Shelter in Place—Elsewhere
When we think back on 2020, some phrases will always come to mind. “Shelter in place” is one of the most memorable. So many of us have been doing just that since March, cancelling travel plans and sticking close to home. But with some travel restrictions lifting and certain places welcoming visitors (with extra precautions, of course), it may be time to give ourselves a little break from home—or at least dream of new vistas, if we can’t go there ourselves.
Get Stranded in the Phillippines
If you’re feeling a little stir-crazy, try a whole island on for size. On El Nido, in the Philippines, there’s plenty of space to roam, plus a home with a master suite, library, and plenty of boardgames. But who wants to stay indoors in a place like this? Try snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking through the tropical forest. Or catch some sun on the white sand beach. Getting stranded on a deserted island never looked so good. From $309/night at Airbnb .
Save the Rainforest in Brazil
Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be painful. Quite the contrary, if you visit this architectural gem in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The house was built by host Marko “with love and respect for nature.” Guests can drink clear spring water, pick fresh bananas, and swim in the natural pool surrounded by trees and rare blue butterflies. Come home completely recharged and inspired to protect our rainforests. From $152/night at Airbnb .
Stargaze in Scotland
Enjoy the wonders of the universe, here on earth. The AirShip 2 is an insulated aluminum pod designed by Roderick James, and positioned on land overlooking the Sound of Mull, in Drimnin, Scotland. The intimate pod is spacious enough for two guests. Sip tea, dream, and gaze through the spacious windows into the starry skies. And yes, Wi-Fi is included. From $198/night at Airbnb .
Channel Your Inner Artist in Texas
Marfa, a small desert town in west Texas, is known for its arts scene and expansive desert vistas. So instead of staying at a hotel, embrace your creative side and stay at this custom home, just an hour and a half south of the nearly 2,000-person town. A party of five can rent out this solar-powered sanctuary, surrounded by desert and plenty of shade. Bring groceries and prepare healthy meals, for a holistic mind-body-soul vacation. $634/night at Airbnb .
Get Geodesic in Chile
A geodesic dome is a partial sphere constructed of triangles. It is also one of the strongest structures on earth. So feel safe and secure in this dome home, suspended over the Estero de la Vida—the Estuary of Life—in Chile. Surrounded by lemon, avocado, apple, olive, and almond trees, as well as native forest, you and a friend will enjoy peace and quiet. Ready for a livelier scene? Santiago, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso are just over an hour away. From $57/night at Airbnb .
Time Travel in Spain
Make your childhood dreams come true by booking this real medieval castle in Llaés, Catalonia, Spain. Perched on a hill (as any good castle should be), the fortress has ample room for up to 16 people. And you won’t miss any modern conveniences, from Wi-Fi to a washing machine. Best of all, you’re in Catalonia, near beach retreats and Barcelona, home of Gaudi’s magical architecture and a rich music and literary scene. From $536/night at Airbnb .
Explore the Reefs in Belize
Bird Island, located on the atolls of Belize, is a sanctuary to wildlife like frigatebirds and brown footed boobies. If you book this private island, however, you can enjoy its protected waters, while staying in comfort and privacy. For activities, go swimming and snorkeling through the coral reefs, which are still unspoiled, before returning to your cabana, to shower and unwind. From $695/night at Airbnb .
Recharge in Rocky Newfoundland
On the beautifully rugged shores of Newfoundland, Canada, a modern pod awaits. The square timber cabin is built to function off the grid, using a tankless hot water system and environmentally responsible compostable toilets. Inside, you’ll be surrounded by hardwood floors, pine walls, vaulted ceiling, and tall windows. Step outside, and you’re at the ocean’s edge, where you can breathe deeply and get a wider perspective. From $158/night at Airbnb .
Seek Shelter in Terlingua
You may wish to wait until cooler months to book this adobe shelter near Terlingua, Texas. It’s beautiful any time of year, but the structure, built of all natural clay, can’t support A/C. It does have a ceiling fan and plenty of ventilation for an earthly vacation, close to the elements. In nearby Big Bend National Park, go hiking in the Chisos mountains, and pay a visit to Sam Nail Ranch, home to desert wildlife. From $101/night at Airbnb .
Go Wild in Mongolia
Surrounded by the Altai mountains, and close to unspoiled lakes and waterfalls, this yurt is built for four guests and covered with Kazakh embroidery. One of the rare Airbnb digs to be located inside a national park, a stay in a Mongolian yurt takes adventure camping to a whole new level. You may even cross paths with a local family of traditional eagle hunters. From $25/night at Airbnb .
Seek the Sun in SoCal
California’s high desert is a perfect place to press reset and reassess our busy lives that are full of technological distractions. If you feel ready for a fully off-grid experience, check out this solar-powered home in Pioneertown, California. Full of natural light streaming in through floor to ceiling windows, this home will give one person (or a family of four) a taste of timelessness. For the duration of your stay, in any case. From $450/night at Airbnb .
Sleep on Ice in Finland
While the frigid temps of Finland may not be for everyone, there is plenty of magic to be had for those who can brave the climate. Watch dancing Northern Lights in the Lapland wilderness from the comfort of your very own igloo. This snowy cave has real beds inside, and the ambiance is unearthly and surprisingly cozy. Too cold for your taste? A warm apartment is available 24 hours a day, for a total defrost. From $130/night at Airbnb .
Set Sail in Sweden
Try living on the water in Sweden, land of the midnight sun. At the Royal Yachtclub, in Gothenburg, you can stay docked in the harbor or take the Maxi 007 out to sea. This pretty blue and white ship can accommodate up to four people, and comes with all the creature comforts of home: a living space, two bedrooms, bathroom, pantry, and sun deck. The port has fine dining options, and the city center is accessible by tram. Take in art museums during your shore leave, then set sail for the Gothenburg archipelagos. From $275/night at Airbnb .
Buffalo Watch in British Columbia
Help save the buffalo by staying at Buffalo Ranch and Guest House, in Golden, British Columbia. Beyond educational tours, you can freely wander the grounds, book a trail ride, or soak in the wood-fired hot tub after a day on the range. Rent the entire chalet, capable of housing 10 guests, and get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life in the heart of Blaeberry Valley. From $190/night at Airbnb.
Find Your Path in Utah
Just a stone’s throw from the East Rim Trailhead, in Utah’s Zion National Park, you will find a little gem. Britt and Michael’s snug A-Frame home is “a labor of love and was built as such.” Rent the cabin for yourself, or as a romantic retreat, and let the beauty of the landscape sink in. Go for trail hikes, play games, read in the hammock, make s’mores, and stargaze at night. After just a few days, your path ahead may be a lot clearer. From $150/night at Airbnb .
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