1. Around Japan by bullet train
Whether you’re partaking in a dazzling city adventure or a tranquil onsen spa journey (or both), Japan offers one of the most distinctive cultural experiences in the world. To take it all in, the shinkansen, or bullet trains, connect the country’s metropolises with scenic mountain, forest and port routes at rocketing speeds of up to 320 km/h. Visitors can go from eating baked sea bream cakes in Tokyo to skiing among snow monkeys in Nagano in under three hours. Then there’s temple exploring in Kyoto, baseball games in Yokohama and scenic boat rides in Lake Ashi, Hakone – all just a day trip away from Tokyo.
Check travel rules before you go, and review your emergency medical coverage.
2. The wonder in BC’s backyard: Haida Gwaii
Against a backdrop of deep, moss-covered rainforest and ancient village sites, where Sitka deer feed and eagles fly overhead in the hundreds, Haida Gwaii feels like the stuff of legend. This rocky, stormy archipelago of more than 150 islands off BC’s coast – Haida territory – is home to more than 500 archaeological sites. These include totem pole and longhouse remains that shed light on some of the oldest coastal First Nations villages. The Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay in Skidegate, with its museum, canoe house and Bill Reid Teaching Centre, is the realization of a 40-year dream to share Haida history and heritage.*Haida Gwaii has declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and asks visitors to stay home until it gives the all-clear.
3. Living the maritime dream in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s colourful fishing villages, epic seaside golf courses and artist trails deliver a cornucopia of dramatic vistas and flavours along more than 13,000 km of coastline. Capital city Halifax is home to the only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal-maker in Canada; the 298-km Cabot Trail serves up one of the most scenic drives in the world; and the Fundy Shore records the highest tides on the planet. Meanwhile, the new Trout Point Lodge in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is the world’s first certified Starlight Hotel, thanks to its deep-dark night skies.
4. Luxuriating on a Greek island
Could there be anything more satisfying in a post-COVID landscape than waking in a luxury hotel to the smell of fresh-baked horiatiko bread and a panorama of iconic white-and-blue buildings? The beauty of this country’s 200-plus inhabited islands is that within a radius of 100 km, you’ll find a sun-drenched paradise for everyone: backpackers on Santorini, history buffs on Crete, the party set on Mykonos, solace seekers on Lemnos, families on Corfu, and so on. One thing that should be on every bucket list: find a whitewashed patio overlooking a golden beach, order a plate of fresh octopus grilled in olive oil and oregano – or tomato fritters (domatokeftedes), if you’re so inclined – and savour against views of sunset-pink skies and aquamarine water.
5. The ultimate wildlife safari in Tanzania
While Zanzibar’s white-sand beaches and Mount Kilimanjaro beckon, Tanzania’s legendary bush safaris open the door to the country’s natural splendour. Whether walking, driving, hot-air ballooning, camping or glamping, there’s a variation for everyone. All of Africa’s animals are represented here, particularly so after spring’s rainy season: hippos in the Selous Game Reserve, wildebeests in the Serengeti – plus lions, rhinos and leopards in between. Research ahead and choose your operator responsibly: don’t go with the cheapest game drive or those who promise up-close animal interaction, which is potentially harmful to the wildlife.
If you need to go, BCAA Travel Insurance will be there to protect you from unexpected medical expenses, with 10% savings for Members.
Photo credits: iStock, Destination BC/Brandon Hartwig, Tourism Nova Scotia
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