Where In the World Should We Go?

b87e7c8a226a650e02b516282128c80cWhen it comes to where we want to travel in the future, Brett and I are still partially in the “dream” phase. I say partially because we know we want to spend more than half the year here on Kaua’i, and we know we want to spend three months in Japan every year. It’s those remaining two or so months out of every year that we’re still dreaming about.

We would like to spend up to two months every fall traveling and living in another area of the world. We would ideally stay in one place for a month, and then move to a second city or area for a second month. Four weeks in one place would give us opportunities to more fully explore our surroundings and allow us to experience the culture a bit more deeply.

Staying in one place for month will also be more affordable. The nightly cost for an Airbnb or VRBO rental drops considerably when booked for a month versus renting for just a few days or a week. And, staying longer will mean less eating out and will help curb other expenses such as more frequent travel between locations. But, we are open to travel that might have shorter stays or require some driving.

So, where in the world should we go?

This is the list we have come up with so far, in no particular order.

  • Rome/Florence/Cinque Terre
  • New Zealand (one month on the north island, one month in the south)
  • Barcelona/Lisbon
  • Prague/Vienna
  • Athens/Istanbul
  • Nostalgic west coast (one month in Seattle, visit Portland, then drive down to California – Yosemite NP and San Francisco – and finally back up to Seattle via the Oregon Coast)
  • Buenos Aires/Montevideo
  • Bath, England/County Cork, Ireland
  • Amsterdam/Copenhagen or Stockholm

Also, there are two other places I would love to see, but Brett is not as excited about them as I am:

  • India (We would definitely do a tour for this)
  • Botswana (same as above)

What do you think? Any other suggestions? Where do you think we should go first? Second? Third?

We need to eventually decide on three to start planning. If we get through three years of traveling, we will reevaluate our health and finances and go from there.

Where in the world do you think we should go?

 

 

 

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43 thoughts on “Where In the World Should We Go?

    • Laura says:

      I have family that lives in Queensland (Townsville and Brisbane), so we think about going but it’s so BIG! Brett has been to both Sydney and Perth, courtesy of the navy, and loved what he saw, so who knows?

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  1. MadVoyage says:

    Wow, I love your story! You have already some decent places. I personally love Portugal. But you should also give Eastern Europe a go: Budapest is a really good one. Another good one is Morocco!

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  2. tpol1 says:

    Ooooo seeing Istanbul on your list makes me happy! If you ever decide to visit here, I would love to meet you and show you my Istanbul. Athens and Istanbul is a great choice because it takes only an hour and a half to fly between the two cities. Alternatively, you can visit some Greek islands too. I have only been to Chios so far but, it was beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      Brett visited Istanbul many years ago, courtesy of the navy – they sailed up and down the Bosphorus a couple times. He loved Turkey and has always talked of returning, and I’ve been intrigued as well. He also spent quite a bit of time in Athens and would love to go back. We’re paying close attention to what’s currently happening there and will have to see how things shake out before deciding whether it stays on the list or not.

      If we do come to Istanbul we will definitely contact you. I have met the most wonderful people through the blogs, and being shown around a fascinating city by a local would be a great treat!

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      • tpol1 says:

        I know you guys may be concerned about safety issues in this part of the world but news may be misleading. As of this moment Istanbul is as safe as any other big metropol. So, if and when you decide to come over, you can contact me and I can give you a full account of what is happening. There are some problems at the mpment on our southern border with IS and Syria and other hostile groups but that is very far away.

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      • Laura says:

        Thank you! It will be at least two more years until we start actual planning, but I appreciate knowing that there is someone “on the ground” that we can be in touch with about what is actually happening. Hopefully Istanbul will continue to remain a safe place to visit. And who knows what will be happening with Greece in three years? It’s foolish for us to worry now, or not consider visiting them at all at this point.

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  3. Denise O'Wesney says:

    Personally, I’d love to spend a month or so living in Copenhagen… there is so much to do yet it doesn’t feel like a ‘touristy’ place. I was there last Fall (also Sweden, which would make an excellent side trip if you were to base yourself in Copenhagen) and loved it.

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  4. Janette says:

    Hong Kong/ Vietnam would be two of my return visits. It has been twenty years since we lived in the area, but it would be amazing to spend a month in each.
    I wonder if there is a way to tap into the international school teachers to rent their flats while they are out of country?
    Othwise, you have my list (although I would do Western National parks rather then Pacific Northwest). My top three would be Istanbul/ Greece, Rome area, and England/Ireland. I just cannot do those huge flights anymore or I would do New Zealand. Leaving from The Hawaiian islands would be excellent!
    WoooHooo! I am excited for you!

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    • Laura says:

      I LOVE Hong Kong!!!! I have been nine times . . . and would very much love to go back again. The food, the crowds, the shopping, everything – I love it all. Brett and I have talked about the possibility of making a visit there an add-on to one of our Japan visits, but maybe it needs its own month. And maybe Vietnam as the add-on (I think it would just be too hot for me to stay a month – I struggle with the heat and humidity here, and it’s child’s play compared to SE Asia)? More things to think about!!

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  5. Jackie L. says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Istanbul so that sounds amazing….but as far as places I have travelled from your list, I would recommend Amsterdam/the Netherlands, Rome and Botswana. All three are vastly different but wonderful experiences! I’d also recommend Munich, which has a wonderful combination of great people, incredible scenery and interesting things to see.

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    • Laura says:

      Munich was actually very high on our list when we started talking about travel, but then realized when we would be going would be at the height of Oktoberfest. Bummer – it’s not a good time to travel there (crowds, high prices and we’re not that into beer). But maybe it could work as an add-on visit if we do Prague/Vienna, or Prague/Budapest. More food for thought – thanks!

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  6. SAK says:

    I’m getting ready for a big NZ trip now. You might want to consider renting a travel trailer and driving around the 2 months. A very popular thing to do and based on my research you will get to see and do a lot more than staying in a single area. I would also argue for Venice/Milan/Lake Como areas (not in summer!). And start with the more physical/active trips. Enjoy them while you are in the best shape to take advantage of the opportunities. Also, when do you plan to travel? The difference in cost between off-season, shoulder season and peak can be huge (as you know!). I love shoulder season – usually everything (or almost everything) is open and available to do but cheaper and not as crowded. Although for cities I love off-season – get a better sense of what living there is like. So exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      New Zealand is one place where we would definitely rent a car for the time we are there. I will have to investigate costs though – maybe a shorter trip though with more places visited?

      We are planning to travel in the fall, mid-September through mid-November, which is the shoulder season, I think. As soon as the girls are all off to their respective colleges following summer break, we plan to hit the road, and then be back in time for their return for the holidays. September and October are the hottest months here on the islands, so it’s a great time for us to travel.

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  7. Vivian says:

    Don’t forget Scotland/Wales. Wonderful people. I’ve always wanted to visit Norway, Germany and Australia and Canada.

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    • Laura says:

      We very much want to visit Scotland, but so far a month there appears to be way too expensive. More research is needed! If we got to Bath, Wales is very close so we will definitely get over to visit there.

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  8. M'Shell says:

    I love thinking about places that I would want to go and I think you’ve got a great list. I’ll comment on Bath, England since I’ve been there. I loved it! A beautiful city and friendly people. We flew into London and while I liked seeing some of the sights it didn’t feel very “English” to me. It was much more of an international city than I was expecting. I just fell in love with Bath when we arrived. It is exactly what I imagined the English countryside would be like. We took a day trip to Stonehenge and it was amazing! So excited to hear where you decide to visit!

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    • Laura says:

      Bath has always appealed to me, and the location is perfect. We would probably spend 3-4 days in London first before heading over there, but we are fascinated with the city of Bath itself and its history, and we also like its proximity to other places we want to see (like Stonehenge).

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  9. Jenny says:

    I have not been to Italy but friends who spend a lot of time there much prefer Milan to Rome.
    I would also consider Scotland, Croatia, Spain, and Norway. NZ is very high on my list as well. We had planned to go there for my last decade birthday but my mother’s health prohibited traveling that far away. Instead we went to Victoria, B.C., then Rented a car and explored Vancouver
    Island. It was a great trip and we especially loved Tofino and Ucluelet on the west side. B.C. Could be a fun addition to your NW trip.
    And of course, there is Alaska! But I’m a little prejudiced on that one. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      We are starting to think that we should make Rome a short visit at the beginning of a trip, and then have longer stays in other parts of Italy. Same for Venice – it would just be a short visit versus doing a month’s stay there.

      If we do the nostalgic west coast tour we have said we would definitely head up to BC for a few days during our month in Seattle.

      Alaska is one of just two states I have not visited (the other is Montana). I just learned though that one of my aunts drove up there on her own when she was 74 (!!), so I still think I will make it one of these days, even if I have to drive there myself.

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  10. jacquelinawonders says:

    Look into Trusted Housesitters as well, you Housesit anywhere from a few weeks to months. Sometimes there’s pets to look after, sometimes not. One of my favourite travel blogs is Hecktik Travels. They slow travel as well.

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  11. Jen says:

    I hope you read this article ‘http://www.moneytalksnews.com/slideshows/5-off-the-radar-travel-destinations/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=email-2015-05-04-pm&utm_medium=email’ and I hope I pasted it correctly. It has some interesting and hopefully inexpensive places for you to add to your list. I love your list but some of the places sound expensive. I have yet to visit all of them, but I have spent quite a bit of time in Ireland and I don’t know if 1 month in County Cork, Ireland, will be enough for you. Ireland is so easy to travel in and I really think you and Brett would enjoy it very much. The common language and the welcoming Irish make it so easy to be in Ireland that you will want to stay forever! In any case, your plans are fantastic and you can’t go wrong. Keep saving and keep planning. I hope you will be able to work out something like Trusted Housesitters or HomeExchange to make it all even more “doable”. Happy planning.

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    • Laura says:

      Places that were added to our list had to pass two criteria: 1) Both of us wanted to go there; and 2) I could find a reasonable priced Airbnb rental. That doesn’t mean that we would definitely use Airbnb, but it let us know that we could afford to stay there (some places we wanted to visit were very unaffordable, even when booking for a month, so they didn’t make the list).

      I think a month traveling around Ireland sounds wonderful. More research will be needed though to find out if it will fit our budget. It’s one place though where we will definitely be renting a car because we know we will want to see as much of the countryside as possible.

      Thanks too for the link – I will definitely check it out!!

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  12. Eileen McLaughlin says:

    Hi Laura and Brett, I have been following your blog for a long time now but this is my first comment. I just got back from Bali and I recommend it highly. Much like Hawaii, there are places where the visitors flock (on the coasts) so it is best to avoid those spots- the places in the guidebooks-and find the places where you will meet and talk to the Balinese. It has everything you love, AMAZING beaches, fruit right off the trees, gorgeous scenery, great hikes,wonderful cuisine, very friendly, artistic and open people, traditional culture: It is a tolerant Hindu culture with Buddhist and the original island cultural influences. We stayed outside of Ubud in a home in the rice paddies- the low price included a cook and meals! We did side trips to Munduk and Pandanbai, Gilis Islands and Lombok. We hired a driver, which also was very inexpensive (much less than a car rental) and he was very fun to talk to and eager to explain things. There are lots of Homestays available- the low prices are astounding.

    I also agree with Jen, above, that Ireland is worth a long visit. We went North, away from the tourism, up the West coast out of Shannon- visited the Aran Islands and then stayed in a cottage in Donnegal, outside of the wonderful little town of Ardara. We hiked the countryside and beaches in Donnegal and had it almost to ourselves (in August!) Again, like Bali- the non-tourist areas were pristine, friendly and inexpensive. The guidebooks hardly mention this area, which is ok with me- I’m eager to go back.

    By the way, we enjoy Brett’s posts, too. Nice addition.

    Eileen from Colorado

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  13. Vicky says:

    We travel a lot so have been to quite a few places you have on your list. However, I would suggest that perhaps you take a look at secondary cities in some of these countries. I love Lisbon but would also consider Porto. Nothing would get me to spend a month in Barcelona, I don’t get the hype for the place at all. However, Seville is probably one of my top cities in Europe. Much more interesting and has a better feel to it. Rome I love, but the attitudes I experienced there last year have put me off returning for a while. I have heard wonderful things about Lucca. Also if you are planning a Nordic excursion don’t forget about Norway and Iceland. We went to Norway last year and it totally blew us away. Take a look a Bergen. Also don’t forget to think about Salzburg in Austria. Berlin is another fantastic city and what I like about is it is extremely walkable with good public transport and reasonably priced. Also if you are interested in the Netherlands take a look at Utrecht. A good site to find temporary homes which would suit your purpose is Sabbatical Homes.

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    • Laura says:

      Brett visited Barcelona many years ago and has always dreamed of going back. This is why I appreciated the comments and advice so much; it gives me a good reason to do more research and decide whether it might be a better “short visit” city versus a longer stay.

      We’re already back-pedaling a bit on Rome, thinking it might be better to make it a short visit at the beginning of a trip and then spending a longer time in other areas of Italy. I would also love to see more of Scandinavia, but it is one of the more expensive areas in Europe (at least that’s what I have found so far).

      Much as we would like to visit Germany, it’s really the wrong time of year for us to visit there because of Oktoberfest. But who knows? We might be able to make it work.

      Thanks for the tip about Sabbatical Homes. I will be checking them out as well as Trusted Housesitters – they would both be good options for us.

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  14. Janette says:

    Have you thought about looking into hops- especially for down under? Even if you got one way on a hop- the ticket would be half to get back!
    If you should ever hop through the east—I am in Dover….

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    • Laura says:

      I may be heading back east if WenYu gets accepted at her first choice college!

      I also keep forgetting that Brett and I can take advantage of Space A travel because he is retired military; that may work to get us somewhere if we can be flexible about our check-in date.

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    • Laura says:

      Depending on what happens in Europe, the west coast tour might be moved way up the list. Actually, we talk about it quite a bit. We would spend a month in Seattle, and visit the area including Vancouver B.C. while we are there, then visit Portland and Crater Lake in Oregon. Then it would be on down to California for several days in Yosemite, then over to San Francisco for a week or so before driving back up the coast to Seattle. Of course we’d see plenty of places we’ve been before, but then that’s the point!!

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  15. Libby says:

    I was lucky enough to spend a year working in Italy. I second (third?) the suggestion of not staying in Roma nor Milano either. There are so many very cool smaller cities in Italy: Sienna, Lucca, Bassino del grappa, Assisi, the Dolomites for hiking, lakes district, Pompeii (with a guide so it comes “alive”).

    Spain – you could walk the Camino de Santiago – the pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Compostela – through the “man of la mancha” countryside.

    Austria – I had wonderful visits in the smaller towns including Christmas one year in Mutters, up the mountain outside of Salzburg. Munich is only a two hour train ride from Salzburg. We spent one NYE drinking beer at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, jumped on a 10:00 train to Salzburg and arrived in time to see the fireworks over the city.

    Hong Kong – I lived there for 5 months – AWESOME but you already know that!

    Thailand – incredible beauty, delicious foods, gentle people.

    France – again I vote for the small cities or towns: Nice, Reims, Aix-en-Provence, Grenoble, Nantes. Also suggest renting a do-it-yourself canal boat trip. My grandparents did this many times and LOVED it.

    If you are staying someplace for a month, you can always take a “mini break” or vacation in the middle and go spend a long weekend in a major city.

    Morocco – I LOVED the Berger section of the country – much nicer to women. Ourazzate on the far side of the Atlas mountain. Incredible. The city of Meknes has some of the most pristine and well preserved Roman ruins – whole, colorful mosiacs still intact on the floors of houses.

    What about a theme? I would love to walk as many of the labyrinths on the floors of the great cathedrals. For example Chartres is only available on Fridays.

    Buenos Aires – the “European” capital of SA.

    And a final plug for New England – fall is the perfect time. Flaming colored trees, picnics, hiking, active arts scene, easy access to Boston and NYC.

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you so much for all the wonderful suggestions. We have been thinking recently about staying somewhere outside of Florence if we travel to Italy versus staying in town. There are upsides and downsides to both. We’re both also becoming more intrigued by the Lake District and Dolomites so will be doing more investigation about those areas.

      Love the theme idea! The only thing we definitely want to do now is take walking tours wherever we visit (they are usually free; you just have to tip the tour guide), but having a theme would be fun. We’re going to have to think on this for a while!

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      • Libby says:

        A suggestion for walking: along most of coastal France there are “chemin de douanes” – the old paths the customs agents would walk to catch smugglers and protect the coast. the path I walked along the Med was free.

        Two corrections – Mutters is outside of Innsbruck and I meant the Berber section of Morocco!

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      • Laura says:

        We are both intrigued by the idea of walking the “chemin de douanes” – and are now thinking that a possible stay on the south of France might be in our future. We also liked the idea of the barge or boat rental in France, but think it’s most likely out of our price range.

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