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Travel plans for 2013

2013 sparkler text

My 2012 might have featured a bit more work than travel, but I hope to switch that back around this year. After buying a house last year, this year is going to be another expensive one (more on that below) but I still have plenty of travel plans in the pipeline. I managed to tick off two of my top-five travel wish-list trips last year, but have topped the list back up again and am raring to go. And with two new countries visited last year, I’m hoping to continue the trend into 2013, with trips to at least four new countries lined up and hopefully more to come. So far my travel plans for the first half of 2013 look a bit like this…

Tenth travel anniversary trip in February

In February this year it’ll be 10 years since I set off on my epic 16-month round-the-world trip though India, South-East Asia and Australia. So to celebrate, I’ll be reuniting with my travel partner-in-crime Nicki for a weekend trip together. Although we’re 10 years older now – with mortgages, partners and a much lower capacity for alcohol – we will no doubt still manage a few misadventures. We wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before and where we wouldn’t be freezing in February, so settled on Porto. Somehow I’ve managed to miss out Portugal on my past travels so it’s time to remedy that – and I have good guides in the form of blogs from Portugal experts Restless Jo and Julie Dawn Fox.

Bottles of Port in Portugal – photo credit Kim Davies

Bottles of Port – photo credit Kim Davies

The big Southwest US road trip in April

So this was originally supposed to be my road trip around Canada that had to be postponed last year, but April’s weather means snow might affect our route through the Rockies, so that’s been put off til a warmer time of year. Instead I’ll be tagging along when my boyfriend spends a week in Las Vegas for work. While he works, I’ll be exploring the excesses of Sin City with my sister, which will definitely involve plenty of pool time and cocktails. Then we head off on a two-week road trip that loops through some of the Southwest’s amazing National and State Parks – from the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley to Zion and Bryce Canyon. Our route will take us through the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, past epic landscapes, wide open skies and along iconic Route 66.

Las Vegas sign, USA

The famous Las Vegas neon sign – photo credit Michael Koukoullis

A first taste of the Balkans in May

The Balkans are a part of a world that I’ve long been wanting to explore, and Croatia was top of the list. But it looks like I’m not the only one, as prices there have rocketed over the last few years. So instead I’ll be doing the Balkans on a budget by crossing the border to Montenegro, for a hillside apartment looking over the Bay of Kotor for half the price of one in Croatia. It’s just over an hour to Dubrovnik so I can get my Croatian fix while I’m there. I have to admit I didn’t know a great deal about Montenegro when I booked the trip, but from what I can see, for a small country it has a great mix of mountain scenery, beaches, fjords and historic walled cities, as well as Italian-influenced food and wine. What’s not to like?

The fjords of the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro – photo credit daninho_ibk

Sailing the Norwegian fjords in summer

After visiting the fjords in Montenegro there’ll be yet more of them in the summer, this time in Norway. I missed out on doing this trip with my mum last year so this year it’s on for definite. We will be basing ourselves in the coastal town of Bergen for a long weekend and taking a boat trip along the fjords and a rail trip through the mountains. My travel challenge for this trip though will be trying to do this expensive part of the world without breaking the bank, but I’m sure the scenery will be worth every penny.

Chalet among the mountains of Norway

A chalet among the mountains of Norway – photo credit Mel Toledo

And then?

So that takes me as far as to July, but there’s still the other half of the year to fill with travels. I have a few ideas I’m hoping to bring together and might squeeze in a last-minute trip or two. But there’s one more big trip that I’ll be planning. My travel style might have changed a bit over the last ten years – with apartment rentals replacing hostel bunks and wine tastings replacing buckets of cocktails these days – but there’s one style of travel that I’ve never really done: luxury. But there’s one trip in your lifetime where luxury is practically compulsory, and that’s your honeymoon.

Yes in late September I’ll be getting married, so at the end of the year we plan to jet off for a couple of weeks in Belize. It’s long been somewhere I wanted to visit, and the mix of beaches along with rainforest and temples to explore if the lazing gets too much put it top of the honeymoon list. I just need to get used to being pampered for a change – though not too used to it!

Beach in Belize

A stunning beach in the Belize Cayes – photo credit satanoid

What about you? What are your travel plans for 2013 so far?

42 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have a friend whose parents have returned from Norway a few months ago and yes the country is one of the most expensive places on earth but the scenery was really worth every penny. Good luck with your travels!

    January 2, 2013
    • Thanks, I’m sure it’ll be worth it and it’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for years. I should have enough Air Miles to help out with the flight costs which is a start!

      January 2, 2013
  2. I gosh I hope I can travel around the world too! Funny how I can design round-the-world trips and issue the tickets for other people but I cannot go on one. That would be so awesome!!!

    January 2, 2013
    • You’re in a good position to start, knowing all about the good deals, and I hope you get a good staff discount too!

      January 2, 2013
  3. These plans sound fantastic. I think I’d like to look into Montenegro, too. And Portugal has been on my list for a while. I need to remember that as I start planning.

    January 2, 2013
    • Montenegro looks really interesting so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. And to finally make it to Portugal – somehow it’s slipped through the net so far when I’ve been to all the countries nearby! Good luck with the travel planning.

      January 2, 2013
  4. Lucy I didn’t know you were getting married but CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂 The Norwegian fjords is pretty much on top of my list and I’m hoping to do that soon. Montenegro’s amazing and the Bay of Kotor is quite stunning. Croatia is oh-so-beautiful and definitely a must visit. Can’t wait to read all about it!

    January 2, 2013
    • Thanks Antoinette, yes it’s going to be a big year! It’s so hard to narrow down all the places you want to go isn’t it? Hope you manage to fit in lots of travels this year too.

      January 2, 2013
  5. Sounds like a great year in the making! Congrats on the upcoming wedding – Belize will be absolutely magnificent for your honeymoon!
    I was in Croatia last August. Absolutely loved it and am so thrilled to have been there for 2 weeks, although I really could have taken longer – it is magic. It was easy to see why they call it the pearl of the Adriatic. While I was there, everyone told me I had to make it to Montenegro. I didn’t have the time, so didn’t go, but heard nothing but rave reviews…so I am sure you will love it! Can’t wait to see your photos.
    Happy travels.

    January 2, 2013
    • Thanks Anita. Your posts about Croatia were lovely and made me want to go even more! It will be good to get a taste of the region on this trip but I would like to go and do a more extended visit sometime and travel around a bit more.
      Hope there are lots of travel plans in the pipeline for you too.

      January 2, 2013
  6. We had to pull th plug on our trip to Vegas/Grand Canyon, so I’ll look forward to reading all about your tales instead!

    January 2, 2013
    • Sorry to hear you won’t be making it out there too. I shall make sure to take hundreds of photos! Hope 2013 brings you lots of other exciting trips.

      January 3, 2013
  7. Wonderful and varied travel plans. Sounds really fantastic. Croatia is absolutely stunning and has some of the best water I’ve ever seen. So clear and beautiful. We spent a week on Korcula Island, and it was very peaceful and not very pricey at all. We had a nice room there for just about 30 euro. Our bus from Albania went through Montenegro to Croatia and though we didn’t stop there, we wish we had. The northern part of Montenegro looked amaaaaaazing!!

    Congrats on your engagement! 🙂

    January 2, 2013
    • Thanks Shelley. I’ve seen some beautiful photos of Croatia and already suspect this is going to be the first of a few visits to the area! Good to hear it can be done on a budget too (weddings are scary expensive!).

      January 3, 2013
  8. Lucy, if I didn’t like you so much, I’d really have to dislike you! How can you pull off a year like this and still eat? Porto, I know you will love (and many thanks for the link). I hope the weather is kind. Bryce Canyon et al is a dream of mine. Likewise the Fjords! And it’s 25 years since I was in Dubrovnik and Cavtat, and am desperate to see some of the islands. (but would settle for Montenegro) And then Belize! Once again, I’m going to spend the year with my nose glued to the screen following your travels.
    What more can I say? Have a wonderful year!

    January 2, 2013
    • Ha ha, well with this and the wedding I might not be eating much! Looking forward to getting out there again though after a lot of working this year. Very excited to have a few new countries to visit too, though it’ll be strange to go a year without at least one trip to France! Hope you have a wonderful year with all the wedding excitement in your family too!

      January 3, 2013
  9. I happened upon you 18 months or so ago and if ever the day is uninspiring, I know I can flick across to your journals for something enjoyable and uplifting.
    Congrats on the year ahead. What a 2013!

    January 3, 2013
    • That’s really lovely to hear, and I hope to have lots to report for 2013! Have a very Happy New Year.

      January 3, 2013
  10. Sounds like fun. I did Porto in January a few years ago – bitterly cold but lovely blue sky. Montenegro is interesting but expensive, I went there a couple of years ago to Kotor. Visit Dubrovnik early in the day before all the cruise ships arrive!

    January 3, 2013
    • Fingers crossed I get the same sunny weather, I can cope with the cold if there’s a bit of blue sky for the photos! Look forward to hearing where your 2013 travels will take you.

      January 3, 2013
  11. What a year Lucy and big congratulations on your forthcoming wedding 🙂 I’d love to visit Norway but don’t know too much about Belize so looking forward to your posts. I spent a week in Budva in 2010 and got a bus up to The Bay of Kotor (approx 30 mins) – it’s beautiful 🙂

    January 3, 2013
    • Thanks Suzanne, we have the venue and photographer sorted and are now going to forget about it all for a few months! Just starting a bit of research for Belize now and can’t wait (those beach photos are too tempting when it’s so grey outside!).

      January 3, 2013
  12. Make sure you visit the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. It’s where they retire a lot of the old neon signs. And if you want to do some local stuff, I would recommend cocktails at the Downtown Cocktail Room.

    Looking forward to hearing about your travels & congrats on the wedding!

    January 3, 2013
    • Thanks, I just looked up the Neon Boneyard and it looks an amazing place for photos so will definitely check that out. Cocktails sound like a very good plan too!

      January 3, 2013
    • It’s a cool bar too, the entrance is hidden, you have to push a metal wall, which is really the door, to get inside. Once inside, you can sometimes watch people walk into the windows trying to find the entrance! My friend works there and she also recommends the Cosmopolitan Hotel for cocktails too. It’s a really cool and arty new casino. If you have the choice, I would book rooms there.

      January 5, 2013
  13. Looks like a great year Lucy. I’d also missed Portugal until a couple of years ago. I’d recommend the Good Feeling hostel on the south-west coast for a nice atmosphere. Lisbon and Sintra are fantastic; I wrote an article about them: Good luck…

    January 3, 2013
    • Thanks for the tips, I’ve heard really good things about Lisbon so hopefully can fit a trip out there in sometime soon. Have a great year too.

      January 4, 2013
  14. roamingtheworld #

    wow. I’m impressed you already have your plans lined up. I started the year in Instanbul, Turkey and have 10 days free in February and trying to think up a reasonably priced destination and not freezing cold… but have to admit, so much travel last year has me a little tired.

    I admire you constant drive to keep exploring!
    And yes, like you, my travel style has definitely changed. I’d much prefer an apt to a hostel these days!

    January 6, 2013
    • Always helps me get through a grey winter to have a few trips to look forward to! It has been good to have a few weeks at home though, it’s important to get that balance right. Hope you have some great travels in 2013.

      January 7, 2013
  15. Norwegian Fjords! This is somewhere I want to go and can’t wait to see your photos 🙂 Have fun in Sin City too!

    January 8, 2013
    • I’ve wanted to go to Norway for years so am really looking forward to it – fingers crossed for some sunny weather for the fjords photography!

      January 9, 2013
  16. The Southwest Road trip will be amazing… much fun driving around SW USA….ahhh, I’d go back in a heart beat! And Norwegian fjords too? This is a great lsit of travel options……hope you get to them all and have a great 2013!

    January 9, 2013
    • Thanks – I’ve just been researching things to see and do in the US and we’re going to be busy, there’s so much in that area! Have a great 2013 too and hope you have some good travel plans lined up.

      January 9, 2013
  17. I’m jealous. I gots to get out more. Costa Rica is such a small country. Leave home on the Pacific beach of Tamarindo and be in the Caribbean town of Cahuita to watch turtles come ashore at nightfall. There’s an earthquake shaking…got to go.

    January 23, 2013
    • Costa Rica is a beautiful country to be in though – I spent a few weeks there a while back and there’s a lot to see. Missed the turtles though as I was at the wrong time of year, a good reason to go back sometime!

      January 23, 2013
  18. Come on back…just don’t break bottles on the beach like the high season maniacs. It’s hard on the feet, and I’m not a flip-flop fan. See you soon in Costa Risa ! We’ll be here if you ever come to Guanacaste or Nicaragua.

    January 24, 2013
  19. Green with envy at the moment! Thanks for the link, by the way – I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Porto but take warm clothes with you as it will be chilly, especially by the river. You can always warm up with a few glasses of port though 🙂

    February 14, 2013
    • Porto was great thanks, and we got lucky with at least one day of 17 degrees and sun which was a bonus – lots of photos and posts to come!

      February 19, 2013
    • Glad you got some sun – looking forward to reading all about your trip.

      February 20, 2013
  20. Look forward to reading about your trip to Montenegro – my own travels around the Balkans have been postponed indefinitely, but I remain hopeful it will happen soon!

    March 26, 2013
    • Thanks I’ve been wanting to go and explore the Balkans for years but it’s not quite worked out before now. I’ve seen and heard such good things about them though that I suspect this might be the first visit of many! Hope you manage to make it out there sometime too.

      April 1, 2013

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