Thursday, 25 February 2016

2016 Travel Plans

Inspired by Sophie's post and the continued greyness of British winter, I'm daydreaming about my 2016 travels...

Travel essentials.
The last few years have been all about ticking places off of my list (Korea after 8 years), visiting friends dotted around the world (vicariously living out my "year abroad" dream and being thankful that they are braver than I am) and saying yes to any trip that came my way with scant regard for my beleaguered credit card (sorry not sorry).

Somewhere between the UK and USA.
I've now reached a tipping point with holidays, too old for certain things (probably not going to ever go to a Full Moon party) and too young for others (haven't yet reached the levels of people hatred where a two week silent yoga retreat is necessary), browsing holiday plans that switch from sailing around Thailand to touring the American Deep South in a five minute period and seeing friends jet off to places that I want to see but that aren't really a "must see right now". I love solo travel and doing a destination on my own terms but not every destination is solo-suitable and as friends pair off I'm lacking a travel partner (aside from my annual girlie break with mother). A few less-than-positive combinations of friends + holiday have done little to make me want to entrust two weeks of my life and a lot of money to giving it another go...

So, 2016 is shaping up to be a little different holiday-wise but here are my plans so far:

When a budget flight is nearly over.

1. Amsterdam - I'm visiting the Dutch capital for the first time in March - France and Spain aside I'm not very well-travelled when it comes to Europe and when somewhere is an hour's flight away there's no excuse. I have booked the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank's house online to avoid the queues on a short trip and also have plans to visit a cat café and cat museum to balance out the big hit tourist attractions and for some light relief (still not over Anne Frank's Diary after reading it more than ten years ago). Hopefully they'll be time for canal side wandering, sitting in cafes and maybe, maybe sampling some chocolate covered fries that I've been told about.

2. Vietnam / Singapore - as a committed only-child, I still holiday with my parents (apparently some people think this is weird) but after having the same holiday (Le Royal Meridian on Jumeriah Beach) five times I pushed for us to have a proper adventure together and step out of our beach and shopping mall comfort zone. I'm so incredibly lucky that my parents are both around and are as happy for me to join them on this trip as I am for them to be with me. We are off to Vietnam for a nine day tour which takes in all of the main tourist route at a fast pace and is totally organised and fuss-free - just what we need! We'll be stopping off in Singapore on the way home which four people have already told me is "shit" but as I've only been to the airport I'm excited to see the city and sample for myself just how "shit" afternoon tea at Raffles is.

3. Ireland - myself and some of my internet friends are taking a trip to Northern Ireland in May. I've never been to N.I. before which is not that surprising given that it took me 26 years to go to Scotland. I'm excited for country air, amazing scenery, Irish accents and a token sip of Guinness / Whiskey. I really do need to make an effort to see more of the UK as despite our less than holiday-like weather there are so many beautiful places to see.

4. Porto - I missed out on a festival last summer and my tolerance of British weather is just getting worse so an overseas festival definitely appeals. I did Barcelona's Primavera in 2014 - it was awesome, so many stages and acts and quite a different vibe to a British festival (i.e. I didn't see a single person being sick). Porto appealed more this time around as its more purse-friendly (so far the festival tickets, flights and Air BnB have been super cheap) and a new city to explore. The festival is at night so depending on commitment to sleep there's a lot of time to sight-see during the day.

5. Barcelona - a friend's hen do is taking place here in June. Adult life is getting real. I've only been on day-long hen-dos in the past and only know two of the other attendees on this trip so its super out of my comfort zone for someone who doesn't really do / hasn't ever done group holidays but I'm excited. I love the city and have already done all of the tourist to-dos here so I'm mostly looking forward to making friends so to avoid being the awkward-single-girl-who-only-knows-the-person-getting-married at the wedding.

6. ? Various reasons have meant that my plans for July onwards this year are less certain (I'm trying to enjoy the potential spontaneity of not having my next 12 months mapped out). No, I haven't been looking at last minute-esque websites and working out what countires do and don't require Visas. And I definitely haven't been thinking of staycationing chez mes parents because how much would the pile of books I've been meaning to read for the last 5 years and my bank balance enjoy that?
Window seat for life.
What are your travel plans for this year?

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8 comments

  1. Looks like you've got an exciting few months planned out. I really want to go back to Amsterdam having only a hazy memory from when I visited as a teenagers. Vietnam is awesome! Go to the night safari in Singapore, it's the zoo at night so all the cool animals (lions and tigers) are awake and roaming around.

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  2. I don't think it's weird at all about your going on holiday with your parents. Though I haven't been abroad with my parents in a while, I often go places with them at the weekend or do things with them. I'm very lucky that I get on so well with them and I enjoy being around them. I'm going to Boston with my mum in April which I'm very much looking forward to.
    Solo trips for me this year are going to Spain on a fitness retreat and possibly doing a week in Scotland as I just really fancy a mini-adventure. I was born there but haven't been back (and I only spent 2 weeks there!)

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  3. Ohh this sounds awesome! Porto was one of my fave Europe cities so I bet you will love it. I always holiday with my parents so totally cool! We are doing a couple of big trips this year, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia in Summer then over to Aus for 3 weeks at Christmas! Probably a few UK bits in there too :)

    Jasmin Charlotte

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  4. I haven't been abroad in forever as all my friends are coupled up - I think I just need to be brave and book my first solo trip!

    Caz | This is Caz

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  5. I am so envious of Vietnam Lily - its been on my wish list forever. It looks absolutely incredible!
    Sophie
    x
    A Story of a Girl

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  6. Oh wow, your travel plans sound ACE! I have plans to go back to HK this summer for 2 weeks with my family (so I don't find holidaying with parents odd at all - I think it's lovely!) and then I'm hoping to book a birthday jaunt to Barcelona in November. Aside from that no other plans apart from a trip to Oz on the cards for sometime next year for a friend's wedding. Maybe I'll still go to Korea next year too but I'm not sure as Oz is such an expensive trip! Would love to go to Porto! Excited to see your adventures this year :)

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  7. Cannot wait for Ireland (insert shamrock emoji here!)


    My Sentimental Heart

    x

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  8. Great destinations - I adore Porto and Barcelona, but was surprised by how much I loved Amsterdam. It's so beautiful and so much more than the red light district, though I guess a wander through there is a must do too! Both museums are really lovely - you did the right thing with the booking, the lines are ridiculous!
    I'm desperate to escape the winter for some sun too... my sister is currently in Vietnam/Thailand and I am so jealous!

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