Inspiration, Travel

Where to Travel in 2020: My 2020 Travel Plans

January 8, 2020

When I published my 2019 travel review post, I had no international trips booked for 2020.  Nada. Zero. Zilch!

Considering that every year I tell myself I’m going to be more organised with my travel plans for the next, this fact was causing me to feel a little bit panicky.  I wanted to bring the year to a close, knowing that I had some exciting adventures to look forward to in 2020.

And I had every intention of doing just that.  In fact I’d found some flights to a destination that had been on my travel wish list for some years, more or less sorted an itinerary, and cleared my request for three weeks leave with my boss at work on the morning of new year’s eve.

Once I’d finished work, my plan was to finish writing the aforementioned review post and then to book these flights.  However, when I logged on to Skyscanner and checked my saved price alerts, my heart sank as I stared at that red arrow and the figure alongside it.  The price had gone up overnight from £508 to £672!

“Noooooo!!!!”

I wanted to cry.

I cleared my cookies, nothing changed.

I went incognito, still the same.

So I opened a bottle of wine.


A week later and things are a little more sorted.

On the 2nd of January those flights I was watching dropped back down to £513, so I booked them straight away and cancelled my alert (because I do NOT want to know if they drop any further between now and March).  And I have at least one other international trip partially planned out.

So if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration regarding where to travel in 2020, here’s where my travels will be taking me this year, along with a few other places I hope to make it to as well.

So, where WILL 2020 see me exploring?

First up, the trips I have booked or partially booked already.

A weekend down on the Cornish coast in Fowey

Considering how much Stu and I had enjoyed our weekend down on the Jurassic Coast in Branscombe, Devon, I’d been keeping a look out for a similar Travelzoo deal ever since.

If, like me, you prefer to buy people experiences rather than material possessions, Travelzoo’s one or two-night hotel deals make fantastic birthday or Christmas presents for your boyfriend or girlfriend, close friends or family members.  A two-night stay at The Masons Arms in Branscombe had been my birthday present to Stu last January, so I wanted to find something suitably fitting for his birthday this year, too.

He’s not really a fan of city breaks or hill walking but he does love the coast.  And as luck would have it, another coastal escape caught my eye – this time to Fowey (pronounced “Foy”) in Cornwall.

Fowey is a historic town dating back to the 14th century that rests on the west side of the Fowey estuary in southern Cornwall (actually not far from Looe, where I spent last October with mum).   As well as being a picturesque town in itself, with winding lanes and ancient alleyways lined with medieval and Georgian buildings, Fowey is surrounded by an abundance of coastal walking trails, hidden coves and historic fishing communities.

Photo by VanessaC (EY) via Flickr

A 3-week solo backpacking adventure around Sri Lanka

Yep, you guessed it: this is the trip I spoke about at the beginning of this post.

I’ve mentioned Sri Lanka in both my 2018 and 2019 travel plans posts, but my interest in visiting the country was piqued long before then.  Back when I thought that some day I may get married, I had Sri Lanka and the Maldives down as my perfect honeymoon destination.  Seems kind of ironic that I’ll now be visiting it on my own. Ha!

Three weeks may sound like a long time and I had hoped to be able to get off the tourist trail a little and introduce you to a few places in Sri Lanka that you may not have read about a million times over online.  However, although it’s a relatively small island, travel times are long because roads are narrow, winding, and in bad condition and the trains and buses themselves are old, slow and often delayed.

So the itinerary I’ve mapped out at the moment (which is subject to change!) will see me primarily exploring the central hill country and south west region of Sri Lanka.  The time of year I’ll be visiting (March) also dictates that it’s not a great month to explore the north east of the island, because – whilst I should experience primarily dry, sunny days in the south west – the north east will be smack bang in the middle of their monsoon season.

If you’ve been to Sri Lanka before and have any advice, tips or recommendations, these will be very gratefully received. Leave them in the comments!

Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

Hiking the Camino Primitivo in Spain

Inspired by the daily updates and photos that Lauren and Dave (of Never Ending Footsteps and What’s Dave Doing?) posted of their own adventures on the Camino Primitivo last September, I immediately started planning my own trip there.

The Camino Primitivo appealed to me because it’s reportedly one of the most beautiful, challenging and rewarding sections of the Camino de Santiago.  Rather than the terrain being largely flat (as it is on many of the Camino routes), the Camino Primitivo sees you passing through a mountain range 1100 metres above sea level and then descending to the hilly countryside of Galicia.  There are a lot of tough ascents and descents.  For this reason, it’s also a lot quieter than the other routes on the Camino.  In fact, of the 327,000 people who walked the Camino in 2018, only 8800 of those opted to tackle the Camino Primitivo from start to finish.

The Camino Primitivo starts in the Asturian capital of Oviedo and finishes at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.  Walking an average of 25 kilometres per day, it’s possible to complete the 321 kilometre route in 13 days.  If I travelled over the bank holiday at the end of August, I could use the bank holiday Monday and two flexi days (the last Friday in one 4-week flexi period and the first Tuesday in the next), in order to reduce the amount of annual leave I’d need to take.

My plan is to fly into Santander, spend a day before the hike looking around either Santander or Oviedo (which do you recommend?), treat myself to a fancy hotel in Santiago de Compostela at the end of the hike, and then fly home from there.

Photo by José Antonio Gil Martínez via Flickr

And where MIGHT 2020 see me exploring?

You’d think that the more I travel, the shorter my travel wish list would become.  On the contrary, the more travel blogs I read and the more time I spend on Instagram, the longer this list seems to grow.  For that reason, you’ll find some places listed below that I didn’t manage to fit into last year’s travels, along with some new destinations and experiences.  So, without further ado, here are a few trips I’d like to see myself making over the next few years, some of which I hope to be ticking off my list by the end of 2020.

Europe

Northern Spain – Galicia, Basque County, Navarra, La Rioja, Arragon, and Castilla y Leon.  This part of Spain appeared on my wish list last year, and although I’ll be exploring a large chunk of the region when I complete the Camino Primitivo hike, I’m still itching to explore more!  I’d like to finally make it to Bilbao, whether that be as a city break on its own or as part of a longer trip in conjunction with other nearby destinations.

The Balkans – specifically Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.  I spent seven days road-tripping around Albania last June, but I didn’t explore anywhere north of Tirana and there’s meant to be some incredible hiking opportunities through the Albanian Alps near Theth.  I’ve also dipped my foot in North Macedonia by spending a few days on the shores of Lake Ohrid and taken a day trip to Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina) while visiting Dubrovnik in Croatia.   However,  I absolutely adore this part of Europe (my road trips around Slovenia and Montenegro are still up there as two of my favourites) and would love to explore more.

Image by pixelRaw from Pixabay

Some of the lesser-known Greek islands.  This also featured on last year’s wish list.  I’ve always had a bit of an affinity with Greece, as it’s the first country I travelled to as an adult.  Sadly so many of the most popular islands are suffering from over-tourism (I’m looking at you, Santorini!) and even my lesser-visited slice of paradise, Paxos, is becoming increasingly better-known these days.  But there are a lot of Greek islands (6000 to be exact; 227 of them inhabited) and I’ve only visited nine of them.

Azerbaijan.  Inspired by Manouk’s (Bunch of Backpackers) Facebook updates and photos from her recent visit to the country, Azerbaijan immediately got added to my wish list.  The landscapes reminded me in many ways of neighbouring Georgia, and considering how much I adored my trip to Georgia in 2018, this only increased my desire to visit Azerbaijan.  At the moment, the plan is to spend around 10 days there for my birthday in June.  The problem is that it’s really expensive to fly from the UK to Baku (and involves more than one change in some cases), so I’ll probably end up flying back to Kutaisi in Georgia and  catching a long distance  bus from there.

Asia

Bhutan.  Another country that’s long been on my travel wish list, but due to the compulsory $250 charge per person per day (which rises to $290 if you’re travelling solo), financially it’s always been a little out of reach.

Nepal and the Indian Himalayas.  Mainly I’d like to visit both of these places for the amazing trekking opportunities through stunning and remote mountain landscapes.  The Annapurna Circuit has been on my travel wish list for some years, and the Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh, India just got added last year.

Image by Simon Matzinger from Pixabay

Sumatra.  Gunung Leuser National Park is reportedly where you have the best chance in all of Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild, and seeing orangutans in the wild has long been one of my dreams.  Wild and rugged and more remote than neighbouring Borneo, Sumatra is home to immense volcanoes, lush rainforests, highland lakes and locals with distinctive cultures and unique traditions.

South Korea.  A friend of mine spent a couple of weeks in South Korea last October, and she has waxed lyrical about the place ever since she returned.  What’s more, she said she felt completely safe as a solo female traveller, which is a huge plus for me as a lot of my travels are solo adventures.

Image by SofieLayla Thal from Pixabay

Jordan.  Jordan has been on my travel wish list for so long I’m starting to think I’ll never make it there!  The Lost City of Petra is one of those sites that is so popular now it’s lost a little of its appeal.  However, I’d still like to see it with my own eyes, and spend a night or two camping under the stars at Wadi Rum.

Kyrgyzstan.  Somewhere else that appeals because of the incredible mountain scenery and endless hiking opportunities there.  Alesha and Jarryd of Nomadasaurus have a wealth of information and inspiration available about Kyrgyzstan on their website, and are the primary reason for my excitement about visiting this beautiful and (as yet) unspoilt landlocked country.

Photo by Marek Brzóska on Unsplash

Africa

Madagascar.   One of Africa’s islands that seems to offer a bit of everything – rainforest, desert, hiking and diving. Not only can 5% of all known animal and plant species can be found on Madagasgar, but they can ONLY be found on Madagasgar, and that’s a huge part of its appeal too. The landscapes are both diverse and beautiful and watching the Earth’s Tropical Islands series last week has only piqued my interest in visiting even more.

Image by (Joenomias) Menno de Jong from Pixabay

São Tomé and Príncipe.  These two islands got added to my wish list part the way through last year, simply because they appeared in Lonely Planet’s latest Best in Travel book, I’d never heard of them until then, and I’d not read a single blog post about anyone who’d visited.  That’s as good enough a reason as any, isn’t it? 😉 There are also some good flight deals available from Lisbon with Tap Air Portugal.

Ethiopia.  If you read last week’s post you’ll know that I almost (rather spontaneously) booked a trip to Ethiopia last November.  I’d really love to do some hiking in the Simien Mountains and see the rock churches of Lalibela.

Image by D Mz from Pixabay

I’d also still really love to make it to Namibia and South Africa, but I don’t think I’m going to be ticking either off the list by the end of 2020.

And then there’s the whole of South and Central America.  I absolutely adored the six months I spent travelling around Peru and Bolivia, and would love to explore some more of this vast and colourful continent.  I’d still love to do the Lost City Trek in Colombia, to roam around the Atacama desert in Chile, and to gaze upon the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.  In central America, Mexico and Costa Rica are still holding their places on my wish list.  If I hadn’t have booked Sri Lanka, I almost definitely would’ve been spending three weeks in Mexico this March.

So it’s your turn now: tell me about your travel plans for this year.  Where are you most excited about visiting?

If you like this article, please share it on social media using the share buttons at the top of the post.  And if you’d like to save it for reading later, why not pin to one of your Pinterest boards? Alternatively you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ or you can look me up on Instagram or Pinterest too!

 

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply Jenne April 28, 2020 at 2:24 AM

    Wow, you sure are living life! I’ve always wanted to hit up S.Korea too, love the people and the culture. Hope you get the chance to actually get some travelling done in 2020!
    Jenne recently posted…How Do Photographers Find Locations?My Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop April 28, 2020 at 11:04 AM

      Me too! Although I don’t imagine the current restrictions will be lifted for a while yet. I would say that at least by being stuck at home I’m saving a lot of money to top up the travel fund, but I’m shopping more online as a result! 😆

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.