Experience the wide open spaces with an adventure vacation far from the madding crowd. From cruising in a convertible along Route 66 through America’s heartland to standing at Machu Picchu at solstice, take a journey into the unknown knowing there’s a cozy room waiting at the end of the day.
Known as the “Main Street of America,” the most famous highway in US history starts its cross-country ride from downtown Chicago at the corner of Michigan and Adams Avenues. Marked by a commemorative plaque, Route 66 was once the only driving route that streched from the East Coast to the West (and vice versa), and is still the best way to see the unique facets of the USA. Plan to journey at a leisurely pace and take along a “turn by turn” guide so you won’t miss any of the iconic motels, weird museum, souvenir shops and cafes that give this route its quirky character. Start your journey across America from the surprisingly affordable AWA Chicago City Center Hotel in the heart of downtown (right by the Hard Rock Café) that comes highly recommended by the reviewers at Hostelbookers.com who appreciate a good value. Get their travel desk to help you arrange a classic car rental (pink Cadillac convertible?) to whisk down the highway the appropriate style. Start your trip with breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s, a Chicago restaurant that’s been serving customers since Route 66 was first opened in 1926.
Hiking the Inca Trail
If you have the gumption to climb steep mountain paths and camp under the stars, you’ll be rewarded after a three day hike with your arrival at the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu perched 7,000 feet above sea level. Be aware that there’s a limit on how many hikers can access the Inca trail, so book your trek at least two months in advance. Pack plenty of warm clothes, sturdy boots and waterproof jackets; it does get cold and rainy in the Incan highlands. To prepare mentally and physically for this exciting challenge, make you home base at the Casa de Campo resort just 20 miles inland from Lima where travel guides offer excursions into the countryside to help you get acclimated to hiking so you’re properly buffed up for your big adventure.
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China beckons experienced hikers shun the Junshangling cable car ride to the top and scale its formidable heights on foot to truly appreciate this ancient marvel of engineering. Tour companies can arrange for extended camping trips where you hike for days on top of the Great Wall, venturing down to visit friendly villages along the way. The trails can be rugged, so bring top-notch hiking boots and a sturdy staff. From the comfort of the Beijing Hyde Hotel you can get advice from their friendly multi-lingual about hiking the Great Wall. They also serve excellent Chinese and international cuisine at the Amarone Restaurant and will even deliver meals to your room 24/7.