Being a planner gets a bad rap. I know, because I love to plan. At uni, I would get my assignments and exam list and map out each study break for the whole semester to ensure that I never had to do uni work on a weekend or public holiday. Of course, I was often alone on those free weekends (not because no one likes to hang out with a planning nerd like me!) because everyone else was cramming and finishing assignments at 4am. See? The struggles are real for a planner.
Anyway, my planning ways have continued and indeed expanded in adult life, because now I have become a master of planning out my leisure time instead (in case you're wondering, my planning prowess doesn't extend to meals or housework or other boring stuff where it would probably be handy!). Why would I want to put structure around something as liberating as a holiday? Because a) it helps me squeeze every last drop of holiday time out of my year, b) it gives me plenty of time to look forward to the next adventure as soon as I've returned from the last one, and c) it means I can hunt down the best deals and nut out the best things to see and do - which in turns enables point a).
Now that we've got all of that out of the way, we can get to the five elements that I think comprise an awesome year of travel, complete with recommended dosages :) Enjoy!
1. The grand adventure
This is the trip that gets you out of bed on a Monday; the one you dream of (and plan for!) for months. You're ticking something off a bucket list, or seeing something you've been dying to see, or experiencing something you may never get another chance to experience. Unless you are a multi-gazillionaire or a backpacker on an endless tour, you will probably only fit one or two of these in a year - and if it's really grand, it might even be the trip that takes a couple of years to work up to. But this is the cherry on your travel cake, the jewel in your travel crown, so make it a good one!
Me? I've got South America in my sights - Brazil, Ecuador, maybe Chile and Argentina. Squeak!
2. The mid-season break/s
These are the trips that tide you over between grand adventures, without seriously impeding your ability to afford said grand adventure. I aim for one of these a year about half way between grand adventures if possible. They are good ones to fit in on school holidays - a week or maybe two. The best ones are pretty close by (no flight connections needed) but far enough that you couldn't just go whenever you felt like it. An extended camping trip (my family often goes to Woodgate in central Queensland) or a stay in a region you've always wanted to visit within your own country (I'd love to see the Margaret River in WA) are good options.
This year though, I'm aiming for Tonga and getting amongst it Pacific-style. Ahhh.
3. Long weekend getaways
This category is all about making the most of the holiday freebies that make Australia (or wherever you're from - assuming you get public holidays or bank holidays or equivalent) great! Don't let these opportunities go by - there's eight or so of these a year! A short camping or Airbnb-style trip in your own region is just the ticket here, especially with a group of friends. Alternatively, a domestic flight to a city you'd love to hangout in is definitely great holiday-feels value for holiday-leave!
We have a few camping trips at northern NSW beach towns, maybe a dash to the Bunya Mountains in winter, possibly a long weekend tacked onto a work trip to Darwin (we may have some exciting new Australian products coming from there - stay tuned!), and a tremendously romantic anniversary trip to the Hunter Valley pencilled in for this year. Yay!
4. Local weekend destinations
These trips are especially good for those long stretches with few long weekends - that recreational wasteland between June and November. Go on holidays for the weekend - stay somewhere you can get to within an hour or two on Friday night and make like a tourist until Sunday afternoon. You'll be surprised how rejuvenating this can be. Again, camping/Airbnb is a great option, but staying with slightly-out-of-the-way friends or family (or house-swapping with them!) can also work a treat.
Granddad lives at Stradbroke Island - lucky us!
5. Because-we-can places
As much as I love to travel and explore, living from holiday to holiday actually ain't livin'. So I make a point of seeking out the places nearby where we've never been for afternoon walks and lunchtime picnics, and keeping my eyes open to the beauty of the places I've seen a hundred times and strive to make the most of living in this amazing part of the world.
In 2016, you'll find me loving life on a Sunshine Coast beach near (or not near!) you, trekking up local mountains and eating out wherever I can!
Where will I find you?