8 Gorgeous Vacation Spots to Help You De-Stress in 2018
September 25, 2018
by Megan Leonhardt
This year has been a roller coaster for Americans, many of whom are feeling more stressed—particularly about the future of the country—than ever before. If your daily HeadSpace habit isn’t enough to bring you peace of mind, it may be time to take a more drastic measure: hopping on a plane.
Travel can be a great way to refresh yourself—especially if you actually put down the phone and truly unplug for a bit. As Kate Douglas Wiggin once wrote in her Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm series, “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”
But which destinations offer the best chance for peace and calm? Lonely Planet’s The Place to Be guidebook identified 20 spots that promise to help you find serenity; MONEY then applied pricing and value information to eight of the most peaceful.
Read on for a short list that may help you choose your next escape.
1. Bay of Islands
Country: New Zealand
Total Cost of a Week for Two: $3,978
Turquoise waters rise up to meet undeveloped beaches in this idyll, located off the northeastern coast of New Zealand. The Bay of Islands encompasses an archipelago of 144 islands, as well as the towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri.
The region is a mecca for those who love sailing, diving and other water sports. Just off the coast of Paihia lie the shipwrecks of the Rainbow Warrior and former Navy Frigate Canterbury F421 as well as several spectacular reefs that divers can explore. Bottlenose dolphins and wild orcas are regularly spotted by people swimming or sailing in the area’s warm, clear waters.
The fastest way to get to Bay of Islands is via a short 45-minute flight from the international airport in Auckland to Kerikeri; flights to Auckland from the U.S. average $1,094 per person, according to airfare prediction app Hopper. But you can also choose to take a more leisurely approach by boat or explore the region by car; the three-hour drive from Auckland will take you through gorgeous scenery. Hotels in Paihia, where Lonely Planet recommends staying, run around $173 a night, according to Trip by Skyscanner.