6 Secret Paradises to Escape to Now
These locations are red-hot, but they're not crazy-expensive or crawling with tourists just yet. Make your reservations now, and you'll be able to say "been there, done that" before the rest of the world catches on.
Lisbon & Alentejo, Portugal
The country's capital is trending in a big way, thanks to its old-world charm that can be soaked up at a fraction of the cost of other European cities. Plus, an hour east, the recently opened (and really nice) L'and Vineyards is changing the lodging game in the up-andcoming Alentejo wine region.
When to Go: The weather's great and the country's blissfully short on visitors in late spring and early autumn. Fall also sees the annual grape harvest.
How to Get There: Fly into Lisbon, and then rent a car when you’re ready to take on Alentejo.
Mekong River, Asia
Top-notch riverboat companies have started cruising the Vietnam-Cambodia portion of this mystical waterway, which flows through cosmopolitan centers and rural countryside. Aside from grazing water buffalo, you might see a lone fisherman hand-casting his net aboard a Uniworld or Avalon Waterways dreamboat.
When to Go: Aim for February and March or October and November, the months that fall on either end of monsoon season.
How to Get There: Uniworld's cruise begins in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Avalon's sets off from Bangkok.
The Rock Islands of Palau
In the middle of the Pacific, 500 miles east of the Philippines, this smattering of green islets was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, which put it on the tourist map. Go upscale with your stay at the Palau Pacific Resort on Koror, the main island, or, muster up your sense of adventure and check into the nation's newest hotel, the rustic (there's no AC) yet romantic Ngellil Island Resort.
When to Go: Travel before or after rainy season (June through August), but avoid the last few days of April and the first week of May, a Japanese holiday period when many people head down to the islands.
How to Get There: Connect in Taiwan to Palau’s international airport.
When to Go: Take your pick between fall (Chile's spring) and spring (Chile's fall) -- they both possess the ideal intersection of low rates and lovely weather.
How to Get There: The Puerto Natales airport, which you'll connect to via capital-city Santiago, is the entryway to both hotels.
A storied swath of Grade-A beachfront property, formerly owned by the Rockefellers, has been reimagined as one of the swankiest resorts in the Caribbean: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
When to Go: From April through mid-June, you'll miss both high-season prices and, most likely, hurricanes.
How to Get There: Put away your passport (it’s not necessary for Puerto Rico travel), and then jet right into San Juan, a hub for JetBlue.
Move over, Paris. This beachfront metropolis was chosen as the 2013 European Capital of Culture, an honor on par with hosting the Olympics. Expect major festivals and concerts, and très chic museum and hotel offerings.
When to Go: From June through August, the city's events will have an open-air theme. Avoid the culture-hound crowds by shooting for early summer.