A vacation need not be the same every year. Here are some simple ideas for an extraordinary vacation.

1. Accommodation Fun

You need not always head for a hotel for your vacation. Stay overnight at the zoo with the zoo’s snooze program. Zoo Snooze Programs usually include an up-close animal encounter, craft activities, night tours and games. Alternatively, join the aquarium’s overnight program ! It is a rare chance to explore the aquarium after hours, and you can get to participate in a variety of activities organised by the staff. With an expert guide, you may get to visit the aquarium’s behind-the-scenes areas and the food-preparation area to learn how the animals are cared for and fed. If you love animals, why not plan for a farmstay ? Have yourself engaged in interesting farm activities such as milking the cows, collecting eggs, feeding out the hay, riding on a tractor and watching sheep dogs at work. Your hosts may also bring you for a farm walk or organize some sidetrips, guided tours or fun activities for you such as scuba diving, trekking and forest walks. Don’t forget to bring a little gift to thank your hosts for their warm and kind hospitality.

2. Great Rail Journeys

There are many great rail journeys around the world. Sit back and relax. Enjoy the spectacular and breathtaking scenery which the trains will happily bringing you. Worth a trip is the Tranzalpine train in New Zealand which runs between Christchurch and Greymouth. The entire four and a half hour journey takes you through the wonderful fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, passing through 16 tunnels, and 5 viaducts. Also, noteworthy is the Canadian, which crosses the scenic lakelands of northern Ontario, the western plains of the Prairies and the Canadian Rockies, and completing its journey on the Pacific coast of British Columbia. Switzerland is another playground of wonderful rail journeys. Its timely, clean and efficient transport infrastructure makes rail vacation a memorable experience. The Swiss Travel System includes rail, lake steamers and city transportation lines. Journey through the Alps, St. Moritz, Lugano, Zermatt and more with its user-friendly travel pass. Its famous rail journeys include the Chocolate train, the Glacier Express, the GoldenPass Line, the Bernina Express and the William Tell Express.

3. Scenic Adventures

Do you know that there are many scenic places which are part of the UNESCO sites ? Take time off to admire the beautiful creation of God, who is the maker of heaven and earth for your next vacation. Some of these sites include the Tasmanian Wilderness, the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and the greater Blue Mountains in Australia; the Great Wall in China; the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States. You will also love the unimpeded panoramic views at many mountains of Switzerland such as the Schilthorn/ Piz Gloria, Mount Pilatus, Mount Titlis, and Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe (the highest railway station in Europe) – definitely a UNESCO site ! Also, highly recommended are the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks in Canada with its Jasper highlands, Banff Sulphur Mountain, Mount Robson, Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield, located on the boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks. If you love trekking, the Tongariro Crossing is a spectacular one-day trek across New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park World Heritage Area, from Mangatepopo to Ketetahi. It is one of New Zealand’s best one-day treks. Not to forget are the many memorable treks at Mount Cook and Milford Sound.

4. Embracing history

Make an effort to visit some UNESCO sites for your next vacation. Europe has a wealth of UNESCO sites for you to explore. In Austria, you must visit the historic centre of the City of Salzburg and the City of Graz and the historic centre of Vienna. Head onto Czech Republic for her historic centre of Prague. Visit the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape and the gardens and castle at KromYíž. If you are in Hungary, stroll along the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue in Budapest. Not forgetting Poland, her Cracow’s historic centre, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and the historic centre of Warsaw are sites not to be missed. For a comprehensive list of the UNESCO sites, you can visit the UNESCO website for more details.

5. Learning Journeys

Vacations are great learning journeys. Take the opportunity to acquire new knowledge or learn a new skill during your next vacation. You can learn to dive with sharks at the aquariums in United States, learn how to snorkel or surf in Australia, learn about wildlife in New Zealand or find out more about cheese and jam making in Furano, Hokkaido. If you are not satisfied, go for the ginger factory and honey factory in Brisbane, Australia.

6. Enjoying Festivals

Every country has her own festival celebration. By being part of the celebration, it allows you to gain a better understanding of the diversities of cultures and their practices. Why not plan your vacation to coincide with some of the festivals of your desired destination ? Should you love arts festivals, New Zealand or Australia should be your destination.

7. Appreciating Nature

Even if you are not a flower lover, you will not be able to resist a landscape of flowers blooming in their smiles. The sakura blooming season usually falls between end of March till early April. You can see these lovely flowers in Korea and Japan. If you love sunflowers and lavenders, then you must visit Hokkaido between July and August. The flowers and hills in Furano and Biei will be greeting you. Japan and Korea are great destinations to view autumn’s foilage too. You can also treat yourself to a series of 12 magnificent gardens located from Windsor to Halifax when you travel by the Canadian Rail – VIA Rail Garden Route, where the amazing flower gardens of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes will leave you with an everlasting impression.

The above are just some simple ideas for an extraordinary vacation. There are definitely more places for you to explore and discover a new adventure for yourself. Have a happy and blessed vacation.

Travel Mum