Dear PoPville – If You Could Take a Two Week Vacation Where Would You Go?

Photo by PoPville flickr user zoeicaimages

“Dear PoPville,

If you had 2 weeks vacation and wanted to take an interesting trip to somewhere that you might not normally have time to visit, where would you go?”

107 Comment

  • just booked 2 weeks in japan

  • If money is no object, then Australia or New Zealand.

    • Second to New Zealand. I spent 2 weeks on the North Island, and another 3 on south on a separate trip. Highly recommend it.

      • Don’t go to Australia. Its a far way to travel for a place that is very similar to America.

        • it takes about 20-22h to get to Australia from DC. that’s a long time, but it can take equally long–or more–to get to a lot of other places. it’s nice in that the airlines that fly there are really good in economy and that it only takes one connection to get to Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney (maybe Adelaide and Perth too…I haven’t checked recently).

          it’s a great place with excellent people and fantastic natural beauty.

          I’ve been to Melbourne and Tasmania. I absolutely loved both. the physical landscape of Tassie is incredible, and I was in awe the whole time. I will likely fly back there early next year to hit Perth and maybe some of the beach communities.

          also, there is an exceptional food scene, relatively good wines, and easily the friendliest people in the Anglosphere.

        • Except for little things like – the GREAT BARRIER REEF!

        • You must have only gone to Sydney like me. I went for a family wedding, and never left Sydney. Though, it is a great city, it is very similar to any American city and not worth the trip. Other parts of Australia, I can’t really speak to, but heard it is beautiful.

      • Two weeks is definitely not enough time to see both islands. I’m jealous you got so much time there! I tried to do north and south islands in two weeks a couple years ago, and it was a mistake. We could have spent two weeks on one island and still have just brushed the surface.

    • What about those places is appealing to you? I have friends in Australia and NZ that I should visit, but there are so many other parts of the world I’d rather see.

      • I describe New Zealand like this: take the best national park in the US (eg: Yosemite, Yellowstone) in terms of natural beauty. Spread it out over an entire country. No exaggeration. Plunk in some nice towns with friendly people and pubs.

        Seriously, though…the natural beauty and sheer emptiness is astonishing. Just getting from point A to point B is amazing in and of itself. Highlights for me included the glow worm caves in Waitomo, diving Poor Knights Reserve, great wineries in Marlborough, Cathedral Cove on Coromandel Peninsula (probably the most beautiful beach I’ve been to), hiking the glacier at Franz Josef. Oh, and the stars at night out of the “city” are mind blowing.

        • would love to go to new zealand. but i second the comment above that australia is not worth the time and money.

  • If the political situation stabilizes Thailand is next on our list. Great food, gorgeous beaches, fascinating cities. Exotic but it has good tourist infrastructure.

    • Thailand is currently at the top of my list, pending stabilization, for all the reasons you noted.

    • Thailand is my favorite of the ~40 countries I’ve visited. In general, the answer to this question is entirely dependent on what you’re looking for in a trip and how much money you have to spend, but Thailand is always worth considering.

    • I’m doing 3 weeks in Thailand at the end of August. Hope the curfew is lifted by then.

      • We did 4 weeks last year, it was amazing. Looking back, I wish we would have spent more time in northern thailand. Check out Cave lodge, nytimes did an article on it. It was a highlight of our trip. Bangkok had DC prices, we did not budget for that!

  • So many great options. My favorite so far in that time range was South Africa. If you’re looking for an amazing safari experience (in addition to Cape Town, etc.), I highly recommend Arathusa (

    • Emmaleigh504

      I would love to go to Kruger and see some rhinos in the wild. I hope they aren’t all poached by the time I get there.

  • Istanbul Great non-stop flights from Dulles too.

    • I wasn’t that thrilled with Istanbul. Some interesting sites, but the people there are really awful.

      • I’ve always dreamed of Istanbul. What didn’t you like about the people? Just curious.

        • Rude without exception. I get that it’s a big city, and you have to constantly have your guard up for scam artists and thieves (and boy were there a lot of those). But everyone seemed angry all the time, even if we were supporting their business. The last straw was after we’d paid for our meal at a restaurant (which cost twice as much as it should have after they snuck in various fees), and the waiters started loudly berating my 80-year-old mother-in-law for accidentally dropping her dirty napkin on the floor. No respect for anyone, not even the elderly.

          • Went to Istanbul last year and did not have that issue at all. It was actually one of the best trips we’ve been on – beautiful city, interesting history, great food, and very easy to get around. And we felt safe the whole time – no issues with scams/thieves/etc. If you do go to Turkey, you should check out Cappodocia as well.

          • Durn! Sorry for you guys with the bad experiences. I stayed in Istanbul for a week – took buses, trams, taxis, boats allll over the place. People were spectacular! The only exception was a funny little man who gave me a nasty pinch on the inside of my elbow. I responded loudly with an “ow!” and he was gone before any shopkeeper reached me to assist. City was clean as a rule. Prices on par with ors so no cheapie bargains, but our modest hotel near lots of day and nightlife was good, as were the staff. I may return.

          • I did like the other parts of Turkey that we went to! Just not Istanbul. Maybe they didn’t like us because we were Indian? I don’t know.

          • Likewise I was in Istanbul last September and did not experience anything out of the ordinary rudeness wise. It is a huge city, you have to remember that. It helps if you stay away from touristy places, we stayed on the bottom of Istiklal Ave. Only had one bad experience in a touristy restaurant where we were overcharged for water and bread. Other than that, nothing to complain about. And we are definitely going back, as 4 days in the city was nothing.

      • Wow, that’s a surprise. I did the typical tourist rounds of Turkey with my family when I was younger and had really fond memories, so I went back a couple of years ago. I wasn’t all that interested in seeing the tourist sites again, so I just spent almost 2 weeks in Istanbul. The whole point was to relax a bit, enjoy the vibrant lifestyle, and get a feel for the culture. I was living in the Middle East at the time, so I saw it as a cool twist on something familiar.
        Absolutely loved it. I found Turkish people to be friendly, curious, and generally passionate about life (family, food, drink, and friends). They certainly can have a slightly gruff surface demeanor, but I don’t think that is very different from other countries in the region. The same goes for all the sales pitches. Welcome to a culture of salesmen merged with a tourist destination… it is inevitable. I was blown away by how many tourists I saw put their heads down and speed up whenever they saw the guy out front of a restaurant tasked with recruiting customers. That frustration/intimidation just made them miss out on a legitimate experience (and a good meal).

        • Why is that strange? I wouldn’t want someone to waste their time trying to get me into their restaurant unless I was looking for a plae to eat.

          • It seemed that they were looking for places to eat. They were trying to look at menus, circling around the block, etc. It also happened with shops and other businesses. I just got the sense that they were interested in patronizing the businesses, but shut down once they were approached by a salesman and practically ran away.

    • Yep. Turkey is the perfect place to go for two weeks from DC.

  • If money were no object, Scandanavia or the Galápagos Islands. More budget friendly, Argentina from top to bottom.

  • San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

  • A trip down the Amazon.

  • If my goals were relaxation and not spending a ton of money I’d do a Caribbean cruise. People look down on cruises but they’re so ridiculously fun.

  • justinbc

    Australia, splitting time between Sydney and Melbourne (and if time, a pop over to NZ as well).

  • Transatlantic cruise

  • A farm in Italy. No question. Bonus points if it comes with an Italian grandmother to teach me how to cook.

  • I’m actually traveling to Santorini this summer. Anyone ever been? Any recommendations on things to do or good restaurants?

    • Once you get to santorini take a bus to the ton of Oia. Its where all the postcard pics are taken, truly stunning and much much less tshirt shop/drunk college kid/touristy than the town of santorini.

    • Akrotiri – like Pompeii but older (1600 BC or so) – they even had a system for running water! I second dinner and sunset in Oia, although the buses to get there from Fira are deathtraps. There are a variety of beach types – pebble, black sand, red sand. And the Post did a good article a few months ago. Go to their site and search Santorini – it was something like ditching all the tourists in Santorini. I loved breakfast at Mama’s, but mostly since it had been so many months since I had an American breakfast at that point!

    • I’d stay in Oia, even though I don’t think the sunsets were all that. Swim out to the little church island, ring the bell, and dive back in! Walk the length of the cliff to Thira. Stop by to climb to the top of Skaros Rock. In Thira, ride the cable car down to the dock. You can take the ferry over to the volcano, if you just want to say you’ve stood on top of a volcano, otherwise, it’s just hot! Akrotiri was closed when I was last there, but we went to the Santozeum which has reproductions of the murals. If the place you’re staying isn’t on the cliff with a magnificent view, any restaurant/bar on the cliff between Thira and Oia is a good place to plop down for the duration of the day (or week) to just soak it all in.

  • Morocco is high on my list at this point, though I can strong recommend Tanzania if you’re looking to spend about seven days in the bush on safari followed by a few on Zanzibar relaxing afterwards. While safari “camps” in places like South Africa are OK to see animals in the wild, they really pale to a true safari experience somewhere like the Serengeti.

    • I went only to Marrakesh, but did not enjoy it.

    • I want what you said: Proper safari followed by beach time on Zanzibar. That’s my dream vacation. I think. But I’ve only been to South Africa, so maybe I wouldn’t like Tanzania/ Kenya? Dunno.

      Here’s my problem. I feel like off-the-beaten-track outward-bound fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventurer stuff is so stressful! I want to have the experiences, but still unwind. And I feel like there’s a huge stigma for a youngish citizen of the world to NOT want to immerse herself in the local whatnot. I’ve done that, and I do it to some extent for my job, but I would really like to take vacations. So I’m kind of looking forward to being old enough to justify paying for someone to smooth my way, make the arrangements, make it easy and relaxing. Now you know my secret shame. (And don’t get me started on the post-colonial shame. Oy.)

      • There’s nothing wrong with just “taking a vacation” in Tanzania without making it a big cultural tour. Frankly, it’s a lot of work just to find true “cultural experiences” in a place like Tanzania–the Masai have smartphones just like everyone else you know, and a lot of what’s seen at their encampments is just for show to the tourists, so I’d recommend skipping it anyway. Other thoughts to consider: you can’t easily get into the Serengeti without a guide from a safari company, so it’s much easier to leave the driving (and spotting) to them. It costs a bit–our was $2300/person all-inclusive for the six days–but that got us a private vehicle, guide, all meals and some decent to incredibly nice lodging. Sharing a vehicle with other tourists will bring the price down. In Zanzibar, I’d recommend at least one night at the Emerson Spice in Stone Town before heading out to the resorts. Make sure to have dinner at the hotel–it’s one of the world’s best restaurants, and you’ll never have another experience like it. Alternatively, head down to a beach resort in Mozambique. In all the world, there are no beaches better than those that I’ve seen.

      • Ooh, I feel like Tanzania is perfect for you. You can organize a safari, where you get to see tons, and many of the lodges have cultural things to see, but once you book the safai, most of the logistics are fully taken care of – i’d actually say it’s a pretty low stress way to have a pretty adventurous holiday. And then head to zanzibar, which is so small that even if you wanted to see it from top to bottom, you could stay at one hotel the whole time, which reduces a lot of the stress. I’ve done a lot of backpacker-y travel, and id say Tanzania is a pretty great way to take things up a notch, without feeling totally like you’re on an old person packaged tour!

      • Years ago I went with Contiki tours (under 35, big with young Aussies and Brits) through Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. Great trip, and it’s not that different from what you would arrange yourself. The local companies just slap a different magnet on the Land Cruiser depending on the company they’re working with that week, and you’ll be eating the same boxed lunch as the people with Abercrombie and Kent. They make the arrangements and haul the crap around for you, a tent is a tent, and the hotels in the wildlife areas are generally crappy anyway (no competition). Highly recommended, and it fits the “adventurous but not a pain in the ass” to a T.

  • I would like to go to Peru and hike Machu Picchu then see some of the rest of the country, or if money were no object go to Easter Island. Or spend two weeks traveling all over Eastern Europe.

  • Virgin Gorda in the BVI

  • Travel and Liesure just had a blurb on how Sri Lanka is a new up and comer for great travel, who knew they had the best whale watching on the planet and several unesco sites to boot.

  • GiantSquid

    Take the first week to do an InGamba tour: biking and eating our way through Italy. The second week would be hitting up Paris and taking the Chunnel to London.

  • epric002

    places i haven’t been yet: iceland first, followed by austria. places i’d go back to: anywhere in france, italy or germany.

  • Husband and I went up north (skipping Macchu Picchu) and adored it. Great food, great weather, beautiful scenery, lovely people. We saw animals, ruins, culture, nature – you name it. It felt untouched but the infrastructure was surprisingly good (though knowing some Spanish definitely helped). Together and separately we’ve been lots of other spots, too, and this is our favorite so far. Plus the time change/price aren’t bad. Next big trip we’re thinking Ethiopia.

  • Machu Picchu and a jungle trip over the Andes
    Angkor Wat
    Scuba diving in Indonesia/Komodo/Bali
    Liveaboard dive trip Great Barrier Reef
    African safari (Botswana?)
    Island hopping trip starting in St. Eustatius heading south, LIAT airlines or sailboat

  • Arriving Prague, departing Istanbul.

  • We’re doing a week in Ireland (mostly Northern/ the north), and a week in England (mostly London). Suggestions welcome!
    I definitely recommend Galapagos for a week. You don’t need two weeks unless you’re a serious diver and want to spend a LOT of time underwater. (In which case, great! There’s good diving.) I saw all the crabs and iguanas and seabirds I needed to see in one week. But I only snorkel. Never got around to getting licensed.

    • Ireland has just about the friendliest people around.

    • My husband and I went to Ireland, Scotland and London last year for a 2 1/2 week trip. We absolutely loved Ireland and Scotland. We drove clockwise around the entire country. I would highly recommend going to the Giant’s Causeway in Bushmills Northern Ireland and Belfast. If you have time you should tour the Republic of Ireland as well. We found Northern Ireland to be a little less friendly and definitely more expensive, since they use the pound. The Southwestern part of the Republic of Ireland is amazing. The Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Skellig Ring and Cliffs of Moher are worth the trip.

      The Camden Market in London is awesome, if you have time to check it out. A friend of ours recommend that we take a Jack the Ripper Tour and that was actually a lot of fun.

  • I’m actually planning a two week vacation to Greece and Turkey. Went with Athens, Milos, Santorini and Istanbul. Hope for my sake that the posters’ comments above about the people in Istanbul not being the nicest are wrong…

    • justinbc

      I did a 2 week Greece trip a few years ago and hit Santorini (Oia), Rhodes (Rhodes Town and Lindos), Crete (Heraklion and Chania), and Athens. It was awesome, but I was exhausted from all the trekking and needed a couple days after we got back just to recover.

      • I did a cruise that went to Chania and Rhodes, among other places. It was awesome and very relaxing!

        • justinbc

          Chania was gorgeous, wish I had spent more time there.

          • Same here!

          • Ditto! Actually, all of Crete was much more amazing than I thought. Even Heraklion. The only disappointments were Knossos and the bus trip between Heraklion and Chania. I thought we were on the express with three stops between the towns, but we caught the local with 34 stops! And no a/c or shades! With only one open window in the front! Anyway, the Elafonisi beach and Sanmaria gorge more than made up for that.

          • justinbc

            I rented a car and just drove everywhere. It worked out really well going from Heraklion to Chania, since we got to stop for lunch at AVLI in Rethymno, one of my favorite restaurants ever. Worked out not so well when driving down to Elafonisi on that crazy curving road and nearly running out of gas, with bees coming in the car, and stopping for goat herds 🙂

        • I’ve been to Oia in Santorini and was shocked by the price of foods. Like $12 icecreams and $18 cocktails. But it was incredibly beautiful. Even if you have to eat pizza 3 times a day. Thira/Fira was much more affordable.

      • Rhodes looks so cool, but we decided to stick with islands that were closer together…Read this thread makes me wish we had longer to see more places!!!!

    • They are! I spent a few days in Istanbul in 2008 and LOVED it. Best place I’ve visited (and I consider myself pretty well traveled). Don’t expect welcoming arms- they tend to be wary of westerners, but are perfectly friendly when you actually get to talking to people.

  • National Harbor

  • I’ve always wanted to follow the route that Che and his buddy travel in the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries” — I remember the scenery being stunning, and I have family in Bolivia and friends in Peru and Columbia right now.

    Unfortunately it’s not a trip that I would like to make alone, and it might take more than 2 weeks (although flying between major cities on the route would make for a shorter and safer trip).

    omg, I desperately need a vacation!

  • +1 to Argentina. Two weeks was perfect there.
    Antarctica. Two weeks worked well for that, too!

  • saf

    Flying or driving?

    Flying – Europe. I haven’t been to Germany or Belgium or Austria yet. Or Finland. I have freinds there. Same for Denmark.

    Driving – we’ve done Quebec (Montreal, Quebec City, and the Gaspe peninsula on one trip and PEI and Nova Scotia on another trip.

  • Emmaleigh504


  • The greatest place on earth, Wildwood, New Jersey

  • Paris of course.

  • A week in London, a week in the Scottish Highlands.

    • I loved the Highlands, but it was pretty quiet. As in… not much to DO. More a place to just BE. Restaurants, for example: closed by 8pm. So here you are, wandering around a cute town and it’s not even close to sunset and you start thinking about dinner, and nope. Only the chip shop is still open, so you’re sitting on a bridge over a little burn eating fish and chips while the rest of the Highlands goes to bed (and it’s still not quite dark).

  • Australia or New Zealand – both take a long time to get to from the East Coast, so they’d be great for a two week trip. I’ve been to Australia but not New Zealand, and loved the people and the beautiful scenery. On the downside, I felt Australia was more expensive than anywhere I’ve been to in the UK, Europe (though to be fair, I’ve never been to Switzerland or Sweden) or Japan. Also, as others mentioned, it has a lot of similarities to the US. That can be nice in many ways (easier to make friends with people who live there as you share a common language) but if you’re looking for an experience that feels more “foreign” then you might feel disappointed.

    Japan – I just got back from a week there, and I could’ve easily filled another week – there was so much that I didn’t get to see. Despite Japan have a reputation for being expensive, I really didn’t find it any more expensive than most US cities, and in fact it was cheaper in some ways – much easier to get a cheap, clean, safe hotel room in Tokyo than, say, NYC or SF, and there were plenty of places to eat for around $10 USD (or less, in some cases, plus tip is included). Have heard that the humidity is horrible there in the summer, so probably a trip to take in the spring or fall. I went the last part of April/first part of May and the weather for the most part was great.

    South Africa – I’ve never been, and it also takes a long time to get to, so two weeks would be nice. You could visit Cape Town, drive the Garden Route, maybe even do a safari at Kruger.

    Vietnam – Another place I’ve never been, and I definitely would like to do a trip from the south to the north (or vice versa). Two weeks seems like it would be a decent amount of time for this, plus Vietnam is pretty cheap for someone traveling on the US dollar. Not sure when you plan on going on this trip, though – you’d want to make sure you’re not going during monsoon season or during a time when it’s unbearably hot.

    Israel/Jordan – I think this would be a great combination for a two week trip, and one I hope to do someday. I see ticket deals (as in, under $800) into Tel Aviv on a semi-regular basis. I wouldn’t want to do this trip in the summer, though – way too hot for me.

  • janie4

    Two weeks? If I had three, New Zealand and Australia – I’m told the jet lag makes anything less difficult.

    I loved Italy both times I went. I’d go back any day (food, shopping, great people, beautiful country). If it were a place I’d be unlikely to go to because of money or other concerns, Turkey for rug shopping and the historic sites and the sheer beauty (not a big fan of middle eastern food, nervous about language barriers ). Be warned, the art of the haggle is a big thing anywhere east of Albania, which can be nerve-racking. People can be verbally aggressive, which comes off as hostile to Americans, but isn’t meant to be.

    If I were recovering from surgery or just wanted to relax and not sight see or do anything much, Bermuda. The island’s small and there’s not a ton of stuff to see, but it’s relaxing, beautiful, no language barriers, close by and it’s fun to see guys in shorts and ride motor scooters everyplace. Also, there’s great snorkeling, and the resorts have golf and tennis as well.

  • I would love to go back to Punta del Este, Uruguay (aka the Hamptons of South American) and just relax either at the beach or the pool at the hotel L’Auberge. Such good food, such a beautiful place, so unbelievably expensive. But I loved it.
    If I were feeling more energetic, it would be Vietnam and Cambodia. Asia is a big gap in my world travels!

  • Baltimore…

  • Galapagos – during Hammerhead shark season. Or Antarctica. Though I really loved Corsica too though only there for 5 days, thinking 2 weeks would be perfect.

  • Prague and Budapest

    • Did two weeks there plus, Vienna, Krakow, and Warsaw. Awesome trip!

      • did a similar trip — vienna, bratislava, budapest, prague. I’d go to any of them again — prauge and budapest were probably at the top. wish I had spent time in croatia. I understand the beaches are great in the right season.

  • As a graduation present to myself, I’m planning a trip to the South Pacific where I can sleep in a hut over crystal clear blue waters and go on a dolphin safari. Another time, I might go somewhere for more adventure, but I just want to be lazy and relax in a ridiculously stunning location.

  • Pony trekking in Mongolia is high on my list. Also Madagascar, Mozambique, Mali and other countries (and micro-nations) that begin with the letter M.

  • San Francisco and the surrounding area. That or Costa Rica

  • I’ve been to Thailand a few times and love it so Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam are on my short list for a 2 week trip of fantasy.

  • We have been out of US for almost a year, and our highlight was 2 weeks in Laos – it was absolutely breathtaking. The best place to unwind, see nature and get culture. We did a 4 day motorcycle trip on Bolaven Plateau that are the best 4 days of my life so far. Beers on mekong, empty roads, waterfalls, village stays, and then the splendor of Luang Prabang. It was absolutely the best. I can’t wait to go back there.

    But if you don’t want to go that far, we spent 4 days in Istanbul that were amazing too! Definitely need to go back.

    • And in Thailand we loved northern thailand, near the burmese border. Great people, great nature, very spicy but delicious food.

  • My next long trip will be to South America – Patagonia, salt flats, Buenos Aires, Ecuador. 2 weeks won’t be enough though.

  • We just got back from two weeks in Asia. Started in Hong Kong to ease into the rest of it. Then headed to Bangkok and Kanchananbury; then Siem Reap in Cambodia and ended in Bali to rest by the beach. Highly recommend it.

  • I am, indeed, taking a two week vacation this year. My wife and I will be biking through Vietnam and Cambodia. We always plan to visit different parts of the world, but keep going back to SE Asia every time.

  • Antarctica

  • Love, love, love Thailand. Been three times so far. New Year’s Eves in the southern West Coast beaches and the island of Koh Samui on the Eastern Gulf of Thailand coast have been fantastic. Last December we went snorkelling out in the national park of the Similan Islands heading out into the Andaman Sea. Spectacular! Beaches with sand like icing sugar and water so warm and so clear you could see metres deep. So many beautiful fish, it was like swimming in an aquarium.

  • Just booked 2 weeks in Seychelles with a side trip to Dubai. NZ is also high on the list.

  • Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. Amazing! One of the best places I have ever been. Once I have kids who are big enough to explore the ruins (which you can still climb all over) I want to take them too. I would spend a week there and then a week in Vietnam, which was also wonderful. Food is delicious and the country is beautiful. Hanoi is far more interesting than Saigon but Saigon is much cleaner and a bit more Western feeling, if that’s your thing.

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