I have had an unconventional year in terms of travel; my holiday schedule usually runs like clockwork but somehow it’s September and I haven’t left the country (not including a few very much work trips). Bloody typical for when I decide to start a travel blog!
My wedding last October has something to do with it; we had the most amazing honeymoon in Oman afterwards. I got home to the hell hole of retail logistics in the run up to Christmas with not enough room to think and before I knew it we were in January! Now we usually go on a hot and exotic 2 week long haul trip at the beginning of January to give me time to decompress after a busy couple of months. We are also pretty sick of the cold by then and a little break from it half way through the winter makes it all the more bearable.
My Travel Schedule
With us having had such an amazing holiday in the October though, we decided to forgo our January break for something much more low key, a three day mini break in the Cotswolds. It also helped with the finances, weddings aren’t so cheap!
Our second long haul trip of the year is always back to the same place, New York. I have family there who have a beach house out east on Long Island and we spend 2 weeks there every summer walking on the beach, barbecuing on the deck and just generally chilling out. An unexpected set of circumstances meant this trip didn’t happen this year though, which is only the third summer I have missed there in my life!
On top of that, we have foregone any European trips in place of UK breaks this year. I fell in love with the Cotswolds after my wedding that took place there and with a hotel opening in Hampshire I really wanted to visit, we stuck closer to home. If I’m being honest, I really loved it, sometimes my love of travel makes me think I need to leave the country to do so, which is so not the case.
Anyway, I’m making up for lost time now and preparing for my upcoming travels!
1. Kraków, Poland
I am off for a 4 night break in Kraków in September with some of my family. I am also doing my first Airbnb experience which I am quite excited about!
Now I had had my eyes opened to the joys of villas when we went to Florida in the January of 2018; we often travel in a large group as a family and traditionally all stay in hotel rooms. However, we all really loved our family trips to the beach house in New York every year, it gives it a different vibe and is the perfect set up for bigger groups. I sometimes thought it was a bit of a waste spending money on a nice hotel room only to spend no time in it as you are constantly out catching up with everyone. Getting a villa allows you to enjoy an amazing space together and is generally much more cost efficient that the equivalent hotel room.
So, I thought I would extend the concept and rather than booking 3 hotel rooms for us all, I booked a 3 bedroom apartment just off Market Square in Kraków. I am still finalising the itinerary (it’s so hard to choose!) but one thing we are definitely doing is going to Auschwitz.
2. Langley Castle in Northumberland, UK
One of the wonderful things about my family is that we love to get together to celebrate….well pretty much anything! This time we are all congregating at Langley Castle to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s 30th wedding anniversary, a week after my own first wedding anniversary!
It’s a quick 36 hour trip with a celebratory dinner and a day at Hexham races. I am not so lucky at the races, my usual pattern is win on the first, get super excited, lose on the next 3, stop betting in a minor strop, have a glass of wine (or 3), feel better, bet on last race and lose.
3. Istanbul & the Turquoise Coast in Turkey
I am really looking forward to this trip, a week of just Danny and I! Turkey was a bit off my radar (believe it or not, I only discovered Cappadocia last year and now I don’t go a day without seeing it somewhere), until I read this article on the come back of the Turquoise Coast.
Now Danny loves a fly and flop and would be quite happy staying in the same place for a week, maybe even a fortnight. On the other hand, my instinct is to pack that itinerary. I’ve learnt over the years that a blend of the two is best for both of us, I came home from a few holidays on top of the world but not exactly rested. So, we are having 2 days of Rachael’s itinerary in Istanbul and 5 days of fly and flop on the Turkish Riviera (I have obviously squeezed in a couple of smaller excursions!).
4. A Snowy, Christmas themed European Destination
On my bucket list is a romantic, wintery Christmas destination. I am determined to make that happen this year for 2 reasons; it’s Danny’s birthday and it is my first Christmas not working round the clock, so I can actually relax and enjoy it. I actually feel a bit guilty about Danny’s birthday last year, it was his 30th and with the wedding and then work, it wasn’t quite what I had been planning (for the last 5 years). I have kept the money I saved though and we are doing an epic trip to his favourite destination with our friends in April 2021 (I’m a planner).
So, this year, I would love to get away for 24 or 48 hours somewhere snowy in Europe with a Christmas market (could even be in the UK, without the snow probably!). Snow destinations are not my forte, so any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated!
5. South Africa
I have just booked this trip a couple of days ago! I first went to South Africa in January 2016, it’s my Dad’s favourite ever destination. We did a typical Rachael jam packed itinerary and it was epic. This time we are doing something a bit more low key and renting a villa in the town of Knysna on the Garden Route as there will be 6 of us in total. Last time we were there we stayed for 3 nights at Tsala Treetop Lodge, a beautiful hotel with a safari vibe and private pools overlooking the forest. There was so much to do in the area and it was just a lovely chilled out town with amazing fresh seafood and stunning views of the sea. I can’t wait for this trip!
I feel much better now I have got a clear plan and I now actually have some upcoming travels booked, sometimes when your bucket list is huge like mine and you like to research to the ends of the earth before booking anything, you end up not making any decisions!
Let me know your upcoming travel plans and if you have any recommendations for me, especially for destination 4 on my list!