I often get asked for travel advice (which I love giving because I love any excuse to talk about travel) and if it’s about a certain destination then I usually have some ideas of what to do or where to stay or were to eat. But last week a guy I was working with asked me, ‘I want to go away on a Mancation. Where should I go?’. Besides the fact that there are so many different places to go to in the world, there are also countless ways to have fun and experiences to have. We ended up figuring out that what he wanted was a trip away with a mate with lots of adventure and lots of partying. We got it down to Queenstown and Vegas. So, what are other good Mancations? Here are the Top Ten from my travels:
The Party Trip
New York may claim to be the city that never sleeps, but where else can you watch show girls and magic acts at four in the morning, go to an all night pool party every night of the year and gorge on an all you can eat breakfast buffet any time of the day.
The Cultural Tour
The Big Three cultural cities of Italy were the stomping grounds of Julius Caesar, Michelangelo and Casanova. Follow the footsteps of these magnifico men and march through some Roman ruins, reminisce about Renaissance art then relive the dolce vita of the world’s most famous womanizer (oh, except the getting thrown in jail part).
The Indulgent Holiday
If you are going to splash out don’t go five-Star, go seven-Star. You might not be able to afford the Royal Suite at the Burj Al Arab hotel (a mere $18,000 per night), but check into a ‘basic’ suite (all 170 square metres of it) then head out to the At.mosphere, the highest restaurant in the world on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
The James Bond Adventure
It may not be the best 007 film, but ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ did have an Aussie James Bond and the coolest evil headquarters. Perched on top of the Schilthorn mountain in Switzerland, a series of three cable cars whisks you up to the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant. Visit in winter and start the day with a ‘James Bond Breakfast’ then ski down the steep black run (just like George Lazenby’s stunt double) all the 17 kilometres down to Lauterbrunnen.
The Soul-searching Trip
WALLIS AND FUTUNA
If you’d really like to get away from it all head to the Pacific island kingdom of Wallis and Futuna. With a population of 15,000 and an average of only around 500 tourists a year you’ll find plenty of space to yourself. And for total solitude get a fisherman to take you out to the stunning and deserted island of Alofi and camp out on the beach for a few days eating Sao biscuits and Spam.
The Achievement Holiday
TIAN SHAN MOUNTAIN RANGE, KYRGYZSTAN
It seems that everyone has trekked Nepal or walked the Kokoda track. To impress your friends (and yourself) climb a large mountain in a country most people haven’t even heard of. The Tian Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan is up there height wise with the Himalayas, but without the crowds. In fact there is a very good chance you won’t see anyone at all. Hire a guide and driver in the town of Karakol and head up for a true adventure. Just look out for the wolves at night.
The Gastronomic Escape
Andalucia is the birthplace of tiny little plates of food. If you are going to eat tapas in Spain do it in Andalucia. Start your gastronomic tour in seaside town of Cadiz, meander up through the pueblos blancos (white villages) and finish up in stunning Seville. Along the way sample the best and most varied tapas anywhere in the country. Get ready to eat late, though – a lot of tapas restaurants don’t even open until 9.00pm and many of them are standing room only.
The Sports Fan Holiday
Okay, this of course depends on what sport you like to watch, but for me seeing one of the greatest (and most popular) football teams in the world play has been one of my biggest sporting highlights. Go see Manchester United play at Old Trafford then come back the next day for a tour of the stadium and the very mega Manchester United Megastore. Regular season tickets are almost impossible to get, but you can get Champions League tickets. And best of all, Man U are back in the Champions league next season!
The Adventure Holiday
QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND
Ski down down a steep narrow chute, bungee jump from a ridiculous height, hit warp speed in a jet boat and hurtle down a hill in a gravity-fuelled luge ride. And that’s all in one day. For the rest of your time in Queenstown go tandem hang gliding, quad biking, white-water rafting and just about every other insane and life threatening adventure activity you can think of.
The Single Man Trip
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Two words. Ipanema beach. The iconic strip of sand that is jam-packed with beach babes in barely bikinis truly is paradise for the single man. But wait, there’s more. Rio also has hot samba bars full of wriggling bottoms, oh-so-chic nightclubs and oh-so-happening bars. And like a boys own fantasy you can even find those cute cariocas at one of the most celebrated soccer stadiums in the world.