Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2017’s Travel Link Ups with a post on making travel plans for 2017. Take a look at the team’s travel plans so far and discover some useful tricks on how we afford to travel as much, and as well, as we do!
Travel plans for 2017
I was fortunate enough to have a travel-packed 2016 and during the latter part of the year I was getting rather itchy feet. I wanted some trips to look forward to this year. After planting a few travel seeds, I managed to get four trips planned by January 3rd! My boss had a bit of a shock when all those annual leave requests came flooding in!
I’m heading off to Hamburg in April for a long weekend, I love Germany and hope I can squeeze in a walking tour while I’m there. One of my friends is getting married this year and her hen do is in May. I can’t say a great deal in case she reads this, but it’s safe to say it’s going to be an amazing weekend!
Although not a trip abroad, I’m still super excited to be rocking my way to Download festival in June (which also falls on my birthday!) then a day after I get back I fly to Kos for an all inclusive week in the sun with a group of friends. I think i’ll need a week on a sun lounger after three days in a field!
Finally, I’m going to New York with my housemate and her family in September and I can’t wait – I’ve always wanted to go…
This year has started on a major high for me, my husband and I kicked off the new year in Reykjavik. Over 5 days, we’ve gone ice caving, seen a glacier lagoon and countless waterfalls, explored Reykjavik from beginning to end and ate far too many hot dogs! It’s been the most life affirming start to 2017. I managed to cut costs by buying Easyjet flights in their sale, managed to find a cheap but amazing apartment on booking.com after a lot of digging and have been sensible with our spending – self catering helped on that front.
For the rest of the year, we want to do city breaks in Lisbon and Copenhagen and we also want to spend NYE 2018 in Edinburgh. My family are actually part Scottish so it’d be incredible to celebrate Hogmanay. An LA road trip may also be on the cards but we also need to move this year – so we’ll see how that pans out!
For our city breaks, we do a LOT of research. We normally buy flights from budget airlines like Easyjet, Norwegian and WOW Air in their sales. Skyscanner is also a great tool for finding the cheapest price. We have done trips to France via Eurostar before that have been ridiculously cheap too, especially to Disneyland.
I’ll then use a combination of Expedia, AirBnB, Booking.com and hotels.com to find the best value accommodation. I’ll always check the hotel’s own site though as sometimes they offer cheaper nights if you book direct. I always check reviews too, this has saved me from a few disasters in the past!
For activities, that also requires some digging. I often read forums, check out TripAdvisor and multiple guide books to find the best place to buy tickets for things to do or tours. In my experience, the city sightseeing buses are horrendously overpriced. If a city offers a card, then we have done this in the past – it’s just a case of weighing up how many of the options you’ll be visiting.
I’ll be doing all this for Lisbon, Copenhagen and Edinburgh this year. Probably in the coming month, as this is when travel is often at its cheapest.
Looking back over our part-time travels in 2016 we really did make the most of our weekends and annual leave, managing to squeeze in some long weekends in Bucharest and Budapest as well as a week-long family summer holiday in Warsaw and our annual big break.
I know we’re bloody lucky to have the opportunity to travel as much as we do, but it isn’t just down to good luck and the occasional review invitation! We’re able to see this much of the world each year by taking a lot of time to research low cost destinations, best times to visit, cheap flights and schemes like Avios that allow us to travel in the manner of affordable luxury that I am accustomed to!
(When I say we, I mean my beleaguered other half Justin, who spends many an evening trawling the web looking for Keri-friendly hotels that won’t break the bank, but secretly I think he enjoys it. That’s what I tell myself, anyway…)
So now that Christmas and New Year’s is over – and I’ve discovered websites like Secret Flying (uh oh, take away my credit card) – we’ve started planning some trips for 2017.
It’s still early days (I mean January isn’t even into double figures yet!) but already we’ve got trips booked to Italy, Ely and Tallinn. Italy will see me head to a ski resort for the first time ever, thanks to the invitation of the lovely Elisabetta Dotto at Hotel Ambra Cortina and then Justin and I are heading to Ely next month to visit Poets House Hotel – I cannot wait until I can sink into one of their amazing looking baths!
Tallinn has become our chosen destination for the family summer holiday – I love that the step-kids have our travel bug and want to visit different places from the norm and I’m currently trying to persuade them that a day trip to Helsinki by ferry is a good idea! We managed to find flights in the sale and book a lovely looking central apartment for 4 nights for just under £500 in total – bargain!
Then Emma and I have a special LWT trip of our own to take before the summer, as we won a two night trip to Poland at World Travel Market last November, how cool is that?! Nothing’s confirmed yet, but before the end of June we should be heading over to Lublin and Zamość, and I can’t wait to return to Poland, as Warsaw really wowed me!
That’s everything we have organised so far (and that’s quite a lot if I say so myself) but we’re also trying to decide where to go on our ‘big’ trip of the year, which involves a fortnight somewhere tropical. We’ve got until the end of January to decide as we’ll be using our Avios companion voucher to keep costs down, and I think the shortlist is currently Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia or the Bahamas. We want a lux hotel on the beach, good food and a town/village nearby that we can go out to for evening meals and drinks. Any recommendations guys?
There’s one final trip I’d like to make this year, which is with my mum. It was her 60th last year and I’d hoped to take her away but unfortunately timings and health meant it wasn’t possible then, so I want to make it up to her by taking her somewhere new this year. I’m currently keeping my eyes open for destinations that would appeal to her, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where we end up. But personally I think half the fun is in the planning, isn’t it?
Oh, I’m so disorganised this year! I’ve not sorted any travel plans at all yet, so this is going to be very short and very vague, I’m afraid! I do know that we are going to be going to Hong Kong at one point – we have family who live there and it’s been too long since our last visit – nine years in fact! While we’re there, we’ll probably try and visit Koh Samui, which is where Patrick and I got married. And I’d like to sneak in a couple of days in Taiwan but I’m not sure we’ll have time for that.
I planned to visit Scandinavia last year and didn’t quite make it so I’m really hoping to rectify that in 2017. Where would I go? Depends on how much cash and time I have really! It might be a city break to Copenhagen or Stockholm, but I’ve seen a couple of amazing looking train trips that I’d love to take if we’re able to stay for longer.
And talking of Avios, we have enough now for a couple of European flights so we might have a look at somewhere else on the continent . There’s a few places in Germany on my list, I have a random urge to visit Luxembourg and I want to go back to Belgium soon – especially as Antwerp is one of Rough Guide’s Top 10 Best Cities to visit in 2017.
One thing I’ll definitely be doing in 2017 is continuing my exploration of the UK. There’s so many towns, cities, national parks, road trips, train trips and attractions I’ve just not got around to checking out yet. I’m aiming to spend a lot more time really getting to know Bath and Bristol since they are both close by (and Bristol is on that Rough Guide list as well!) and if time allows I’d love to see some (or all!) of the North Coast 500 route back home in Scotland.
So how about you? Are you a travel planner or do you prefer to be more spontaneous in your trips? Do you have anything booked already? We’d love to hear about your travel plans or dreams for 2017, so why not share your ideas and tips in the comments section below!
Travel Link Up – How to link up your post
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th January), add it to the link up widget – found on either Angie’s, Emma’s or on our lovely co-host Polly’s blog – from the 1st of the month.
There are no rules – basically all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. Don’t forget to share the posts you love with the hashtag #travellinkup on Twitter and pin posts to the group Pinterest Board!