As you all can probably tell by now, I kind of like to travel. I’m always planning trips a year or two out, trying to fill my calendar up with foreign locales. People sometimes ask how I decide which place to go next. Honestly, at this point I kind of wait to see what falls in my lap and try to make it happen. So with that, let me tell you all about where I plan to go this year and how I decided on that destination. First up is…
I have several email subscriptions that frequently send me discounted travel opportunities. Travelzoo in particular, always seems to have great deals, including the $700 RT airfare to Dubai I bought earlier in 2015. Right before I left for Tanzania, I got a notification about a 4 day, 3 night trip to Iceland to see the northern lights in Iceland for $679, including a trip to the Blue Lagoon. This seemed like way too good an opportunity to pass up, but you had to book within 3 days. Talk about pressure! My friend Emma was interested in going, so we quickly decided we wanted to add a day and a couple day trips, one to the Golden Circle and one to the South Shore. Our final total for the entire 5 day/4 night trip, including airfare, transportation, accommodation, breakfasts and all activities was $890. Holy smokes that’s great! One add on not included that we’ll also be doing is a dive of the Silfra Fissure. It’s really expensive ($120 to snorkel, $300 to SCUBA dive), but since the rest of our trip is so cheap, I feel that the splurge will be worth it. We’ll be going the first weekend of March and I’m really looking forward to it!
Remember back in March of 2015 how I flew to Australia with the Internal Audit team at work to assist them with an audit? Well they’ve asked me back for their Malaysia/Singapore audit! Obviously these trips are pretty work-focused, but I will always try to find time out to do a bit of exploring on my own. I’m hoping to maybe add a full day in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to venture out a bit and see what there is to see. This trip will happen in mid-April and should be around a week to a week and a half, if I’m able to add a day or two for my own purposes.
I’ll be honest, Minnesota has never been high on my list of places in the US to see. And really, everything I know about this state I learned from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. But TBEX 2016 is happening here the last weekend of May and I am hoping to attend this year. It will be my first travel blog conference and I can’t wait to get there to meet like-minded people, and hopefully some of the bloggers I look up to! And of course I’ll be sure to check out the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis.
Los Angeles, California
Usually when I go to Cali, it’s to the northern parts – Monterey, San Francisco, Napa Valley and Big Sur are some of my favorite areas. But just today, my friend Jenny is starting a new job working as the social media manager for the LA Galaxy. It’s a huge opportunity for her and I’m really proud of how much she’s accomplished! Now that she’s moved herself down to LA, I’ve called dibs on her couch for any Sounders away matches, if I’m in the country for them. Regardless if I make it for a Sounders game, I hope to visit her once or twice this year, just to remind her which city is actually the best.
[Shout out to my friend Denise Mccooey who takes beautiful photos of Sounders game days!]
Roatan has been on my list of places to travel since I went to Belize in 2008 and dove the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s the same reef in Honduras, and Roatan is a divers paradise. In 2015, two of my friends got engaged on this island on a trip to see the Sounders play in the CONCACAF Champions League, and now they are planning to get married here in August! The trip only takes 35k miles on Alaska Airlines and wouldn’t you know it, I have enough. I can’t wait to celebrate this joyous occasion with these two on their happy day.
The Balkans have been on my list for pretty much ever. In 2004, I did a study abroad trip to Pecs, Hungary, down on the Croatian border. I really wanted to make it across the border in that time, but it never worked out. Back in 2009, Adrienne and I were planning a trip here but it felt like it was getting really cost prohibitive (at 25 it doesn’t take much), so we switched our plans to Morocco (and Tunisia for me) instead. I absolutely don’t regret that decision, but I still have a strong desire see the Balkans. Since Thailand in 2014, we’ve talked about our next trip either being this or Peru, but then one of Adrienne’s coworkers recently spent 2 weeks in Croatia and talked about how amazing it was, so it sounds like the Balkans have edged out Peru for our next trip together. That being said, we haven’t decided if we’re going in September 2016 or May 2017 as it will depend on when we’ll have enough money saved up (money is still hard to come by, even at 32). If it doesn’t happen this year my back up plan is…
Not exactly the same thing, is it? But with so many of the travel restrictions being lifted in the US, I want to see this place before it becomes modernized and Americanized. Part of Havana’s charm is that it looks like it’s straight out of 1952. It’s not cheap to get here ($500 from Miami!) (though it sounds like that may be changing soon, fingers crossed!) and you have to have specific reason for visiting that falls under one of 12 categories determined by the government. But as one lawyer said, if somebody wishes to travel to Cuba and they “can’t think up a way to fit into those categories, they are not trying.” And a lot can change in a year. I may consider flying from Roatan to Cuba as well, if it works out, which should definitely save me some money.
Of course all plans are subject to change (except Iceland, that’s pretty much set in stone!) so I’ll keep you updated as the year goes by. But for now that’s the general plan and I can’t wait to get started!
What are your travel plans for 2016? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?