After a few weeks of being back on home soil, my mind is back on travel, so I thought it was time to compile my travel wishlist for 2017.
I’m thinking about the little places I keep saying I’ll visit in the UK, and still haven’t. I’m thinking about the people I’m well overdue a visit and the exciting plans I have to travel with friends.
I’m also daring to dream about the far-flung destinations that maybe, just maybe I’ll get to discover this year.
So I’ve compiled a list of my confirmed Travel Plans and not-yet-confirmed Travel Wishes for 2017. It’s ambitious and I don’t expect to see all of these places in 365 days, but I think it’s good to aim high when you write your own travel goals – those you don’t get to do this year, you can carry on to 2018!
Let’s see how far I’ve got by the end of the year!
Next week, I’m taking the Eurostar to France for the British Guild of Travel Writers’ AGM. This is a great event for catching up with industry news and catching up with fellow travel writers. And this year, it’s being held in the Champagne region of France with Champagne & Ardenne Tourisme, in a very special venue (which I’ll be sharing very soon).
After the AGM, I’m spending a few days exploring the Champagne region, from Epernay to Chateau-Thierry. This fam trip will take a close look at oenotourism (wine tourism) and introduce me to the Marne Valley, Marne and Aisne. I’m really looking forward to it – which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I like drinking champagne…
Friends & Family…
I have lots of things to look forward to this year when it comes to travelling with friends
In March, I’m heading up to see my friend in Aberdeen. I haven’t been to Scotland very much since I lived in Edinburgh during my university years, so it’s a trip that’s way overdue.
There will be a few wedding bells involved in my travels this year too!
In April, I am heading to a friend’s wedding in the lovely seaside town of Whitstable.
In the same month I’ll be heading over to Northern Ireland for another friend’s hen do ahead of her wedding in Cheshire this July.
And I’m hoping to take plenty of trips up to North Yorkshire to see my parents, and Cheshire to see my sister and nephew and niece.
UK & Europe
Staycations & City Breaks
Bristol is a city I’ve wanted to suss out for a while now. I’m intrigued about its creative vibe, reputation for great restaurants (especially the Caribbean ones) and colourful heritage. I’m going to make sure this is the year we finally spend a weekend here.
Edinburgh is where I spent my four years of university and has created all sorts of memories for me. I am dying to go back to experience the Edinburgh Festivals where I spent many a summer working as a waitress at the pop-up bars, restaurants and world-famous Edinburgh Festivals. This year, it would be great to return to Edinburgh to enjoy the festival vibe again.
BC will be very happy that this city is on the list. It’s his hometown where he grew up and we probably don’t get up there as often as we’d like. This year, we’ve made a promise that we’ll spend a weekend seeing more of the city, exploring its restaurants and maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally agree to see at football match at Villa Stadium and eat a Balti pie (no promises mind!).
We all know that travelling around Europe is going to get harder, and harder after you know what happened. So I want to fit in a few European weekend breaks this year. Top of my wish list are Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo. BC and I also keep mentioning Iceland – which could be a goer as Wow Air have some fairly good deals on flights if you can be flexible with dates. Other places that seem to keep cropping up in conversation are Sicily (for its gorgeous scenery) and Turin in Italy (for the best coffee). I’m also keen to go back to Rome.
Far Flung destinations
Yes, I have just come back from Africa, and yes we did go to Zanzibar during this stay. But BC and I have said we may well go back. That’s because when we visited this stunning island in November, we were both hit with a horrendous cold which meant BC had to cancel his PADI lessons. He has one year to complete the practical and Zanzibar is home to the world famous Mnemba Atoll (one of the best diving sites in the world). While he’s doing that, I want to go snorkelling, and enjoy this gorgeous piece of paradise in a slighter healthier state!
Barbados, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands
The West Indies are a part of the world I’ve enjoyed writing about since I first visited in 2009 and last year, we married in Jamaica, an island that speaks my language, is vibrant and is without a doubt, my happy place.
I’d like to return to Barbados, to see how it’s changed since I was last there and I’d also love to visit Cuba for obvious reasons (also a place for great diving sites). Dominica seems to have an alluring eco-vibe about it and is a hot destination for 2017. And I’d love to go to some of the tinier isles such as Tobago, St Thomas and St Martin. The Turks & Caicos are also on my radar as they’d be a great place for BC to do his PADI if we didn’t make it back to Zanzibar.
Central and Southern America
The Caribbean side of Mexico, on the Yucatan peninsula would be great for diving (for BC) and we keep talking about perhaps one day, diving with whale sharks. I have also always wanted to see the Mayan ruins in this corner of the world. Over the border in Belize, you can also see Mayan ruins and explore great diving sites, as well as find stunning beaches. Belize is a country I’ve been interested in for some time now and Lonely Planet have named it one of the Best Value Destinations for 2017. It is also far easier to connect to Belize than it used to be, which is set to see a rise in tourism very soon.
Chile seems to be a hot destination for 2017. BA has just released new flights to Santiago and I would love to visit for its spectacular desert region, colourful houses of Valparaiso and of course, sumptuous wine.
The Caribbean side of Colombo is set to be a hot destination for 2017 and really intrigues me. I’d love to put my eco-traveller’s hat on, switch off all connections to the hectic world and live in a beach hut by Tayrona National Park for a week. Sound good?
I know so many people who have been to Canada and absolutely loved it and for some reason I keep thinking about this destination and when I’ll get to go. I’d love to check out the super cool Vancouver – or ‘Van City’ – and go bear and whale watching by Vancouver Island. I’d love to explore the French heritage of Québec and Montreal (and see what all the fuss is about with poutine). I also got a taste for road trips after South Africa and I think Canada would be a great place to hit the road and enjoy the scenery.
Qatar is the only country I’ve visited in the Middle East and it was an intriguing place that left me wanting more. I’d love to go back to the Middle East and witness the Wadi Rum in Jordan and the Wadi Nakhr in Oman. Oman has some beautiful luxury hotels popping up and I’m really interested in exploring its various forts, opulent mosques and maybe even braving a bit of dune bashing!
Last year, I enjoyed a great press trip through Eastern Thailand and Cambodia and it was a great introduction to these two countries that have so many similarities, yet so many differences in their cultures and tourism. This year I’d love to visit Cambodia independently for its stunning islands and to see the famous ruins of Angkor Wat and the War Museum in Siem Reap.
I’d love to partner it with a trip to Laos and Vietnam. In Vietnam, it would be great to explore its gorgeous beaches and cool café culture of Ho Chi Minh. And I couldn’t visit without seeing the famous Halong Bay and to experience its – no doubt, extremely sobering – war museums to understand Vietnam’s complex history. I hear Laos is a high-adventure destination that’s utterly beautiful and home to the UNESCO-recognised Luang Prabang and other naturally beautiful sights.
I can’t write a travel wish list without including one of my favourite cities in the world – New York! This city is constantly evolving and new things are happening there all the time. There are lots and lots of new hotel openings happening in NYC this year – including the new Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Ian Schrager’s hotel at 215 Chrystie Street. If I got to visit New York this year, I’d be a very, very happy gal.
What’s on your travel wishlist for this year? Go on, be as ambitious as you like. Drop me a note and let me know!