Planning For 2016 Travel
In 2015, we did a lot of travelling. Arriving home almost at Christmas, we were quite exhausted and couldn’t even think about what was next. It was a quiet holiday season but by early January the itch had started. We were back to streaming our holiday pics and capturing reruns of Rick Steves on the PVR. What would be on our travel plans for 2016?
We had passed on a trip to the CES Conference in Vegas in January. If you need to ask “what is CES”, you are not a good geek and can pass to the next paragraph! CES provides all good geek gals and guys with a look at the coming new tech gadgets. It has been on my list every year for the past 10+ years. I register and hope we go. But almost every year, it is hard to garner the energy to travel in the early days of January. This year it was harder since we really needed a bit of a break. But it will stay on the “wish list”!
But would we travel differently in 2016?
On a travel chat early in the year, one of the questions was about what you wanted to be different in 2016. The first answer that jumped out was “I want to travel without having to be called back for a family emergency!”. While we managed to make the most of 2016 and travel while we were dealing with a major family problem, it cast a sadness over the second half of our year and it constrained us in our travel choices. We hope that all are well and healthy in 2016 and we can travel at will. But that won’t stop us from travelling with “cancel for any reason” travel insurance.
I laughed when I saw all the travel resolutions about travelling with only carry on. I can only vow to try to travel a bit lighter. The amount of luggage will depend on where we go, how long we are staying and the type of activities we will plan (e.g. scuba travel always drags in more weight) – but I will vow to keep the packing to a reasonable limit. My travel geek gear may even get pared down if I could ever get hubby off that PC and onto a Mac!
Last year we made some strides in increasing our social media presence but much of that was binge sessions when we finally stopped for longer stretches. In 2016, I am planning to get better at posting in near real time. David got a wifi SD card for his Canon DSLR camera as a Christmas gift, so there should no longer be an issue with getting his “in the moment” shots out a bit faster.
Our final change this year in travel plans for 2016 will be to ensure we are planning small day trips, even when we are at home. We did a good job when we were in Vancouver for the fall with planning day trips to explore the area. We should do that more when we are at home in Toronto. This will get us out and about and improve our fitness (read into this – “less time at the computer”!).
So … where do we think we might put on our travel plans for 2016? The list is long, so likely not all doable, but here is what we started the year thinking about ….
What Is On The Travel Planning List For 2016
1) South Pacific
We have been thinking about a mega trip to the South Pacific for a long time – maybe 6 months away to hit the very long list of destinations we have been collecting. But that has just seemed to just get pushed off to the next year. One of our kids is planning a 4 month trip to Indonesia and has suggested we join him close to the end for 2 weeks on a beach in Bali. Who could say no?
Planning for the South Pacific has now moved a bit forward. But we won’t do the big mega trip we had originally been considering in our travel plans for 2016. It would be nice to start with a stopover in Hawaii enroute. This would let us adjust a little to the time change and get warm after a cold Toronto winter. We figure we would then head to Australia before it starts to get cold to visit relatives and then go from there to Bali. We are still assessing where we might stop on our path back to Toronto.
We missed our normal trip to Europe in the fall in 2015 so will try to put that back in play on our travel plans for 2016. Top of the list for this year will be Portugal. It has been on our list for a few years and unfortunately it is now coming to the top of the list at the same time that Portugal is getting more popular. This will mean an off season trip – either in May or in September / October. We would like to spend a month traveling around to see as much as possible. We had originally considered doing a cruise line re-positioning trip into Lisbon but the U.S. dollar rates for this very popular cruise put it out of range as a pure transportation option.
Italy is a favourite destination for us and the islands of both Sardinia and Sicily are at the top of places we have not yet tried. Not sure yet if we want to hop from Portugal and do it all in the same trip or do a return visit to Italy on its own. We will leave the Milan area of Italy for another year as the last region of Italy we have not yet travelled.
3) Heading Somewhere Hot
All good Canadians look for trips someplace warm in the winter. As I get older, I find I like the cold less and want more time in the sun in the winter. Last year we were lucky to be away for February and again for a cruise through April, but this year we likely won’t be escaping for quite as long in our travel plans for 2016.
We have a great friend with a condo in Bahamas that might give us our escape. If that does not work out, I may be able to persuade David to do a road trip to Florida. He still shudders at our last Florida road trip, where we spent more time driving than actually visiting Florida. I have to promise a longer stop if we set out for this adventure. We would likely plan a scenic route on the U.S. east coast with maybe a detour through Georgia and maybe even time it for a few days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
We have a voucher to return to a Sandals resort this year. Having spent Valentine’s week in Exuma at the Sandals Resort last year, we would love to find a different spot this year for a romantic getaway. We are holding off on booking this until we see if we end up in Florida. An island hop from Miami is so much more affordable than flying from Toronto!
The only thing that is certain is there will be someplace warm on our travel plans for 2016!
4) Cruising Somewhere Cold
Most people think about the Caribbean or the Mediterranean if they think about cruising. We have done both of those and certainly have been fun. But there are 3 cruises still on the list that head us into cold water. The first and most likely candidate on our travel plans for 2016 is Alaska. The cruises run out of Vancouver or Seattle from the spring through the end of the summer. Since we are visiting Vancouver on a regular basis, if we find a deal we could easily hop on an Alaskan cruise with little notice.
On the “wish list” would be a cruise to Antarctica. This is a much bigger trip and we would likely want to combine this with some travel in South America as a starting point for the cruise. We are not yet at the planning stages for this but it comes up when refreshing the wish list each year.
The other cold water cruise that we have looked at each year is one that heads up towards Norway, Russia and then back through Greenland and Iceland. Every time I see pictures of the northern lights, I go back and look at the cruise listings to see if the plans (and prices) fall into line for our planning year. Probably not this year but staying on the “wish list”.
5) Road Trips
We did the road trip of all time in 2015 when we travelled from Toronto to Vancouver and then back to Toronto 4 months later. While we were in Vancouver we did day trips and even a very long tour of the U.S. National Parks. You would think that road trips would be off our travel plans for 2016!
As noted above, we may do the drive to Florida and meander along the way. We are also considering adding some new National Parks to the ones we saw in 2015. We bought an annual park pass so it is just a matter of deciding which ones to visit. If we travel from Vancouver, the two that are top of my list are Zion and Bryce. We bypassed them on our way to the Grand Canyon and no sooner had we headed off to Yosemite than did I start to see the most amazing pictures taken in the Utah parks. They should be on any list of National Parks to visit!
Most of our road trips in our travel plans for 2016 will hopefully be shorter, day trips to explore Toronto and Ontario when we are at home in Toronto. We have seen most of the big tourist destinations, but there are a lot of smaller gems that we will find. At home in Toronto we are starting to create our theme based visits. We have already started our sampling of Afternoon Tea spots in Toronto and in February will add our taste tests during the Winterlicious food festival. If you noticed these are all food based, so a set of winery tours in Southern Ontario might be called for! Food was a big success on our 2015 travels!
The travel plans for 2016 will include hitching up our bike carrier to take our eBikes out for longer trips. We were away so much in 2015 that we really did not do the eBike riding that we had wanted for 2015. Hope to remedy that in 2016.
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. A few of these wish list items were mentioned above but others that hit my Pinterest board include …
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 money to watch others dive.
We have often looked at the ads for a round-the-world cruise. Although we are not sure we could stay on a boat for half a year, we would love to taste test parts of the world that we may likely never travel to. We will leave this one for the time when we decide to sell our condo and may be residence free for awhile.
It would be such fun to travel to all of the major Mardi Gras locations around the world – Venice, Rio and New Orleans – probably not all in one trip. I would want to get a magnificent costume to stroll the streets and join in the festivities. This will probably be done over a series of year.
The final thing currently on the wish list board is an African Safari. We have talked about this since the children were small so the challenge will be do we do this alone or try to haul our young adult children with us? I guess we will see how far in the future this planning starts!
Lots of things come and go on the wish list. I wonder what new things we will add this year!
In the early days of the year, our potential list of travel plans for 2016 travel is still long. It is a good thing that we are semi-retired and have some flexibility to work remotely but we still will have to fit some work into the 2016 plan! And who knows what new travel ideas will come up as we are planning! Check back on the blog and see how we are doing with our 2016 travel!
What is on the top of your travel plans for 2016? Are there things that will get pushed out to another year? What needs to happen for your travel wish list to become reality?