Katherine Decker • College Times
With the weather starting to rise and Spring Break just around the corner, it is the perfect time to start planning your next vacation. When the world is your oyster for just over a week, it may be tricky to decide what the best destination for you is; so here are the top five places to visit in the world.
New York City
New York City, the Big Apple, is home to Broadway musicals, slices of pizza the size of your face and the Statue of Liberty, all things that every first timer to the city must experience. The most populated city and the top destination in the United States, it is filled with famous museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where tickets cost as little as $12. Take the subway to SoHo for all your shopping needs from high-end boutiques to every chain store you could imagine. New York City has anything and everything for any tourist.
Cancun, one of the top destinations for anyone visiting Mexico, is filled with snorkeling, fun nightlife destinations and ziplining. With a great beachfront to the Caribbean, you can spend your day drinking margaritas and laying out in the sun. Cancun is also famous for the Maya city of Chichen Itza, with it’s amazing pyramid and structures that date back to the fifth century. Head over to the Mercado 28, a huge shopping center in Downtown Cancun, and find the perfect travel gifts that are handcrafted by the people of Mexico. End your trip with some nice sunset sailing to seal the deal.
According to Maria Laura Boldini Creal, a travel specialist of 18 years at Zicasso, no matter the time of year the European capitals are always popular but especially during the spring and summer seasons. Her top trip for first time travelers is to “pick one country and try to see all of it!” She does not recommend “country hopping,” because it is important to see as much of the country’s culture that you can.
Known as the city of lights and home of the Eiffel Tower, Paris should definitely be on every traveler’s bucket list. Filled with world-famous museums, exquisite cuisine and centuries old architecture, Paris is the perfect place to be this spring. Walk among the oh-so-chic Parisians and snack on macarons while shopping the biggest designers on the Champs-Élysées. Take a day trip to Versailles Palace, the former residence of King Louis XIV. Whether you are a fashionista or a coffee enthusiast, Paris has many things to offer for every voyager.
“Paris is popular for everyone,” says Creal, who adds that going to the EIffel Tower and Notre Dame is something that everyone must see. She notes that a cruise along the Seine gives the best views and that if you go during the summer the weather can range from the 70s to the 80s. Creal says the best time to go see the city of lights is in June, when the weather is the nicest for exploring.
Rome, the center of the Roman Empire that ruled all of Europe for centuries, is an architect’s dream come true. Whether it’s visiting the Colosseum or making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, Rome is the place to be in 2020. Rome is also known for its delicious cuisine and as the birthplace of pizza.
Creal says that when visiting Rome it is important to try all of the pasta, pizza and gelato you can. She also mentions that coffee is a huge part of Italian culture and definitely a must when in Rome. Other places in the area, besides Rome, that Creal recommends seeing are Vinise and the Greek Islands. Of course, when in Rome, do as the Romans.
London’s calling, and this is the year to travel to see the one and only Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, the home of Queen Elizabeth II. England also has a version of ChinaTown that is just at the east end of London. Take a tour in a double-decker bus that passes by Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and even the London Eye. Have a pick-me-up at one of London’s tea rooms for afternoon tea, finger sandwiches and scones. Try some fish and chips or a proper English breakfast and see just how far our English language has changed from its roots.
Creal compares traveling to renovating a house. She says it is important to have an idea of what you are going to spend, but know that things happen and you may need to spend more on unexpected plans. It is always best to prepare for anything, even when it comes to the cost of traveling.
As always, wherever you travel, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Creal recommends hiding your passport and making copies of it just in case something unexpected happens. For a woman, she believes the smartest way to travel is to buy a crossbody bag that has zippers and to keep your purse with you at all times. She says it is also important to walk in groups and avoid dark alleys at night, especially if you are alone. Creal mentions that traveling is the best time to use your “street smart” skills. Creal also recommends traveling with people who are like you. “If you are a night owl, travel with a night ow. Someone who is like you—has the same interest—will make traveling easier,” she notes.
“When traveling it is important to be open minded. Tours cancel and new things come up that you weren’t expecting,” Creal says. She says it is important to remember that not everything you planned will happen, so prepare for a rainy day or a canceled tour and be open to anything that comes your way.
So, whether you decide to scuba dive in the Caribbean or try your luck with eating snails, all of these destinations are calling your name this year. CT