Traveling to the other side of the planet: pitstops?
May 29, 2015 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to plan a trip to Sri Lanka with a pit stop on the way back to California, but due to work/ family stress (nothing unmanageable) I feel like I'm getting bogged down in the details. Help, please?

I have a mandatory week off from work the week of July 4th. Due to the sudden illness of a grandparent, I am planning to take the week off before that (June 21-27) as well to visit them in Sri Lanka. The actual week of July 4th I'd like to spend somewhere I've never been before, especially to unwind after what is potentially a stressful trip visiting family. I'm stressed out of my mind catching up with work and worrying about my family, and some outside travel advice would be refreshing!
Because I'll be pretty literally on the other side of the planet from where I live, I'm looking for suggestions in cities in Europe OR Asia within the following parameters:

1. Suitable for a female, most likely traveling solo
2. Must be ideal for a short stay (4-5 days tops)
3. Easy to get to (smaller island-hopping, like Malta/ Greece, would be nice but I'd like to cut down on extra travel time because I only have a few days)
4. I'm planning a trip to North Africa next year, so that's not an option
5. I'm an avid traveler and have visited most countries in Asia and Europe - and I'd like to go someplace I haven't been. So far, I'd say most of South Asia, Western/ Southern Europe and Scandinavia. Less so Southeast and East Asia. Australia and New Zealand would be great, but I feel like 4 days would be too short. South America is out. I'll be in Italy later this year, and possibly cities in close proximity to Venice
6. I'd like to visit somewhere that's perhaps not Everyone's Favorite Tourist Destination - think Paris, Rome, London, etc... already been to those places, and I'm the explorer/ walker type, so I prefer somewhat offbeat places.
7. I'd prefer that the main attraction not be the beach (San Diego resident here by way of Ventura and Santa Monica, and I'm visiting Sri Lanka - plenty of beach time there!)
8. For reference, favorite cities I've traveled to so far are: Copenhagen, Morocco, Singapore, Valparaiso, Johannesburg, Delhi. Countries tops on the Europe/Asia bucket list are: Turkey, Croatia, Russia, Vietnam/ Cambodia, Indonesia.
9. Pros of looking into small group travel? It's an option but may cost more and removes flexibility?
10. Minor: health condition that may be exacerbated by sun exposure. It's manageable, but I'd like to avoid extreme sun (Sri Lanka is going to be a doozy in that regard but I don't plan on being outdoors for long periods of time).

I apologize for this hasty, rambly question, but would appreciate any suggestions/ travel tips that will help me plan a neat, short vacation minimizing travel time and cost (budget is ~3-4k). Bonus points if suggested pit stops are on a flight route/ airline that services Colombo, Sri Lanka! Thank you so much!
posted by Everydayville to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Is there a reason you aren't thinking about Japan? Colombo-Tokyo is easy, and then Tokyo-California is easy. It has been a while since I planned at trip to Japan but as I recall there is plenty to do in a 4 day circuit around Tokyo (like outings to Kyoto etc.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2015


In an attempt to not threadsit, I'm going to list countries/ cities I've visited in Europe/ Middle East/ Asia, and even if there are cities in those countries I haven't been to, I'd prefer not to go back: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tahiti, Phillipines, (I'm Canadian), Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine, Scandinavia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Dubai, Oman, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE... gosh, I'm probably missing some, but this is the bulk of it.
posted by Everydayville at 12:29 PM on May 29, 2015


Looking at your list, and with your reluctance to even go to different cities in previously visited countries, I would suggest Israel, if you have no moral objection to going (I would, but YMMV.)
posted by Tamanna at 1:14 PM on May 29, 2015


Istanbul? Moscow?
posted by mdonley at 11:26 PM on May 29, 2015


If the flight from California to Colombo is over the Pacific as Google tells me, there aren't many options that count as actual pit stops. Why not just go to one of the places on your bucket list?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:08 AM on May 30, 2015


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