Tag Archives: Bucket List travel

EF Go Ahead Tours Discounts Bucket List Worthy Trips this Holiday Season

Solo travelers get a holiday discount on EF Go Ahead Tours:  Get 16% off Portugal for Solo Travelers © Eric Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

EF Go Ahead Tours, a leading provider of immersive, small group travel, is running its Black Friday sale through Nov. 26 offering steep 2021 discounts on 2022 and 2023 “bucket list” itineraries, likely the lowest these future tours will ever be, with prices locked in and flexible payment plans available. Get up to $600 off per person /$1,200 off per couple — with many of the most in-demand itineraries discounted by 20% or more.

From Nov. 12-18: A focus on UK & Ireland:  Highlights of England, Scotland & Ireland 15% off / $500 off, discounted at $2,779; A Week in Ireland: Dublin, Cork & Galway 27% off / $600 off, discounted at $1,599; Highlights of England, Scotland & Ireland 15% off / $500 off, discounted at $2,819.

From Nov. 19-25: Bucket List Worthy to Iceland, Egypt Kenya, Costa Rica, Galapagos such as Egypt & the Nile 20% off / $600 off, discounted at $2,399; A Week in Egypt: Giza, Nile River Cruise & Cairo 19% off / $500 off, discounted at $2,159; Kenya Wildlife Safari 4/8/22 departure. 13% off / $600 off, discounted at $3,919.

Black Friday: Nov. 26: “Special Lightning Deals!” with the best of what’s left! Plus up to $600 off on worldwide tours plus a doorbuster on Black Friday day!

Traveling solo within group travel is discounted too. Get an extra $100 off for private rooms on top of the sales, which could equate to a free single room.  Just one of many examples of a bucket list solo trip: Portugal for Solo Travelers 16% off / $500 off, discounted at $2,539.

Let EF Go Ahead experts navigate travel and health & safety guidelinesand plan with fully refundable trips with no change fees Only $99 down secures a spot when you enroll in AutoPay. Book before November 30th and if you have to change plans, receive a refund of all money paid for that tour, including the deposit, through February 1, 2022. Change tour date or destination without a rebooking fee up until the Final Payment Date. EF offers Covid Care Promise, a comprehensive offering that supports travelers, at no additional expense through unforeseen on-tour quarantines or hospitalizations. 

EF Go Ahead Tours, 800, 590-1161, www.goaheadtours.com

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Xanterra Offers Weeklong ‘Book Your Bucket List Sale’ for National Parks, Cruises, Tours

Take advantage of Xanterra Travel Collection’s week-long annual sale to lock in 50% off roundtrip tickets on the historic Grand Canyon Railway and 20% off in-park lodging at the Grand Canyon’s crown jewel, the El Tovar on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Greenwood Village, CO – Carpe Diem X 7. Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning globally diversified travel company offering unforgettable experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth®, announced its highly anticipated annual “Book Your Bucket List Sale” from Tuesday, Nov. 23 – Tuesday, Nov. 30. This year’s sale will last a full week beginning the Tuesday before Black Friday and running through Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday. Xanterra owns or operates the lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley and Grand Canyon South Rim; Windstar Cruises, The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, The Oasis at Death Valley, Holiday Vacations, Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours. The affiliated legendary Five-Star, Five-Diamond Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and the longest-running Five-Star award-winning Sea Island Resort in Georgia are also participating in the sale.

And now, for the first time, Xanterra is offering an unparalleled gift of discovery and wanderlust with Xanterra Travel Collection Gift Cards. Redeemable across all Xanterra Travel Collection properties and brands for accommodations, tours, experiences, and retail purchases, recipients can choose their adventure with this gift of A World of Unforgettable Experiences. All new and available starting Nov. 16 at Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Preview and plan now. Then book during the Book Your Bucket List one-week sale (Tuesday, Nov. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 30) at Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. Highlights include:

National Parks

The Oasis at Death Valley – 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley. Valid for select overnight stays between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Historic Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel – 50% off roundtrip train tickets on an entertaining journey to the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim when booking a two-night Getaway Package over select dates between Dec. 1, 2021 and March 10, 2022.

Grand Canyon South Rim – 20% off in-park lodging at Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge, and the crown jewel, El Tovar, during select dates Dec. 1, 2021 to March 3, 2022. Discover the “secret season” at the Grand Canyon with fewer crowds. The lodges are either in or within walking distance to the Historic District and rim of the Grand Canyon which includes Lookout Studio and Hopi House.

The Grand Hotel – 30% off at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between Dec. 2021 and March 2022.

Zion Lodge – 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022.

Cedar Creek Lodge, at the gateway to Glacier National Park – 30% off room rates on select dates from Dec. 2021 through April 2022.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel – Save 25% off hotel stays at the charming and historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, located inside the park on select dates during May 2022.

​​Luxury Hotels

The Broadmoor – Rates as low as $249 per night for select dates, up to 25% off published suite rates, and 10% off the all-inclusive Wilderness Properties (The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp).

Sea Island – In honor of its Quarter Century Club (team members with at least 25 years of service to the resort), book a stay in December, January, or February and receive the third night for only $25. Plus, receive a $250 resort credit per stay at The Cloister and The Lodge. In addition, Sea Island will donate $25 per stay to the Sea Island Legacy Fund, which assists team members experiencing economic hardship.

Guided Travel/Tours

Bicycling Tours – Receive $200 off any spring VBT Bicycling Tours Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Walking Adventures – Receive $200 off any spring Country Walkers Guided Italy tour departing between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.

Holiday Vacations – Save $250 per person on the Holland in Bloom featuring the Floriade tour departing on April 15, 2022.


Cruising

Windstar Cruises – Save on 2022 yacht-style cruises with fewer than 350 guests. Enjoy a $100 onboard credit per guest to use on shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages and more. Low fares start from $1,399 per guest. Yacht Club Members receive a double Alumni discount on all voyages departing on or before March 31, 2022.

For a complete list and to take advantage of Xanterra and its affiliates’ Book Your Bucket List offers, visit Xanterra.com/BucketListSale. For the newly available gift cards, visit Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Travel Collection provides a world of unforgettable experiences through its operations in national parks, including lodges, restaurants, tours, and activities, as well as through its ownership of resorts, a cruise line, a railway, and tour companies. Xanterra has operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra Travel Collection also owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Ariz., The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., The Oasis at Death Valley in Death Valley Calif., Windstar Cruises, Holiday Vacations, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, and Country Walkers. Xanterra is also affiliated with two Forbes Five-Star Resorts, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and Sea Island on the coast of Georgia.

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Global Scavenger Hunt Returns for 2022; Applications to Join now Being Accepted

Team Lazy Monday, Eric & Kathryn Verwillow of California, who would go on to win second place in the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt, dash out of Petra, Jordan on to their next challenge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

After a COVID-enforced two-year hiatus, the Global Scavenger Hunt is back in 2022 – an around-the-world travel adventure to crown the “World’s Greatest Travelers.”

Unlike the Amazing Race (which was inspired by the Global Scavenger Hunt), The Global Scavenger Hunt isn’t a race, but rather a contest to amass the most points by doing scavenges designed to immerse you into local culture, heritage and environment of the places you visit.

In the course of 23 days, the teams of two travel to 10 countries, not knowing your next destination until your team is given instructions to get to the airport. You have to figure out how to get around without the benefit of GPS, smartphones or computer. Paper maps are allowed, but asking locals for directions is preferred.

Trusting strangers in strange lands is the shibboleth, as the intrepid travelers circle the globe (which is why you can’t use your own GPS or smartphone). The event has touched down in 85 countries to date.

“We’re thrilled about the growing momentum for travel and are feeling so positive and excited about it, that we have scheduled the takeoff dates for our Spring 2022 event: Wheels up April 22 thru May 14,” writes Event Director Bill Chalmers, who calls himself the “ringmaster.”

“Our last event in 2019 was fully subscribed, and we are currently reserving spots for our 2022 adventure while holding on to our 2019 price structure on all deposits made before December 10th this year.”

(Full disclosure: I was on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt.)

The event, which will be the 16th Global Scavengee Hunt, pits savvy international travelers against each other by taking them on A Blind Date with the World, visiting ten secret destinations without any prior preparation, and then have them unravel a constant blitz of highly authentic, participatory and challenging culturally-oriented scavenges along the way.

For example: meditating with monks, training elephants, taking flamenco lessons, cooking local dishes with local chefs, searching out Lost Cities, cracking sacred temple mysteries, joining in local celebrations and learning local languages enough to decipher their scavenger hunt clues. 

The Global Scavenger Hunt is limited to a small group of world travelers. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply (you will be paired up for a team).

For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc., at +1.310.281.7809.

See our coverage of our experience on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt at goingplacesfarandnear.com

Global Scavenger Hunt: In the Scramble to be Crowned ‘World’s Best Travelers’ 

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Been there. Done that. World’s Greatest Travelers List of 8 Epic Travel Adventures for 2020 (Also Known as: The 2020 Travel Bucket List for the Jaded Traveler)

Discovering a village on stilts on Inle Lake, Myanmar during the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt. Where will they go this year? © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Bill Chalmers & Pamela L. Chalmers, GreatEscape Adventures


Los Angeles, USA – Getting a kick taking an adventure used to be easy: visit South Atlantic’s remote St Helena, scuba dive Mexico’s underground river Cenote, hike up Mount Etna. Been there. 

Nowadays, travelers looking for the next great adventure rush must: traverse Karakorum Highway, spend a night at Everest Base Camp, or swim with jellyfish in Palau. Done that.

But for those of us that: have zip-lined across the Grand Canyon, hiked Tasmania’s Overland Track, and are frankly sick of sand in every orifice after Burning Man. What’s next? 

You may be among the World’s Most Interesting People, but for jaded travelers who have supposedly done everything and have nothing left on their Bucket Lists, here’s your what’s next eight over-the-top adventures from The World’s Greatest Travelers.

1. A long way to go to maybe be eaten alive! But, head to Cape Town, South Africa and go cage diving with Great White sharks. Come face-to-face with the world’s meanest badest coldest predator along the shark-abundant shores of South Africa. You will be sunk in a cage and given a poker stick for protection. Chances are, you’ll be okay. You’ll probably even see whales and dolphins too—being the smart mammals, they are always interested in watching stupid human tricks. 

2. Take A Blind Date with the World – really! – by joining the 2020 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt. This real-life Amazing Race-like event is for savvy globetrotters who want to test their travel IQ in a competitive setting where they will circumnavigate the globe in 23-days visiting ten countries as a participant in the annual travel adventure competition that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers. Not for anal Type-A planners though, because you won’t know which country you are going to until you actually get to the airport! It’s the ultimate magical mystery tour. Their 2020 event takes place between April 17 and May 9, 2020. Applications now being accepted. I dare you…

3. Bike from sea-to-sea across a country. No, not across Canada (9,525+ km), but the more manageable country of Nicaragua that is only 568 km (352 miles) from the Pacific Ocean’s San Juan del Sur to Pearl Lagoon on the Atlantic Ocean side. The amazing 13-day mountain bike expedition will take you to volcanos, colonial towns, national parks, rainforests and lakes, as you share the road with trucks, cows, horses, pigs, and chickens. Do it now before the Chinese slice the nation in two ala Panama!

4. For the culinary daredevil in you, while you are in the geographic neighborhood, take in the wild-west of food: a pop-up jungle-to-table extravaganza in the Bolivian Amazon basin along the Beni River. Once every few years, local “back to nature” chefs converge to prepare exotic semi-illegal outside the villages dishes like: crocodile fillets in a coca leaf broth, grilled giant tapir meat served with a cocktail of fermented kecho fruit and cacao beans with a spicy chili pepper twist, paiche (a really big fish—a carp really) served with figs and spicy-sweet beetle larvae. They might also conjure up a purplish fungue—that may or may not have hallucinogenic effects, along with steamed giant river turtles. Caiman sushi anyone?

5. I took this serendipity challenge last year and ended up in Madagascar—pre-plague outbreak. Take the 24-Hours to Anywhere Challenge: It is our belief that with today’s growth of regional air carriers that you can be anywhere in the world in 24-hours. So, pick a destination furthest away geographically from you and attempt to get there in 24-hours. On a bet, I recently went from the San Francisco Bay Area to Antananarivo, Madagascar—17,599 kilometers away! SFO to IST (12:55 hours), then IST-ADD (5:30 hours), followed by a flight between Ethiopia (ADD) and Madagascar (TNR) (4:50 hours). I got to Madagascar in 23 hours and 41 minutes—but I did do it on the night we changed clocks! Tip: Bring a really good multi-media playlist.

6. We humans have gazed in wonder at the night skies before words hit paper; and you don’t have to be an astrophysicist to wonder what’s up. Nigh-sky travel (aka astrotourism) are great adventures to take. We suggest two spellbinding panoramas to be found: 1) Head to the Canary Islands international observatory at Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma for some sensational light pollution-free heavenly viewing. Or 2) for some really deep dark-sky space stargazing at a gold-certified Dark Sky Reserve, head to NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia where you can sleep out under the cloudless skies of Africa for a look at infinity…or at least some amazing celestial sights. 

7. With age comes experience, and over the years we have suggested how to get higher highs: a lost weekend at an infamous Vegas dive bar, visiting a Bolivian pop-up cocaine bar, a Laotian opium den and how best to enjoy Peruvian ayahuasca. For this year’s vibe adventure, forget BC Bud, Emerald Triangle Kush and Colorado Wedding Cake, take a Jamaican Ganja tour. Turned up bright, the tour will take you and other like-minded and bud-tended friends to Rastafariland, with highlights including: Nine Mile, the boyhood home and final resting place of reggae superstar Bob Marley; Ocho Rios to relax and hike in nature; along with several plantations…aka ganja farms. Pick up is around noon, munchies and rum included, but hotel drop off time is vague. 

8. Give peace a chance: start travel podcasting and make some faux press credentials, then head to Damascus and interview the loneliest man in the world: Syria’s Minister of Tourism. From 8 million tourists and 40% growth in 2011, to the nasty civil and chemical war, mostly, behind us, Syria is open for business again. You can visit one or two restaurants still open and err, ruins. Their catch phrase: “Syria … come see for yourself“. We know the UN Weapons Inspectors did. A few travel-related glitches though: all legal border crossings are closed, no FAA-approved commercial flights into or out of Damascus, those beach-side cabanas along the Mediterranean beaches are now refugee tents, and crime might be down, but war crimes are up. Sure, it is dark tourism at its finest, but so too is visiting Venice and Barcelona these days. We double-dare you!

As for us, we’ll be going on the around-the-world event, The Global Scavenger Hunt…better destinations, better experiences and better food. Got any novel adventures to share?

The title of The World’s Greatest Travelers and free trip around the world to defend their titles in the 2021 event await the travelers worthy enough to win the 16th edition of the world travel championship. The date for the 23-day 2020 Global Scavenger Hunt is April 17-May 9, 2020. Event participation is open but limited; the $25,000 per team entry fee includes all international airfare, First Class hotels, 40% of meals, and special event travel gear. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply. For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc. at 310-281-7809. 

(See full coverage of the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt at goingplacesfarandnear.com)

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This Father’s Day, Tap into His Bucket List & Give a Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventure

Moonlight Basin Golf (photo by Tony Demin)

This Father’s Day, instead of the run-of-the-mill, treat Dad to once-in-a-lifetime: from shooting sporting clays in Montana to fishing in Russia, hiking in Ethiopia, cycling in South America and driving Land Rovers in Mongolia, tap into Dad’s bucket list.

  1. Fish the Remote Russian Wilderness: Ryabaga Camp on the Ponoi River is located above the Arctic Circle and accessed via a two-hour Mi-8 helicopter ride across remote Russian tundra. There, an entirely wild Atlantic salmon population thrives, and Dad will enjoy a single-occupancy cabin, gourmet food and fine wine. Frontiers International Travel arranges it all, including flights, activities and visas.
  2. Trek the Roof of Africa: Dad will spend four days hiking and camping in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains – part of the Roof of Africa – on this trip with Adventure Life. The range has more than a dozen peaks over 12,000 feet and is home to the gelada baboon, Ethiopian wolf, walia ibex and birds of prey such as the lammergeyer. Dad will also start and end at the Simien Mountain Lodge, set on the edge of an escarpment at 10,700 feet and claiming the highest bar on the continent.
  3. Play Cowboy at a Working Ranch: Did your Dad grow up idolizing John Wayne and Clint Eastwood? At the 25,000-acre Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, he can ride horses, fish, shoot guns, ATV and play cowboy like his heroes. Additional activities include guided hikes, dirt bike rides and mountain biking. Gourmet dining includes ingredients from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens. From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet.
  4. Ride South America From Top to Tip: On TDA Global Cycling’s 8,400-mile South American Epic tour, Dad can bike from the shores of the Caribbean across the equator and south to the Beagle Channel, or one of nine shorter sections. Highlights include Colombian coffee, Volcano Alley in Ecuador, the Incan highlands of Peru, the Bolivian salt flat, Argentina’s wine country and the trans-Patagonian Carretera Austral, while rest days offer the opportunity to fly over the incredible Nazca Lines, explore Macha Picchu and more.
  5. Drive Land Rovers on the Silk Road: Since MIR Corporation’s inception in 1986, it has been creating custom overland adventures. On a self-drive tour, Dad and his friends can get behind the wheel of Land Rovers, motorcycles or even vintage automobiles and cross the rolling steppe of Mongolia, pass through the charming towns and villages of Siberia, or even travel the Silk Road. These journeys are momentous, unforgettable and limited only by one’s own imagination.
  6. Golf, Shoot and Sip Under the Big Sky: A stay-and-play package at Montana’s Moonlight Basin will give Dad and his friends a taste of life in Big Sky Country. They’ll play rounds of golf on the Jack Nicklaus-signature course at Moonlight Basin – named one of the best new courses in the country – and the Tom Weiskopf course at the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, then shoot sporting clays with Moonlight Outfitters. And in the evening, they can retire to a spacious mountain home beneath 11,166-foot Lone Peak and sip whiskey at a private, curated tasting.
  7. See the Northern Lights in Alaska: Dad will get a dose of local culture by day and photograph the Aurora Borealis under the massive Alaskan sky by night. Highlights of this Gondwana Eoctours adventure include dogsledding through snowy forests, hiking alongside a family of reindeer taking curling lessons from locals in Fairbanks soaking in the geothermal Chena Hot Springs learning to photograph the Aurora Borealis from a professional photographer snowshoeing on private land and exploring the Ice Sculpture Museum.

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For Mothers Day, Give the Gift of Travel: Here are 8 ‘Bucket List’ Adventures Sure to Thrill

This Mother’s Day, you can fulfill a bucket list wish of giving the gift of travel to Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
This Mother’s Day, you can fulfill a bucket list wish of giving the gift of travel to Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This Mother’s Day, spice things up by giving her the gift of travel. Travel expert Adam York has selected eight bucket list adventures that span the spectrum of Moms, but are sure to make this the most epic Mother’s Day ever.

  1. Nicaragua Escape– Retreat to a tranquil hideaway overlooking the white sands beaches of the Pacific Ocean at Aqua Wellness Resort. Mom will enjoy two days in charming Granada City where she will kayak, volcano hike, and zip-line, before heading to her exceptional beachfront retreat. She will relax, play, and decompress in a beautiful rainforest setting.
  2. Alaska Northern Lights – Join Gondwana EcoTours on a Northern Lights tour of Alaska. Mom will get a dose of local culture by day, and by night have the opportunity to photograph the Aurora Borealis under the massive Alaskan sky! She will zip between snow-covered trees on the back of a dog-sled, soak in the mineral-rich waters of geothermal hot springs, walk through the frozen art of an ice-sculpture museum, and sip martinis out of glasses made of ice.
  3. Argentina Wine + Photo Adventure– Mom will join renowned Argentine photographer, teacher, and documentary filmmaker, Ossian Lindholm, on the first-ever photography + high-altitude wine tour of Northwest Argentina. This is a magical journey that is perfect for photographers and wine lovers of all levels. Mom will be immersed in the region’s geography, wildlife, cuisine, and culture.
  4. Barge Cruise through France– Fine wines, delicious cuisine, and a leisurely approach to the enjoyment of each day await Mom on a barge cruise down France’s picturesque waterways. From the rolling vineyards of Burgundy to the tree-lined Canal du Midi in the Languedoc region, Frontiers International Travel’s selection of handpicked vessels provide a range of options suitable for anyone in search of a unique holiday with like-minded people.
  5. Moscow, the Golden Ring and St. Petersburg– Mom will discover where Russian art, architecture and culture began. In between the urban centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg, she’ll experience the Russian countryside. The oldest and loveliest churches in Russia, Sergiev Posad’s wooden crafts, and Fedoskino’s glowing lacquer boxes all put a shine on Russia’s Golden Ring that Mom will never forget.  
  6. Cycle Villages of Provence – Take Mom on Ride & Seek’s Provence cycling tour through the most beautiful villages of France as ordained by the group Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. This tour emphasizes authentic cuisine and local wines. There is a wonderful correlation between fine wine growing areas and world-class cycling.
  7. Dude Ranch Retreat– The 25,000 acre Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming is both working ranch and luxury resort. Mom will hike, ride horses, skeet shoot, fly fish, mountain bike, dine on gourmet food, and play cowgirl on this fun-filled getaway.  From cattle drives to branding, the true western lifestyle thrives at Red Reflet.
  8. Diamond Circle Tour of Iceland– The land of fire and ice, active volcanoes and glaciers! Countless geysers, hot pots, and fumaroles dot the landscape. These unique features create a landscape filled with incredible waterfalls, lakes, mountains and stories of trolls and elves. On this six-day trip, Mom will travel by 4WD car from Reykjavik through the Skagafjordur Region to see the highlights of the Diamond Circle in the north, and return to Reykjavik by plane.

 

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