2020 Travel Plans

on December 28, 2019

I swear I love writing my annual travel plans blog post nearly as much as actually planning the travels! As in years past, I’ve organised this post into the travels I’ve already booked, the travels I’m planning but haven’t booked yet, and those destinations I’m just dreaming of…

Looking back on my 2019 travel plans I stuck to the plan pretty well! I jetted off to Nepal to hike Everest base camp, I went to the second annual women’s travel summit in Maine, popped over to England twice, hiked (and ate) through the Pacific Northwest with Dan, revisited Quebec, and did my best to continue exploring my home state of Michigan. In fact, I actually traveled waaaaaay more in 2019 than I was planning to!

Overlooking Howe Sound from a hike near Vancouver – a trip I actually didn’t *plan* on taking in 2019, but I’m sooo glad I did!

My travel goal for 2020

With that in mind, what is my travel goal for 2020? Instead of jumping on every opportunity to travel willy nilly, I want to go into this coming year with a goal in mind.

I want to travel less.

I know that sounds crazy coming from me – a true travel obsessive who, hello, has a whole blog about the topic. Just last week I turned down a press trip in July – a dream collaboration with my dream sustainable tour company to my dream destination – but the timing wasn’t quite right. It didn’t fit into my goal of traveling less in 2020 (trust me, this was painful).

Why on earth do I want to travel less in 2020?! To save money, yo. As much as I try to find affordable ways to travel, I travel so much that it adds up and really is my biggest expense. I’ve long had a dream to do a lengthy round-the-world trip. If I want that to become a reality I need to 1) save money, and 2) focus on my career.

I certainly don’t mean to give up traveling in 2020. I’m just planning to be much more mindful of the trips I do take. My international trips will be dedicated to seeing Dan – my international long distance boyfriend. And my other trips will need to have a really good justification and timing. Other than my international trips to see Dan, I’m looking at weekend trips only. Unfortunately those fab international press trips and collaborations with companies may have to wait another year…

2020 Travel Plans

Keeping in mind that I want to ‘travel less’ in 2020…. here are the dozens of places I want to go… ha!

Travels I’ve booked…

India // February

Ironically, the year of ‘traveling less’ is starting out with a 48 hour journey across the world to INDIA of all places! I’m spending a week in Chennai, in southern India, for one of my good friends’ weddings. We’ve been chatting about her wedding since the day we met four years ago as international students in England. It’s going to be an epic reunion!

^Check out the furniture design instagram account run by my friend Vaish, whose wedding I’m attending!

Sri Lanka // February

After the wedding week in India, Dan (who is coming as my plus one to the wedding) and I are hopping over to Sri Lanka. Due to our jobs, we only have seven days to explore Sri Lanka – a country most people recommend a minimum of three weeks. So we are sticking mostly to the south – starting out in Colombo, taking the train over to Ella for plenty of hiking, then down to Hiriketiya on the south coast which is supposed to be ‘Bali 20 years ago.’ It’s going to be a much-needed tropical vacation, but we are also working with two boutique hotels, which I’m quite excited to share about here!

Travels in the works…

Ohio // May

Okay, this definitely doesn’t sound as exotic as India and Sri Lanka, but I am quite excited about the possibility of heading to Ohio this May! This will mark my five year college reunion, and my little liberal arts school in rural Ohio is hosting a full weekend of festivities. I would absolutely love to attend, but I have to see how my work schedule adds up. Maybe 2020 will be the year of reunions?

Michigan // June + throughout

Being in an international long distance relationship, Dan and I have developed the rough schedule of seeing each other every 3-4 months. We usually trade off who travels each time. In June it will be Dan’s turn, and we are planning to do something low key in Michigan. He’s never been to the upper peninsula so we might take a week to explore!

I’m also planning to be based in Michigan through to the end of summer, at least. So I’ll try to explore my home state as much as possible! I’ve done a pretty good job of that the last two years – from a vintage car tour in Detroit, to dog sledding in the UP, and more. Still on my Michigan bucket list:

  • Kayaking turnip rock
  • Roadtrip through Northern Michigan lavender farms
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes (could never do this enough times!)
  • Camping in the Porcupine Mountains
  • Camping on Isle Royale
  • Surfing in Lake Michigan

And quite a bit more, which you can read in my quirky Michigan bucket list.

England // October

Again with the pesky international boyfriend (jokes, we love him)! Like I said, most of my big 2020 travel plans will be organized around visiting Dan. In October it will be my turn to visit Dan, and I will likely fly over to England for that (hopefully I can use my credit card points again for a free flight!). You know me, I’ve got to visit the UK at least once every year.

We will probably spend our time chilling at Dan’s home in Dorset, with a few adventures peppered in there. I would love to do a weekend in London, exploring new gluten free restaurants and finally seeing the Harry Potter play! There is also a gorgeous beach hut hotel that opened near Dan’s home – a ‘staycation’ there would be lovely.

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Old Harry Rocks in @visitdorsetofficial (where Dan lives) is one of my favorite hikes. On this day I was kinda jet lagged, but also so excited as I hadn’t seen Dan in 4 months. We clambered along the cliff and I made him take a few Instagram photos. ⠀ ⠀ I’m not sure Dan is really insta boyfriend material, as he is very stubborn and never does anything he doesn’t feel like doing 😂 However I discovered a few years ago that he actually has a great photographic eye. The photos he takes are generally my favourites… like this one! ⠀ ⠀ We are in the midst of planning our next adventure, this time when Dan comes stateside. We will be exploring Michigan, but heading to some new spots he has never seen before! If you’ve got any @puremichigan travel tips, send ‘em my way. And let me know your own travel plans for the Autumn! ✈️

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Poland for WITS // October

Now, this one is up in the air depending on my job situation. There is a chance I will have a full month off in October (long story). If this is the case, I’d love to extend my time in Europe. Dan’s nearest airport runs really cheap flights to Poland. It just so happens that the second annual Women in Travel Summit will be held in Gdansk, Poland in October… I’d love to go!

Florida // Sometime

I’ve been going to Florida nearly every year my whole life to see family. Sadly, my grandfather passed away in 2019, but my grandma, great aunt, and uncle still live in Florida. I’m not sure when or how it’s going to happen, but I’d love to visit them sometime in 2020.

Chicago // Sometime

On a similar note to the above, Chicago is another place I visit nearly every year. Two of my best friends from growing up now live in Chicago, and it’s a pretty easy five hour train journey for me to get there. So I’m not sure when, but I can definitely envision at least one weekend trip to Chicago in 2020.

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Long time no chat, Instagram. Life got overwhelming real fast, and I tend to shut down when that happens. Anyone else?⠀ ⠀ In the last month-ish I’ve been to 3 continents, 3 countries, and 7 states. A week after I returned to Michigan, my beloved grandfather passed away. My family has been grieving him, it’s been a really reflective time where I didn’t feel prepared to write about anything that wasn’t my grief, but also hardly had a second to sit down with those feelings and understand them.⠀ ⠀ My grandfather taught us all to never settle, he inspired my love of travel by taking me on a cruise through the Mediterranean at age 8 (I’ll never forget him encouraging me to down wine in Greece as a fourth grader – I thought I was so cool), he taught us all the value of good old fashioned hard work. He is truly missed but thanks to him I have the privilege of a pedestal from which to pursue my dreams. I hope not to waste that.⠀ ⠀ Looking forward to returning home from Tennessee tomorrow, getting into a summer routine, and actually NOT having any travel planned for the next few months. I need to be still. How have you all been lately?

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Toronto // Sometime

I’ve only been to Toronto once, and that was for less than 24 hours. It’s crazy to me as I only live four hours away by car! I’d love to take advantage of my home base in Michigan this year and visit Toronto… just for a weekend, but that would be fun.

Travels I’m dreaming of…

Australia

For the third year in a row, Australia makes my ‘dreaming of’ list… As I’ve mentioned before, one of my childhood best friends is now based in Melbourne. I’d really love to visit her there but unfortunately I don’t see the finances, life, and work schedules matching up this year. Never say never, though!

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@visitgreatoceanroad is known for its famous rock formations by the coast, but don't rush back to the city life after visiting these lookouts. Book accommodation for a few nights and witness icons like the Twelve Apostles or Gibson Steps against a glowing backdrop. It's the perfect way to find #yourhappyspace – chatting with good company whilst watching an unforgettable sunset. If you're looking for something active, try your hand (or legs) at a few days on the #GreatOceanWalk, a walking trail that stretches from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles. You can walk the entire trail or choose shorter itineraries and camp along the way to truly immerse yourself in this coastal landscape. Photo by @seeseaimages #visitvictoria #yourhappyspace #visitgreatoceanroad

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A retreat

I know, I know… super vague! But I have this urge to go on some kind of retreat in 2020. I’m thinking either a yoga or writing retreat. Something that will be rejuvenating but also creative. If you have any retreats you recommend, let me know!

Oh man, I could fall down a rabbit hole with all the other destinations and trips I’m dreaming of. But like I said, 2020 is about saving that money. I’ll be getting out those budgeting apps, cutting down on expenses, you name it. If anyone is interested in my journey to save money for a round-the-world trip… let me know. I’d be happy to blog about it in 2020 (though God knows I have plenty of previous travels I’ve yet to blog about…).

What are your 2020 travel plans? Do you have a general goal or theme in mind like I do? Please share in the comments below!

Sarah xx

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