Why you should care
Because everyone deserves a little vacay — at home, abroad or just on Fridays.
According to this year’s well-regarded Hotel Price Index survey by Hotel.com, oft-overlooked Toronto has unseated Rome as the third-most popular international travel destination for Americans. Toronto not only toppled the Eternal City, but also three other Canadian cities ranked in the top 10: Montreal, Vancouver and … Niagara Falls, of course. What’s going on in the second-largest country in the world that is attracting visitors northward? Forget about Justin Bieber and Rob Ford. Think of the cheaper dollar, pretty lakes, polar bears. And poutine.
Melbourne isn’t always an easy mistress. She makes you work for it. Even when it comes to good drinking. The best places are hidden down side streets and on the roofs of old terrace houses. Melbourne makes you break the rules and wander down dark alleys late at night — that’s where the parties are. And with the help of Hidden Secrets Tour and its owner, Fiona Sweetman, unofficial mayor of the city’s labyrinthine laneways, you can navigate your way down three alleys and under bridges to some of the best beveraging in Oz.
Meet the island of Tavolara: Hidden along the eastern coast of Sardinia, this tiny strip of land — just over three miles long and a mile wide — is one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets. Only 14 people live on what looks like a mountain peak jutting from the sea. And while none of the residents are pirates or castaways, some are members of a unique royal family. “We are a real royal family,” King Bertoleoni says. “Even Queen Victoria of England, when she heard of us, sent a photographer in a boat to take a picture of Tavolara’s royal family for her collection. And I think it must still be somewhere at Buckingham Palace,” he adds by way of proof.
From Antigua to Long Island, OZY takes a look at the inside scoop on great unspoiled beaches. We know you’re ready for them — happy spring-en-route-to-summer! Have you been on TripAdvisor — and who hasn’t — to get a handle on what exactly your hotel will be like? Then you know this method can be wildly unpredictable. Often, raters give more weight to the hotel than its surroundings, as if the beach is a backyard koi pond. This can lead to a skewed assessment of the possible pleasures that await you. Tread carefully when you’re weighing whether a particular beach is worth the trip.
Of course, if you’re looking for a, erm, quickie solution, there’s always the day date: a clandestine lunch, or maybe humping in the woods. What? No, really. This writer talks about sparking up her marriage on Friday afternoons with hikes into the hills, boozy picnics and sex outdoors. Which, she says, is about “1,000 times better than a rom-com and a burger.”