Travel Timeline (With time, I have every intention of writing about each of these places we have been to #fingerscrossed)
Domestic – Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine
Another one of the questions we get asked often is ‘Where are you guys traveling to next’? (more often than being asked how we are doing and how everything with us is?). While I used to get a tad bit annoyed about it at first (cuz it would appear to me as if others are more interested in our travels than our well being), it doesn’t bother me anymore as I have come to realize that it does not come from a bad place but it just seems like a more natural first question given the kind of wanderlusts the hubs and I are…
P.S: I have had this post ready for a really long time but did not want to publish this one until we were back from our Eurotrip 2016 (yeah, I am superstitious like that!) after which it took me this long to finally get the pictures in line to be able to publish the post (it’s what happens when you come back with at least 10K photos from each of your trips, haha). Hey, at least this post might just be in time to give you some ideas to plan your travels for 2017 😀
Switzerland: Matterhorn, that amazing moment when the clouds make way to give you a quick glance at the majestic peak!
So, here I am sharing some of our Top Travel Mantras (travel secrets if you will ;)).
Long post alert…
1. Where we travel to solely depends on our travel bucket list. Having said that, that bucket list is frighteningly long and is ever growing. Every time I come across an interesting and exciting travel experience, it most definitely makes it to the bucket list (and no, it’s not written down on a piece of paper or typed out on the computer, but it’s rather etched in the database of some (super-active) corner of my brain, which means that super-active corner will use everything in its power to make sure we plan a visit there soon enough hehe ;)).
Domestic – Illinois, Connecticut
2. Working off of that sacred bucket list – one of the most important (and really BIG) items on that bucket list, rather a dream, was for the hubs and I to travel to all 5 liveable continents together before a certain time. I am beyond thrilled that we were able to live that dream last February when we visited Australia to celebrate our Fabulous Five wedding anniversary. So most of our travel destinations and travel plans over the last few years were knowingly or unknowingly working towards fulfilling that dream.
South Africa: Wildlife Safari
Utah: Arches National Park
Alaska: Foot of Mt. McKinley, flightseeing tour
Arizona: Horseshoe Bend, monkeying around
3. Indulging in both domestic and international travel experiences every year. Traveling outside the country sure feels exotic, but at the same time the country we live in is just so diverse and has so much to offer that a lifetime isn’t enough to explore and experience everything. So just like everything else in life, traveling too is a balancing act – traveling to different states within in the US is just as important to us as traveling outside the US. We have visited 33/50 states in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) and have just about 3 more states to go before we checkoff our domestic bucket list.
Canada (Vancouver, Banff, Jasper)
Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy)
4. Half the fun in traveling is in the planning, and hence we never use a tour company or guide to plan the trips for us. I get a high doing my own travel research, being able to find the best deals, figuring out the best possible routes, and planning our itineraries to the T based on our likes and dislikes – I am constantly striving to beat my previous records ;). Our expenses during the 18 days Eurotrip 2012 to 5 countries was only a little over $5K. And no, we didn’t skimp on spending but it was because of my super efficient and effective planning (if I may say so myself ;)), one I am darn proud of. And I am happy to announce that the expenses of our 17 days Eurotrip 2016 to 5 countries was well under $6K too, wohoo!!!
Mexico: Chichen Itza
Thailand: James Bond Island
Wyoming: Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic Spring
Puerto Rico: Right after waterfall climbing and rappelling (right before zip lining)
5. Make the most of the time and money spent on getting to a destination (always!). Add another destination along the way to your final destination, agree that no amount of time is enough to explore any country but when we do not have the luxury of time, we just make the most of what we get. For example, though Switzerland and Italy were our main destinations during our Eurotrip 2012 we wouldn’t spend so much money and fly all the way to Europe just for a week or 10 days to visit 2 countries, hence an 18-day trip across 5 countries. Same when we visited South Africa, we added London and Scotland to the mix as our connecting flight to South Africa was from London anyway (see, smart planning! and that was another genius travel itinerary of mine ;)).
Domestic – Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai, Big Island), Utah, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida
6. Variety of activities is of utmost importance to us. From exploring small towns to big cities, from hiking up the mountains to driving along the coasts, from laying on the beach soaking up the sun to chasing the sunrise and sunset, from hunting restaurants (and food trucks) for uber-tasty food to walking miles and miles, from seeking out breathtaking vista points to partaking in unique experiences that each place has to offer, the hubs and I love to indulge in all kinds of activities. So if one trip is centered around hiking (like our trip to Machu Picchu), the next one will be centered around other kinds of activities, such as a hitting the beach. And for the most part, our trip will be a combination of many activities listed above – like our trip to South Africa, which was mainly centered around wildlife Safari but we made sure our itinerary included everything else too.
7. Uniqueness of destinations is another important factor for us. If we went to Alaska this year, we wouldn’t be planning a trip to Iceland or Norway anytime soon – both known for similar sights and activities like glaciers, road trips, hiking etc. Similarly, if we vacationed in Europe this year, we won’t be going back to another country in Europe for another two years (a year at the very least). Same goes for other destinations, having visited Puerto Rico in 2014, another very similar destination (in terms of adventures and experiences), Costa Rica has been in the back burner. What I mean to say is, there’s just too many places to see in the world for us to just be traveling in the same direction, having the same kinds of experiences each time (the only exception being if it is in a totally different continent haha, atleast the cultural aspect of the vacation will be different then). Oh and we never visit the same city/state/country more than once, at least until we have been everywhere else on our list, unless we are going during a different season, say going back to Alaska to catch the Northern Lights in winter, or if we are visiting family/friends 🙂
Europe (UK, Scotland)
Domestic – Chicago, California
8. Indulging in activities where it is either the largest, biggest or done best! You can go snorkeling in many places around the world but it is a whole other story when you snorkel in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Similarly, if we are planning a trip to a balloon festival then it will have to be to the world’s largest balloon festival, as in the one in Albuquerque. And when you go to a place like South Africa, do not leave until you ride an ostrich, even if you never had the faintest intentions of doing so until you arrive at your destination.
Dubai: Burj Khalifa
Hawaii: Kauai, aerial view of our favorite island from the helicopter ride
Puerto Rico: The cobblestone streets and colorful houses
Colorado: Trail Ridge Road at 12,183 feet elevation in Rocky Mountain National Park
9. The most precious, do NOT waste a long weekend – a lot can be done in that treasured one extra day off. And as far as the time of the year to travel goes, we mostly try and stick to the shoulder seasons. Peak season, as you all agree is the worst time to visit any place – from ridiculous prices to waiting in long queues to get in everywhere to overcrowded ‘tourist’ spots, it’s just not worth it. Unless of course we want to partake in an event or festival in the city/country we are visiting. And one thing I have realized (big time) is, I hate traveling to a place when it’s awfully cold. Unless we are going there to check out some winter activities it’s just not worth it – with shorter days, lugging around an extra 10lbs as layers and running inside a coffee shop to seek warmth every so often. To me, what’s the point in going to a place if we can only see and do 50% of the things we would have done if it was warmer.
Puerto Rico, Texas, Alaska, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon
10. Last but not the least, if you know me, you know too well not to ask me where we are traveling to next. Because, as silly as it may sound, I am superstitious about these things (have had one too many unfortunate experiences w.r.t our travels and travel plans). And most importantly, just like with everything else, I love an element of surprise and suspense when it comes to our travels too. So please just bare with me until after our travel (or until I post about it on social media hehe) to fire your questions and I promise to share every detail possible ;).
There, now that I have revealed (most of) our travel secrets, which of these travel mantras are you likely to adopt? And please do share if you have any travel mantras of your own?
If you have any questions for me, ask away…
Europe (Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Bratislava, Greece)
Domestic: Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota, Oregon, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, California
P.S: The hubs has been to Sri Lanka and I have been to Iceland (before we met each other)
And no matter what you do in life, always make time for travel. For the memories and experiences that world travel brings is far greater than any other worldly possessions in life. And remember, no matter where you travel to, it’s not just about checking things off the bucket list but do savor and live in the moment, try different things, and have fun!
Fun Fact: In my head, I am always planning a vacation! So if you need help planning your next vacay, I’d be thrilled to help!!!
Peru: Machu Picchu, hiking along the Inca Trail to see this magnificent beauty was one of the best experiences ever!
London: Tower Bridge
Alaska: RV Tripping (and some Bollywood posing)
Utah: Hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park
“Travel, and life, are all about the experiences!”