Travel plans for 2014

The last two years have been all about life-changing (and expensive) events for me – first buying a house and then getting married. But things are quietening down in 2014, which should leave me with more time and money to devote to travel. I’ve already christened it the ‘year of holidays’, so it’s got a lot to live up to! I’ll be carrying on my Take 12 Trips mission to take at least one trip each month, whether local or long-haul. The travel fund was topped up at the end of last year when I was lucky enough to win the Travel Your Way photo competition, so I’ve been on a bit of a flight booking spree and am getting my planning hat on. My plans for the next 12 months take me to new parts of the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond, and I’ll be ticking at least one trip off my travel wish-list. Here’s where 2014 is taking me so far…

Honeymooning in…

With all the planning and decision-making that comes with organising a wedding, the most difficult choice for me was always going to be where to go on honeymoon. I struggled with the big honeymoon question for months, but finally narrowed the shortlist down to Belize, South Africa, Sri Lanka or the Maldives. So where did we finally decide on? Err, well none of the above! In the end we decided to stick with our original idea of doing several smaller trips to spread the honeymoon out over a year rather using up all our holiday time and money in one go. So we’re starting off with a trip to Morocco, where we’ll be drinking mint tea on riad roof terraces, getting lost in the souks and doing a thorough tagine taste test.

Spices in a market in Marrakech, Morocco

Moroccan spice stall – photo credit Matthew Paulson

Exploring the north-east of England

Travel’s not all about foreign countries, and although I try to see as much of my own country as I can, there’s one area that I’ve missed so far – the north-east of England. But this year I’ll be trying to remedy that, starting off with a weekend in Newcastle for the Traverse travel blogging conference in February. Then later in the year I’ll be heading even further north where we’re renting a house up on the Northumberland coast for a family trip. We’ll be just across the water from Holy Island and Lindesfarne Priory, and am hoping to get some great photos of the area’s stunning beaches, ruins and castles.

Lindesfarne Island in Northumbria

Lindesfarne Priory in Northumberland – photo credit Stewart Cutler

Miami and the Florida Keys

After a fantastic road trip around the southwest USA last year, this April I’ll be heading Stateside again. First I will be back in Las Vegas for a week, where while my husband works at a conference I’ll be showing friends the sights and searching out the more quirky things to do. Then we fly on to Miami and spend a few days in the city, checking out the Art Deco buildings and the beautiful people on South Beach. I’ll then be ticking the Everglades off my US National Park wishlist before heading south into the Florida Keys for a few days of relaxation and cocktails in the laid-back beach town of Key West.

Sunset in the Florida Keys, USA

Sunset in the Florida Keys – photo credit Kristel Hayes

The Norwegian fjords (third time lucky)

If you’ve read my previous travel plan posts then you might be getting a sense of deja vu here. Visiting the Norwegian fjords with my mum has been on the list for the last two years, but circumstances have conspired against us and we’ve never quite managed it. But 2014 will be the year we finally do – and I’ve booked the flights already to make sure of it! And we’ll be doing it in style as I cashed in a stash of air miles to get tickets in business class, so we’ll be taking full advantage of the airport lounges and free Champagne. Once in Norway we will be based in the coastal city of Bergen, heading out to explore the mountains on the scenic Flåm Railway and cruising through the fjords.

Sailing the ffords in Norway

The fjords of Norway – photo credit Anita

A mini European rail adventure

I’m a huge fan of train travel and would love to do a big Interrail adventure, exploring the far corners of Europe by train. But rather than keep putting it off until I have a spare month, I’m starting smaller with a week-long mini European rail adventure. The plan is to start off in Austria, so my husband can indulge his love of Mozart, and I can indulge my slightly lower-brow love of The Sound of Music. Then from there we have lots of routes to choose from – we could go north into Germany, west into Switzerland or south into Italy – but eventually we’ll head into France and end up in Paris for the Eurostar back home.

European rail journey in the Austrain mountains

Taking the train through Austria – photo credit Michael Hanisch

So that takes me up as far as the autumn of 2014. Then later in the year I will hopefully be setting foot on a completely new continent for the first time – but you’ll have to wait to find out more about that!

How about you, what are your travel plans for 2014 so far? Or do you have any tips for me on any of the destinations I’ll be visiting?

Comments

  1. says

    All sounds really exciting Lucy – Bergen and Norwegian Fjords have long been on my wish list. I’ve spent time in Northumberland and loved it so hope you do too – it’s one of my favourite UK destinations. I’m off skiing in Morzine on Sunday followed by a trip to Iceland at the end of the month. We have yet to decide on this years ‘big’ holiday – best keep working hard eh! Enjoy all your travels this year – I’m looking forward to tagging along virtually! Congratulations on your winning photograph too!

    • says

      Thanks Suzanne, I though it was about time I actually made it to the Norwegian fjords after planning it for so long! Really looking forward to seeing Northumberland too as I’ve seen so many photos of the beautiful landscapes up there. Enjoy Morzine (I didn’t manage to squeeze in a ski trip this year unfortunately) and Iceland, I spent a weekend in Reykjavik years ago and would love to go back and try to spot those elusive lights!

  2. says

    The year of holidays sounds great! Love the sound of your rail trip. I’m looking at options for Croatia as I type this eating my lunch! And I’m so glad you’re going to Traverse! Looks like I’ll see you in Newcastle…

    • says

      Fantastic, we’ll have to have a mini #Take12Trips meet up in Newcastle! Croatia sounds great, I did wonder if I could fit it into my rail trip but might end up being a bit of an epic journey so maybe one to save for next year!

  3. says

    Oh all your plans sound fantastic! I feel a bit of envy creeping in there :) I intend to #Take12Trips myself this year. In fact I’m heading to Austria as well :) Combining that with a few days in Prague, over Easter. Along with that I have a few trips planned within India itself… But I really look forward to tagging virtually along on your trips :)

    • says

      Thank you – and good to have you joining in with #Take12Trips! Look forward to reading and getting some tips about Austria, and hope you enjoy Prague, I spent my birthday there a couple of years ago! Happy travels for 2014.

    • says

      I’m so excited to finally make it to Norway! Loved your photos from out there and we are definitely going to do the Flam railway – fingers crossed for some good weather!

  4. says

    Good post Lucy! Like you, I totally believe that to travel you don’t have to go too far ;) Now that I live in Scotland I plan on knowing the whole of Britain better!

    Happy travels!

  5. says

    Well since you like the Sound of Music perhaps a visit to Zadar, Croatia would suit? Georg von Trapp was born in Zadar, which was then a part of Austro-Hungary :D

  6. Sami says

    Hello Lucy, some god places to see for you this year, I’ll love to see the norwegian fjord’s someday !! For me, this year i’ll go in Mexico in february (DF & the Yucatan peninsula), La Réunion and Mauritius on april, the out islands of Bahamas on july with one stop at Miami and meeting familly in California in august.

    Your blog is amazing and I try to make one too, but sorry, it’s in french ! samiharrat.wordpress.com

    • says

      Hi Sami, thanks for commenting – it sounds like you have some great plans for 2014, I’m very jealous of all those tropical beaches! Good luck with your blog too, I will have a read (I could do with practicing my very rusty French!).

  7. says

    That only takes you to autumn?!?!!? What an incredible travel year you have planned, Lucy! The more photos I see of Norway, the more I want to visit. I’m glad to hear that you’ll finally make it there. Have a great 2014!

    • says

      Thanks so much! The end of the year will definitely be a bit sparser on the travel front if I manage to fit all these in, but hopefully I can squeeze in one last trip to 2014! Hope you have a fantastic year too.

  8. says

    While in Salzburg, you should definitely take a Sound of Music Tour!! It sounds cheesy, but you visit nearly all of the sites from the movie and it’s one of my favorite tours I’ve ever done. I believe it takes all day, but it’s affordable and so worth it!
    Enjoy!
    xGillian

    • says

      I love to have something planned to look forward to, especially during the depressing wet cold English winter! Really looking forward to revisiting Morocco, I spent a week there about eight years ago and can’t wait to see (and eat!) more.

  9. says

    Congratulations on winning the travel competition! I love your travel plans for this year! Everglades National Park gets a lot of hype, but I have never known anyone who has been so I’m excited to hear your thoughts on it! Norwegian fjords and Bergen sound fantastic, I have heard they are beautiful! Austria (particularly Salzburg) was one of my favorite trips. A fellow Sound of Music fan, I thoroughly enjoyed reliving the locations of the movie. The tour may sound cliche, but its definitely worth it. Interesting to see where you choose to go from there! Happy travels!

    • says

      The tour sounds great, I am so up for being a Sound of Music tourist! So difficult to decide where to go from Austria, there are so many options. Happy travels for 2014 for you too!

  10. says

    The Florida Keys and Everglades are really cool. Try to catch sunrise at the Anhinga trail in the Everglades and if you drive to Key West, stop by Alabama Jacks on the way. It is pure redneck Florida at its best.

    Money saving tip: in Key West, it is legal to drink in public. Get your beer from a corner store and drink on the street vs. buying at a bar and walking around.

  11. says

    This all sounds brilliant Lucy and has made me start thinking I need to start organising a few more holidays! I love the idea of breaking up your honeymoon into smaller trips, you’re going to have so many amazing memories:)

    • says

      We were a bit tempted to blow all our honeymoon money on a luxury trip but having a few different trips to look forward too if definitely more my style! Here’s to lots of great travels to come in 2014.

  12. says

    Hi Lucy,

    Morocco sounds like a great place for a honeymoon, in regards to your inter rail trip, how long do you intend on being on the train? It’s something i’ve wanted to do for ages but don’t want to be stuck on a train for too much of it.

    Will.

    • says

      Hi Will, I’m the same and don’t want to spend too long on the train, so am choosing places fairly close together – most journeys are about 1.5 to 3 hours so not too long, and where there is a longer one I’ll stay in one place for a few days after to make up for it. Definitely not keen on spending the whole time on the move!

  13. says

    That sounds awesome. I’m actually going to combine travel and putting on blog conferences this year to help pay for the travel. Nothing like doing awesome stuff and meeting bloggers

  14. says

    Your plans sound fantastic! I’m always a bit jealous of you Europeans because everything is fairly close for you to visit – not like us Americans who have to fly over an ocean ( and in my case, a continent, too) to get to lovely Europe! But then, I realize that I have so many beautiful places to explore so close to where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so my jealousy subsides!! But I still dream of Europe and can’t wait for my next trip to explore something new! When my daughter studied in Salzburg one summer, she grabbed some friends, rented a bike, and made her own Sound of Music tour! In fact, tourists asked her if she was leading a real tour! Seems to me she could have earned a bit of spending money if she had said “yes”! Have fun!

    • says

      Thanks, yes we are definitely lucky having Europe so close by – though I love the States too (San Francisco is a lovely city) and am jealous of your cheap flights to Canada and the Caribbean! Your daughter’s plan of making up her own tour sounds great, I might have to get researching the sites before I go and can do my own!

  15. says

    Sounds like a packed.year already. While.in Miami eat a Cuban sandwich and be sure to get a glimpse of Hemingway cats in key west. Also on the drive out there, John pennycamp on key largo has a kitschy little snorkel place.

    This year I know that New York, Florida, and Nova Scotia are on the list. I would also like to add a Caribbean cruise.

    • says

      Thanks for the Florida tips, I will definitely check them out. Sounds like you have some good travel plans in the pipeline too – the Caribbean would be fantastic! Hope you have a great 2014.

  16. says

    I love the idea of spreading out your honeymoon over a year! In the highly unlikely event that I ever get married I may steal that idea.

    Lindisfarne is definitely worth a visit, but pay attention to the tide warnings. I wouldn’t want you to be one of those silly tourists who gets stuck on the causeway ;-) While you’re in the North East, I also recommend visiting Alnwick (Alnwick Castle was used in the Harry Potter films and in Blackadder), Hexham and any of the sites along Hadrian’s Wall.

  17. says

    Love your plans for this year :-) I’m originally from Newcastle and spent a lot of time in Northumberland as a kid. I know I’m biased but it really is a stunning part of the country and so underrated, the benefit of that is it’s always quiet and peaceful. Looking forward to reading about Florida and Norway too!

  18. says

    We booked tickets to Norway for 2014 as well. Was not on the radar as a trip we thought we’d take any time soon, but Norwegian airlines started flying direct from the closest airport to me in CA and we couldn’t pass up $250 one way. So excited!

  19. says

    A great set of plans. Have done all except Morocco, although it keeps cropping up in family travel conversations so maybe we will get here soon. Easter is a possibility. Of all the things you list, Northumberland is the one that makes me salivate the most. We had a wonderful week staying in a cottage in Seahouses back in August 2009. I feelin. Love with the county and will definitely go back. It’s just so damned photogenic! I defy anyone to come away from there without at least one stunning image. I am sure you will bag a lot.

    • says

      Really looking forward to Northumberland too – I’ve seen so many beautiful images from up there and compared to lots of the UK it seems relatively overlooked too. Fingers crossed I get some good weather to go with it!

      • says

        It’s amazing even in its default foul weather. ;). I see you are planning to visit Lindisfarne. A tip from our experience: most people squeeze their visit to the hours between high tides so if you stay on the island during the high tide, you have it nearly to yourself! If you can make time, you should also see Bamburgh Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle. The former is in good condition and is open to the public. The latter is a ruin but so romantically set above the shore it’s impossible not to get great shots. Alnwick is cool. It has a world class bookshop not to be missed and the gardens are a full day in themselves. My kids loved the Poison Garden best. And you can do a Harry Potter tour in Alnwick Castle. Always fun.

  20. says

    Knew it was gonna be another great year for you, Lucy, and congrats on winning Travel My Way :) Thanks for reminding me about Traverse. I meant to check it out. Might see you up there but otherwise feel free to give me a shout. Lindisfarne is fabulous, Bamburgh and Alnwick, Dunstanburgh- the list goes on! Hope you get the weather because it’s beautiful. :)

    • says

      Thanks so much – will definitely give you a shout when I am up in the north-east (and all Northumberland tips gratefully received, though we have a while as not going til September!). Hope you have a great year and lots of travels to come too.

  21. says

    Looks like you have an exciting year ahead! You are going to LOVE the Norwegian fjords. I went up the Flåm railway and on a cruise through the fjords a few years ago and it was breathtaking. Would love to go again!

    • says

      I’m so looking forward to it! It’s been a long time on the wish list so it’s great that we will finally make it out there this year. Just planning what to do but the Flåm railway and fjord cruise are definites!

  22. says

    Wow, I love love love the idea of breaking your honeymoon up into several small trips.. There are so many weird and wonderful places on my list that I can’t even imagining picking just one as ‘the trip’ that people will be asking you about (‘What did you do on your honeymoon?’ etc!!!) over and over again for the next five years…. Brilliant, brilliant idea.

    • says

      Thank you! Yes that’s exactly it, there wasn’t one single place that I wanted to visit so much more than the others, so this way we get to see a few different places and make some great memories in our first married year. Maybe I should be calling it the ‘year of honeymoons’ rather than the ‘year of holidays’!

  23. says

    Hi Lucy! I’m a newbie on WordPress and fellow travel enthusiast! I love your idea of spreading your holiday throughout the year, and your list looks exciting! I constantly find myself searching out new places to experience and booking the next flight out. I hope your 2014 travels take you to new travel heights!

    • says

      Thanks Lauren, I’m the same – always planning and looking for the next flight or trip. Hope you have some great travels coming up in 2014 and best of luck with your new blog!

  24. says

    Congratulations on winning the competition. I had no idea. How did I miss that – such wonderful news! 2014 looks like it wil be another ecxciting year for you. I’m off to Norway myself in a couple in March and I can’t wait.

    • says

      Thanks Kathryn, that was a great extra Christmas present! Very pleased, and will put it to good use on some of my trips for this year. Hope you have a great trip to Norway in March and fingers crossed you’ll spot the Northern Lights!

  25. says

    Hi, Northumberland has got so much going for it and uncrowded too. Sights we recommend – Bamburgh Castle, Alnwick Castle, Farne Islands boat trip from Seahouses (seal & bird spotting), Berwick Upon Tweed for a rainy day and the Northumberland National Park.

    Just a week to go from Austria to Paris by train? Not sure about that. Nevertheless, here is a link
    an interactive map of Austria to Paris rail lines. (from the excellent Man@seat61)

    http://www.seat61.com/Austria.htm#.UvF1qumPOUl

    • says

      Thanks for the Northumberland tips – we have it booked for September now so will start looking into what to see while we’re up there. Still working on the rail trip itinerary, there are so many route options to choose from – Seat 61 is great though, I’ve been using it for years.

    • says

      Thanks for the Mount Floyen tip, that’s definitely on the to do list. As is an independent version of the Norway in a Nutshell trip so as to avoid the crowds. We plan to stay in a self catering apartment at least part of time so hopefully that’ll help with the food costs – I’ve seen some of those prices, wow!

  26. says

    2014 sounds action packed! I’m personally looking forward to reading about your mini European rail adventure! Spreading out travel over a larger timeframe constantly gives you something to plan and look forward to. Happy travels!

    • says

      Thanks so much, yes it should be a good one! I’m just planning my European rail trip at the moment and have Strasbourg, Vienna and hopefully some of the Swiss mountain railways down so far so can’t wait.

  27. says

    Well you certainly know how to make an old woman jealous! I love lots of little trips too though 2013 tended to be a ‘staycation’ year for some odd reason. I’m hoping 2014 might improve on that. Norway is a fab destination, I was lucky enough to work there for 6 months in 1973 – yes I know a very long time ago – the fjords are wonderful. If you can make it to Stalheim Hotel nr Voss then do yourself a favour, it is a delightful spot with stunning scenery (and a lovely cream tea too). I look forward to following your journeys this year.
    Jude xx

    • says

      Thanks so much! I am so looking forward to Norway, my mum and I have been talking about going for years so we’re excited to finally make it. It’ll be my first trip to Scandinavia and there’s a lot of other places I want to see there so this might start off an expensive new obsession!
      Look forward to seeing where your 2014 travels take you too xx

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