People rarely venture out to the Channel Islands from the California mainland, although it seems just a stone’s throw away. The most accessible, and famous, is Santa Catalina, which I reached in two hours by ferry from the port of Los Angeles. There I found a placid village called Avalon, a calm bay, and a famous prewar dance hall—round like a fortress—where the big bands once played.
These days, travelers will tell you that Tahiti is no longer a dream. True, it has an international airport, and smart hotels rise within sight of the coral reef. I have seen the changes over the years, yet the island is still beautiful and still rises suddenly green to the cloud-touched mountaintops. At least from the sea, before you come too close, you can still see Tahiti as Paul Gauguin saw it— in all its extravagance and romance—when he voyaged there from France to paint. 

Who hasn’t been spellbound by images of Capri’s electric Blue Grotto? This glowing sea cave impresses even veteran globetrotters — and it’s only the beginning of the island’s marvels. Ash-white limestone cliffs, hidden slivers of beach, a towering natural arch: It’s no wonder Capri has been a tourist hub since ancient Roman times. Tip: Climb up to the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’ Villa Jovis, circa A.D. 27, for a heart-stopping vista.
Take everything you want Greece to be — olive groves and tavernas, fishermen and bakers leading quiet village lives, stone villas and cypress trees and brilliant bougainvillea — and put it on a tiny, Ionian island only reachable by boat: That’s Paxos. On the western coast, sheer cliffs, rock arches and 40 sea caves put on a stunning show. Daytrip to the neighboring island of Antipaxos for powder sand and water so aqua, it rivals the Caribbean Sea.
Holding the largest number of overwater bungalow resorts in the world (more than 75 and counting), the Maldives understands its best asset is the gin-clear, abundant waters of the Indian Ocean. When you’re not snorkeling, diving, or gazing at the rich marine life through the floor windows of your water-top villa, continue enjoying the underwater display while dining at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, or even while getting pampered in Huvafen Fushi’s submerged spa.

Flight San Francisco - Los Angeles (SFO - LAX) $85+ Flight San José - Los Angeles (SJC - LAX) $91+ Flight Oakland - Los Angeles (OAK - LAX) $92+ Flight Austin - Los Angeles (AUS - LAX) $95+ Flight Denver - Los Angeles (DEN - LAX) $105+ Flight Houston - Los Angeles (HOU - LAX) $105+ Flight Dallas - Los Angeles (DFW - LAX) $112+ Flight Chicago - Los Angeles (ORD - LAX) $113+ Flight Seattle - Los Angeles (SEA - LAX) $129+ Flight Cleveland - Los Angeles (CLE - LAX) $133+ Flight New York - Los Angeles (LGA - LAX) $140+ Flight Minneapolis - Los Angeles (MSP - LAX) $159+ Flight Atlanta - Los Angeles (ATL - LAX) $161+ Flight Orlando - Los Angeles (MCO - LAX) $165+ Flight Detroit - Los Angeles (DTW - LAX) $166+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (BWI - LAX) $169+ Flight Newark - Los Angeles (EWR - LAX) $180+ Flight Philadelphia - Los Angeles (PHL - LAX) $187+ Flight Boston - Los Angeles (BOS - LAX) $195+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Los Angeles (FLL - LAX) $199+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (DCA - LAX) $204+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (IAD - LAX) $204+
Holding the largest number of overwater bungalow resorts in the world (more than 75 and counting), the Maldives understands its best asset is the gin-clear, abundant waters of the Indian Ocean. When you’re not snorkeling, diving, or gazing at the rich marine life through the floor windows of your water-top villa, continue enjoying the underwater display while dining at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, or even while getting pampered in Huvafen Fushi’s submerged spa. 

These days, travelers will tell you that Tahiti is no longer a dream. True, it has an international airport, and smart hotels rise within sight of the coral reef. I have seen the changes over the years, yet the island is still beautiful and still rises suddenly green to the cloud-touched mountaintops. At least from the sea, before you come too close, you can still see Tahiti as Paul Gauguin saw it— in all its extravagance and romance—when he voyaged there from France to paint.
Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - LGA) $57+ Flight Atlanta - Newark (ATL - EWR) $99+ Flight Orlando - Newark (MCO - EWR) $105+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Newark (FLL - EWR) $114+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - LGA) $127+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - LGA) $137+ Flight Houston - Newark (HOU - EWR) $138+ Flight Houston - Newark (IAH - EWR) $138+ Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - JFK) $140+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - LGA) $144+ Flight Dallas - New York (DFW - LGA) $147+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - JFK) $157+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - JFK) $182+ Flight Los Angeles - Newark (LAX - EWR) $183+ Flight Detroit - Newark (DTW - EWR) $197+ Flight Houston - New York (HOU - LGA) $201+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - LGA) $210+ Flight Seattle - New York (SEA - JFK) $217+ Flight Dallas - Newark (DFW - EWR) $222+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - Newark (SFO - EWR) $231+ Flight Ontario - New York (ONT - JFK) $237+ Flight San José - New York (SJC - JFK) $237+
Flight New York - Chicago (LGA - ORD) $57+ Flight Tampa - Chicago (TPA - ORD) $71+ Flight Denver - Chicago (DEN - ORD) $81+ Flight Houston - Chicago (HOU - ORD) $85+ Flight Houston - Chicago (IAH - ORD) $85+ Flight Boston - Chicago (BOS - ORD) $96+ Flight Dallas - Chicago (DFW - ORD) $97+ Flight Minneapolis - Chicago (MSP - ORD) $97+ Flight Washington - Chicago (BWI - ORD) $101+
Lord Howe is way out in the middle of the Tasman Sea, a two-and-a-half-hour plane ride from Sydney. It takes days by boat. However you get there, the journey is worth it.Named after a British admiral, Lord Howe is the world’s most southerly coral island. About 350 people call it home, many descended from families who settled there in the 18th century.
Flight New York - Chicago (LGA - ORD) $57+ Flight Tampa - Chicago (TPA - ORD) $71+ Flight Denver - Chicago (DEN - ORD) $81+ Flight Houston - Chicago (HOU - ORD) $85+ Flight Houston - Chicago (IAH - ORD) $85+ Flight Boston - Chicago (BOS - ORD) $96+ Flight Dallas - Chicago (DFW - ORD) $97+ Flight Minneapolis - Chicago (MSP - ORD) $97+ Flight Washington - Chicago (BWI - ORD) $101+
What’s most stunning in Bali — dazzling beaches like Nusa Dua, Seminyak and Jimbaran Bay? Ubud’s terraced rice fields, sacred forest and ancient monuments? Or the island’s 10,000 intricate temples, including Pura Empul (the one you bathe in) and Uluwatu sea temple? Experience all of the above and decide for yourself. The Land of the Gods also boasts a loveliness that is more than skin-deep, thanks to its warm people and ubiquitous, inclusive spirituality.
Nicknamed “The Helen of the West” (an allusion to the beauty of Helen of Troy), St. Lucia stuns with its signature feature: the UNESCO-listed twin Pitons. Reaching heights of about 2,500 feet, the voluptuous volcanic spires complement the island’s other attractions, including verdant jungles, sparkling silver-sand beaches, haunting sugar-estate ruins, and a mineral-rich natural mud bath. Meanwhile, the island’s most famous resort, Jade Mountain, is an architectural gem in its own right.
Dubbed the Isle of Flowers and crowned by 4,583-foot Mount Pelee, Martinique may just be the Caribbean’s best-kept secret. Some exploration is required to uncover the island’s treasures, like the Balata Gardens’ Treetop Trail of suspension bridges, Saint-Pierre’s 18th-century theater ruins, and the poignant Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. This overseas region of France is also considered the rum capital of the world; follow the Route des Rhums to tour esteemed distilleries like Clement and Rhum JM.
Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - LGA) $57+ Flight Atlanta - Newark (ATL - EWR) $99+ Flight Orlando - Newark (MCO - EWR) $105+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Newark (FLL - EWR) $114+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - LGA) $127+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - LGA) $137+ Flight Houston - Newark (HOU - EWR) $138+ Flight Houston - Newark (IAH - EWR) $138+ Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - JFK) $140+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - LGA) $144+ Flight Dallas - New York (DFW - LGA) $147+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - JFK) $157+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - JFK) $182+ Flight Los Angeles - Newark (LAX - EWR) $183+ Flight Detroit - Newark (DTW - EWR) $197+ Flight Houston - New York (HOU - LGA) $201+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - LGA) $210+ Flight Seattle - New York (SEA - JFK) $217+ Flight Dallas - Newark (DFW - EWR) $222+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - Newark (SFO - EWR) $231+ Flight Ontario - New York (ONT - JFK) $237+ Flight San José - New York (SJC - JFK) $237+

Word History: It may seem hard to believe, but Latin aqua, "water," is related to island, which originally meant "watery land." Aqua comes almost unchanged from Indo-European *akwā-, "water." *Akwā- became *ahwō- in Germanic by Grimm's Law and other sound changes. To this was built the adjective *ahwjō-, "watery." This then became *awwjō- or *auwi-, which in pre-English became *ēaj-, and finally ēg or īeg in Old English. Island, spelled iland, first appears in Old English in King Alfred's translation of Boethius about ad 888; the spellings igland and ealond appear in contemporary documents. The s in island is due to a mistaken etymology, confusing the etymologically correct English iland with French isle. Isle comes ultimately from Latin īnsula "island," a component of paenīnsula, "almost-island," whence our peninsula.
The so-called pearl of the French Caribbean, Guadeloupe is a butterfly-shaped archipelago of five main islands where volcanoes tower and 200-plus beaches come in shades from black and white to red and pink. Basse-Terre’s tropical forest and the bay of Grand-Cul-de-Sac Marin were declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993. From there, island-hop to discover Grande-Anse beach on Les Saintes; Marie-Galante’s rum estates (and old-fashioned oxcarts); and La Desirade’s 900-foot plateau.
Flight New York - London (JFK - LGW) $334+ Flight Newark - London (EWR - LHR) $340+ Flight Boston - London (BOS - LHR) $341+ Flight New York - London (JFK - LHR) $351+ Flight Dallas - London (DFW - LHR) $358+ Flight New York - London (LGA - LHR) $366+ Flight Chicago - London (ORD - LHR) $390+ Flight San Francisco - London (SFO - LHR) $399+ Flight San Francisco - London (SFO - LGW) $400+ Flight New York - London (JFK - LCY) $401+ Flight San José - London (SJC - LHR) $405+ Flight Newark - London (EWR - LCY) $407+ Flight Washington - London (IAD - LHR) $410+ Flight Newark - London (EWR - LGW) $419+
Flight New York - Washington (JFK - DCA) $117+ Flight Orlando - Washington (MCO - DCA) $117+ Flight Minneapolis - Washington (MSP - DCA) $123+ Flight New York - Washington (LGA - DCA) $137+ Flight Boston - Washington (BOS - DCA) $155+ Flight Boston - Washington (BOS - IAD) $161+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Washington (FLL - DCA) $168+ Flight Chicago - Washington (ORD - DCA) $174+ Flight San José - Washington (SJC - IAD) $175+ Flight Denver - Washington (DEN - DCA) $179+ Flight Atlanta - Washington (ATL - DCA) $187+ Flight Miami - Washington (MIA - DCA) $191+ Flight Dallas - Washington (DFW - DCA) $196+ Flight Houston - Washington (HOU - IAD) $200+
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