I need a holiday - where do I go?
August 3, 2016 2:56 AM   Subscribe

I need to book myself a holiday but, never having travelling abroad, I'm a bit at a loss to figure out where I want to go. Given my list of requirements, can the Hive Mind suggest where I should start looking?

Essentially, I am a female misanthrope in her early 40's who needs to go somewhere for down time that has plenty of quiet but isn't at the ends of the earth. I want to go somewhere that is safe for a lone female, with as little hassle as possible. Some of the all-inclusive resort packages look attractive, but I have no idea where to start. Cruise ships look like hell on earth to me - just looking at pictures makes me want to break out in hives.

If you wanted me to describe my ideal holiday, I'd say it would look something like a rustic cabin on a beach not far from a small village with a food market and a quiet bar overlooking the water. I haven't the slightest idea if this is at all feasible.

Things that I really want from a holiday:
- basic amenities (quiet, privacy, running water, toilet paper, power)
- excellent food
- unstructured time (day trips when I feel like it, lounging when I can't be bothered)

Things I really do not want
- lots of loud tourists, parties, children, crowds of any sort
- mandatory "fun", strictly scheduled activities
- social events, meet & greets, shows, entertainments etc

I have about two weeks holidays saved and can spend between $2-3K. I am based in Australia so a long flight to anywhere is pretty much a given - I'm cool with that. And when I say beach, it doesn't have to be tropical.

Any thoughts?
posted by ninazer0 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Japan. It's super safe, and really very easy to get by (language wise), super clean, great food, great public transport. Find a nice mountain or beachside village with a minshuku or ryokan and chill, sit in the onsen, take day trips. If you want specific recommendations MeMail me! Also, Jetstar pretty regularly runs deals esp in their newsletter.

Also, I am sooo not a bar person, but the - or at least some - of the bars in Japan are awesome. Chill, low-key, clean.

Don't let the language worry you - most signs are in phoenetic Roman letters, everyone takes English in school, and not being able to read all the junk ads and chatter is really fantastic.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:18 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Islands in Malaysia -- try Pangkor. Get an apartment or a hotel. You can cycle around the island in a day at a very leisurely pace and lots of breaks. There will be local tourists as it's a local tourist destination, but it is not a Bali or Phuket. Outside of Malaysian school holidays, it is fairly quiet, sleepy island.

Food everywhere is excellent (won't survive in foodie Malaysia otherwise) and very cheap. Everyone should speak some English.
posted by moiraine at 3:28 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ishigaki and the Yaeyama Islands? It's much easier to get to than in the past, and is one of Japan's southernmost islands. Tropical, quiet, friendly, developed, clean, and closer than Europe.

You might also enjoy the north coast of Bali (definitely the easiest to get to from Australia!). Developed enough to meet your requirements but quite far from the main hub of Kuta; also, black sand beaches!
posted by mdonley at 3:39 AM on August 3, 2016

The first holiday I had abroad as an adult from Australia was New Caledonia. It was wonderful. You can get a package if you want, or not if you don't. Our package only included hotel and flight, no activities. You can spend time on the beach, or on a tiny island, or wander the old colonial city streets. We took the public buses all over, and a ferry to another island for the day.

I've been to about 60 countries since then but that trip is still really memorable because of the mix of culture, location, and laidback nature. I think a few more cruise ships stop there these days, but those crowds can be easily avoided.
posted by wingless_angel at 3:39 AM on August 3, 2016

If you're interested in Europe, I think the Dutch province of Zeeland would be a good option. Lots of semi-isolated vacation rentals (that is, far enough from others to be quiet, but not too far from shops/restaurants), big quiet beaches, and some options for day trips (Middelburg, Sluis, even Rotterdam is fairly close by train). However, you might need a car in some areas.
posted by neushoorn at 4:09 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maritime Canada? I'm talking Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick...they've got the vacation rentals, but there aren't many people outside the big cities. Acadia National Park in Maine might also be good.

If you're okay with your beach being on a lake instead of the ocean, parts of the Adirondacks in New York State would work too. There are small cities there you can get to for the food and social stuff when you wnat them, but most of it is quiet and pretty, with lots of rental houses.

Caveat - you probably would need to rent a car in all of these places I've suggested.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:38 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pacific Northwest of the U.S., maybe somewhere along the Oregon coast. Manzanita is less touristy and has what you need.
posted by lunalaguna at 5:29 AM on August 3, 2016

Cape Cod or Maine after the US Labor Day holiday.
posted by brujita at 7:27 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

West coast of Ireland, on the Wild Atlantic Way-- loads of B and Bs or affordable self-catering cottages, beautiful trails and beaches. Not tropical but stunning. I didn't find Westport or Galway overwhelming though you'd want to check the school holidays/festival calendar. If you were okay renting a car for day trips then you'd have basically endless potentials for seeing the coastline and other areas; we did it by bus and train with no issues beyond the occasional expensive taxi. You can stay out on some of the islands in Clew Bay, like Clare Island, which might be one of the more beautiful places I've seen. (Granted, you would have to not mind sheep.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:32 AM on August 3, 2016

The west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino/Ucluelet, has quiet, seaside, and plenty of rentable cabins. You can stroll moodily along the shore or do some whale watching, kayaking, and hiking. The faff part would be getting there from an airport, you'd need to either hire a car or take the Tofino bus, but once there it's one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:11 PM on August 3, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks so much guys. At last - a starting point!! You guys are the best!
posted by ninazer0 at 4:27 PM on August 3, 2016

Your criteria are still pretty broad. Since you have never traveled abroad you might want to either not do so (not clear if you want to) or stick with somewhere easier (or not) - stuff to think about. Some ideas: A large number of Greek or Croatian islands, a large number of smaller Mediterranean resorts in France, Spain, Italy, etc after many have gone home at the end of August. Scottish Highlands and islands.
posted by rongorongo at 6:56 AM on August 4, 2016

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