This post is in partnership with TripAdvisor and their #BookToWin campaign.
My travel plans never end up going exactly how I think they will. I had no idea I would spend the end of 2015 hanging out with the Apatani tribe of Ziro Valley, or that I would have headed off to Langkawi with Ben on a last-minute trip. I have always had my own travel plans lined up, but thanks to having this blog, new plans get added in throughout the year that I would have never seen coming.
I’ll give you a preview of the plans I know I have coming up this year… and then maybe next year I can see if any of them happened (lol) and what ones got added in! I know I’ll at least be in 5 countries for the year of 2016. Hopefully more!
Werkenntwen Journey Plans 2016
Obviously! Haha, I have spent the start of the year here at home and stayed put in January. I hit up South Goa for a getaway but that was it. For now, Goa is still set as my base for the year.
the swimsuit is from Onepeace Swimwear and it is the most comfortable thing ever!! So soft AND reversible!
A last-minute trip, I just got back from Istanbul and was there February 2-13. It is one of my top cities now in the world and I have so much to share about my time there. I really want to travel in Europe more. Last year, we were lucky to go to London, Tunbridge Wells Hastings, and Rye in the UK as well as Vienna and Achau Austria to visit Ben’s family. I love being in Europe!
Galle, Sri Lanka
Although I’ve done my visa run to Turkey, Ben hasn’t left India in 5 months which means he’s got to go! We have 6 month maximums here. It is his 30th birthday so we are combining our mandatory visa run with a surfing celebration somewhere in Galle. About a year ago, we went to Colombo and Unawatuna for a quick 4 day visa run and really loved it there.
We are leaving in a week (from the time I am writing this post) and I have nothing planned, so I”m going to take you through my planning process and how to plan a trip quickly when you don’t have a lot of time to search.
In this case, I’ve already narrowed it down to the Southern coast of Sri Lanka because we’ve been there before and the surf is good. TripAdvisor is a good place to start a search.
I found the best hotels in Galle which is an area in the South. I did a quick search of the best spots to surf in Sri Lanka and was glad to see a few places in Galle in the top slots, as I know the East coast is popular too. I mapped out how far apart the best surf places were to see if I picked a place that sucked, I could get to another beach easily enough by rickshaw. Considering how small Sri Lanka is, I figure it won’t make much of a difference which one I choose… I’ll let you know if I was wrong lol!
I see Cantaloupe Levels at #5 and I’m not surprised since I’ve been there before and loved it. I scroll more and see they have a sister hotel Cantaloupe Aqua at #22. I scroll through the top rest of the top hotels in Galle and am terrible by looking first at the main profile pic and judging the book by it’s cover so to speak (I know, I know…) and see Jetwing Lighthouse as well. A friend has mentioned this place in the past so I bookmark it for later. It’s come up #13 in Galle. I narrow the search to “beach” options and see all 3 I looked at in the top 10.
I know the surf is good near Unawatuna because we stayed there before, and their sister hotel is there, so I narrow the results to best hotels in Unawatuna and see Aqua at #12. It’s newer and only has 87 reviews while the others have hundreds so I take that into account as well, knowing they will soon move up that list. Photos show stunning rooms looking at the beach and a pool! I’m sold. You can compare prices there and book straight through as well.
So, you can tell this isn’t the most in-depth search, but sometimes you don’t have the time. If I did, I would add to my TripAdvisor search by reading reviews on travel blogs, i-escape, and just by googling the area for articles about it.
Now it just comes down to checking the TripAdvisor reviews to see what other travelers say. TA has 320 million reviews on their website across 6.2 million accommodations. The reviews and availability will help you narrow down your search. You can look at traveler photos to see the “real images” rather than the best chosen ones that would be on a website.
Because I travel often, I don’t really look too much past this but if you’ve got less vacation time you would want to check out more places. Now that you can book directly on TripAdvisor, it’s easy to just do it all in one place. They use a compare search engine to check 200 websites for the best price. I’ve actually found a couple activities on TA and will share about this this week while I’m in Sri Lanka!
I’m in talks with a really exciting young company about joining them on a trip to the mountains in May. Nothing is confirmed but I’m hoping it will happen. I haven’t been to the Western side of the Himalayas for 3.5 years and remember really loving traveling up there. I hit up Manali which is kind of the “cold Goa” and Rishikesh “the Beatles’ yoga place” as well as other cute towns. I spent about a month there but was new to India so think it’ll be really interesting to go back. I also went in the winter, so May there will be totally different.
Sometime in the monsoon I”ll be heading back to Ohio as I do each year for at least a month. I always coincide these trips with friends weddings and my best friend from college Alex, is getting married August 13. I’m a bridesmaid in the wedding and am so excited to see my college friends that I rarely get to see, or even Skype with. If you’ve read my blog a bit, you know that I live in the middle of nowhere and spend my time at home laying out in the backyard, eating all my mom’s good food, and going shopping with her… I don’t have an American phone, health insurance, car, or car insurance so I’m basically 15 again and my friends call the house asking if I can come out and play and I have to beg my mom to take me over their houses… fun stuff!
Las Vegas, USA
Alex’s bachelorette party is July 8-11th so I’m really trying to plan to get home in time for that before the wedding. I’d go home to Ohio first, then fly out to Vegas for her party. I’m not totally sure on this yet and also have to weigh out the costs as I have a lot of flying to do around this time!
New York City, USA
My family takes a summer vacation each year which used to be to Gulf Shores, Alabama or Myrtle Beach. Last year, I planned a trip to Toronto with my mom and dad and we had so much fun. My mom suggested NYC this year and my brother and his wife could come to, as well as Ben since he will be coming out to the US too and has only seen NYC while changing airports during a layover.
Ben’s sister gets married September 24th, so we’ll be heading up there sometime in September. I imagine we will go back to India first but really don’t have a clue!
As an update, I ended up going a lot more places than I thought I would, including a few new countries. Here’s the updated travel plans.
Where will you go in 2016?
So, there we go… some of my upcoming travel plans. I am excited to see what trips come up this year. Istanbul was totally unexpected and I didn’t know about it until a couple of weeks before I went. With some luck, more trips like that will come up this year! I’d love to know what your travel plans are.
We are trying to save up some money this year, and for that reason I don’t have as many trips planned as usual. Although we live in India, we travel a lot and eat out at restaurants, etc so haven’t saved as much as I think more responsible people would have. I’d love to go to Bali this year, but it’s on my “not responsible” list, a list which I may end up burning. We’ll see.
TripAdvisor #BookToWin Trip-A-Day Giveaway
To celebrate the new booking feature, TripAdvisor is giving away 60,000 worth of trip money. If you book any day in March on TripAdvisor, you are automatically entered to win one of the prizes: 31 winners will get 1,500 (one each day) and 1 lucky winner will get 15,000 towards a getaway anywhere in the world.
Even if you want to book from another site, just click-through from the hotel of your choice on TripAdvisor to book somewhere else then fill out the contest entry form to still be able to enter. Make sure to tell this to your friends planning a trip, because who knows maybe if they win they will invite you along!
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