I was very lucky growing up.
Apart from living in a gorgeous sunshiny country, my parents both worked incredibly hard to be able to afford not just bi-annual visits to see family in England, but also the occasional big trip abroad, including a fab skiing trip in Austria and a once-in-a-lifetime fortnight in Florida.
I always enjoyed these holidays, and was massively grateful to my parents for them, but I never really considered myself a travel bug as such. My sister, on the other hand…
Where my uni loan and part-time wages went on keeping up with my New Look and gin habits, Ches was constantly saving up for weekend breaks across Europe. She went everywhere as a student, from Berlin to Dublin, Stockholm and Milan.
Last year she quit her marketing job to volunteer in the mountains of Nicaragua for three months, and I’ve never seen her so happy. Around the same time, my lovely friend Charlie did exactly the same thing, and set off to explore Australasia on her own for three months.
But to be completely honest, the thought of jetting off for long periods of time just doesn’t really appeal to me. (Though never say never!)
I’m too much of a home-bird. I like my sofa and my kitchen and my boyfriend, I love the home we’re building for ourselves, and the thought of being away for months on end just doesn’t appeal to me.
I LOVE travelling, I just like it in small doses. And last year I was lucky to travel a LOT. I went to Copenhagen with my best friend, visited Rome and Budapest with Gary, and even did my first ever press trip to Warsaw.
But it just seems like the more places I go, and the more travel blogs and guide books I read, the more countries, cities and towns I add to my travel wishlist. (I’m currently on about 38, if anyone cares).
Inevitably, it means that this year my spending habits have completely (mostly) veered away from New Look and gin, and instead I’ve found myself booking holiday, after holiday, after holiday… I’ve already used up my 20 days leave from work, and it’s only February!
Gary’s making me a budgeting plan (because I’m really bad with numbers), I’ve quit my gym membership, changed my phone providers, stopped buying so much takeaway coffee, and (you may have noticed on my Instagram Stories!) started cooking at home a lot more.
Travel has become a huge priority for me, and I’m saving as hard as I can because I know that it’s all going to be SO worth it in the end.
So here’s what I’ve got planned for 2017! (So far…)
1. Bucharest, Romania
First up: Bucharest! Six of my favourite blogging ladies and I are heading off to Romania’s capital city next week, for 36 hours of cabbage rolls, Instagram and Dracula jokes.
We’re staying in a cute little hotel together, and our plans mainly include taking a ton of photos, eating as much good food as we can physically stomach, and drinking Romanian wine in the Old Town.
We’ll also be doing one of the free city walking tours, and maybe a couple of other sightseeing stops along the way, depending how we feel.
2. Aberdeen, Scotland
You may remember that wayyyy back in October, I went to an event with Accor Hotels. I joined a group of bloggers in exploring four of their fab hotels in London, and each of us was also given dates for a stay somewhere else in the country.
Well my time has come! Gary and I will be setting off for Aberdeen at the beginning of April, and I’m already really excited for it.
I’ve never been to Scotland before, and the Accor hotel they’re hosting us in is BEAUTIFUL. It looks like a Disney castle, and I’m fully planning to get some shots of me prancing around like a princess.
This one’s going to be a quiet and relaxing weekend, with lots of good food, good whiskey, and a day exploring the city.
We only booked this one last week, and I’m already knee-deep in research. The Lonely Planet guide book is winging it’s way to me as we speak, and I’ve been pinning photos on my Singapore Pinterest board like a madwoman.
To be entirely honest, it’s not somewhere I’d ever really thought of as a dream destination. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near the top 20 places I’d have picked to visit in the world.
But Gary had Air Miles and a British Airways companion voucher to use, which offers crazy discounts on long-haul flights. But it expires at the end of May.
We’d narrowed our choice down to Barbados, but the flight dates just didn’t quite mesh with our plans. Then, once I started looking into it, Singapore became the front runner. And as soon as I spoke to Charlie, who waxed lyrical about the food, views and climate, we jumped right in and booked it.
I’m still working on an itinerary, but our basic plan is to explore the city, lounge by the pool and eat EVERYTHING.
The food in Singapore is a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisine, and if I don’t come back a full stone heavier than when I left, I’m going to be really disappointed in myself…
4. The Cyclades Islands, Greece
My cousin’s getting married in Greece this summer, so the whole family is flying over for a long weekend of sun, sea and ouzo.
Gary and I haven’t actually booked our flights yet for this one (roll on payday!), but the plan is to get a flight to Mykonos, followed by a ferry to Syros, where the wedding’s being held.
My mum’s being mega-organised and already pre-booked three rooms at a hotel for our little group, so it’s going to be lovely to have my closest family under one roof again.
As well as soaking up the sun, seeing all my family and celebrating the wedding, I’m really excited for sightseeing. I’ve never been to Greece before, and I’m a massive Ancient Greece geek, so the thought of all that history is making me giddy!
SAVED THE BESTEST FOR LASTEST.
Charlie, Erica, Leanne, Jen and I are all booked up for a two week mega-trip to Japan in September. We fly out on Erica’s birthday, then spend a couple of days in Osaka, eating everything in sight. Next we’ll head down to Hiroshima and Miyajima, to see the memorial and floating shrine.
We’ll then jump on a bullet train and stay in Kyoto for a few days, do a day trip to Nara (to stroke the deer!), then on to Tokyo – where we’ll spend my birthday! (I’m pushing for sushi and karaoke, but we’ll see. Either way it’s going to be EPIC.)
From Tokyo, Erica and I will find our way back to Osaka for the flight back to London (the others return from Tokyo). This means we’ll have a couple of extra days to eat some more food and (probably) take a million more photos.
Studio Ghibli, Disneyland, Kobe and Himeji castle are also ideas that are being floating around, but that’s pretty much our set itinerary for now!