Oh, the places you’ll go!

If a surplus of unused 2017 PTO days has left you pondering where, exactly, you should go, we’ve rounded up a few team members’ top travel adventures to offer a few ideas.

Working in the travel industry, we’re continuously urging consumers to take that last-minute weekend getaway, extend their business trip to explore a new city, or take full advantage of paid time off (ahem, we all know you weren’t sick last Friday) to travel.

And, at Kiterocket, we’re fortunate that our culture values travel—the management team understands the importance of logging off, unplugging and exploring. Our travels are celebrated and often include post-trip treats and conference room gatherings over tales of our journeys.

Read on for our favorite 2017 getaway locations, and a few pro tips we picked up along the way, from 32,000 feet above and beyond! 

Europe

Iceland & A Lesson in Getting Off the Beaten Path

On an (extremely) spontaneous getaway to 2017’s hot spot, Iceland, my friends and I quickly learned that the best way to explore was to put down our maps and just drive. We pulled off the road at a sign for Bruarfoss, knowing only that “foss” means waterfall. After a challenging search for the trailhead, and trudging muddy, overgrown trails, we were rewarded with the clearest, most strikingly blue water we had ever seen. With a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and glistening black rock, Bruarfoss is a must-see if you’re adventuring near Reykjavik! – Sarah M.

France & A Reminder to “Stop and Smell the Flowers”

If jaw-dropping nature views are your thing, the lavender fields are a must-do for summer travel in Provence. The region is perfect for a windows-down, good-tunes-on road trip. Rent a car and drive through Valensole, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with sweeping views of lavender around every turn (just be sure to stay on the right side of the road!). – Amanda W.

London & The Hunt for the Best Cup of Joe

While in London, I started a quest to uncover the best coffee in the city. A bit skeptic of the The Attendant at first (it was, after all, situated in an old urinal), the experience did not disappoint. There are multiple locations across the city, but the one I visited, the Fitzrovia location, is the original, and proudly serves some of the best espresso and banana bread I’ve ever tasted. So good, I went back almost every day during my stay! – Danielle C. 

 

North America 

Hawaii & Why You Should Conquer Your Fear of Heights

While in Koloa near Poipu on the island of Kauai, my husband and I strapped on harnesses and helmets to sail above the tree line with Koloa Zipline. Pro tip: Take a day off of sunbathing and sipping mai tais and sign up for the 4 p.m. start time! It starts to get dark around the last quarter of the trip, and you get to fly through the air in the dark—super cool! – Jamie C.

Utah & The Art of Local Exploring

Each year, my family picks a spot, at random, on the map and packs up for a weeklong family vacation. This year, in August, we headed to Utah for the first time, exploring Salt Lake City’s Antelope Island State Park, and driving to Park City to stay at Marriott’s MountainSide, just steps away from the Olympic Park. We dove into Park City life and enjoyed the annual Kimball Arts Festival—a street festival packed with local art, food and music—and made the long drive to Arches National Park to tackle the 92-degree dry heat on a hike to the Delicate Arch, which was breathtaking!

Perhaps my favorite part of our trip was a belated Father’s Day gift to my Dad. I stole him away for a special sunrise guided hike with Mountain Vista Touring. The guide took us to her favorite hiking trail and guided us through a two-hour hike complete with snacks and breathtaking views—it was one of those mornings I know we’ll both look back on for years to come, and absolutely the highlight of my trip! – Sarah M.

Las Vegas & Where to Get Your Thrills Outside the Casino

Las Vegas is often where people go to let loose and enjoy a few cocktails, and this last visit was no exception. Pools, casinos, amazing restaurants, Britney Spears (need I say more?), and the best nightlife—what more could you ask for?

While I’ve been to Las Vegas on several occasions, this was my first trip outside the strip to take in the sights of the Grand Canyon, specifically the Southern Rim located in Arizona. It was a 4-hour drive from the city, but one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen, and well worth the travel. If you’re like me and well-versed with the indoor attractions of the City of Sin, next time, take a day and knock off a must from your bucket list—the Grand Canyon will not disappoint. – Sean F.

Mexico & Why You Should Substitute Turkey for Tacos

While I love my friends and family, this year I decided to trade in turkey and the Seattle rain for tacos al pastor, margaritas and sunshine in Los Cabos. Best. Decision. Ever. The Marquis Los Cabos was home base, perfectly situated midway between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. The resort supplied no shortage of breathtaking beach views, perfectly minty frozen mojitos, daily Spanish lessons (which I’m keeping up at home thanks to Duolingo, and hosted movie trivia hour (with prizes!). As the region’s high season is just getting started, the crowds were minimal, and rates are reasonable—making it the perfect time to travel south of the border! – Rebecca M.

 

Central America

Nicaragua & The Art of “Surfing” a Volcano

Each year, my girlfriends and I take a trip together—and this year’s destination was Nicaragua! One of the activities you can do there is volcano boarding, which we experienced on Volcano Cerro Negro. The sport involves a 5-foot-long board, a fabulous “Orange Is the New Black” look-alike jumpsuit and flying down a volcano at top speed. It requires a combination of steady nerves and technique, and we saw plenty of people biff it, but thankfully no one was hurt. If you’re up for the high-speed thrill, be sure to bring a bandana to cover your mouth. The fine volcanic rock is like mini shards of glass! – Serina H.

Panama and Costa Rica & Making Memories Meeting Tucked-Away Cultures

One of the enviable perks to working in travel PR is that, at times, one must “take one for the team” (fake sigh) and experience clients’ offerings for oneself. This year, for me, that meant joining UnCruise Adventures on its Costa Rica & Panama itinerary.

Aboard the ship on these smaller boats, you’ll never be bored! On the Safari Voyager, daily activities included kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking rainforests and snorkeling—just to name a few. But my favorite experiences ended up being the stops along the way, specifically our visit to the Embera Village and Coiba Island National Park. It’s easy to feel out of your depth when experiencing new cultures or learning the native dance, or even enjoying an unusual meal, like fried fish and plantains prepared by the tribe members. But the face-to-face contact with new people—people so different from those you interact with on a day-to-day basis—is an experience I’ll never forget. If you have the chance to visit remote, tucked-away corners of the globe, take it. You’ll never regret doing so! – Sarah M.

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