Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

July 2009 Archives

I had a message in my inbox this morning from a reader who's turning 30 on Oct. 23 and wants to go somewhere really special -- for a week -- to celebrate. She was looking for ideas, which I supplied below.

If you have any suggestions of your own, post 'em here. We're always looking for great travel ideas.

Here's what I told her:

Happy birthday in advance, and good for you for shunning the staycation :)

One week isn't a lot of time to leave the country, but it's certainly not out of the question. My advice would be head south, as in South America. That way you won't spend your week jet lagging since the time in a lot of S. American countries is very similar to our time zone. Have you been to Buenos Aires? It's a fantastic city -- so European in flavor but with that exciting Latin American vibe. It's also a bargain: the exchange rate is fantastic right now. And at the end of October, it will be their spring, so the weather should be nice. You could spend a few nights in BA (lots of small, boutique hotels there that are really cute) and maybe tack on a couple nights and head to Mendoza, Argentina's wine country.

If you're into wine, don't rule out doing a wine country cycling trip to Napa. At that time of the year, they'll be harvesting the grapes and it should be beautiful. I did a trip like that with Backroads many moons ago around the same time of the year, and it was great. The nice thing about going with a group like Backroads is they'll take care of all the logistics so you can just enjoy the experience and not have to think.

If you have a bit of extra money lying around, Easter Island off the coast of Chile would certainly be an unforgettable experience. In fact, you could spend a few nights in Santiago, Chile -- a fun city -- and then fly to Easter Island for three or four nights. When on Easter Island, stay at Explora. It's a beautiful hotel and they have a bunch of guided activities you can take part in.

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