To help you with your travel planning I’ve selected 10 countries I feel confident in recommending based on four criteria. First, there must be lots to see and do. Second, access must be easy without oppressive visa regulations or tourist taxes. Third, the country must be relatively safe. And fourth, the cost of travel must be reasonable. My choices span the globe with all five continents included. Bon voyage!
Armenia: The monasteries, museums, and mountains of Armenia are unsurpassed with loads of attractions packed into a small area. And unlike many of its ex-Soviet neighbors, visas are easily available upon arrival (best months June to September).
Azores: This is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. The nine inhabited islands of the group are supremely picturesque with wonderful streets, buildings, museums, waterfronts, and hiking possibilities. All nine islands are conveniently linked by air (best months June to August).
Cuba: The colonial cities of Havana, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba are living repositories of Afro-Cuban culture. I strongly suggest you go soon before the Miami hordes arrive (best months November to April).
Ethiopia: This colorful country has more attractions than any other sub-Saharan destination with historical monuments in the north and tribal life in the south. The food will delight vegetarians and many people speak English (best months November to March).
Malaysia: This Southeast Asian country has much of the color of Thailand without the chaos. Some of the best street food in the world is served nightly in Penang and the monuments of Kuala Lumpur are just fine (best months June to August).
Mexico: So long as you avoid the areas bordering the United States, Mexico is quite safe. The people are friendly, the culture appealing, and the choice is what to see and do is unending (best months November to April).
Morocco: The ancient cities of Fez, Meknes, and Marrakesh are a delight to wander around. Accommodations, food, and transport are all readily available at prices half those of Turkey (best months April to October).
Peru: Peru has more pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial sites than the rest of South America combined. The Amazonian, Andean, and coastal regions are each quite unique (best months May to November).
Romania: The mystery of mountainous Transylvania and the sophistication of urban Bucharest are a winning combination. Visit now before the introduction of the euro leads to a spike in prices (best months April to October).
Samoa: It is easier to get close to nature in this small South Pacific country than anywhere else in Oceania. Staying in a Samoan beach fale resort run by a local family is one of the world’s top travel experiences (best months June to September).