I have had this conversation with so many friends – they want to go on a memorable vacation, but they have one requirement: they need vacation destinations without Zika. While the Carribean, and parts of Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia are off limits these days – there are still so many amazing places that you can visit without having to worry about contracting Zika. Here are my recommendations:
Iceland – We loved Iceland, the people couldn’t have been nicer and the small country is filled with natural wonders to explore. If you go during the summer, the sun won’t set, and if you go in the winter you can likely catch the Northern Lights. Another plus is that you can fly Icelandair and stopover in Iceland and then continue on to Europe.
Japan – First off, flying to Japan isn’t as expensive as you might think. Our flights were $500 round trip. We were fascinated by Tokyo because it is just so different from the US. It is such a big city, but at the same time, it is super clean and safe. We loved exploring temples and food markets. Next time we will make time to go to Kyoto too.
London – I recommend balancing your time between visiting the city’s exceptional museums and historical sites and exploring different neighborhoods. We loved Shoreditch and Notting Hill. Plus, despite England’s reputation for bad food, there are lots of incredible restaurants.
Nice – If you want warm weather and a European vacation, the South of France is perfect. Nice is charming and romantic, the food is wonderful, and the city feels like a movie set. It’s also just a short train ride to Monaco. It’s still warm in Nice in September, so you can miss the summer crowds and still enjoy ideal weather.
Finland – Finland was one of my favorite trips of 2016. It’s been named one of the top travel destinations for 2017 – and there are plently of reasons why: they have sunlight nearly 24/7 in the summer, the Northern Lights in the winter, incredible architecture, and a spectacular food scene.
Morocco – I am heading here as part of my next adventure. We are going to shop the markets in Marrakesh, ride camels through the desert to a glamping campground, and then hit the beach. Expect to see lots of silly videos on my Snapchat courtesy of my sister. My friend Mick (you might remember him traveling with me in Iceland) also recommends going to Chefchaouen, Morocco’s blue city. (photo via Mick’s site Trotter Hop)
Or, if you are looking for options in the US, here are my top picks:
Charleston – This is the place to go if you want warm weather, soul food, and history. I loved the tour of Fort Sumter, and the pirate tour of the city.
LA – I was in LA with my friend Jocelyn, and we focused our attention on eating. There are fantastic restaurants to explore, but you could opt to spend your time hanging at the beach too. The weather is nearly always perfect, which is a big win.
Nashville – We might have felt like the only people who weren’t in town for a bachelorette party, but let’s face it, watching bachelorette parties from afar is pretty entertaining. We hit up the honky tonks, Charles learned about Johnny Cash, and we discovered the best biscuits and Nashville Hot Chicken. Maybe only go to Nashville if you are ok with some weight gain.
San Francisco – I tagged along when Charles had to be in San Francisco for work for a week, and there was so much to do. I took day trips to Alcatraz (which is way cooler than you could imagine) and Sausalito (which is the most darling little seaside town). I ate my way through the Ferry Building Market, explored Haight-Ashbury, and found great shopping. You could also spend some time in Sonoma and Napa while you are in the area.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or Zika expert. You can find up to date information on Zika on the Center for Disease Control and State Department websites.