2012 set the bar pretty high when it came to travel. I mean, how can I possibly top a year during which I traveled 28,000 miles and visited 12 destinations, including Hawaii and Pompeii–all while holding down a full-time job? Well, the simple truth is, I can’t. So I’m not even going to try. But 2013 is going to be a big year for travel nonetheless, I can feel it in my bones. Where am I going this year?
San Antonio, Texas
For the longest time, I could not figure out where I wanted to go first. I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm as an escape from Vermont’s long, cold winter. As much as I loved Hawaii last year, I decided it was too soon to go back again. (And too soon to face that 20+hours-each-way flight.) I’d already been to New Orleans, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. I must have researched every single island in the Caribbean, but none of them excited me.
I combed through my travel bucket list carefully when inspiration finally struck: Hey, San Antonio’s right up there near the top. I wonder how cold it is there in the winter? Not as cold as Vermont, that’s for sure! The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea!
Texas is the second biggest state in the US (I said this would be a “big” travel year, didn’t I?), and I’ve never been there before. Of all the cities in Texas, San Antonio appeals to me the most: It has a walkable downtown, a decent public transportation system, lovely outdoor spaces, art and architecture, history and multicultural influences. San Antonio’s background includes a smorgasbord of cultures—Spanish, Mexican, Native American, German. It has a huge footprint when it comes to US history, as the site of the Battle of the Alamo. I’m getting excited about this one—especially since it’s coming up fast!
Toronto, Canada and Niagara Falls
By the time I head to Toronto, Canada in June, it will have been three years since my last travel blogging conference (TBEX10 in New York City). I didn’t go in 2011 or 2012, because the timing of TBEX (The Travel Blog Exchange) in North America unfortunately clashes with the ideal time for me to go to Europe. Choosing between the two was really no contest.
But if you’re going to do anything well, you need to stay abreast of advances in your field. Just as I went to a professional conference this past summer for my day career, I felt it was time for me to attend TBEX again to be the best travel blogger I can be. The networking opportunities are invaluable, and it’s always good to step back from the day-to-day grind of blogging to see best practices and learn from my peers—to see the “forest for the trees,” if you will.
I’m looking forward to visiting Toronto. I’ve been to Canada many times, but only the Province of Quebec, which is to the north of Vermont. Quebec is very different from the rest of Canada because of its French influence. So it’ll be a treat to see what the Province of Ontario and Canada’s biggest city is like.
While there, I’m making it a priority to take a day trip to Niagara Falls, the massive trio of falls on the border of Canada and the US. North America has so many natural wonders I still have yet to see, and it’s high time I start. I can’t wait to see this one. I haven’t quite figured out what else I want to see and do during this trip, but you can bet I’ll be tackling that as soon as I get home from Texas.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Since I have a Las Vegas blog I naturally have to go to Las Vegas every year (not that it’s a hardship by any means). My traditional week for visiting has been Labor Day week. I like it because it’s cheaper, and there are fewer children in the resorts since school has just started. But this year, I finally had to admit that Labor Day week is still too hot for me to really enjoy being outside in Nevada. And so much of the appeal of the Southwest is being outside.
So I’ve decided to head to Las Vegas in mid- to late-October this year. It should still be pool season and yet much more comfortable for walking around outside than early September is. Plus, I’ll finally get to see how the city celebrates Halloween. As if things aren’t crazy enough in Las Vegas during normal travel periods, you just know the crazy gets ratcheted up before a holiday like Halloween!
The Great Unknown
I’m certain of the above three trips. But. . .I’m leaving open the possibility of other trips as well. I hated to deny myself a trip to Europe this year just because I am going to TBEX. Most of the destinations on my travel bucket list are in Europe, and it’s going to take me a long time to see them all if I skip a year. For a brief moment after it was announced that TBEX Europe 2013 would be hosted in Dublin, I thought my problem was solved: I’d just go to TBEX Dublin instead of TBEX Toronto!
That dream lasted all of two seconds. To make a long story short, there was no guarantee the dates for TBEX Dublin (which haven’t been announced) would work for me, so I booked my ticket for Toronto instead. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Europe completely!
I may use my frequent flyer miles on United to wing my way to a new European destination from my travel bucket list (Ireland? Scotland? Venice?). Or if Europe is beyond my reach for the year, I may take some long weekend trips closer to home (Quebec City? Washington, DC?). It would pain me to give up Europe for a year, but hopefully it—and I—will still be here in 2014.
So that’s what my 2013 looks like so far. We’ll just have to wait and see what the year actually brings. I have a very good feeling about it.
Have you figured out your 2013 travel plans yet? Where are you going?
Photo credits: Mission San Jose by Katie Haugland.