Kotor, Montenegro

My 2017 Travel Wishlist

Every year, I like to set myself a little list of travel goals. There are so many countries I want to go to, but I like lists and I find it fun at the end of each year to make a list of the places that are particularly on my mind for the coming one. I might not manage to actually get to them all – I only did two of my four wishlist destinations in 2016 – but when I don’t have any trips planned in it makes me feel better to at least put some ideas down and consider how my year in travel might look. So, here are the places I’d love to visit in 2017.

Cuba

I’ve had Cuba on my must-visit list for a few years – the bright colours and retro colours of Havana have always caught my attention, and I love the idea of being in a place that is seemingly frozen in time. Cuba has been on the tourist radar for several years already and will certainly have suffered some of the negative imacts of that, and with the USA relaxing their travel restrictions the country could soon be swarming with even more visitors. I’d really love to go before that happens. My ideal trip would be a few days in Havana, a stay in Trinidad and a visit to the tobacco fields in Viñales, mixed with some beach time and scuba diving on the coast.

Havana, Cuba

Prague

I can’t believe I’ve never been to Prague. Every time I see photos of it I see photos of things I love – beautiful old architecture, river scenery, spooky Gothic spires – and yet I’ve never managed to go. Having never been to Eastern Europe previously, I’ve visited Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia in the past two years and been blown away by all three, leaving me even more convinced that Prague has to be on my list for 2017. There are so many cheap flights from Leeds and Manchester that there’s really no reason not to skip off for a long weekend.

Prague, Czech Republic

Scandinavia

Last year my travel wishlist included the Northern Lights – I didn’t get to see them and my desire to do so has not weakened, but my interest has spread to the whole of Scandinavia. It’s an area of the world that I’ve never known much about, but this year I’ve seen loads of people tweeeting and Instagramming about Oslo and Copenhagen and they both look beautiful. I’d also love to see the fjords of Norway, or visit in winter for snow and toboggan rides.

Norwegian Fjords

Dubrovnik

I went to Croatia for the first time in summer 2015, on a girls’ holiday to Zadar, and have been wanting to go back ever since. Dubrovnik looks so beautiful and I always warm to cities that are by the sea; it somehow makes them feel more relaxed and means you can hit the beach if you want a break from sightseeing. I’d love to spend a few days walking the city walls, sailing around the nearby islands and eating all the delicious Croatian food I could get my hands on. I’d definitely seek out a Game of Thrones tour too – everyone’s allowed an embarrassingly touristy activity every once in a while, right?

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Montenegro

Montenegro was first mentioned amongst my friends and I when we were brainstorming a girls’ holiday destination last year. We found that flights were extremely scarce and ended up in Zadar instead, but the Montenegro idea got filed away for future use and I’m keen to make it happen in 2017! Conveniently we’d probably fly into Dubrovnik and spend a few days there before hiring a car to drive into Montenegro, so I might be able to tick off two of my wishlist items in one trip!

Kotor, Montenegro

What’s in your travel plans for 2017? Tell me in the comments!

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Leeds Diary Dates: December 2016

So, November feels like the month where a whole year’s worth of significant stuff has happened. I confirmed an extension on my flat tenancy (ensuring I won’t be homeless on Christmas Day, yay), got promoted, and my company won Best Travel Blog at a major travel awards, to the shock and delight of my fellow content writers and I. Add to all this the fact that basically every week from now until the end of the year is filled with lovely plans and celebrations, and I’m feeling positively festive as we head into December.

The street lights have been turned on, the Christmas trees are up in City Square and the Trinity Centre, and Christkindlmarkt is open for business, which means Christmas has officially started in Leeds. So it will come as no surprise that the majority of my diary dates for December are dominated by festive cheer. But really, is anyone complaining? Continue reading

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Money – What Is It Good For?

I don’t think of myself as an extravagant or materialistic person. I couldn’t care less about the latest tech gadgets, I second-guess every item of clothing I buy, and meal plan meticulously to avoid wasting food. My only real vice is travel – I will happily splurge on flights for a destination I really want to visit or an experience I don’t want to miss out on – but even then I hunt for deals and stay in budget accommodation to cut down on unnecessary expenses. I suppose I ultimately believe that the best place for my money to be is in my bank account.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my grandma on the phone about the flat I’m currently renting, and a familiar topic came up. “Have you considered buying?” she asked (it sounds so simple when she says it). I replied that buying wasn’t a feasible option for me right now and that I wasn’t willing to put down roots just yet, to anchor myself in Leeds with a property. “You’ll have to settle down sooner or later” was her reply. She must think I’m older than I feel. Continue reading

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30 Little Things I’m Thankful For

American Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and hot on its heels approach Christmas and New Year. While there are things that grate on me about this time of year, one of the undeniable pros is the chance to spend time with your loved ones and take stock of all the things that really matter to you.

While the stresses and pressures of the rest of the year can push us into petty arguments and the nursing of minor grievances, now is an ideal time to take a step back and appreciate just how damn lucky we are. Today I’m counting 30 little things that I’m thankful for, and reminding myself not to take them for granted.  Continue reading

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4 Essential Foodie Experiences in Porto

One of my favourite things about Porto was how good the food and drink scene is – every day we found cute little bakeries, amazing restaurants and cool bars to hang out at, and if I went back there would definitely be a few places I’d be booking in advance. Luckily Porto is a small enough city that you can take the sightseeing at a leisurely place, leaving plenty of time to laze by the river or relax at a streetside restaurant, snacks on the table and glass of wine in hand. Here are a few of Porto’s signature foodie experiences you won’t want to miss. Continue reading

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Leeds Diary Dates: November 2016

October has been a whirlwind month for me. I’ve been a bit absent from my blog – which I discussed here – but the time away has felt necessary, and after a particularly relaxed weekend last week I finally feel ready to up my game again. My trip to Porto in October marked my last holiday of the year which has given me the drive I needed to plan a few extra activities and trips around the UK, and there are so many exciting events going on in Leeds in the run-up to Christmas that I hardly know what to choose. There’s no way I’m going to get to all of them, but these are my top picks for what to go to in November. Continue reading

View of Porto from Dom Luis I Bridge

3 Days in Porto

Last Thursday I flew to Porto, and found the perfect city for a long weekend. Smaller and, so I was told, more soulful than Lisbon, Porto is interesting enough to fill three days, but not so large that you have to race around ticking things off your to-do list. You can take your time, stop for long lunches of drinks without feeling guilt, and return home feeling like you’ve actually been on holiday. My Porto itinerary actually fitted very neatly into three days – here’s what I got up to. Continue reading