Travel is supposed to be a fun way to leave behind the stress of the daily grind but sometimes it can also cause more anxiety than it’s worth. After all, you might have to deal with trying to overcome language difficulties, noise, strange food and strange customs, all in unfamiliar surroundings. If you tend to sweat the small stuff, you may prefer to travel somewhere that is serene, easy to get around in and/or not too exotic. Here are some of the best destinations that we believe are the most relaxing holiday spots for worriers.
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Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is not only one of the most important things to see in Australia. A very sacred Aboriginal site, it is also believed to be where Earth’s solar plexus chakra is located. The solar plexus chakra represents feeling in control of your life.
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With its serene temples and retreats, Bali is one of the world’s best places to visit in August. The island is exotic, yes, but its tourism infrastructure is so well developed that travelling here is easy. If the stunning scenery doesn’t cause the worry to roll off your shoulders, a massage in one of Bali’s many spas surely will.
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Banff National Park, Alberta
A great way to clear your head is to take a walk and Banff National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in Canada. Not all of them are challenging either. In fact, one of the easiest hikes in Banff will take you to the ridiculously photogenic Moraine Lake.
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To visit the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, you need to go through an approved travel agency and pay what is called a daily minimum package. However, the package includes your accommodation, meals, transport and guides, which takes the stress out of arranging these yourself. You also get to visit a country where the government has a national index to measure its people’s happiness.
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One of the best ways to find inner peace is to be one with nature and for this, few destinations can match ecotourism paradise Costa Rica. For extra tranquillity, you can go on a yoga retreat here. In the tourist centres, English is widely spoken and you can get by with minimal Spanish.
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Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
When your problems seem huge, looking up to a vast, star-filled night sky can remind you of how insignificant they really are. Kejimkujik National Park is a dark-sky preserve where you can camp and stargaze. It’s also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
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Chartres Cathedral, France
Beautiful medieval churches tend to be places of serenity already but Chartres Cathedral has a feature that will help centre you: the labyrinth here is famous as a tool for a walking meditation. If you’re worried about the cost of getting to Chartres, we have some great tips for saving money while travelling in Europe.
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Langkawi Island, Malaysia
Langkawi Island is known for its gorgeous beaches, forests and waterfalls. There are also plenty of spas for every budget if you just want to be pampered a little. If you’d rather relax by shopping until you drop, you’ll be pleased to know that the entire island is duty free.
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One of the cheapest places to travel from Canada thanks to low-cost flights, Iceland is small enough to get around in without losing your way. If the country’s breathtaking beauty and thermal baths aren’t enough to wash away your worries, quirky attractions like the Icelandic Phallological Museum or the elf doors throughout the countryside will put a smile on your face.
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Shikoku is one of Japan’s main islands and is sparsely populated, at least by Japanese standards. The island is famous for its citrus, grapes and the Shikoku Pilgrimage, where pilgrims travel over 1,200 km to visit 88 Buddhist temples. You can make the journey on foot, which is the traditional way, or you can do it the modern way by going by bicycle, car or bus.
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Machu Picchu, Peru
Visiting Machu Picchu is one of those trips to take when you can’t wait for retirement. The easy way to get there is by train and bus but if you want to challenge yourself and conquer your fears, you may want to hike to this 15th-century citadel. What better setting for finding a quiet spot to meditate and connect to ancestral wisdom?
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Glastonbury, United Kingdom
Steeped in legend, Glastonbury is closely associated with King Arthur and the Holy Grail. The town is home to beautiful abbeys and churches and also has a thriving pagan and New Age community. Earth’s heart chakra, which represents love and inner peace, is said to be located here.
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Home to some of the most beautiful places in the world, Ireland is easy to travel in. If you don’t find peace in the gorgeously green Irish landscape, you may just find it at a good old shindig with lots of music and dancing.
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Indian cities can be an assault on the senses but Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas is surprisingly peaceful. In the Sixties, The Beatles came here to stay at a local ashram and today the city is still known for its yoga and Ayurveda schools and treatment centres to help you attain moksha. For good measure, you can also take a dip in the holy River Ganges, which flows through Rishikesh.
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Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
The archipelago of Haida Gwaii is one of 2018’s up-and-coming destinations and it’s easy to see why: here you can take a gentle stroll among art galleries or majestic cedars and get away from it all. For something more spiritual, visit the Haida’s totem poles, which are found in various locations on the islands.
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Ambergris Caye, Belize
When Madonna sang about “La Isla Bonita” back in the day, she was really singing about Ambergris Caye, the largest of Belize’s laid-back islands. Endless white sand beaches, crystal-clear blue waters and palm trees. if you can’t relax here, you won’t be able to relax anywhere.
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El Castillo, Nicaragua
When there is unrest in other parts of Nicaragua, take a slow boat down the Rio San Juan to El Castillo, one of the hidden gems of Mexico and Central America. There’s not much to do here – the village doesn’t even have an ATM although credit cards are accepted in many places – which makes it the perfect place to sit back in a rocking chair on a porch overlooking the river and just shoot the breeze.
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Scotland is one of those places where it will be hard not to find your bliss in the landscape. Even the Queen comes here to decompress. If walking along the moors and glens doesn’t do it for you, and hitting balls on a Scottish golf course doesn’t either, there’s always the liquid gold that Scotland is famous for.
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Chile’s winelands are one of the great Zika-free destinations that go beyond the beach, although the beach really is just a hop, skip and jump away. The vineyards are located mainly in the valleys near Santiago and are just the place to take the edge off.
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Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand
If you can’t stop worrying, it might help to know that you are not alone. Hobbiton Movie Set on New Zealand’s North Island is where the movies in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series were filmed. It’s so real that you fully expect to run into that master of all worriers, Mr. Bilbo Baggins.