TRAVIS’ Summer Travel Guide

Backpacking through Europe this summer? What about “finding yourself” in the depths of a Peruvian slum? No worries. Our travel guy, Jon Kennedy has you covered.

Click to see all the summer spots TRAVIS recommends. (Click to view)

Click to see all the summer spots TRAVIS recommends. (Click to view)

SCHOOL IS ALMOST polished off for the year. And really, there is no better way to forget everything you have learned than to take off to another part of the world. Remember, you can only learn so much from a textbook. But before you get all jet set, there are a few things you should know in order to make your trip that much more enjoyable.

Essentially there are three kinds of trips: The tour, the resort and, well, off-the-resort. The tour is always a good choice because everything is done for you. You will have hotels, schedules, guides and a wealth of museums, galleries and restaurants. The downside is that you are on a schedule and if something peeks your curiosity, too bad, it’s not part of the tour.

Resorts are convenient, especially if it’s all-inclusive. You check in, get some “free” food or mojitos and then work on your tan by the pool. However, resorts are like sanctuaries and whatever happens off its grounds is of little concern. Sure you can go off and see the locals, but you’re “a tourist” and can quickly become a target. Then there is the off the resort vacation, where you will need a map to find out exactly where you are. This kind of trip is full of the unknown and usually leads to the shenanigans that you tend to see in teen movies. You pick where you want to stay, see what you want to see and eat whatever you want to eat. The cons are surmountable, too. There’s the budgeting, planning, less-than-glamorous sleeping arrangements and the stress.

So pick your trip style, spin you’re parent’s globe, stick out your finger and see where you land. Below are some spots on each continent (save for Antarctica) that TRAVIS recommends to hit up this Summer.


Varadero, Cuba is one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean. Called the Blue Beach in Spanish, Varadero is only an hour and a half from the capital, Havana. Varadero has protected ecosystems, deep sea fishing, water sports and a musical flavor not found anywhere else in the world. It was also a favorite get away for the late gangster Al Capone.


Almeria, Spain has 330 days of sun a year. Which means: The weather is always warm. Almería has the largest nude beach in Europe and that is saying something, because Europeans love getting naked. It has everything you could want: sun, beaches and nudity – all year-round.

South America

Bogota, Columbia is for those who want some adventure in their life. Bogota is the capital of Columbia and has an estimated population of 8 million people. It has the largest theater festival in the world, the carnival, Carnaval de Bogotádates, which dates back to 1539. There is also the rampant drug trade (largest producer of coca in the world), black markets, gangs, kidnappings and murder.


Boracay, Philippines is small island with the most beautiful beaches in the world. Boracay was a well-guarded secret until it was founded by a film crew in the 1970s and became popular with backpackers in the 1980s. The main beach, White Beach, was once voted the most beautiful in the world. A reef protects the beach and is idle for scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing. They have the best Ultimate Frisbee team in the world and love late night beach parties.


Melbourne, Australia is the cultural and sporting centre of the continent. Located on the southeast coast, you can catch a ferry ride to the island of Tanzania (see the devils) or catch a local flight to New Zealand. Plenty of surfing, rugby and if you can time it right, you can see the Australian Grand Prix or the Australian Open.

Africa and the Middle East

Cape Town, South Africa is simply amazing. It is warm with beaches all along the coast, some of which are only known to locals, so if you want to get away from the tourist spots, ask a local where to find the secluded beaches. You can go sand boarding down the dunes, shark diving with great whites, visit the famous Table Mountain or sip on some of the world’s best wine.

North America

Montreal is as close to Europe as you can get without crossing the Atlantic. The people have a different view on life, a “joie de vivre.” They are extremely fashionable (often months ahead of the rest), have an exciting nightlife with a legal drinking age of 18. And you can get a real poutine.

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