Travelling differently begins with thinking a little differently. Not only is planning one long trip for the year much less of a hassle, it can reduce your expenses, and lets you dive deeper into the local culture and travel in a more sustainable way. While some of these destinations might not be at top of mind when it comes to an extended vacation, they are bound to fill you with a sense of wonder that you’ll be planning your return in no time.
Georgia is a vacation destination which has won the hearts of travellers in recent years. It’s a country with a rich culture, and you’ll find that the locals will welcome you to get to know this former Soviet republic of the Caucasus Mountains. There’s a saying in Georgia that “a guest is a gift from God.” So, an extended vacation here might just be what you’re looking for.
Get acquainted with your new home by wandering the labyrinthine streets of Old Town in the capital city of Tbilisi, a city full of diverse architecture, pastel-painted houses, and effortlessly cool restaurants and art galleries. Head to a patio restaurant for dinner and it won’t take you long to discover the beauty that is Georgian cuisine. Just take it from award-winning travel blogger Adventurous Kate.
“Of course, the food is one of the highlights of every travel destination – but Georgia goes further. The quality is consistently excellent, the food is unique, and the dishes are something that you’ll crave long after leaving Georgia. Over and over, I felt like I was eating one of my best meals of my life in Georgia.”Adventurous Kate, award-winning travel blogger and influencer
Incorporating Persian, Middle Eastern, and Caucasian flavours, Georgia’s food and drinking culture is like no other. Eating long past the point of fullness is so common here, that the locals came up with a word for it: Shemomedjamo.
Georgia is an attractive country if you’re looking to take an extended vacation, as Canadians are allowed to stay in the country for up to one year as tourists.
Vaccinated travellers can enter Georgia by air as long as they’ve been fully inoculated against COVID-19 and can provide their certificate of proof.
From spectacular beaches to medieval castles and remote islands, an extended trip to Spain lets you discover what’s beyond the beaten track. It offers a laid-back pace of life, amazing weather year-round, and a generally lower cost of living than in Canada.
Whether you find yourself in Madrid or Malaga, get ready for a relaxed, carefree way of living. Siestas (after work naps) are a regular thing, and you won’t find much open on Sundays. Spaniards are friendly people, so you’ll be talking to the locals in no time. Food is also an important part of the culture in Spain, and almost every restaurant and tapas bar comes with a free plate. As dinner is usually served between 9 and 11 pm, the locals often go “bar hopping” and eat tapas in between work and dinner.
Spain is part of the European Union (EU) Schengen area, which allows Canadians a 90-day visa on arrival in any 180-day period. It is expected that starting the end of 2022, Canadians will need to apply for an ETIAS before entering the EU. Make your time in Spain stress-free by finding the right extended trip insurance for you.
Spain is currently open for tourism, and vaccinated Canadian passport holders can visit without a negative test or quarantine.
While the United States is often associated with its major cities like New York and Los Angeles, there are plenty of other options to choose from among the 50 states. Outdoor adventure and a well-balanced lifestyle never looked so good as it does in Colorado. You can’t go far here without seeing a mountain biker or hiker coming from a nearby trailhead!
Many people base themselves in Denver, which gives you both aspects of city living and outdoor recreation, with the foothills of the mountain less than an hour away. But if you want adventure at your doorstep, head to one of the smaller mountain towns like Telluride, Frisco, or Snowmass. As long as you keep the land clean for the future, you’ll be welcomed by the community and get to enjoy some of the best slopes in North America.
Another city that may surprise you is Austin, Texas. With the slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird’, no two days will be the same here. While the summer temperatures may be hot, there are plenty of natural places to cool off. On the weekends, Ladybird Lake fills up with paddle boarders, and Barton Springs becomes a party. After a day of soaking in the sunshine, head out to 6th or Rainey Street and enjoy the nightly live music shows and BBQ food trucks.
As a Canadian, you can stay in the United States for up to six months visa free. With that much time and diversity of places to explore in just one country, the US is an ideal destination for a long trip.
Canadians are currently permitted to enter the US via air with a negative COVID-19 antigen test.
For a destination that’s well-known for its big cities, South Korea is a welcoming surprise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The country is filled with mountains, with the tallest standing at just under 2,000m. Most cities in Korea offer handfuls of choices of beautiful hikes that are just under 1,000m, making a trek easy and accessible for all levels. And an extended vacation here is the best way to get in the rhythm of Korean life that you can’t get from a short visit.
On a typical weekend in Korea, locals will put on their finest outdoor gear and head up their favourite mountain for a much-needed refresh. There’s usually a family-run restaurant to be found near the top of the mountain, so you can enjoy some mouth-watering pajeon (green onion pancake) washed down with a cup of makgeolli (a cloud-coloured rice wine) to help fuel you for the second half of your hike.
Once you’re back at sea level, you can easily hop on a bus or subway home to your apartment or hotel. Or, continue the party by belting out your favourite tunes at a local noreabang (karaoke room), followed by more delicious food, of course.
Canadians can stay up to 180 days in South Korea visa-free. Start your adventures by booking a few days at a local guesthouse before looking into longer term vacation rentals.
All travellers entering the Republic of Korea must provide a negative COVID-19 test and complete a 14-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
Mercados. Pueblos Magicos. Marquesitas. Mezcal – such is just some of the beauty to be discovered in Mexico.
Once you’ve arrived and are checked into your accommodation, the best way to break the ice is to just follow your nose to the nearest food stand and let the rest take care of itself. Take out your pesos to sample different types of tacos, authentic enchiladas, and freshly steamed tamales, and you’ll start to instantly feel at home. Each bite gets you a little closer to understanding Mexico’s rich tapestry.
For the perfect mid-afternoon snack, grab an elote (corn) so generously drizzled with toppings like lime, chili, and cheese that your taste buds will never be the same. That’s how they do it here in Mexico. In the evenings, head to a cozy taproom and try different types of mezcal, Mexico’s much-loved elixir.
And once you can order your favourite plate of tacos el pastor (with all the fixings) in perfect Spanish, then you know you’re one step closer to becoming a local.
Most travellers will get a six-month visa on arrival upon landing. Being only a short international flight away, Mexico is consistently a popular choice for an extended vacation for Canadians.
Mexico is currently open for tourism and no tests or quarantine are required for entry.
While long term travel has never looked so attractive with so many changing restrictions, that’s only one of the many benefits. By planning an extended vacation to one of these five countries, you’ll discover amazing cultures, sights, and a whole new way to see the world.
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