What’s more fun than a trip with your best friend? Here are our top ideas for vacations and trips for you and your bestie: crazy journeys, cheap getaways, fun-filled adventures, and travel ideas to the best places around the world
Travel can be a test of friendship, but it can also be the best thing you’ll ever do. We’ve selected ten trips — some single destinations, some longer itineraries, some countries, and some no more than ideas — to inspire you and your best friend to take the ultimate summer vacation.
Beach trip to Mykonos, Greece
Greece is the word, at least when it comes to an unforgettable combo of beaches, parties, and fun in the sun, and Mykonos is one of the best places to do the lot.
It’s also a place where you can spend as much or as little as you like, with low-cost hotels and hostels going shoulder to shoulder with luxury villas costing upwards of 1,200 euros per night. That’s probably not for you though, so spend your money on little luxuries: a beautiful brunch by the shore in Little Venice, a short bus ride to relax on the wide expanse of Elia Beach, dance until morning at the island’s largest nightclub on Paradise Beach, or bring home a souvenir you’ve bought on Matoyianni Street in the heart of Mykonos Town.
Whatever you decide to do, it’ll be a trip you and your friend will remember for the rest of your lives.
Off-grid hiking in Sweden
The opposite type of trip now, at the opposite end of Europe. Sweden is fast becoming somewhere people are visiting simply to disappear for a while — not in a Scandinavian detective drama way, of course — so if you’d like to get back to nature and just spend time hanging out together, this might be for you.
Erected in forests, on mountainsides, or on the shores of one of the country’s many lakes, eco-cabins are a newer type of holiday. No internet, no TV, and in some cases no electricity at all, these beautiful cabins made of natural materials blend into the landscape and offer tranquil views, and a pace of life that almost doesn’t exist anymore.
Spend your days swimming, hiking, canoeing or cycling, and in the evening, prepare a fire in the stove to cook, or sit outside under the stars. Some of the cabins might even offer the true Swedish experience of a sauna, followed by a bracing dash into the lake. It’s an amazing way to recharge your batteries while giving the electronic ones a rest.
Backpacking along the Mekong River
There are some stunning destinations across Asia that make great trips for backpacking buddies, but perhaps one of the most spectacular is taking a Mekong river cruise.
The mighty Mekong is 2,700 miles long, and up and down its length there are cruise vessels taking people on cruises of up to two weeks. There are luxury cruises for up to a frankly staggering $12,220, but do a bit of research and there are rooms available on mid-sized, traditional boats (around eight passengers) for as little as $155 per person for a three-day trip with meals, or $115 for a two-day trip on a small, private boat with a local captain.
Beginning and ending at various points in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, it’ll be about what you want to see and where. Feel like starting in the madness of Ho Chi Minh City and exploring the Mekong Delta and its surroundings? How about the architectural splendor of Phnom Penh? What about Siem Reap and the famous towers and temples of Angkor Wat? Or maybe you’d just like to drift for a few days, spotting wildlife and stopping each evening for delicious food cooked on the banks of the river?
Up the spine of Italy by train
Italy’s a useful shape for a trip. North to south or vice versa, there are clear routes up and down the peninsula. Pick a start, pick an end, choose some places in between. Simple.
Let’s take an example. Let’s start in Bari, in the southwest. A maze of 11th-century streets, ancient churches, and narrow, cobbled lanes lead down to the seafront in this beautifully unexplored and laid-back part of Italy. Catch an overnight train across the country to Naples, for the flip side — noise, chaos and fun — before heading up the coast to Rome. Let’s call this the mid-point of your trip.
Spend a couple of days recharging, surrounded by the glory of one of Europe’s most storied cities, then head for Siena and Florence. Florence can be packed with tourists in summer, but the museums are outstanding and the cathedral is magnificent. Siena is a nice alternative: smaller, calmer, but with the same architectural style and a reserved grandeur to it. Now you can choose: northeast or northwest? Northeast takes you via Bologna to Venice, while the northwest route heads to the fashion and industry capitals of Milan and Turin, and all this doesn’t even touch on the wonderful coastal resorts, or the island life of Sicily. But hey, it’s your trip, so do your thing!
Canadian road trip
Road trip! Woohoo! But the US? It’s been done. Canada’s calling.
It’s a vast country of course, but there are a number of routes that can take anything from as little as four hours, to the 4,645 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway that goes exactly where it says it does. Indeed, the country is so blessed with spectacular scenery that there’s one route — Alberta’s Icefields Parkway — which exists seemingly solely to give you amazing views and convenient stops for short hikes in the mountains.
Try the Calgary to Vancouver portion of the Trans-Canada, 560 miles through four national parks before descending into Vancouver and the Pacific coast. On the opposite side of the country, the Georgian Bay Coastal Route sets out from Toronto, loops around the bay and through some of Ontario’s most beautiful scenery for 840 miles: that’s two weeks of exploration and adventure.
However, if you’re feeling even more rugged (and if your vehicle is up to it), try the Dempster Highway, a 435-mile trek through the Yukon and into the Arctic Circle, featuring only one service station between the start and Tuktoyaktuk, a tiny settlement of fewer than 1,000 people on the Arctic Ocean. That’s a test of friendship right there!
City break in Copenhagen, Denmark
For a friendly city break in a place that takes the idea to a cultural level, consider Copenhagen. After all, the Danish concept of hygge, a sort of conviviality and contentment, has been rather a thing in the wider world for a few years now.
It’s not hard to see why the citizens of Copenhagen can consider themselves content: the center of the city is compact, laid-back and welcoming, with much of it given over to pedestrians and cyclists. It’s clean and eco-conscious, with a thriving cafe culture and some excellent museums and attractions. When the sun goes down, the district of Nørrebro is packed with pubs, dive bars and late-night eateries, while south-east in Kødbyen, arty bars and clubs have moved into the warehouses and factories of the city’s meatpacking district.
Eating and drinking can be pricey, but if you know what to look for you’ll be fine. Hot dog stands and bakeries are good options; buy a selection of breads, meats, cheeses and fruit and go for a picnic, perhaps? Or for something genuinely local, the city has a long-running scheme called Meet the Danes, in which locals invite visitors into their home to chat for a few hours over a home-cooked meal. An evening with a Danish family or couple includes a three-course meal with wine or beer, and a friendly chat, all for around $85 per person. Now that’s how you get your hygge!
Beach holiday in Essaouira, Morocco
Take a beach holiday with a North African vibe by heading to the coast of Morocco to see what you can see.
And what can you see? Well, Essaouira is smaller than many other Moroccan cities, but still has enough to see and do for when you’re not on the beach. Its imposing Portuguese castle and 18th-century ramparts jut out over the ocean and protect the medina, the old town. The medina itself is as lively as you’d expect, but without a lot of the petty crime and tourist traps that can sometimes occur in the bigger cities.
The weather’s nice too: milder than inland, with a fresh sea breeze to keep you from baking, and the mix of seafood and traditional Moroccan cuisine means you’ll always have something delicious to try.
Beach life consists of the usual sunbathing and swimming, but there are also opportunities for kitesurfing, off-road vehicle rides through the dunes further from the sea, or horseback riding along the coast. To dive into the history of the place, the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum shows archaeological finds from Roman, Carthiginian and Middle Age visitors. All in all, it’s a wonderful combination of culture, activities, and relaxation. Perfect.
City escape to Dublin, Ireland
For a trip that virtually guarantees a great time, head on over to Dublin. Great pubs, friendly locals, live music, and that mysterious Irish entity known as “the craic”.
Take some time to learn about the history and culture of Ireland at the National Museum, explore the 13th-century castle, indulge in a bit of retail therapy on Grafton Street, visit the world-famous Guinness brewery, or sun yourself in one of the city’s beautiful parks.
Of course, you’re never guaranteed perfect weather in the Emerald Isle, but even if it does look like rain, there’ll always be a friendly watering hole to duck into for a beer or two. Temple Bar is the city’s famous riverside neighborhood comprising pubs, bars, restaurants, boutique shops and craft stores, and you’ll always find a welcome. There’s Asian, American, and southern European cuisine on offer, so even if you don’t fancy yet another Guinness, there’ll be something to take your fancy. Sláinte!
Have some fun in Cartagena, Colombia
Low prices, a Caribbean coastline, beautiful architecture and buzzing nightlife make Cartagena de Indias a popular destination for travelers wanting to kick back and have some fun.
One of South America’s best-preserved historic cities, it’s somewhere where just existing is sightseeing. All you have to do is wander around the old city center and along its miles of fortified walls, stopping to refresh against the heat now and again. Everything is colorful, everything is lively, and everything eventually leads to the beach.
The local beaches around Bocagrande, an easy walk from the city, are lovely, but there are islands to visit as well. The perfect white sand of Playa Blanca (creative, eh?) is on Isla Barú, around 40 minutes by boat from Cartagena, while the Rosario Islands, a national park, are a reef-encircled paradise. With flights from the southern states of the US and all the way up the east coast direct to Cartagena, there’s never been a better time to go.
Enjoy the nature in New Zealand
If there’s one country where you and your friend can do a bit of absolutely everything, New Zealand is it. Like city life? Well, there’s that in abundance. Auckland is a vibing, multicultural place that’s the country’s capital of arts and culture. Christchurch is a green and pleasant city that was rebuilt after an earthquake in 2011. Wellington is the laid-back capital that prides itself on local businesses making superb ice cream, craft beer and coffee.
To get a bit wilder, criss-cross the country by train or motorhome, stopping to swim in the lakes or sleep on the beach. Give yourself a few days to go on one of the many loop hikes that Kiwis love to do, or indulge in a bottle or two of local wine while touring the nation’s thriving vineyards. Sound interesting? Read much more about New Zealand in our destination guide.
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