Where should our next family vacation be?
March 12, 2015 8:58 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I want to take our will-then-be-10-month-old somewhere for 3-4 weeks in July to immerse ourselves in a different culture. We really want to head back to Japan, but it’ll be disgustingly hot in July, so where should we go instead?

What we’re looking for:

- ~70 degrees F in July (aka southern hemisphere I’m guessing?)
- Awesome food
- Cheaper than Norway (we should not feel like we’re paying $60-100 at every meal)
- Someplace new

Places we’ve already been together: USA (live in WA state), Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Germany, Czech Republic. Places I’ve been without him: India, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Mexico.

The current top of our list, based on ignorance and nothing in particular: New Zealand.

Help me add to our list!
posted by kthxbi to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 9:04 PM on March 12, 2015

South Africa! Cape Town is absolutely beautiful, there is so much to do, and you could do it for $10 a meal if you really wanted (of course there is much more expensive food than that but I ate a lot on very little when I was there). Have you considered Air B&B? If you rented a house then you'd be able to cook some of your meals and prices are comparable to hotels. However, it usually is considerably colder than in July (around 55 degrees in July).
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 9:07 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hostels and airbnb have always been our go-to for vacations but now that we have an infant, we should probably cut hostels out of that list, heh. So, yes, Enchanting Grasshopper, we would very likely consider an airbnb. Also, I forgot to mention that we would be fine if we had to rent a car - we've done so in Norway, Germany, and Czech Republic, and I can drive manual. But we really really love stellar public transportation options and prefer that to a car when possible. I speak Spanish. He speaks Japanese.
posted by kthxbi at 9:19 PM on March 12, 2015

For temperature, northern Australia would be a match. The only place your likely to get good food is Queensland though (Darwin maybe, I haven't been there). I assume northern South America would be similar in temperature some places.

Otherwise it's northern hemisphere, high latitudes. Cheaper options (I think) North China, some of Russia, Poland. I loved the food in Poland.
posted by kjs4 at 9:42 PM on March 12, 2015

This doesn't fit the criteria for "awesome food" (unless you are particularly in to mutton and unique dairy drinks), but Mongolia is absolutely awesome in the summer. Really the only time worth going there, and with a few weeks you can see most of the highlights of the country, explore what is essentially still frontier, stay with nomads, etc.

Quite cheap compared to Norway, though tours can run up the price pretty quickly. If you are willing to rent a car, that is pretty easy and pretty cheap to do! Better if you have an international driver's license, but I managed without one for a year and a half.

Worth a thought, at least. (-:
posted by auggy at 9:53 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Come to Cairns, Australia and stay in our AirBnB granny flat! It's the best time of year to be here and it's an especially gorgeous part of a beautiful country. Your baby can play with my baby (and/or I can recommend local playgroups where you can hang out with Aussies). There are a lot of outdoorsy things to do in the area for little or no money, and of course if you have the budget there are boats to the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest tours, etc.

Food is expensive in Australia, particularly when eating out (compared to US prices), but particularly in FNQ you can buy delicious tropical fruit and veggies very, very inexpensively and make yourself many meals very cost-effectively. This is also a great area for seafood and many different Asian cuisines.
posted by olinerd at 10:22 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

If you still want to go to Japan, why not Hokkaido? They've got ramen with milk in, crab, squid, bear meat and whatnot :D
posted by sukeban at 1:07 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hokkaido is cooler in July. It also depends when you go in July. Earlier in the month can be hot, but not particularly humid. Sometimes the rainy season (my favourite time of year, but I like 25-30 degrees and humid, but NOT 35 degrees and humid) lasts until early July.

Victoria BC and Vancouver Island are also perfect in July. Absolutely perfect. Or the San Juan Islands.
posted by Nevin at 2:57 AM on March 13, 2015

I was in New Zealand recently, and it was quite chilly on the South Island at the height of summer (first week of February). The south wind comes straight from Antarctica. I can't imagine it'd be 70°F in midwinter; it was mid-40°s in midsummer.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:03 AM on March 13, 2015

I don't have a destination, but I'm wondering how you're feeling about taking a then-10-month-old on a super long flight to NZ? I mean, people absolutely *do* that, but it seems a bit nerve wracking for you and your husband depending on the kid's squirminess and your fellow passengers' patience. I nearly lost my mind flying 26 hours from NYC to Bangkok, and all I had was me and my 34 year-old husband to worry about. Just a thought.
posted by zoomorphic at 3:34 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Bosnia. It's cheap. The espresso and ice cream are to die for. The food is amazing, always fresh fruit and veggies. It's friendly, lots of laughter. The landscape is gorgeous and changes a lot from north to south -- taking the train from Budapest to Sarajevo, I kept thinking they could have filmed Lord of the Rings there. Sarajevo is incredible and it's a super-kid-friendly culture. Very walkable, good tram system, and we did fine on inter-city buses around the country. Bosnia! The best!

(Not Croatia. Grumpier and overpacked with tourists until you get off the coast and up to Zagreb, which is great.)
posted by heatherann at 6:11 AM on March 13, 2015

The weather will be what you want in Iceland. I'm guessing the same holds true for coastal parts of the UK. I was in Amsterdam in July and it was far from hot.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:42 AM on March 13, 2015

Iceland is beautiful, but kinda pricey and has hands-down horrible food.
posted by zoomorphic at 6:48 AM on March 13, 2015

I agree that Iceland has horrible food, but it also has awesome food! But all of the food is expensive.
posted by mskyle at 7:34 AM on March 13, 2015

St. Petersburg (Russia) would make for a great trip in July, especially this July. We are planning a trip for June and finding the prices to be the best they've been in a decade. You can rent a luxurious, centrally located apartment for under $1,000 per week, and the meals at the most expensive restaurants run half of a similar meal in the US. (The food will be delicious and very inventive within the grand European haute cuisine tradition). Daily temperatures are in the low 70's and you'll be smack in the middle of the White Nights Festival which is so named because it never gets dark (huge help for the jet lag). There will be tons of music and other street events everywhere and the whole city will be one big party. But you have to book asap, the White Nights festival is extremely popular with the Scandinavians and hotels are very expensive so rental apartments get booked up far in advance (it's a very short/cheap trip for the Swedes and the Finns, we have friends flying in from Sweden to meet up with us and their tickets were only 125$USD). We used Airbnb for our rental and our host provided the invitations as well (you need invitations to get your Russian visa). Feel free to email me if you have questions.
posted by rada at 7:53 AM on March 13, 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador! My gorgeous home. Definitely not too hot here. I know you said you have been to Canada, but I have lived on the east coast and out west and they are drastically different in terms of geography and culture.

Added incentive: I actually just got home from a visit to OP's location and the exchange rate was terrible, so if that holds up, an American visiting Canada should see their money go a lot further.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:23 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love New Zealand and I did travel from the east coast USA with a 12 month old. She slept in the bassinet the entire way from LA to Auckland. So it can totally be done. But New Zealand has terrible food (except if you ask a kiwi). You also mention immersing yourself in a culture - certainly NZ has a culture, but it's not very exotic from an American perspective.

how about Peru, or Argentina, or South Africa? Those are some of the next ones on my hit list.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:54 PM on March 13, 2015

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