Who puts yearly travel goals together? Who actually achieves them? What are yours?!
I put travel goals together every year aiming for two things: visit X number of countries and within that number visit Y countries I’ve never been to before.
At the start of 2016 I set out a target, which I thought was ambitious, of travelling to any five countries but also three countries that I’d never stepped in before. This ambitious goal was set after failing miserably in 2015 where I fell well short. My goal was to travel to three countries with one of those countries being one I hadn’t stepped in before. In 2015, I only travelled to Germany twice (and I’d already been numerous times before)…
That awful failure didn’t deter me though! In the end, it turned out that I had time away from my hometown of Edinburgh for every month of 2016 except April (a trip to the safari park in Scotland instead!), August (where I filled my time with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and November (where I most likely had no idea what to do with myself!). Quite an impressive travelling year! So where did I go in 2016?
January – Dublin, Republic of Ireland
In January, my girlfriend surprised me with a weekend away to Dublin (big thanks to Ryanair for having cheap flights!) where we stayed for a few days travelling around whilst visiting my girlfriend’s old university friend. It was somewhere I’d been before but never really explored properly so it was a good way to start the year.
February – Vienna, Austria – New Country
Next up, it was my turn to book flights so my first thoughts turned to trying to reach the next tier status with Brith Airways. As a result, I booked up a trip to a country I’d never been before – Austria. Now it was good, but I wasn’t blown away. I think I just expected too much! We managed to watch Rapid Vienna play football and they scored in the last minute to win 3-2 which was pretty cool but compared to other places and people’s opinions it wasn’t the best trip of the year.
March – Oban, Scotland
Whilst we were having a few drinks at a bar on the same street as Temple Bar in Dublin we booked our March weekend away. The result was booking a nice wee hotel in Oban, Scotland. If you’re thinking of touring Scotland add Oban to your list!
May – Reykjavik, Iceland – New Country
Who can turn down return flights for £25?! Well, we definitely can’t so May had us jetting off to Reykjavik in Iceland courtesy of Easyjet. I loved Reykjavik. Really loved it. Our time there was limited due to the timing of the flights (£25 though!) so we focused on a couple of main things. If you go, visit the Blue Lagoon. When planning the visit we weren’t really sure how long we could spend in there but we could’ve stayed all day! The place is amazing! It was also a new country so another one added to the list. This was the second new country, my goal was almost met and I was only five months into the year.
June – Mumbai, India – New Country
The trip to Mumbai in India was business rather than leisure but I couldn’t say no to the experience and it was a new country so I had to go! I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was crazy. If you go, don’t rent a car in India and go for leisurely drives. If there was a gap in the road, there was a car fitting in there. I’d hate to see insurance premiums here in the United Kingdom if the driving was like that over here! A few dodgy prawns in the airport made it an uncomfortable few days afterwards though… But my new countries travel goal was achieved with six months to spare!
July – Loch Lomond, Scotland
In July we decided to go on a weekend ‘staycation’ to Loch Lomond in Scotland. We took a few drives around and the place is lovely, it’s a definite must if you come to Scotland.
September – Barcelona, Spain
I can’t so no to cheap flights and Barcelona on Ryanair was calling… We jetted off with another couple and stayed in an Airbnb apartment right next to the Sagrada Familia with a lovely outside terrace. I come from Scotland so 30 degree heat was a nice change from our usual weather. I’d been before but hadn’t really done much of the tourist activities so we went up the Sagrada Familia, had dinner at Port Vell and did a tour of the Nou Camp. This was the fifth country of the year achieving the second of my travel goals with three months of 2016 to go. Read my tips for Barcelona here.
October – Orlando, United States & The Bahamas – Two New Countries
The month of October brought the biggest and most expensive holiday of the year. My first visit to the United States was to Orlando, Florida. I could get used to living in Florida, it’s amazing! We paid a little extra to buy the VIP Experience at Universal. Prior to this trip, I’d only been on about one, tiny, rollercoaster in my life… My girlfriend will be quick to point out that I didn’t look like I enjoyed the first rollercoaster we went on but I wasn’t strapped in properly! My picture after the first rollercoaster definitely provided her with a lot of laughs. The Hulk ride is one of the main attractions there and I actually ended up enjoying it! We also went on a Disney cruise to Nassau in the Bahamas and got to see Orlando City play at their home stadium too. Disney World next time definitely.
December – Paris, France
To round off the year, my girlfriend and I took a trip across the English Channel to Paris. My girlfriend treated me to this one (I think she just wanted to go to Disney Land Paris again!). It’s a great place to go for a weekend and we had dinner on the Seine in a river boat with the Eiffel Tower all lit up in the background. It is such a cool place with so much to see and do.
Can I beat that in 2017? A total of 8 countries and 5 of those being ones I hadn’t visited before? I doubt it but I’ll give it a good go! Who else puts together yearly travel goals?! Let me know in the comments 🙂