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Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall

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Aerial View Of The Madeira Archipelago, An Autonomous Part Of Portugal In The Atlantic Ocean

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With fall just around the corner and temperatures beginning to cool down, you may be wondering which international destinations may be best to visit, especially if you’ve avoided the crowded summer season and have been saving your paid leave for the right moment.

If this applies to you, well, you’re in luck, as this lesser-known European island is not only the perfect fall destination, with its balmy subtropical weather, abundant nature, and unspoiled landscapes, but it is incredibly easy for Americans to reach.

Aerial View Of The Madeira Archipelago, An Autonomous Part Of Portugal In The Atlantic Ocean
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 137

We’re talking no layovers.

Still can’t figure out where? Forget Ibiza, Santorini, and other jam-packed Mediterranean hotspots of the like: Madeira is where it’s at.

Portugal’s Hidden Gem

Madeira is a small, autonomous archipelagic province of Portugal, located roughly 600 miles South of the Portuguese mainland. In case you were wondering, yes, it is closer to Africa than it is to Europe.

A Young Woman Raising Her Arms As She Admires A Waterfall Called Cascata Dos Anjos In Madeira, Portugal
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 138

The main island is only 280 miles off the West Coast of the African continent, firmly planting it in the other continent, though it is a part of Portugal and, thus, inhabited by the Portuguese.

Unlike Southern Europe, however, the weather in Madeira does not adhere strictly to the concepts of summer and autumn, falling somewhere in between.

Much like the Canaries archipelago in Spain, which is its direct neighbor to the South, it is known as the Land of Eternal Spring.

Irrespective of season, Madeira is never too hot, nor too cold, enjoying long hours of sunshine most days and limited precipitation compared to the mainland, with Britain-based travel agency TUI reporting the average daily maximum in October is 75.2°F, and a minimum of 68°F in the evenings.

An Oceanic Boardwalk In Madeira, An Archipelago Part Of Portugal On The Atlantic Ocean
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 139

Other than the temperate climate, you may be wondering why exactly it makes for a relaxing fall getaway:

Madeira Is Just Perfect For Relaxing

Madeira may be renowned for its amazing History, dating back at least to the 15th century, when the Portuguese first made landfall and settled on these islands, but its greatest asset is indisputably the verdant, wild nature.

With two-thirds of the main island – eponymously called Madeira – being a protected nature reserve, there is an abundance of gorgeous mountainous landscapes, marine parks, unruffled sandy beaches, and hidden waterfalls for you to chase.

While the sea may not as warm for deep-water swimming – you must remember Madeira is in the middle of the Atlantic, not the Mediterranean – shallow-water beaches are still pleasant enough for an afternoon dip when the temperature rises a little.

Wide Angle View Of Porto Moniz, An Oceanfront Village In Madeira Island, Portugal
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 140

As it is the capital and largest settlement in Madeira, Funchal is the best place to base yourself as you travel the main island, but some of the best swim-friendly beaches are located farther out.

These include Seixal, a long stretch of golden sand bounded by bright-blue waters, Ribeira Brava, where the ocean is turquoise-blue, and Calheta, perhaps the busiest and best-equipped beach in Madeira, with a caveat: it is a manmade beach, with sand imported from Morocco.

Still, it is nothing short of stunning.

Explore Madeira Beyond The Main Island

Marina Da Quinta Grande, Madeira, Portugal
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 141

If you’re feeling like discovering more beautiful spots beyond Madeira Island, the neighboring Porto Santo, lying northeast, should be on your list.

A sunbathing heaven, the main settlement boasts 9 km of natural sandy beach.

This may be disputed by some scientists, but natives believe the sands in Porto Santo have therapeutic qualities, as they are known locally to alleviate painful symptoms of rheumatism.

The other two islands in the archipelago, Deserta and Selvagens, are not inhabited, yet they can still be visited as part of boat excursions.

Madeira should be your go-to destination if you’re a nature lover, and if being amidst the greenery helps soothe your soul, particularly after the previous three harrowing years we’ve had.

porto santo beach, madeira, europe
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Needless to say, there are numerous wellness centers and relaxation retreats awaiting you, with The Telegraph describing Madeira as a ‘spa-focused‘ destination.

Madeira Is For All Budgets

If it’s an exclusive fall getaway you’re after, and you’ve got money in the bank, some of the top-rated five-star spa hotels include Hotel The Cliff Bay, with overnight rates starting at $423 this season, the rustic Quinta Jardins do Lago, priced lower at $393, and Porto Santa Maria Hotel, as cheap as $294.

Travelers on a budget are also welcome in Madeira:

Lido Hotel District In Funchal, Capital Of Madeira, Portugal
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 143

If you’re simply looking for a place to crash for the night while you spend your days braving the nature and exploring centuries-old cobbled towns, the cozy Residencial Funchal, in the heart of the island’s capital of Funchal, will set you back by as little as $57 this fall.

You won’t have complimentary access to infinity pools overlooking the azure Atlantic, nor wellness treatments, but you will be in the heart of the action, and within walking distance of several of Funchal’s top landmarks, including the Old Town and the Farmer’s Market.

Other attractive deals include the Mimosa Studio Hotel, with rates starting at $114 on Booking.com, and Paraiso Apartamento Turistico, available for booking for only $97 per night on Expedia. Regardless of your preference, you will find great off-season deals.

View Of A Coastal Town In Madeira, A Pacific Island Part Of Portugal
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 144

Additionally, you should expect much smaller crowds in the fall, as the summer holidays will be over by then, and Madeira is still considerably less popular than other beach destinations in mainland Portugal, such as the Algarve.

Madeira Is Easy To Reach

Madeira may be a remote destination even for the Portuguese, but it is within easy reach of Americans, particularly those living on the East Coast.

Azores Airlines, the main airline operating in the autonomous Portuguese regions of the Atlantic, which include not only Madeira but also the Azores, offers nonstop flights from New York-JFK to Madeira year-round, as cheap as 250 bucks one-way, at a flight duration of only 7 hours.

Funchal Old Town, The Capital Of The Island Of Madeira, An Autonomous Community Part Of Portugal On The Atlantic Sea
Why This Lesser-Known European Island Is Perfect For A Relaxing Vacation This Fall 145

You read that right.

This fall, it is cheaper to travel to this paradisaical Portuguese island than certain domestic destinations in the States.

The only requirement? Bringing a valid passport.

Read More:

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

As a blogger, Anne Ortha is a columnist for Black Girl Nerds and Huffington Post. Her essays have been featured on American Public Media’s Marketplace, on Radiolab, and featured in The Believer.

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Cultural destinations

These Are The Top 7 Beach Destinations In 2024 According To Travel And Leisure

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mallorca spain coastline

A comprehensive list of the top destinations for 2024 has been put together by the Travel and Leisure experts.

Numerous magazines have released their favorites for the upcoming year, and they all appear very different. While some are fully off the grid, others are popular hotspots.

In the end, you have to determine what interests you enough to plan a fantastic trip. Travel & Leisure divided up their best recommendations by category rather than covering all 50 locations.

Let’s examine the top 7 “beach vibes” for 2024 as listed by Travel & Leisure:
Florida’s Anna Maria Island
There are several locations in Florida that make for the perfect vacation, which is why the state continues to draw enormous numbers of visitors.

Miami and other major American beaches and cultural centers are located in this sunny state. However, a lot of people decide to take the ideal family vacation to Orlando.

Tampa is one place that gets overlooked despite having so many beautiful beaches close by. Travel and Leisure declares Anna Maria Island to be the greatest in Florida because of its friendly locals, breathtaking sunsets, and lack of skyscrapers that obstruct the view.

Your stay will be more enjoyable and accessible with new hotels and more flights to nearby Sarasota.
Italy’s Campania coast
This striking area is experiencing a hotel boom on some of the most picturesque coastline in the nation.

With four destinations to pick from for your European beach getaway—Amalfi, Positano, Capri, and Sorrento—Coastal Campania offers quadruple the pleasure.

Italy’s breathtaking beaches will wow you; many visitors associate the nation with ancient sites and excessive wine and pasta consumption.

You can still indulge in excessive amounts of delectable food and drink locally produced wine, but why not do it against the breathtaking backdrop of azure waters, undulating hills, and classic architecture?
There are several hotel alternatives available to travelers, ranging from luxurious accommodations with cliffside pools to intimate boutique styles.

Soon, American and Delta will begin offering direct service to the neighboring Naples.
There isn’t a single Costa Rican beach that Travel and Leisure recommended visiting in 2024. T and L essentially advise you to “just pick one” beach because they are all so lovely.

Any beach in Costa Rica is a good choice, however some are busier and more well-known than others.
While some may choose for more quiet spots to have a wonderful beach all to themselves, many small towns have a thriving surfing community that gets together to surf the waves.

Travelers adore visiting the land of pura vida, despite the fact that it is usually more expensive than nearby nations.

Travel & Leisure also adore it. Indeed, they have selected Costa Rica as the “Destination of the Year” for 2024. Whether traveling alone, with company, or on a family vacation, everyone will find their place in this stunning nation.

There are plenty of enjoyable excursions to discover the breathtaking beauty and culture of the country, and lodging options ranging from cozy hostels to opulent hotels are easily accessible.
Dominica  Over the past year, Dominica has been increasingly popular. Travel is on the rise, and more people are looking to discover bright new places to visit.

This Caribbean island features picture-perfect waterfalls, verdant jungles, and unspoiled beaches, making it a veritable paradise.

trekking enthusiasts should prepare their trekking shoes, as the breathtaking Waitukubuli National Trail spans more than 100 miles across the island.

More lodging facilities, including upscale establishments like InterContinental, are opening up. A major lure for tourists is sustainability, with charming eco-lodges.
Hawaii Island 🙠
We are all aware of the destruction Hawaii experienced earlier this year. After a wildfire decimated Maui, there has been debate in the travel industry over whether or not it is still safe to visit.

Travel and Leisure claims that Hawaii is prepared for tourists to return. Without requiring a passport, Hawaii offers one of the most unusual environments.

Stunning beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, and cliffside vistas are just a few of the main attractions for tourists.

Travelers are urged by the tourism sector to treat any island as if it were their own home and to be careful of their stay.
Mexico’s Los Cabos
With the cleanest beaches in all of Latin America, Los Cabos is among the most picturesque locations in Mexico.

“Is Cabo worth the price?” is the query that vacationers should be asking themselves. The top hotels, according to reports, are now charging an astounding $1000 a night on average!

With its boujee resorts, immaculate beaches, and exciting entertainment, Cabo is among the most opulent vacation spots that are accessible to most people.

In 2024, more opulent resorts are planned to open, and more flights are leaving from American airports.
Spain’s Mallorca
This gorgeous island in Spain is ideal for a romantic beach vacation. It is the location of the lovely city of Palma, which is overlooked in favor of Spain’s other major towns. Outside of the city are some of the most tranquil beaches the country has to offer, complete with dazzling waters, wide-open areas, and relaxed residents.

In between beach days, explore the amazing downtown streets for an abundance of tapas and mouthwatering wine. From boutique lodging to a Four Seasons resort, the quaint hotels will win your heart.

With United’s new direct route from Newark, getting to Mallorca is now easier than ever.

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Cultural destinations

These Are 5 Of The Top Destinations In Southeast Asia’s Cheapest Country

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Aerial View Of A Beach Area In Nha Trang, Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, sometimes abbreviated as SEA, is the ideal destination for backpackers.

Vietnam is a very diverse subcontinent where foreigners are welcomed and hyperinflated Western prices are not a regular concern. This year, its popularity has increased due to lax visitation laws and less bureaucratic tourist visa processes, but no nation has shown itself to be as fashionable as Vietnam.

This tropical treasure borders the turquoise East Sea and is considered the cheapest destination in the South East Asia region. With extremely low consumer costs and a devalued national currency that enhances the spending power of the typical Westerner, it’s your best choice for an off-the-beaten-path tropical holiday that won’t break the bank.

After spending a lot of time exploring Vietnam, we have selected the top five places to go this winter that are affordable and rich in culture:
Mui Ne
Mui Ne, a tranquil fishing hamlet in South Vietnam, is undoubtedly the most underappreciated coastal location in the nation since it offers culture and wellness all in one place.

It’s got an emerging development strip with new resorts opening every few months, including the delightful boutique hotel The Anam that we featured earlier this year, as well as pristine reserves, sand dunes, family-run eateries, and historic Cham towers that date back hundreds of years.

With nightly rates as low as $114 and a prime location near Mui Ne’s high street rather than in a far-off place away from the activity, The Anam is the perfect starting point for visitors wishing to explore the town and the larger province.

The area is well-known for its seafood, particularly its fish sauce, and there are several authentic restaurants outside the resort complex that serve Vietnamese specialties, like rice noodle soup and sea snails, for as little as $5.
As Hoi An
Hoi An, the crown jewel of Vietnam, is a superbly maintained medieval river port with dwellings that have a yellow tint, winding alleyways, and a history that dates back more than 2,000 years.

A reminder of the successive colonization periods and the multicultural nature of Hoi An, it is situated in Central Vietnam, halfway between the country’s two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Its eclectic architecture, influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and European styles, is evident throughout its bustling streets, which are home to medieval Sino pagodas, striking displays of colorful, brightly painted paper lanterns, a Japanese temple bridge that spans a picturesque canal, and several French-built civic structures that date back to the French Indochina period.

Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit location if you’re traveling from North to South Vietnam or the other way around. Like other Vietnamese hotspots, it fits your budget—a three-day stay typically costs about $50, not including lodging.

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam and the political and cultural center of the former capitalist state of South Vietnam. Despite no longer serving as the country’s capital, it is still known by this name.

Still the most Westernized and outward-looking city in the nation, HCMC has changed with the times thanks to the support of a strong expat population, making it one of the top investment and business destinations in Southeast Asia.

HCMC, home to 8.4 million people, is a popular destination for digital nomads and young entrepreneurs. With its impressive French colonial architecture, war museums, and exciting nightlife, it’s a vibrant city that visitors shouldn’t miss when exploring Vietnam.

Cu Chi Tunnels, used by Viet combatants during the War, the Independence Palace, the former South Vietnam Government’s headquarters, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, a French Neo-Gothic structure, are just a few of the city’s top attractions.

When compared to other major cities in the subcontinent, HCMC is surprisingly affordable. Budget tourists could anticipate to pay a meager $30 per day, not including lodging.
Ha Trang
With over 500,000 residents, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s largest cities and the nation’s go-to sunny spot. Holidaymakers tend to flock there during the peak travel season, which runs from November to February when less precipitation is recorded.

Nha Trang is the new favorite digital nomad destination in Southeast Asia. It is another well-liked beach resort and bustling coastal metropolis lining the East Sea, where tall hotel towers and skyscrapers are bounded by a long stretch of white sand.

Not so well-known Nha Trang is fast rising to prominence as one of Southeast Asia’s most sought-after options for a seaside city break, thanks to its array of opulent hotels surrounding the shoreline and its abundance of top-notch restaurants serving traditional seafood from Central Vietnam.

In general, visitors should budget only $41 a day on average in Nha Trang, plus an extra $27 per night for lodging.

In addition to the stunning beaches and commercial malls, tourists may fully immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture by visiting the nearby Po Nagar ruins, an old temple that was established as early as the eighth century by the now-extinct Cham civilization.

Hanoi
A discussion of Vietnam’s most interesting travel locations would be incomplete without discussing Hanoi, which served as the country’s capital after the Reunification War and is now regarded as the country’s second-most important commercial and cultural hub after Ho Chi Minh City in the South.

The main draws of Hanoi are its broad, green boulevards in the European style and its greater degree of social development in comparison to other less developed areas of Vietnam:

Being the government’s capital and a major financial center, it has greater infrastructure than the typical Vietnamese city and is much cleaner, with less hectic traffic.

Not only is Hanoi a popular destination because of this, but visitors also enjoy it because of its high concentration of historic temples, French colonial landmarks, and large, open green spaces that offer a brief respite from the fast-paced city life.

Furthermore, because Hanoi has connections to off-beaten routes in North Vietnam, travelers frequently use it as a base for exploring the region’s wild nature, which includes stunning mountain ranges, the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and golden rice fields.

With an average daily cost of $50 for tourists, Hanoi is undoubtedly the most costly option out of the five; yet, even by Western standards, it is extremely affordable and definitely less expensive than other Asian metropolises like Singapore or Hong Kong.

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam soon? Find out more about this Southeast Asian treasure and some of the guidelines for visiting.

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These 5 U.S. Airlines Are Most Likely To Experience Flight Delays Right Now

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Woman Waiting at Airport

The holidays are quickly approaching, resulting in some of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Flight delays are typical this time of year, particularly around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Flying may be a stressful experience in and of itself, but delays can make it even more so.

Booking with an airline that has a high proportion of on-time flights and booking a ticket early in the morning are two of the greatest strategies to avoid flight delays.

According to recent statistics from UpgradedPoints, the following airlines in the United States are most likely to face flight delays right now.

1. Frontier Airlines.

Frontier Airlines is currently the worst airline for flight delays. This low-cost carrier’s flights have a 31.9% risk of being delayed.

Rather of taking a chance and risking a one-in-three possibility of your flight being delayed, it’s best to select a more dependable airline for flights this winter.

Frontier is also dealing with other concerns, including as a class-action lawsuit against the airline’s $599 “unlimited flight” pass, which was introduced earlier this year.

2. Southwest Airlines

Last year, just around Christmas, Southwest Airlines experienced a catastrophic meltdown, resulting in thousands of flight delays and cancellations.

Many tourists questioned if booking with Southwest was safe in light of the complete breakdown of operations. While Southwest is likely to strive extra hard to avoid a similar disaster this winter, you may not want to take any chances.

Furthermore, according to historical statistics, Southwest flights have a 31.8% risk of being delayed, making the airline nearly as unreliable as Frontier.

3. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is another untrustworthy airline with a significant likelihood of flight delays. When it comes to on-time flights, this New York-based carrier does not have the finest track record.

Although not as awful as Frontier or Southwest, going on JetBlue still means you have a staggering 30.8% probability of experiencing flight delays.

4. Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant Air is the next carrier on the list of possible delays. This low-cost airline is not very dependable, so although you may save money by booking your ticket, you may also face unexpected delays.

Allegiant Air flights are delayed 29.2% of the time.

5. Spirit Airlines

Finally, there is Spirit Airlines. Although this low-cost carrier is the brunt of many jokes for being a less-than-ideal mode of transportation, it isn’t as awful as some other US airlines when it comes to delays.

When flying with Spirit, there is a 28.1% risk of a flight delay.

Which Airlines Experience the Fewest Delays?

Now that you know which airlines are most likely to have flight delays right now (and which to avoid! ), here are the airlines with the fewest delays.

Although ultra-low tickets with airlines such as Frontier or Spirit may entice you, it may be worth the additional money to book with a more dependable airline.

The top three airlines with the fewest delays right now are:

  • Alaska Airlines has a 20.3% probability of being delayed.
  • Delta Air Lines has a 19.1% probability of being delayed.
  • Hawaiian Airlines has a 15.6% probability of being delayed.

Flights can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including aircraft faults, personnel concerns, weather, and other factors, but these three airlines have the fewest delays.

There is no foolproof technique to avoid flight delays (as lovely as that would be! ), but you may read this article for further advice on how to avoid the dreaded delay or cancellation.

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