Hey friends! Welcome Back. It is almost the end of January! I’m kind of sad that January is ending, but I keep reminding myself that it is not too late to keep setting goals for the year. One my resolutions that is pretty much consistent every single year is to travel and see more of the world. I thought that it be fun to share some of my favorite spots with you and give you some travel ideas for the year ahead.
There’s no other time in the year when I feel more motivated to plan the future ahead than at the beginning of a brand new year. For me this definitely includes my travel goals. I have found that in order to reach these goals I have to plan ahead and really set my attention on where I want to go and how I’m going to reach my goal.
I highly recommend this. Just like other goals travel plans typically don’t tend to just happen. If travel is one of your goals I hope that this quick guide will help and inspire you to dream and plan of the places you want to visit this year.
With travel depending on the time of the year, goals, and lifestyle there are usually constraints to keep in mind. Because of this I have made this list pretty diverse. (Speaking of limitations I have to share my new favorite way to find cheap flights. It is called Faredrop. If you use my link you can try it for two months for free.)
Here’s the countdown. Buckle up & enjoy my little virtual trip through my top 5 travel recommendations for 2020.
Number 5!!!!! N Y C
NYC will always be one of my favorite places in the world. If you are craving the hustle and bustle that a city brings there is no city with more hustle than NYC. Although any time is a good time to visit NYC, I have to say visiting during the holidays is a once in a lifetime opportunity. NYC goes big! So if you love the holidays, this is a must. Other good times to visit are during the Spring & Fall because that summer heat is no joke. If you do plan on going during the holidays dress as warm as possible because it will definitely be cold and most activities will involve being outside.
My Favorite Activities: Lion King on Broadway, Times Square, Sitting in a coffee shop (or anywhere) and people watching. NYC is a place that I forsee visiting over and over AND over again. There is so much to see and I just love the energy of this place.
What I Wish I Knew: Traveling up and down the city takes longer than you think. NYC is a big city so if you are only going for a few days make sure to plan on walking ALOT. Pack your sneakers because you will need them! Also, the amount of restaurants to check out can be overwhelming. Try to pick at least a few spots where you want to eat in the area that you will be in so that you don’t have to stress about it last minute.
Where To Stay: Airbnb allowed us to stay in Manhattan for a much lower price than a hotel so I definitely recommend that. If you haven’t used airbnb before you can use my link and get $55 off on their site. I do have a couple of tips as you choose a place to stay. First stay in the area where you want to do most of your exploring for convenience. We stayed in an airbnb in Midtown Manhattan which was amazing for exploring Times Square, but still a 30 min metro ride to other parts so I would definitely choose something in a different part of the city next time so that we can explore there. Secondly, keep in mind if you do decide to go with airbnb that if it is a shared appartment your roomies might like to party so pick the entire place filter under the type of place to avoid that. You will be in the city so there will be a lot more sounds coming from people and traffic. It just comes with the territory so try to expect that and if you’re a light sleeper pack some earplugs so you’re prepared.
Number 4!!!!!! N A S H V I L L E
Nashville is another great city option for you city lovers out there. Except this city has an entirely different culture than NYC. It is so fun! I ended up going to Nashville for a friend trip and loved it. This city is just one the funnest cities that I’ve ever visited and it is so unique. It is a must.
My Favorite Activities:
Bar hopping! Nashville takes bar hopping to a whole new level. There are endless options for funky bars with extremely talented musicians.
Food! You will not run out of restaurants to try (obviously), but worth the mention that you could just eat your way through this city.
Sightseeing. This is more of a side thing for me because I’m not a huge country music fan, but it was still really interesting to see.
I love this location because you can just hang loose drink some beers, listen to music, and be immersed in the country music culture. Sometimes this is just the kind of get away that I need!
What I Wish I’d Know: I wish I would of known about the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. When I go to Nashville again I will be breaking my airbnb streak and staying there. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is definitely fancy option. It has the most beautiful atrium which is basically a big open court on the inside of the hotel. It is truly impressive and I just think it would make the most romantic location for a couples getaway.
Where to Stay: There are some really good airbnb options depending on how big your party is, you should be able to pick a great place to fit your needs. Because we had a big party when I went we stayed right outside the city, but if your main activity is going to be bar hopping (which I highly recommend) then I suggest that you stay somewhere walking distance to everything. This will be the easiest way to enjoy the city. However, if this is more of a romantic getaway the Gaylord Opryland Resort would be my top pick!
Number 3!!! C O S T A R I C A!
I am dying to back to Costa Rica! If you don’t want to pick between the mountains and ocean guess what! You don’t have to! Costa Rica is rich with mountains, exotic animals, and beautiful beaches. It is the perfect place for thrill & relaxation. My husband is more of a chill traveler while I am the adventure seeker so we try to pick locations where we can do both and this is a perfect one. Costa Rica offers a variety of both relaxation and adventure, which is why I would highly recommend it for couples who want to do both. I also happen to think Costa Rica would be a great location to visit if you haven’t travelled to Central/South America before. It is tourist friendly, clean, and filled with a vibrant latin culture.
What To Do: Surf, Zip Line, Hike, Ride an ATV! There are so many adventures to be had! When I went I rented a surf board for the day and had such a blast. Just make sure to wear sunscreen. The only sunburn I’ve EVER HAD was thanks to those Costa Rica.
What I Wish I’d Know: If the beach is what you’re going for then expect a trip of 1-3 hours from the airport. Jaco is one of the most popular beaches and it is truly worth the trip, but you will have to plan transportation and stay accordingly. Renting a car will be the fastest way to get there while riding the bus will be the cheapest. Whichever you pick just be ready for a roadtrip because unfortunately the closest airport is no less than an hour and a half away which is not ideal, but doable.
Where to Stay: I absolutely loved Jaco Beach. It is basically the ultimate surf beach town. There are a lot of tourists and expats there. For this location I would actually recommend a higher end hostel because there is so much opportunity to meet other people. I like staying in hostels in certain locations because you can get ideas on where to go and what to do from people that have already had some time in the location. It also just provides community and people are often traveling alone which means they are open to hanging out and doing things together. If you’re not comfortable with that the next best option is an airbnb and let me tell you there are some dreamy ones in Costa Rica.
Number 2!!! A l a s k a!
Alaska was not really on my radar because I’ve always lived on the East Coast so I lucked out when I married a native Alaskan. Alaska is more wild and beautiful than I ever imagined. This will be a high ticket trip if you’re flying from the east coast, but there are other ways that you can save if this is on your bucketlist. On a lot of our trips we save a lot of money by using airbnb. Alaska was no exeption. Another great thing about Alaska is that most of the activites will be hiking around which is either free or very cheap! The sceneries are stunning and you will truly feel disconnected from the day to day grind hiking in its beautiful mountains.
What To Do: There are so many unique activities that are available in Alaska. One that we got to do and I will never forget was ice climbling. It was such a blast! Other activites include helicopter tours, whale watching, and visiting hot springs. A free activity that you can basically do anywhere is hiking. Hiking is such a great way to explore this beautiful state. My favorite place to explore was Hatcher’s Pass near Palmer which is about an hour drive from Anchorage and take my word for it, it is stunning. Another way to explore Alaska is by cruise. Because Alaska is so large and has so much to offer I think this would be a great way see Alaska.
What I Wish I’d Known: In my opinion, “Fancy” hotels are not worth it. Alaska is for exploring and camping! Alaska is so dang beautiful that I wish I’d known to just go RVing or camping. During out time at the Denali National Park we chose to do a 5 hour bus tour. We got to see how massive the park is which was cool, but when I would see people just walking around with a backpack I would get pretty envious. In all honesty, I’ve been camping like twice in my whole life and I’m pretty sure they were both youth group related events so I am by no means a camping kind of girl, but if you’re going to camp anywhere Alaska seems to me like the place to do it. You can also opt out for glamping which is basically the best of both worlds.
Where To Stay: My favorite place to stay had to be this little Airbnb yurt that we stayed in one night during our trip. There were a few similar places on airbnb, which I think would be so fitting to stay in for this kind of trip. Our yurt was so cool because it made us feel like we were camping, but we had the comfort of sleeping in a real bed. It was such a fun stay! Another option that I think would be really fun considering how outdoorsy Alaska is would be renting an RV. Do keep in mind that if you’re visiting Alaska in the Summer it is better to book your stay as much in advance as possible so that you have the options. This was especially true close to larger attractions such as The Denali National Park.
MY TOP MUST VISIT RECOMMENDATION for 2020 goes to B E R M U D A!!
Bermuda is an absolute paradise! My mom and I took a trip to Bermuda last October and I could not believe beautiful it was. I fell in love with this island for it’s beaches, snorkeling, and slow pace of life. There is only one road on the whole island. This makes this island as slow pace as it gets. It is really relaxing. The beaches were unbelievable. I wanted to melt and become one with the sand. Also, I could not stop staring at the color of the water. It was an unbelivable trip. If you are on the north east coast then I have good news for you. Bermuda is a short flight from NYC. This little island blew me away. I am still surprised at the amount of information that It is a hidden gem and I can’t recommend it enough.
WHAT TO DO: All things beach! My favorite activity in Bermuda was snorkleling right off the coast of Church Bay. The convenience of going snorkeling and seeing the most beautiful sea life on your own time was incredible. I could of spent days just doing that. Other activities that I enjoyed were exploring Downtown Hamilton and taking a tour of the whole island.
WHAT I WISH I KNEW: Bermuda succeeded my expectations in such a good way. I will touch on a couple things that I think you should know before you go. First, I think for budget planning you should know that Bermuda is on the higher end of the money spectrum when it comes to meals or other things that you might buy on the island. Secondly, in my experience there’s not really much of a nightlife. There’s a moderate amount of things going on but overall it was a pretty mellow mood at night. So if you’re looking for a location to go out and dance with your girls this might not be it. This would make a wonderful couples or family trip.
WHERE TO STAY: I always rave about Airbnb, but I have to say this is one of the times when booking an Airbnb really paid off. We saved so much money and stayed so close to the most famous beach on the island. I will link the exact Airbnb that we stayed in this case because we had an amazing experience. If you want to stay at a hotel there are great options like the Fairmont Southampton Resort.
There it is my top 5 travel recommendation for the new year! I don’t know about you but I’m ready to start planning some trips now. I’d love to hear if you have any trip recommendations for me! What have been your favorite places to visit in the states or internationally? Let me know! Happy planning.