Have you made your summer travel plans yet? If not, you're cutting it close, but it's not too late to make your summer epic.

Do you have a dream summer destination? For many it's a European holiday. But with over-tourism a growing problem, you should consider avoiding the notoriously crowded spots. You know where I mean - Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam. Perhaps an idyllic beach getaway is more your style. You'll want to give the Caribbean Islands (at least the majority) a pass, as it's hurricane season. Not to worry though, there are other divine options. Looking to get up close and personal with nature, you have options. It s

From far flung islands to urban centers, here are the best places to travel this summer!

red and yellow hot air balloon over field with zebras


The action starts in July! More than TWO MILLION zebra, gazelles and wildebeest travel from Tanzania to Kenya's Maasai Mara; one of nature's most outstanding sights. Peak herd is reached in August FYI. Luxurious safari lodge with clifftop tents giving you front-row seats to the action. That can be arranged. Walking safaris or hot air balloon rides; Kenya is everything you'd imagine a safari destination to be. Plus, you have additional options. The opportunity to learn about local Maasai culture is available. And supplement all of this with some time spent relaxing on the palm-fringed, white-sand beaches of Kenya's long stretch of coastline. I am also hearing a lot of buzz about Nairobi. Emerging as a hip and edgy city, humming with culture, art and development, get there before everyone else does. With new nonstop flights from JFK, you can bet on more and more people making their way there.

group of people at the swimming pool under white clouds


I am practically obsessed with this place. And you should be too! If you're an insatiable foodie, a lover of the arts, or an irrepressible daredevil, their are endless options for you in the Lion City. From lush gardens, hawker centres, Little India, to futuristic landscapes, Michelin starred restaurants and Chinatown, the only thing you won't be is disappointed. While Singapore is a destination that is great year-round, the summer season is slightly drier. If you are a shopper, then the best time to visit is during the annual Great Singapore Sale, between late May and the end of July, when shopping hours are extended and you can find discounts as high as 70%. It's best to get up early to beat the crowds, and avoid the highest temperatures later day. Start by visiting outdoor attractions, and move indoors mid-day.

gray pool lounge chair in island

French Polynesia

A new airline has made it more affordable than ever to visit. Look for flights with French bee, with a new route launched from San Francisco to Papeeta,Tahiti. Bora Bora and Tahiti are bucket list for many (myself included)! But with 118 islands, there is more to the French Polynesia. Rangiroa for instance, is a haven for divers and snorkelers coming for the famous Blue Lagoon, pearl farm and the only coral winery in the world. Or maybe Moorea, which offers everything from trendy restaurants to shopping while keeping the local flavour. Not only do the new flights make it more affordable than ever, but may islands have charming guesthouses and chill cafes to help keep the costs down.

white and black lighthouse under blue sky

Nova Scotia

If you are Canadian, you already know...Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal...those are the only places most foreigners know. So much more is overlooked. Nova Scotia is one of those places and it's quiet charms are definitely worth exploring. If you're into jazz, the Halifax Jazz festival happens from July 9-14 on the waterfront. The Bay of Fundy is host to a one-of-a-kind experience...Dining on the Ocean Floor. Think of eating the renowned local seafood while seated at a communal table on the ocean floor. However 2019 is already sold out, so perhaps this is bumped to the summer of 2020. If crowds aren't your thing, head out to Cape Breton Island for scenic driving routes and challenging hiking trails.

aerial photograph of a village


If you enjoy sports, this is the place for you. Go beyond the chocolate, cuckoo clocks and herds of cattle and get your heart racing with Alpine pursuits. Interlaken is the European sports capital. You can have your pick of activities: jumping out of a plane, climbing down a canyon, kayaking, hang-gliding, or simply trekking around their stunning mountains. And even if you're not an adrenaline-junkie, there is so much incredible nature for you to enjoy. The high mountains, the lakes, the green all over. Urban culture is a big deal here too. The fairytale majesty of Zurich is positioned amidst boundless rolling hills. The juxtaposition of power and tranquility means Switzerland is never a bad choice.

person standing on ground during daytime


Chile is having it's time right now. One of the countries seem the most increase in bookings. It's extra hot this summer as Chile's Elqui Valley is a prime spot to experience totality during the July 2 eclipse. The valley, known for it's pisco production and astronomical observatories, is expecting over a quarter-million visitors for the days surrounding the eclipse. You may have a tough time getting reservations anywhere at this point, but there's no harm in trying. Beyond this, the rich history and vibrant culture makes Chile a great choice. For my adventurers, epic trekking, monstrous glaciers, tranquil lakes and iconic rock formations await. Torres del Paine offers many great options for camping under the stars. Want to keep it more civilized? You have choices. Like World Heritage City Valpraiso, filled with magnificent architecture and gastronomic treats. Or Santiago, where you can get a real taste and feel for what Chilean culture is all about. Easter Island, the Lake District, Tierra Del Fuego, Chiloe island...Chile has too much to offer to go into detail about here. Outstanding choice

Mexico City

Last year at this time I was celebrating my birthday exploring Mexico City. This has long been a place for those in the know, but it's popularity is increasing exponentially so the time to go is now, before everyone and their mother does.The summer months are a great time as the pace is less frenzied and the massive line-ups can be avoided. Yes be prepared for rain, but typically the downpours hold off until evening, and even still their are many indoor attractions. Mexico City has the second-highest number of museums in the world (lagging only behind Paris). The anthropology museum is particularly exceptional. And so much free art (think Diego Riviera) and culture dappled around the city. If you're a history buff, prepared to be amazed. A must-do is a visit to the Teotihuacan pyramids outside the city. But there are many important sites to visit within the city limits. Charming hotels, beautiful parks, and a food scene that is outstanding! From street tacos to Michelin-starred, you have to eat to believe it. Honestly I could go on and on without doing CDMX justice. See for yourself.

pink flower lot

The Azores, Portugal

This is another buzzworthy spot. I've been hearing a LOT of good things about these islands lately. Off the coast of Portugal, these aren't your typical touristy hots spots. They're serene and introduce a chill type of paradise in one of the most remote and beautiful places in Europe. Showcasing a huge collection of natural landscapes and wonders, delicious foods and lots of outdoor sports activities, these 9 islands are still one of the best-kept secrets. If you enjoy the feel of uncharted territory this is for you. Reconnect with nature whether that means active volcano and caldera hiking, visiting geothermal hot springs or whale and dolphin watching. All of the islands are accessible by plane and boat, and renting a car while allow you to explore to your heart's content. Sold yet?

person standing beside tent


If you want to make good use of your summer holidays and discover somewhere still relatively untouched and undiscovered, this is the destination for you. Mongolia is one of the most scarcely populated countries, and host to a vast and rugged landscape; ideal for travellers looking for something a little different. Mongolia is one of the last remaining countries with a surviving nomadic culture...fascinating yes? If this is of interest, July is a great time to visit as the Naadam Festival, which celebrates the nomadic culture of Mongolia is held then (July 11-15 this year). It is also a nature-lovers paradise with it's incredibly diverse landscapes. In the south you have the Gobi Desert, from which you can adventure to the vast mountains in the west and the pristine lakes in the north.

white and blue boat docked near buildings


While Budapest was named best European travel destination 2019 by many, Poland is definitely up and coming. Do you like history and castles? Poland is made for you. Fourteen Unesco Heritage Sites are waiting for you. Love shopping and art? Poland is made for you. Gastronomy your weakness? Poland is for you. Picturesque cities like Krakow and Gdansk wrestle with bubbly Warsaw for you urban attention. While woods, lakes, rivers and hills can provide you with some fresh air and fun. The insider scoop is that Poznan however, is the place to be. Not convinced yet. Maybe the cheap beer can lure you in. Seriously though, stretching from the amber beaches of the Baltic Sea to breathtaking peaks of the High Tatra Mountains, it is a beautiful place worth considering.

I'm going to cap this list at 10. I hope I've inspired you to start planning your summer vacation. If there's a spot on here you're ready to explore, or if you haven't found your match, I would be thrilled to create a personalized one-of-a-kind itinerary for you. This process starts with a consultation where I can get to know you and your preferences. Until the end of June 2019 I am offering $50 off my planning fees. Contact me at shariblock@findyourhappytravelsbyshari.ca to begin creating the trip of your dreams!