Early Thoughts About More Travel in 2017
In 2016, we travelled almost around the world. We hit far more travel destinations that we even dreamed of when we started 2016. We started the year with some plans already made. Some things got realized from our 2016 planning list. Some new ideas were added from our 2016 travels. We are sure that travel in 2017 will add many new places and will see us revisit some favourites.
Our Big Spring Trip – Portugal and Spain
We like to travel to Europe in the spring or fall. The temperatures are warm and the crowds are much smaller. We booked Portugal twice and both times had to cancel. Planning has started again for Portugal as our first major travel in 2017. The trip will start with a 21 day transatlantic Oceania Cruises trip from Miami to Lisbon. There are interesting ports along the way so the actual ocean crossing is only 4 days!
The plan is to travel around Portugal for 3 to 4 weeks. Fellow bloggers @RoarLoud have teased with stories and pictures of the Azores, so will try to factor that into our detailed planning. It has also been suggested that we consider a Douro River cruise through wine country. Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve can’t be missed.
While we are travelling around Portugal, we are hoping to also take in the north of Spain. San Sebastian in Basque Country, Santiago and Asturias are places we are looking at. We have visited Madrid and travelled in the south along the Costa Del Sol. But we haven’t gone north.
We loved Moorish Granada but on our last trip missed Valencia, Seville and Cordoba. So they will definitely be on this agenda!
A River Cruise
Several years ago we looked at doing a river cruise in Europe. We were ahead of the popularity curve at that point. Now it appears to be on everybody’s plan! We are still interested in doing a river cruise as part of our travel in 2017.
Bucharest to Budapest to Amsterdam is the itinerary we have been looking at. We would probably tie this in with a trip to Europe. But only if we make sure to plan it in advance. The last time we tried for a last minute river cruise there was no availability!
We have met quite a few people who have done the Viking Cruises itinerary in China. This sounds like a great mix of land and river cruise adventures. Certainly a good way to start our exploration of China. But probably unlikely as travel in 2017.
Iceland is another destination that has interested us. It seems that everyone went to Iceland in 2016! Pictures of frozen lands, hot springs and the Northern Lights filled the social media channels. But that won’t deter us.
We will join the group of people who are doing stopover trips through Iceland. A friend of ours told us about a place similar to https://www.carsiceland.com/ where we could rent a car and explore Iceland by their roads. We are considering this as a way to get home from our spring Portugal travel in 2017.
Back to Italy
We have travelled to Italy a lot. Our last 10 week trip to Italy left us wanting more. We missed travelling to Italy in 2015 and 2016. So it is time to go back!
There are 3 areas we have not visited in Italy. We had a one day Stay in Sicily on a cruise but want to spend a few weeks exploring more.
Sardinia will also likely be combined with a trip to Sicily. A friend visited Sardinia in 2016 and came home with pictures and stories to tease me. The other unexplored part of Italy is the northwestern area including Milan. We had only a small teaser with a cruise port stop in Portofino. We got close with a week in Cinque Terre and day trips to Lake Garda. But there is still more to see with a gateway to Milan.
We will see which part of Italy draws us for travel in 2017!
South and North Poles
We continue to have Alaska and Antarctica cruises on our travel wish list. Since most Alaska cruises leave from Vancouver or Seattle, an Alaskan cruise will likely be tied to a visit to the west coast to visit our children. We have been looking at smaller cruise lines that can get into less popular nooks in Alaska. But this would mean planning flights or trains to and from Juneau to start the cruise.
An Antarctica cruise will require a little more planning. The most likely jumping off point is South America. South America is one of the continents that we have spent almost no time on. So we would probably try to combine these two on one of our longer trips. The other option is to return to Australia and use New Zealand as a jumping off point for Antarctica. Not sure that Antarctica will make our plans for travel in 2017!
Travel for Heat
Every year we do a couple of trips where we travel for sun, beach and water adventures. Bahamas is a favourite known destination. In 2016, we went to St Lucia in July and had a great mid-summer break. Destinations in the Caribbean are an easy choice to travel for the heat. Good scuba diving locations will always be a draw for us!
But as we travelled at the end of 2016, we added a whole new set of winter destinations to our travel list. Spending Christmas in Cape Town and New Years in Dubai let us spend the early winter above my magic number of 20°C! The islands of the Maldives or the Seychelles offer bright sun and magnificent blue waters when it is getting cold at home. When it is winter in Toronto, we can always find summer in Australia.
In 2016 we found a whole bunch of new places to escape Toronto cold! We may even return for travel in 2017!
On The Future Wish List
We are often asked “Where would you travel if cost and time were not an issue?”. This true wish list has a couple of big trips on it.
We would love to spend several months scuba diving in the South Pacific and specifically want to visit the Wakitobi Dive Resort. Part of the constraint is time and money but probably the bigger issue is our level of fitness. Diving several times every day requires a level of fitness we are currently not reaching. We are working on that but would not want to spend this kind of money to watch others dive. When we went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and as we travelled to the Maldives and Seychelles, we increasingly see the attraction of doing part of our diving trip on a live-aboard boat. This would allow us to access a much broader set of dive sites than being based in one spot.
We have often looked at the ads for a round-the-world cruise. Our 51 day cruise in 2016 may have pushed this trip out on our wish list. We had a great trip, but by the end of 51 days I was ready for more space. As a true introvert, I needed more quiet and less people around me all the time. We may leave this for the time when we decide to sell our condo and may be residence-free for a while.
Having done Mardi Gras in New Orleans, we now want to travel to all of the major Mardi Gras locations around the world – Venice and Rio for sure. I would want to get a magnificent costume to stroll the streets and join in the festivities.
The final thing currently on the wish list board is an African Safari. On our 2016 adventure, we got the chance to do three different game drives – one in Kenya and two in South Africa (Richards Bay and outside Cape Town). We saw a good range of wild animals. But day trips don’t really immerse you in the wild as a real safari will. Our safari taste test just whetted our appetites for more! I’d love to go somewhere like okavango delta, but I guess I’ve just got to wait and see what happens.
We Are Excited About 2017 Travel Opportunities
We arrived home from our great cruising adventure in early January. Just in time to start detailed planning for our trip to Portugal and Spain. Before we head out in April, we will hopefully have some travel plans pencilled in for our big fall trip. And then we can start to fill in the plans for other travel in 2017!
What do you think about our thoughts for travel in 2017? Anything you think we should consider that is not here?