Looking for some Stateside travel ideas for 2020?

White-water rafting

By Tadhg Peavoy

Oh yes, January, again. That time of year when there is a collective and global sigh as the financial belt buckles are tightened, and the physical belt buttons are loosened, after the metaphorical house party that is December across the majority of the world.

It leads to a general slouchiness amongst the masses as they cope with the end of the revelry and the dawning of a new year, while attempting to get one’s monthly outgoings back on a level playing field.

It’s also the month – inspired by that jolt back to reality – that is the peak, holiday-booking period of the annual calendar, when those that have sagely saved their beans from the previous harvest splash their cash on their major holiday of the year. Or for those that weren’t so diligent, dig into their credit-card overdraft even further to do so.

Here at TravelTimes.ie, the US is one of our favourite travel destinations. It’s a country that has virtually everything one could look for in a holiday and a continent: fantastic cities, incredible coastlines, majestic mountains, lakes aplenty, food to die for and a range of climates to suit your taste. With that in mind, we’ve picked out a selection of trips to the US of A that might tickle your fancy for the year ahead.

American Holidays are one of the go-to outlets to book your trip Stateside, with staff that ooze professionalism, and also banter, and a company we trust. We’ve had a peruse of their catalogue for 2020 and picked out of some of their new routes that we would be keen to book ourselves.

Their Grand American Adventures line of trips is tagged as catering for “active people of all ages” and taking “you beyond the guidebooks and off the busy tourist trails”, which is really the best kind of trip, and certainly the best to see the real belly of a country. You’ll also be part of a small group, which gives you a chance to mingle with Baby Boomers Gen Xs, Zs, Ys and maybe even a few Alphas, which is another aspect to travelling we endorse as being hugely beneficial to the overall experience.

And what with it being January, and the gyms being packed to the rafters, what better than an adventure holiday to get your good intentions kicking into overdrive. AH’s Colorado Adventures is our pick along these lines. “Board the Great Sand Dunes National Park, visit the exciting town of Aspen, ride your bike through Telluride and explore mighty Rocky Mountain National Park”, says AH’s blurb and it is an action-packed itinerary at that, with white-water rafting nestled in among the group activities.

Colorado Adventures
Biking through the Rocky Mountain National Park

Price tag: €3,410 per person.

What you get for that fee is return flights to Denver from Dublin, nine nights accommodation, all transportation and a professional tour leader.

Once in situ in Denver, one gets to explore the city that evening, before commencing one’s journey proper, visiting the following in chronological order. The Garden of the Gods and Great Sand Dunes National Park – where you’ll get to try your hand at sand boarding.

The historic frontier mining town of Durango (these towns are dotted across the States and offer a glimpse into times past).

Mesa Verde National Park and Telluride – at Mesa Verde you’ll get to see how the Ancestral Puebloans lived and see their 600 cliff dwellings. Telluride is the spot to test your biking skills through mountain terrain.

Next up is Black Canyon in the Gunnison National Park and then Aspen, famed for food, art and nightlife (or sessioning as we Irish like to call it). From Aspen, you’ll also white-water raft down the Arkansas River.

White-water rafting on the Arkansas River
White-water rafting on the Arkansas River

This is followed by two days in Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can hike to heart’s content over its 355 miles (571km) of trails. You’ll then pass through Boulder and visit Pearl Street – a pedestrianised thoroughfare that represents the historic centre and is lined with shops, restaurants and art galleries. From here it’s back to Denver for a night and a day before flying home.

It’s one hell of an itinerary and packs in a huge amount in a short time. One of the key reasons we’ve pulled it out as a trip to consider for 2020.

See the full details here: https://www.americanholidays.com/en-ie/holiday-deals/adventure-colorado/ 

Road trips

If you fancy taking total charge of your itinerary with a self-guided road trip, AH also has that covered too, with a range of itineraries. Our pick of the bunch: The Pacific Coast Explorer Fly Drive, which takes you from Seattle to Los Angeles, visiting Portland, Redwood National Park, San Francisco, Big Sur and Malibu en route. It’s hard to think of a more iconic route. The late, Gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson would have approved of this one.

The Seattle skyline
The Seattle skyline

Price tag: €2,219 per person.

For that you get direct flights with Aer Lingus into Seattle and out of LA. Ten nights accommodation, and 11 nights car rental.

Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles

See the full details here: https://www.americanholidays.com/en-ie/holiday-deals/pacific-coast-explorer-fly-drive/

Escorted tours

If road tripping sounds like way too much effort, AH also offers guided tours, doing all the legwork for you.

Switching focus to the east coast of the States and also Canada, the Eastern Discovery Escorted Tour takes in Boston, New England, Montreal, Québec City, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Amish County and Washington DC, over the course of 11 days. This writer’s first visit to North America followed a very similar route, albeit a longer one, going as far south as Florida, with just one backpack and one dyed-blonde Afro hairstyle to accompany my 21-year-old self on a summer-long adventure. The cities offer a staggering array of culture and Niagara Falls remains one of the most beautiful natural wonders I’ve seen across the globe.

The Maid of the Mist on the waters below Niagara Falls
The Maid of the Mist on the waters below Niagara Falls

Price tag: €2,299 per person.

For that you’ll get return flights from Dublin to New York, ten nights accommodation and a tour director for the entire trip.

The bright lights of the Big Apple
The bright lights of the Big Apple

See the full details here: https://www.americanholidays.com/en-ie/holiday-deals/new-england-toronto-washington-escorted-tour/


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