I'll be upfront, unlike at least one other reviewer of this lens, I do have the heavyweight, expensive f2.8 version, and I wouldn't swap that lens for this one. However, it is difficult to take a heavy lens on an airplane. Even if you can find the baggage allowance for a heavy lens, you still have to lug the thing around with you when you get to your destination. I therefore bought this relatively lightlens for a recent holiday, when I knew that I would be out on foot for 5-6 hours at a time. Did I miss the two extra f-stops at the top end? Frankly yes, I did, but having said that the lens performed beautifully and did everything I could reasonably (and unreasonably!) ask of it. The colour balance is great, the lens is sharp (except possibly in the corners), the VR works fine, and, most importantly when travelling, the weight is light. All in all a great lens for an active holiday.
Downsides are that the focusing ring can be difficult to find when the camera is up to your eye, the maximum aperture is too small to use an extender with it (I shoot mainly wildlife at 300mm-600mm), and the lens coating comes off a little too easily in the jungle - be sure to buy a UV filter to go with it. That last one is not a weakness of this particular lens, it applies to any lens you buy.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, every time.