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Summer 2023 Bucket List by Robin Esrock

Travel personality and bestselling author Robin Esrock has reported from over 100 countries on 7 continents.  We’ve invited him to share his summer travel inspiration.     

Global Dream of the Summer:  Slovenia

Of all the countries that once made up the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia has emerged as the undiscovered gem of Central Europe.  The country boasts lush countryside, medieval fortresses, the sweeping Julian Alps, crystal lakes, and the culture-rich capital of Ljubljana.  Straight out of a central European fairytale, mountains overlook green valleys so smooth you’d think they grow vegetables on manicured fairways.  Romantics will love the old church sitting in the middle of Lake Bled, a vista you may have seen in popular screensavers. Horse-lovers will relish a bucket list visit to Lipica, the ancestral home of the classic white Lipizzaner.  Ljubljana is quintessentially European: think cobblestones, churches, old town squares, canals, parks, bicycle lanes and busy outdoor cafes.  Easy to get to via air or if visiting from neighboring Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary, Slovenia offers great European value with abundant options for nature, culture, food and history.

 

Canadian Dream of the Summer: Prince Edward Island

What do you do with an abandoned province-wide railway line? You turn it into a 400km-long recreational trail running tip-to-tip across Prince Edward Island, resulting in an unforgettable bucket list East Coast adventure. With your bags shuttled ahead to homely inns and B&B’s, the trail takes you through gorgeous forest, beaches, rivers, farmland, restored railway stations and small towns bursting with Maritime charm. Kick off at the Confederation Bridge, load up on local lobster, pop into bays with the world’s best oysters, and work it off with some healthy daily exercise.  An optional e-bike upgrade can make it especially easy and fun for the whole family.

 

Leaving the Pandemic Behind

In May 2023, the WHO officially declared that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer constitutes a global health emergency.  Instead of wild celebrations that the pandemic is finally behind us, we’ve quickly moved onto new fears and uncertainty, heavily promoted by media that thrives on bad news (remember: if it bleeds it leads).  Tourism continues to boom, with heavy demand for airfare, accommodation and activities.  Prices are skyrocketing, as operators and airlines eagerly recoup lost profits.  It’s been a year since The Great Chaos of 2022, and the tourism industry has prepared for the rush.  Industry employment is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, and efficient new technologies have been implemented.  It’s going to be busy out there, but summer 2023 will see a significant improvement over 2022.

Pro Tips: Staying Safe

A surge in tourism brings a surge in opportunistic crime.  You’ll often hear “Use Your Common Sense” but little about what common sense actually means.    Very simply:  Avoid flashing your wealth or drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.  If a local or guide advises you not to go somewhere, take their advice seriously.   If something looks or sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t.  Keep secure online back-ups of your passport, banking and insurance details (you can just email it yourself or leave a copy with someone at home).  Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere, so don’t carry too much cash.  Avoid unnecessary confrontation, and when in doubt, ask for help.  With a little common sense, it’s highly unlikely anything terrible will happen. Scams and crime grabs attention, but both are statistically rare for travellers worldwide.

Don’t Quote Me:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

Mark Twain

 

If you have any travel-related questions or inquiries, feel free to email me at robin@robinesrock.com

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