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If you could go anywhere, where would you go? (Major first world problem alert)

(49 Posts)
downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 09:17:01

In about 2 years' time, DH and I (40s, no kids) have the opportunity to travel the world for 13 months. We can go literally anywhere. The only limit is money - we will probably have around £25k to spend. Neither of us is particularly a devotee of first class and 5* travel (though obviously those things are nice)- we are happy to fly economy and stay in more basic places if need be. For practical reasons, we are probably looking at several separate trips rather than one continuous one.

However, the options and choice are so vast that we are struggling to come up with any concrete plans! I find myself staring at the map, thinking I just want to see everything and being totally unsure where to staty. We both love historic sites, beautiful architecture and nature. I would appreciate advice from the well-travelled about how to start planning this!

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Hollowvictory Tue 30-Apr-19 09:20:36

Start at trail finders. Australia would be on my list.

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 09:26:46

Trailfinders the travel agents?

DH is quite keen on Aus or NZ.

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Hollowvictory Tue 30-Apr-19 09:29:27

Yes the travel agent, trailfinders

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 09:45:46

I'm embarrassed to say I've never used a travel agent before! I always book flights and accommodation direct. smile

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WBWIFE Tue 30-Apr-19 09:47:26

I have been to Australia and NZ AND recommend both. Especially NZ. We are also going to Bali this week, which looks lovely.

Friends have been to Thailand and Singapore and recommend.

Do Australia and hire or buy a van and do the west coast!

JaneEyre07 Tue 30-Apr-19 09:49:17

I'd start off in NZ and Australia for 6 months, then come back to Europe and meander around some of the beautiful cities especially Switzerland and Austria. Then go across the atlantic and travel across Canada by rail, ending up in Alaska and going whale watching.

I've already planned out our first year of retirement lol.... only 20 years to wait!

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 09:49:49

Just googled some images of the west coast of Australia (geography is not my strong suit) and WOW, it looks beautiful. Love the van idea!

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greenlynx Tue 30-Apr-19 09:50:29

Iceland would be on my list.

WBWIFE Tue 30-Apr-19 09:55:25

You will love it OP. Bali also looks stunning and isnt far from Australia either. I'll let you know how nice it is Saturday when we arrive!

K456789 Tue 30-Apr-19 10:04:21

Vietnam, my husband and I went to Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City last year and each place was beautiful. We just booked through Skyscanner for the long haul flights (flew in out and of Bangkok and spent a few days there) and then the internal flights using Vietnam Airlines and found it so easy to plan where we wanted to go.

WhatHaveIFound Tue 30-Apr-19 10:06:57

I second Vietnam and you could make it a bigger SE trip by including Thailand & Cambodia. We took the DC a few years ago and tagged on a few days in Singapore too.

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 10:09:25

WBWIFE - Please do send me full bulletins! grin It sounds like an incredible holiday! How long are you there for?

Vietnam looks beautiful!!

I am not sure about the balance of short and long haul. This is one of the things I am struggling with. I have always wanted to go to Iceland too greenlynx, but I also know I can get there relatively easily in a 'normal' year as it's a short way and there are lots of relatively inexpensive flights (though I understand it is very pricey once you get there?). I don't know how much I should prioritise doing things I wouldn't otherwise be able to do. I've never had an extended period of travel in my life before - it's always been holidays sandwiched in between work. So I'm a bit at sea.

One thing I am thinking about is the west coast of the USA, maybe a road trip? Or is that a rubbish idea?

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Lala503 Tue 30-Apr-19 10:18:26

I'll go against the grain and say that given that opportunity (I can dream!) we would probably give Australia a miss and be a bit more adventurous.

India, Chile, Brazil, Vietnam, China, Namibia spring to mind. I've been to a few of these places but would love to go back and spend more time there.. for me you can do 2 week trips to much of Europe whilst also holding down a job, but it's the long haul destinations that are tricky with jobs/young kids. Also once you pay for flights they are pretty cheap when you're actually there.

Daisypie Tue 30-Apr-19 10:18:39

What about a round the world ticket? Then you can go Asia, Australia and US.

lekkerkroketje Tue 30-Apr-19 10:32:35

If you're thinking of doing several trips, how about 2 months 1st class interrailling in Europe? Then you save a bit of carbon and could do a 'slow' trip as well as a high octane adventurous longhaul. You could go east-west Bucharest-Lisbon, north-south Sicily-Norway, or all the wine regions in France/Italy/Spain, or climb 5 alpine mountains, or ski in Sierra Nevada, Andorra, France, Switzerland, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Norway, Scotland all in the same winter, or 10 roman cities, or 5 biggest ports, or all the Michelangelo's in Europe or something that fits with whatever geeky interest you may have. I know that there's heaps in Europe that are on my 'maybe one day' list or 'if there's a work trip', but when it comes to booking holidays, I always go to the beach or Paris instead!

Linguaphile Tue 30-Apr-19 10:51:26

We used to live in Asia so have travelled a fair bit there, but still more to see and totally worth a long leg to just explore. I agree that European destinations and even some in the Middle East are doable in regular one and two week holidays. We’ve got a week each in Cairo and Jordan for example and the flights are only maybe 4 hours, so not a big trip. Bearing that in mind, some of our more far-flung bucket list items for the next few years include:

- Safari in multiple locations in Africa followed by Zanzibar beaches
- India (Taj Mahal, tiger reserve, etc)
- SE Asia trip to include Bagan valley of temples (Myanmar), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) and Siem Reap (Cambodia). We’ve done a fair bit of Thailand and Indonesia but both are worth visiting on that leg if you haven’t been.
- Japan and China
- Australia and NZ
- South America (Machu Picchu, Patagonia in Chile, Rio, Angel Falls, Galápagos Islands)
- USA road trip with maybe a Caribbean cruise
- Somewhere like the Seychelles or Maldives or Fiji for an ultimate luxury overwater bungalow experience

If I had to pick one for a prolonged visit with kids it would probably be S America as that’s hardest to get to! Asia and Africa feel slightly more accessible and the US is too safe for a once in a lifetime experience. For just adults I’d go for something luxurious and romantic that I’d never be likely to repeat, like Fiji and Bora Bora.

ToothlessReg Tue 30-Apr-19 12:30:00

You lucky thing! shock
I would pick an area and backpack - can you do a few months in one go?

Book a flight and have a plan for your first week or so, then decide where you fancy and plan as you go. I’d probably choose to head to south east Asia if you’ve not been before, as it’s so easy to backpack and also cheap. You don’t have to stay in hostels, we mostly do guest houses, small family owned hotels / beach bungalows or apartments, although hostels can be great for meeting others and finding trips / transport. you can get a private double room in many, so no dorm living!

Vietnam is brilliant for backpackers, can work your way through into Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore... Indonesia is fab for island hopping and so much to see.

It might be worth getting a travel book and seeing if there’s anywhere you particularly fancy. I’ve got Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist and The World which might be good starting points smile

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 13:06:11

Wow, these are brilliant suggestions. Thank you so much! South East Asia is clearly coming out as a destination so many of you have found amazing!

Africa interests me a lot. Such a vast continent, and it would be amazing so see some of the wildlife. I just have no experience going to a destination like that, so not sure what I would need, IYSWIM. I do actually have a friend in Uganda I could visit smile.

Toothless - we have writing to do during the year, but apart from that we are pretty flexible. So we can go for several months at a time (or even live somewhere else for the entire year if we want). But we are thinking that it might work better to do periods of intense work and then trips, e.g. 8 weeks intense writing, 3 weeks travel. But part of my conflict is that I don't really know if that makes best use of the time as it cuts down on the longer adventures.

I didn't know there were Ultimate Travelist books - this sounds like a great starting point.

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ToothlessReg Tue 30-Apr-19 14:22:38

This ones my favourite - we get lots of ideas and put stickers next to each place we visit!

Personally I’d choose to go for a longer trip if you’re able to. I only manage 3 weeks at a time as that’s all work will allow but it means only really focusing on 1-2 countries and having to spend more money as you need to get about quicker. For me, the dream is a 4-6 month stint. If you’re writing could you take some with you? My friend travelled whilst writing up her PHD - rented her house out and worked her way around Asia with her laptop!

If you like architecture and nature SE Asia gives so many options. If you want to go on safari in Africa, you could easily blow a big chunk of your budget for a 2 week trip! I have a few friends who have done longer backpacking trips around Southern Africa but they are very experienced travellers. South Africa / Namibia might be a bit easier.

thenightsky Tue 30-Apr-19 14:33:53

You lucky thing! smile

Me, I'd go to French Polynesia/South Pacific, via Easter Island if possible. They are the 2 places I've been obsessed with reading about since I was about 9 and picked up a National Geographic magazine in a waiting room.

Snog Tue 30-Apr-19 14:34:34

£25k doesn't sound like that much for two of you for 13 months.
I'd do a US road trip plus Hawaii but I think you might run out of money after 3-4 months?

Alternatively choose somewhere with a low cost of living, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia etc?

Snog Tue 30-Apr-19 14:35:26

Or loo at being a digital nomad maybe? Loads of YouTube's to watch on that subject!

NorthernRunner Tue 30-Apr-19 14:40:31

Tokyo is essential.
It’s like nothing else. I would start with Shibuya, then go on to Shinjuku, Osaka, Kyoto, and finish with trip to Mount Fuji. Shibuya is mental, you don’t need more than a day there. Shinjuku is not so busy, more green spaces, Osaka and Kyoto are beautiful. Especially in March!

downcasteyes Tue 30-Apr-19 15:50:51

"If you’re writing could you take some with you?"

We absolutely definitely could. I think it's just a question of balancing the need to be productive and the desire to make the best of the travel opportunity. I do hear you on this being one of the only possibilities we will get until retirement to do a long trip - that is very much on my mind and I wonder if we will regret it if we go away for 6-7 shorter trips instead of for a longer time. Like you say, it's more expensive, not to mention less environmentally friendly, to take multiple flights. On the other hand, I feel like we might get more done (and at a higher quality) if we are at home and this is also important...

Moneywise, like I said, we aren't bothered about staying in more basic places. We have the money I mentioned saved up, but we will have incomes too during the year and if we do go away for longer, we might rent our house to a friend to help cover costs.

Japan is one of the few places I have been to @NorthernRunner: I did Tokyo, Kyoto and a a couple of other smaller places, arriving right in time for cherry blossom! Really loved it. It's definitely somewhere I'd spend more time. I've been to Beijing too, but there's so much more of China to see!

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