Posts Tagged ‘destinations’

Why You Should Add Antarctica to Your Career Break Itinerary
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

For many career breakers, extended travel is also an opportunity to reach out-of-the-way “bucket list” destinations.  Though there are many extraordinary places to take a career break, Antarctica stands apart from the pack.  How many destinations truly offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure like stepping through the cover of a National Geographic Magazine?

Reaching a Travel Goal Together

Three years ago, Meet, Plan, Go! co-founder Sherry Ott and her 76-year-old father could be found hiking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit.  Her father had once traveled halfway around the world on a freighter, so adventure travel was in their DNA. Inspired after crossing the high altitude Thorung La Pass together, it was only natural for both to start thinking about where they would travel next.  Sherry’s father had his eyes set on the next great adventure —Antarctica— and of course, Sherry said, “let’s do it!”

This December,  Sherry and her dad will reach their dream destination —the great White Continent!  This has been a bucket list item for both of them and they are excited to set foot on their 7th continent together.  They’ll embark on the 126-passenger Expedition for 13 days, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina on December 10, 2012 and sailing to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica Sooner Rather Than Later

A wonderland for the eyes, Antarctica is the most pristine, awe-inspiring, wildlife-rich destination on our planet.  Visitors are swept off their feet by serendipitous whale encounters, thousands of penguins bustling about, and towering blue icebergs rising hundreds of feet out of the water.  At times, Antarctica can feel like an out-of-this world dreamy experience, where a bleached white skyline can stretch for miles.

December is optimal for visiting Antarctica since penguins arrive ashore in November to build their nests, so chicks can hatch in December.  This is also when the sea ice breaks up, providing visitors greater access to fluffy penguin chicks, narrow fjords and inlets, and iceberg-strewn beaches.

Like our ever-changing planet, Antarctica is not immune to the effects of climate change.  In fact the ozone hole was first discovered by scientists working on the Antarctic Peninsula and in the last few years, there have been marked changes in the climate and animal behavior. Antarctica is a destination we recommend visiting sooner rather than later. Antarctica is not the easiest location to travel to, which is why small ship cruises are the best way to explore the continent.  These intimate expeditions are often guided by experts who are seasoned naturalists, lecturers, and National Geographic photographers.

Put Antarctica on Your Career Break Itinerary

An expedition to Antarctica requires a significant time commitment, which may be a challenge to many North Americans with limited vacation days.  While a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula may be done in two weeks, expeditions including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia range from 17-24 days. Without time constraints, career break travelers can also experience some of the highlights of South America before and/or after an Antarctic expedition, such as a week in Buenos Aires, a tour of Iguazu Falls, or trekking through Patagonia.

Taking a travel break before retirement can actually propel the direction of one’s career.  There are always adventures to be had, insights to be gained, and lessons to be learned.   Most seasoned travelers would agree that the best education is the world’s cultures.  We certainly do.

Career break travel changed Sherry’s life.  Including an expedition to Antarctica on your career break itinerary just might change yours, too.

Tune in December as Sherry and her father head south to the end of the earth via Twitter (#OttAntarctica), Facebook, and Pinterest.

ExpeditionTrips specializes in trips of a lifetime to extraordinary destinations, including Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Africa, the Arctic and beyond. The world’s leading specialist in expedition travel, we offer a one-stop resource for expert advice, trip planning and outstanding service.  Founded in 1999 by former expedition leaders, naturalists, and guides, ExpeditionTrips’ mission is to help our clients experience the trip of a lifetime. Our award-winning website, offering more than 350 trips, has been voted ‘Best of the Web’ by Forbes annually since 2000, and we have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, Coastal Living and Men’s Journal, and highlighted as ‘The Antarctica Travel Planners’ by Travel + Leisure magazine. For more information, visit

Svalbard After Dark
Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The following is a sponsored destination post brought to you by Private Jet Charters.

In November 2012, a total solar eclipse will clip some islands along the northern coast of Australia.  After that, the next chance to experience a total eclipse will be on March 20, 2015 in the Faroe Islands, Svalbard, and the North Pole.  Trips to the North Pole are available to civilians and it would be amazing to see a total solar eclipse from the North Pole.  Unfortunately such trips cost about $20,000.

I will be in Svalbard for the solar eclipse.  Svalbard is an archipelago north of, and possessed by, Norway.  Spitsbergen is the main and only inhabited island.  Longyearbyen is the capital and largest settlement.

I have already witnessed one eclipse in Shanghai in 2009.  There, I saw half of the event before rainclouds moved in and obscured the view.  Svalbard, with its cold-induced clear skies, will be ideal for not only a total solar eclipse, but heavens-watching in general.  It is said that Svalbard is the world’s best location for catching a glimpse of the rare daytime aurora.

Flights within Norway are operated by SAS.  The eclipse is on a Friday so it is convenient that flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen are cheapest on Thursdays.  The least expensive flight option would be to spend a full week in Longyearbyen, Thursday to Thursday.

Most flights to Longyearbyen go through Tromso, which is worth stopping to visit for at least a day or two.  In the 19th century, Tromso was known as “the Paris of the North.”  Today, it is known for its techno music scene, stunning vistas, and the distinctive Arctic Cathedral.  Perhaps more importantly, Tromso is in the middle of the Aurora Borealis zone.  Catching sight of the Northern Lights is quite possible in Oslo, but in Tromso your odds are 50-50 on a night in March.

Flights aren’t booked more than a year in advance and things change.  It is possible that more flights will be scheduled to accommodate the increased demand.  Then again, perhaps not, since hotel accommodations will be limited.  There are several small lodges.  The only full size hotel (and the northernmost in the world) is the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen.  They are very aware of the upcoming event.  Rooms are already in high demand and could become difficult to find soon.  As far as the flights go, you can check back with SAS in 2014 or with Private Jets Charter.

There is plenty to keep you busy in Svalbard during a visit to witness the solar eclipse. For example, you can go dog sledding, tour a coal mine, or visit a few of the museums. Animal lovers will enjoy catching a glimpse of seals, whales, reindeer and polar bears.

March 2015 may seem far away at the moment, but the total solar eclipse will be here before you know it – it never hurts to plan ahead!

Top Career Break Destinations for 2012
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Don’t know where to go on your career break? We asked our event hosts for their top destination picks for 2012 and hopefully they will be added to your list.


From Sherry Ott of Ottsworld
Jordan should be on your career break travel itinerary not only because of the mind blowing ancient city of Petra, but more so because of the people. Jordan surprised me in many ways, but the most surprising thing was the generosity, kindness, and openness of the people. It was the first country in which I didn’t feel like a walking dollar bill, simply a tourist to sell to. Instead I felt like people really wanted to get to know ME, understand my culture, family, background, and thoughts on the world. It was an exchange in the true sense; normally all over a glass of tea.

The people are enough reason to go to Jordan, but if you need more, then consider the sites of Petra, the ancient ruins in the city of Amman, floating in the Dead Sea, and hiking in some of the most stunning landscape you’ll see in the world. The food is also a perk of travel in Jordan; falafel, hummus, flat bread, fresh vegetables, delicious coffee and tea cooked in ways you’ve never experienced will make your taste buds sore! Cost to travel there are relatively low and it’s simple to travel independently as the country is small, but has good infrastructure.

Put this gem of the Middle East on your career break list as it’s a chance to really see the Middle East that we hear so much about. It will provide you a chance to form your own opinions on the Middle East instead of the one we are fed on the news.

Resources to help you plan your travel to Jordan:
Explore Jordan
Conversation Corps Jordan


From Jane Stanfield of Where Is She Heading
For a World Heritage Site, don’t miss Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Not simply one temple, the Angkor complex covers 100’s of miles and various complexes of temples, each unique and special. While the main temple is immortalized on the Cambodian flag, my personal favorite is the Bayon in the Angkor Thom complex.

The massive stone faces are amazing and mysterious with their serene gaze. I only had a few hours, but the next time I go, I will spend an entire day at the Bayon and watch the light change on the faces. In my book, Angkor Wat is not to be missed if you are anywhere close to Cambodia.

Resources to help plan your travel to Cambodia:
Cambodia Discovery
Explore Angkor

New Zealand

From Rainer Jenss
Seeing New Zealand by campervan is widely considered one of the best ways to explore the country. Its popularity stems largely from the fact that there’s just so darn much beautiful nature to see here, and unlike in the United States, it’s all compressed into a relatively small amount of real estate. Also unlike in the U.S. you can pull over almost anywhere you want to overnight and we did plenty of that.

Almost one-third of the country is designated as national parkland, and on the South Island, you can see turquoise blue ocean, temperate rain forest, rolling farmland, and snow-covered mountains all within a couple hours drive. The infrastructure is also quite hospitable and easily handles all the tourists who choose this option, making it very manageable and convenient for first time renters like us.

Resources to help plan your travel to New Zealand:
Allways Car Rental
New Zealand Explorer


From Jeff Jung of Career Break Secrets
I would highly recommend heading off to Patagonia and bouncing between the Argentinean and Chilean side. There are few places around the world that are this untouched and pristine. It can take a while to get there and to get around it, so a career break is the perfect time to experience it. Glaciers, wildlife, snow, sun, hiking, boating and the ability to drink glacier-fresh water right out of the river are just a few of the adventures that await you. I’ve been twice and I would go again in a heartbeat.

Resources to help plan your travel to Patagonia:
Patagonia Wilderness
Best of Argentina & Chile

New Orleans

From Kirk Horsted of BreakAway
One getaway suggestion for 2012? How about New Orleans? I recently returned from a week there—my maiden voyage—and can’t say enough about why the Big Easy indeed makes a Big, Easy BreakAway. So I’ll limit my rave-omendation to 11 reasons why NOLA should be on erveryone’s travel-bucket list.

• You can get there from here. Oh sure, we travel snobs sometimes sniff at the notion of staying stateside. But the USA bursts with magical places—like NOLA.
• You feel far, far away—even though you’re in the heart of America.
• This joint is hopping, yet laid back too.
• More music than you can shake a bootie at.
• Diversity, diversity, diversity, and just about everybody gets along.
• There’s no bad food in N’Awlins.
• Their bounce back-from all the disasters inspires even the most dire of doubters.
• The locals display the perfect blend of pride and hospitality.
• Music is so omnipresent and competent that outstanding players must compete to play for tips on street corners.
• “The city that never sleeps?” Sorry, Big Apple. The Big Easy makes you look tired!
• There’s no place like NOLA; you won’t know what country you’re in!

What destinations are on your list?

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