We’re not ones to let fear get us down, but our news feeds these days aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement for safe travel abroad. Besides, not all of us have the finances to jet out of the country during peak travel months (even if we are relatively rich in London right now, for once). Since we live in a vast and diverse country of our own, within which it’s much cheaper to travel than it is to go abroad, we thought we’d put together a list of places you can visit stateside for an experience similar to that which you’d get across the (or any) “pond.” Here, 4 types of trips to take right now if flying isn’t an option.
Go Domestic Island-Hopping
So, Texas's Galveston Island isn't exactly comparable to the Maldives. Still, there are hundreds of islands in the U.S. that are accessible by some combination of car + boat from wherever you happen to reside, so you do have Instagram-worthy options if you're not willing or able to get on a plane. We like Gasparilla Island in Florida, Santa Catalina Island in California, Shelter Island in New York, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Mackinac Island in Michigan, Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, Orcas Island in Washington and Sea Island in Georgia.
Ride A Train
As charming as it sounds, you may have been scared off of domestic train rides by the episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie forces Samantha to ride one from New York to San Francisco with disastrous results. In reality, however, there are several absolutely breathtaking Amtrak routes in the U.S., and while you might not meet boys while enjoying them, you will get to drink in the American landscape in a way the feels European and therefore exciting in nature. We're dying to take the Sunset Limited, which travels from Los Angeles to New Orleans, the Adironodack, which travels from New York to Montreal, or the Empire Builder, which travels from Chicago to Seattle and passes through Glacier National Park. If you're looking to get in some QT with your SO, a train trip might be just the ticket (and since even the most stimulating of romantic partners can get old by hour 15, here are 11 creative ways to kill time while traveling).
Take A Cruise
If your parents ever made you go on one as a child, the word "cruise" is probably giving you PTSD right now; however, we promise that not all cruises involve the 65+ set mingling with a bunch of disgruntled teenagers and the families that hate them. What you don't know, is just how far a ship can take you - assuming you have the time. Here are some of the most underrated and unique cruises that dock across the states.
Take a month off on the open ocean. You can cruise all the way from Los Angeles to Sydney, stopping in Hawaii, Samoa, and Fiji en route.
If you live on the West Coast, consider leaving your temperate climate for a cruise to Alaska. The beautiful landscapes and epic glaciers promise an unforgettable experience.
For those down south, think bigger than the obvious Caribbean to Miami route. Way bigger. You can sail to Barcelona from Miami, if you've got a free couple of months.
Finally, adventure-seekers on the Eastern seaboard can cruise all the way from Montreal to destinations such as Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Cruises are also friendly on the wallet, with many offering all-inclusive options that save you the headache of rental cars, hotels and meals. If done right, you'll get to tread new waters (metaphorically, of course) without ever having to step foot on a plane. Look for shorter ones that begin and end in the same destination if avoiding air travel is your aim.
Visit A U.S. City That Feels Foreign
If you are dreaming of a summer spent in her Berlin but can't stomach the exorbitant summer flight costs, try Detroit instead—it's got a similar vibe in 2016 (we swear!). Instead of France or Spain, try New Orleans. Looking to go Dutch? Why not head to Solvang, California or Pella, Iowa? Or, for more foreign flair, try New Glaurus, Wisconsin, which is known as "Little Switzerland" or the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, which is a fairly close approximation of an experience (at least in culinary terms) one might have in China. If these experiences sound like sad consolation prizes for those who can't afford to go abroad, just remember how cool these local destinations probably sound to the people living in (and taking for granted) the foreign cities you'd most like to visit.