Every January I write a blog post about our forthcoming travel plans in which I detail the travel plans we have for the year. It is then updated throughout the year when we plan and book more holidays and trips. But I am wondering how we are going to top last year’s holidays. After all, we started ticking off some of our family travel bucket list destinations and visited one or two very special places, such as Lapland. So, with it being January and a New Year, I thought I would share with you the Passports and Adventures 10 Family Travel Goals for 2019.
I’ll be honest and say I’d totally forgotten to write our holiday plans post, until the lovely people over at Clickstay did a shout-out for travel bloggers to share their top 10 travel goals for 2019. Clickstay is the number one site for finding amazing villas in incredible places around the world. And those of us who share our 2019 travel goals will be in with a chance to win a £600 Clickstay voucher towards one of our dream holidays. So, while we have some of our holidays planned, we also have one or two we haven’t booked and one or two we’d love to do. I’m sharing with you our current 2019 travel goals and also some we’d love to achieve, maybe with the help of that prize. Make sure you VOTE for us!
5 Travel Goals we’ve already booked for 2019
Dublin for an Aslan concert and St Patrick’s Day
Our first trip was booked just a week ago. My husband was browsing Facebook, as you do of an evening, when he noticed that one of our favourite Irish bands is playing over St Patricks weekend. We haven’t seen Aslan in concert since before we left Ireland in 2004 and with the lead singer battling cancer, we fear it might be our last chance to see him in concert. Our son has also never experienced a St Patrick’s Day in Dublin yet and what better time than this year.
However, it is with some trepidation that we booked the tickets. You see, it will be the first time EVER we will have left our son of an evening to go out. In over five years we have never left him for an evening, meaning we’ve not had a date night in the same time period. But, with one of my sister’s kindly offering to babysit, my other sister booked our tickets, we booked our flight, the grandparents have agreed to look after the dog, and we are returning to Dublin for our first date night in 5 years and our first St Patrick’s Day at home for over 15.
Finally going East as a family
My husband is an IT consultant and as a result of his job, he has travelled to the likes of India and Singapore. However, neither our son nor I have ever travelled that far east. I’ve been to Saudi Arabia during my childhood but that’s as far as I ever got. And there are many places in the Far East that made our family travel bucket list. So, last year we bit the bullet and booked our flights and accommodation to help tick off one of those destinations – Thailand.
It’s been a dream of both my husband’s and I to visit Thailand and it was high on our must-visit bucket list. As we are working our way through our bucket list, and having gone west in 2017 for our big holiday, we decided east it was for 2019. We are finally visiting Thailand as a family and will be spending a week in Krabi in the south before returning to experience Bangkok for a few days.
Then, as we are flying with Emirates for our trip between Lisbon and Thailand, we discovered we could do an extended stop-over in Dubai without it costing us anything additional where our flights were concerned. Well, it had to be done. So, on our return trip we are stopping in Dubai for three days to see what it has to offer. And I can’t believe it is just over three months until we set off. I’m just not looking forward to the 25 hours of travel to reach our destination and start our holiday. Wish us luck.
London for the girls
A few years ago, two of my sisters and I went to London for a girl’s weekend while attending a Take That concert, who I’ve been a fan of since I was 14. We had an awesome weekend and it was so good, we decided to make it an annual event. Last year our other sister joined us, along with one of my sister’s best friend who is like a surrogate sister. The five of us hit Edinburgh and loved every minute of the Scottish capital.
Well, this year sees another girls weekend, and a return trip to London for another Take That concert. And this time all five of us will be attending, even though 2 aren’t huge fans. As soon as the concert tickets were in the bag, I booked my flight and sorted out our accommodation. The girls have just booked their flights and we’re starting to plan what we’ll get up to around the concert. It’ll be another weekend we will “Never Forget”.
Lisbon for the lads
Mr Passports has a few solo days in Lisbon planned before the girls London trip, as he is joining a friend for a Metallica concert. Last year this same friend had booked tickets for himself and Mr Passports to attend a Guns’N’Roses concert in Barcelona as they worked out cheaper than attending one of the UK dates. When I found out that there were direct flights from Faro to Barcelona, Alex and I hijacked the trip and we made it a family long-weekend in Barcelona. And we loved the city.
However, this year Mr Passports concert is mid-week, so he’ll be enjoying Lisbon himself with his mate while I stay at home and do the school runs. I’m sure he is looking forward to revisiting the city we discovered last August as a family.
A Summer Irish road-trip
Regular followers of the blog will remember that Alex and I enjoyed a road trip around southern Ireland last Easter where we discovered some of the best castles in Ireland to visit with kids. Mr Passports didn’t join us as he was working.
Well, to escape some of the summer heat this year, Alex and I are embarking on another solo trip to Ireland for two weeks in August. We’ll be basing ourselves in Dublin, staying with one of my sisters. While we’re home, we’ve got a few days booked in the West of Ireland where we will get to explore the Burren, Galway and might even visit the Cliffs of Moher.
And after we’ve visited the ‘Wesht’ we’ll enjoy day trips around Dublin to visit places I haven’t visited since I was a child such as Malahide Castle and Howth. We’ll do lots of family-friendly things and will visit places such as the Natural History Museum and Dublin Zoo. I am really looking forward to having time to catch up with family as well.
5 Travel Goals we’d love to achieve in 2019
Discover Andalusia on a road trip
The Spanish region of Andalusia lies just across the border from where we live in Portugal. Just a 20-minute drive from our home is the Portuguese-Spanish border, meaning this beautiful region of Spain is within driving distance for us. And, since discovering our love of road trips after our two-week road trip from Portland to Yellowstone and back again in 2017, this would be the perfect road trip for us to do before the summer ends and school starts again.
We’ve roughly planned out this trip and there’s a high probability, if our saving for our new home goes well in the early part of this year, this will be our road trip for the year. I’ve found the most stunning villa in Cordoba which would be the perfect place to start this road trip.
We would then move onto Granada to visit the stunning Alhambra before moving onto Cadiz via Ronda. And we’d finally end our trip in Seville which we by-passed when we emigrated south from the UK. It would be a two-week trip to remember.
Revisit Lisboa as a family
Last year we did a one-week road trip around Central Portugal, visiting places like Lousã and Nazare before ending our trip with three days in Lisbon. While Mr Passports has travelled through Lisbon on flights, neither he nor us as a family ever visited the city before last year. And we loved the city. We had two and a half days in the city and, while we did and saw many things, there was still so much of the city we didn’t see.
We’d love to fly back up as there are cheap direct flights between Faro and Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal. Instead of staying outside the city like last year, I’d stay in central Lisbon and have found an amazing apartment in Lisbon on the Clickstay website is ideally located for exploring the city centre.
Discover the real King’s Landing of Dubrovnik
Croatia has long been on our bucket list and was nearly a contender for our European road trip this year. However, with us saving for a bigger place, we couldn’t justify the cost of a two-week road trip around Croatia and Slovenia as we had hoped. Instead we would love a long weekend in the city that plays host to scenes from one of our favourite TV shows, Game of Thrones.
Dubrovnik has been used for scenes involving King’s Landing and there are Game of Thrones walking tours that you can join. Instead of our road trip around the northern half of Croatia, a long weekend in this southern city might be just the ticket. We could see some of the areas of the city featured in the TV show while ticking off another bucket list city for us. And with the Old City of Dubrovnik being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it would be another UNESCO World Heritage Site we’ll have visited, having visited no less than 6 last year during our various travels.
Visit Paris, the most romantic city in the world, as a family
Mr Passports travels to Paris regularly to meet with clients and while we have visited Disneyland Paris as a family, we haven’t taken our son into the centre of Paris yet. Mr Passports and I visited Paris every year for the five years before our son came along and we haven’t been back together since. It’s time to change that.
This year we’d love to start discovering our favourite city in the world but from a different aspect. In previous visits, we’ve visited Pere Lachaise Cemetery before racing across the city to have dinner on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. They were always busy weekends and always from a couple’s perspective. This year I’d love to visit the city from a family angle. We’d seek out activities and museums that are suitable for families with young children and we’d certainly take things a bit more slowly. Perhaps Alex and I can join Mr Passports for a long weekend in Paris after he is finished his client work one week. Watch this space.
Start planning our 2020 mammoth trip
Here in Portugal, children don’t start formal schooling until the age of 6, so we have another 18 months to enjoy holidays during term-time. And Easter 2020 is when we are thinking of doing our most ambitious trip to date. We have a few friends who live in New Zealand and they are regularly asking when we are going to visit. Well, 2020 might be the year to change that.
If we’re going that far we would plan it to be a three- or four-week trip. After all, it’s going to take us the guts of a day and a half to get there. Our plan would be to have a stop-over, both on the way there and on the way back, taking in Singapore and Hong Kong. We’d spend at least two weeks in New Zealand, touring parts of the north and south islands as well as seeing friends. And while we’re that far, we’re also considering a few days in the Cook Islands.
You see, a mammoth trip, and one we would need to plan from this year. There are flights to consider, car hire, accommodation and also conversations to be had with my parents about looking after the dog for that long. But how awesome would it be to tick off New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Cook Islands in one fell swoop.
As you can see, we’ve some amazing trips already planned for 2019 and some travel goals which would round the year off nicely. And what better way to start the New Year in 2020 than having a trip to New Zealand in the plans. A lot depends on how we get on with saving for our new home and buying it. But either way it’s great to have travel goals to keep us motivated.
If you are on the hunt for some amazing accommodation for your travels in 2019, check out the Clickstay website. And please vote for us when it opens to the public, so we might be able to tick off one of our travel goals yet to be booked for 2019.