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Why save all your vacation fantasizing for the summer? In fact, why fantasize at all? Many of the world’s most exotic locations are no longer so desirable or accessible. Far from being the exclusive domain of the rich and famous, stunning locations from St. Lucia to Saint-Tropez are today enjoyed by us ordinary folk, as we learn to take advantage of increasingly favorable deals on flights and accommodation, not to mention the bareboat charter / cruise industry and all it has to offer.

Here are some of the destinations that perhaps you’d have been unable to enjoy yesteryear, but you can now explore by virtue of the fast-changing world of travel.

Morocco

Located just a few miles south of Spain, Morocco has long been an adventurer’s paradise. Starting from northern Morocco make your way to the blue city of Chefchaouen. Here just about every building in the Rif Mountain town is painted blue. Take a brief walk to the town church in order to sip on freshly squeezed orange juice as you feast your eyes on one of the most stunning views of this utterly enchanting town. After your colourful trip to Chef, journey to the historic city of Fez. Here you’ll find the oldest university in the world located in one of the oldest in-tact medinas. If you get lost enough in the UNESCO-protected medina of Fes el Bali you might just find your way to the world-renowned tanneries.

Sailing Around the Caribbean

When we leave our minds to wander we tend to give life to the many what-ifs that leave us paranoid and petrified in our tracks. A Caribbean bareboat charter might sound like an impossible dream to some, but it is in fact a fast-growing alternative break for friends and families, who get the chance to see some of the planet’s most photogenic islands, while enjoying some of the world’s best snorkeling. And even if you have been lucky enough to experience this part of the world before, nothing quite compares to the sense of freedom and magic that a bareboat charter can give you. Amazing waters, amazing fishing, amazing sailing!

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There’s nothing quite like being on the road, seeing incredible landscapes, stumbling upon offbeat spots, and stopping in small towns. Road tripping is a glorious American tradition, one that inspires carefreeness in us. It’s also an unforgettable way to bond with new girlfriends, reconnect with old ones, or simply squeeze in alone time.

Image courtesy of Patxi Izkue under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

From majestic Alaska to big sky Montana and idyllic Massachusetts, the country is every woman’s oyster for epic adventures on the open road. So pack your RV rental, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime.

Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Drive north on AK-1, which meanders along Matanuska River, from Anchorage then south on Highway 4 to Valdez. This 300-mile route is one of Alaska’s most scenic drives, rewarding travelers with panoramas of mighty glaciers, peaks and lakes. As a fitting finale, a series of lovely waterfalls waves you past in Keystone Canyon outside Valdez.

Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon

The 75-mile Colombia River Highway in Oregon is the first ever planned scenic roadway in the US. That fact alone makes this drive a worthy addition to any road trip list. The breathtaking views of the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains it offers make it a memorable one. Essential stops include the Crown Point and the Bridge of the Gods.

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January is National Bald Eagle month and what better way to celebrate our national emblem than to view these birds in person? Conveniently, winter is the best time to see bald eagles in the wild. Here is your guide to viewing bald eagles in the US Northeast – either by land or while sailing the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways.

Bald eagles are the only eagle that is unique to North America. Look for the eagle’s distinctive white head and tail with a brown body. Bald eagles spend most of their time in the air gliding with their wings in almost a straight line on either side of their bodies. They spend little time flapping their wings. Bald eagles have yellow legs and feet and hooked beaks.

You don’t have to be an experienced bird watcher to enjoy viewing bald eagles. Their large size and proximity to water make bald eagles easier for even children and novice nature enthusiasts to spot.

Eagle-Watching Season

Each winter bald eagles from Alaska and Canada head south to take advantage of the warmer weather in places like the Chesapeake Bay. Although bald eagles were endangered during the 1970s, their population numbers have rallied back since then, providing more opportunities to see these majestic birds in person.

In addition to the larger number of eagles present in the states during winter, the lack of foliage on trees makes eagles easier to see. Many of us tend to think of bald eagles as living primarily in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, each winter eagles congregate along the waterways in every state except Hawaii.

Fortunately for those of us living in the Northeast, the Chesapeake Bay now has one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Chesapeake Bay is home to breeding pairs of bald eagles in addition to hosting eagles to visit each winter from further north.

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hampi_virupaksha_templeSolo traveling is all the rage these days and women are no longer an exception to that. You can love traveling in packs just as much as you can enjoy a trip on your own. With backpacking being an increasing phenomenon these days, you can’t blame yourself for wanting to indulge in some of your own.  Though it can be a bit tricky to travel alone in India, there’s nothing that’ll stop a girl from doing it if you’ve got it in you. Check out the top 5 cities where a woman can travel alone in India.

Nainital, Uttarakhand

This quaint hill station offers some great opportunities. The dreamy destination has a magical background and the warmest of people to keep you feeling enthused during your trip. Boating in the pretty lake under the Himalayan peaks is relaxing and adventurous. There are some great sunset and sunrise points to explore. Nainital a perfectly secure and fun location to visit all by yourself. There is no disappointment when exploring this serene town of India.

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Historical and intriguing, Khajuraho has a charm of its own. The miraculous temples have stunning architecture and the ups and downs of the trek up to this location are an ideal weekend getaway in India. If you’ve wanted to visit the UNESCO declared World Heritage Sites in India, the Khajuraho temples should definitely be on your list. Not only are the locals very willing to help, the tour guides are great to have conversations with about the interesting heritage of India.

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The Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons in Britain are two stunning areas less than 20 miles from one another.  Each has its own distinct identity, and both are extremely popular tourist destinations – perfect for ladies embarking on an active girls weekend in the great outdoors.

The Wye Valley follows 58 meandering miles of the River Wye to form some spectacular limestone gorge landscapes and dense wooded backdrops.  There is a healthy abundance of wildlife, such as horseshoe bats, peregrine falcons, kingfishers and goshawks horseshoe bats.  The region was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1971 and is one of the UK’s finest and most treasured national parks, forming the perfect backdrop for a whole host of Wye Valley activities.

In contrast, the Brecon Beacons National Park is a grassy, heather-clad mountainous region situated just above South Wales’ historic coal mining region.  This dramatic landscape, shaped by glaciers in the last Ice Age, was designated a national park in 1957.  Here you’ll find South Wales’ highest peak, Pen y Fan, where invigorating outdoor activities reign supreme.

Here is our pick of the best activities each area has to offer:

Wye Valley Activities

1. Canoeing

The River Wye was voted by WWF as the public’s favourite river.  And canoeing the Wye Valley is an experience not to be missed.  For experienced boaters, taking to the rapids on Symonds Yat provides all the exhilaration needed.  While those hens looking for a more sedate day out can take a lazy cruise and take in all the stunning scenery on show.

Several activity outfits will offer equipment and take you to a starting point upstream, before you meander your way down the river unescorted.  Otherwise, there are a range of courses helping you to develop your skills.

2. Cycling

Cycling provides an excellent way for a group of ladies to explore the Wye Valley and nearby Forest of Dean regions.  Several cycle routes have been set up through Forest Enterprise sites.  Otherwise, Sustrans have opened a riverside cycle route that follows a disused railway line.

Over in the Forest of Dean, more experienced MTB thrill seekers can kit up and go hell for leather through several blue and red marked downhill trails.  There are also several hire companies offering a range of bikes and suggested routes.

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