restricted military access beach at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

London was the most disappointing for me.  While the historical aspects and architecture were cool, other things were not so great.  There were few places open 24 hours to eat (and it was a weekend), drunks were stumbling all over the streets acting like fools and puking, younger people were mostly arrogant, and everything was expensive.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 11:03:27 AM by Dexterous »

Cassie

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WE have been to both Italy & Poland twice each. Both are beautiful countries that like Americans. The language is less of a barrier in Italy but Poland is really cheap since it is not on the Euro. Went to Thailand but did not really enjoy it. The air & water are so dirty, pollution etc-the water stinks. Yes the temples are beautiful but I enjoy being outside. WE went in NOvember which is one of their coldest months & it was 99 with high humidity so that also was not good. Some people love it though.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 11:11:05 AM by Cassie »

zoltani

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Budapest, Hungary
Sarajevo, Bosnia
Mostar, Bosnia
Bled, Slovenia


2Birds1Stone

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Hvar, Croatia
Kos, Greece
Zakopane, Poland
Sharm El Sheik, Egypt
Corsica, France
Golden Sands, Bulgaria
Antalya, Turkey

Some of my favorites!

Gimesalot

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I haven't traveled too much, but I have liked most of the places I have been too. I think most of the US is worth visiting especially all of the National Parks. 

The only place I didn't enjoy very much was Negril, Jamaica.  It was beautiful, but everything had to be bartered and we were treated like walking ATMs.

zoltani

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Plitvice National Park, Croatia

sol

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I suspect it depends on what you're looking for.  London and Amsterdam have better museums, but I had more fun in New Zealand and Nepal because I prefer mountains to art.

My least favorite place to visit: east Africa.  Nairobi is a hole in the moral fabric of the world.  Everyone you meet sees you as a rich stupid tourist who totally deserves to be robbed blind because you were born to privilege and wealth and don't recognize it or value it.  The scenery is amazing, but the only people I met there that did not disgust or disappoint me were from other countries.

limeandpepper

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I'm yet to visit a country that disappointed me overall, though there may sometimes be certain attractions that weren't as good as I thought they would be. I think you're better off thinking about the aspects you like about travel and looking for destinations based on that. I'd also be particularly skeptical of writing off an entire country altogether just because some people say that they didn't like it. Two different places in the same country can often give you entirely different experiences. Heck, even something the Great Wall - going to the touristy section and the remote section is like night and day. Since you have heaps of time to travel, why not take a flexible approach. Go somewhere that interests you, if you like it then stay longer, and if you don't, move on.

Cap_Scarlet

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New Zealand - hands down the best.

Not fond of the large Italian Cities - great architecture but absolutely overrun with tourists

Sojourner

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A favorite:  Beautiful Lake Como in northern Italy

Disappointment:  Hollywood

northernlights

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Alaska is hands down my favorite. Go!

JoJo

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I've been to 74 countries and loved most of them.  The best: Philippines, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Colombia, Turkey, Bolivia.

 China has to be my least favorite.  Have been there 2 times in the last 5 years.  First time was 10 days in Beijing & Xian.  Last time was 3 weeks in Tibet & Western China.  Just too many people, everything is so over-restored and too commercial.  Imagine going to one of the holy mountains of China to experience an amusement park ride snaking line complete with TV screens blaring rock music, waiting for the cable car to go up the mountain.  Then when you're there, walking like ants with the 1000's of Chinese people on the trail.  Or visiting an historical site but Burger King is 10 feet away.  Spitting everywhere.  Kids pooping on the sidewalk.  The most disgusting bathroom I've seen in my life at one of the top attractions in the middle of Beijing (will not describe but imaging the worst). There were a few glimmering moments but no desire to go back.

FIRE Artist

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Every place I have been, but for west Africa, is worth going to.  My favourites, if I had to pick, are Morocco and Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico, but they are favourites for my personal experiences there, not because they are so much better than other places.

justjenn

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Japan is awesome! It's not as expensive as everyone makes it out to be, and the exchange rate is in our favor right now. Your biggest costs will be airfare and transportation. If you plan on city hopping then definitely get a rail pass, and this will save you hundreds of dollars. I also really enjoyed Taiwan, New Zealand, and Guatemala.

I did not enjoy Cancun. It's a soul-less, consumerist waste land. I know a lot of people love Hong Kong, but I didn't enjoy it. It was just too crowded for me. I liked the outer islands, but downtown was killer.

Tick-Tock

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Love Alaska, Galapagos, Iceland, and Botswana for nature.  London, Oslo, Istanbul, and Amsterdam for cities.  Machu Picchu was everything I expected and more.  Enjoyed Roman-era ruins in Rome and Ephesus, Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize, and pyramids in Egypt.

Dislike most Caribbean islands and Mexico (I'm not really into beaches).  And I was surprised that China did not live up to my expectations.  The Forbidden City was just OK, maybe because it was insanely crowded.  Did really like the Great Wall, but we went to one of the more remote sections. 

JJNL

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My favourite so far: British Columbia in Canada. Read Jon Snow's post-FIRE blog and you'll know why :). Assuming you're an American, I would also definitely recommend an extended road trip through all of your own national parks. Man, you've got some beautiful nature in your back yard, go see it!

I don't really have any least favourite spots, I find there's cool stuff / beauty everywhere if you look hard enough.

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy my home town (Amsterdam) though. It is actually a very safe place, also at night, but I get you might have a different impression from the goings on on some major party places after dark (lots of police presence).

pbkmaine

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For nature: northern Maine, South Dakota, the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Norway was breathtaking. For museums, history and culture: London, New York, Vienna. As a different kind of cultural experience, I think state fairs are tremendous fun. Disappointing places: I did not enjoy the Las Vegas Strip, though the sports book at Caesar's was interesting. I saw too many desperate, addicted people in Vegas and it really affected me.

Wadiman

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Alaska - never seen as much wildlife and the glaciers are stupendous!

Japan - very different culturally and the food, beer and sake are brilliant

Mongolia - like stepping back in a time machine once you're away from Ulaan Bator - just don't expect good food - fatty mutton is the staple.  The rolling steppes are inspiring.

Croatia - adriatic coast - the people are very laid back and the scenery is superb

deborah

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Turkey!

Selcuk, Cappadocia, Cirali, Istanbul - loved it all. We haven't made it to the eastern part of the country yet and I don't think I would go to the southeast now(Kurd/ISIS/whatever else is going on) but it's a really really great place to visit. Relaxing, full of history, beautiful vistas, welcoming and friendly people. I think I could just spend the rest of my days drinking coffee in a cafe playing backgammon.
Yes, I visited Turkey for 2 months this year. Wonderful place - especially Istanbul and the south east. I must have picked a magic moment when everyone in the south east thought that things were looking up, and were sure that better things were around the corner. It is so sad that the most positive person was at a town  that had a bombing this week.

Japan, Myanmar, and (of course) Australia are all amazing places.

Kansas Beachbum

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St. John, USVI is absolutely beautiful, and as 2/3 of the island is national park very unspoiled and not crowded.  Good jumping off point to explore the BVI's as well.  Diving is good there, not great, but passable.  Good snorkeling, hiking, drinking, and just chilling at the beach. 

Not so much...St. Thomas, USVI.  Very over crowded, people are rude, hustle and bustle, just with better scenery. 

zoltani

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Dislike most Caribbean islands and Mexico (I'm not really into beaches). 

Yeah, mexico only has beaches, stay away ;)







If i were FIREd and had a lot of time I would get myself to alaska with my bike and gear and bike alaska to patagonia. There is no better way to actually SEE things and connect with places than on a bicycle. OK, maybe walking, but that is a little too slow.