Home for a little over a month and already it is time to turn our thoughts to the next trip. Sorting through possibilities and destinations is always a fun pastime and one that we really enjoy.
People often ask me why we choose where we choose to travel. Some assume that there is a list that we are just working our way through, or a deal comes along that we just can’t miss or it is based on a whim. In reality it is a bit of all of the above. It also has a lot to do with the time of year, weather and deals that we can get. It also requires everyone in the family to contribute to selecting the destination – small people included.
Usually about a year out we start thinking about where we want to go based on the age of the small person, the time of year and if there is an event we are keen on.
Way back when before we had Charlotte, we would traipse around Europe or America following rock bands. It was loads of fun and it gave you a real purpose to your travels. We ended up right near the front at Live 8 in London, hanging out in Lake Como watching Tori Amos, seeing U2 play in Paris and Amsterdam and seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Along the way we met equally crazy music fans and we saw really interesting places that we would not otherwise have gone to.
Since the arrival of the small person, the trips have been more about great hotels and pools in family friendly locations. Our time will come again but for now we are firmly in the expensive school holiday stages and facing several more years of being limited in terms of where and when we can travel.
So when our thoughts turned to the next trip (about a week before the last one ended) we had narrowed it down to Asia or America. Asia won out. Given we have just 3 weeks we didn’t want to travel too far a field but we are also well past the stage where adventures are limited. Charlotte can cope with long days and jet lag better than Mum and Dad. Cost was also a factor after the big European holiday of 2017, so in the end we have settled on Vietnam.
Vietnam is the perfect balance of history, culture and food (for me), Cities and great hotels (for him) and outstanding swimming pools (for the small one)
Once the destination is sorted – it is all about the flights. Getting there for me is about cost and speed. For the husband it is about the airline and the aeroplane (we have been known to stopover in Dubai mainly so he can fly on the A380). For Charlotte its all about getting there fast and with flight times where she can sleep or read.
This time Air NZ offered a great airfare that ticked the boxes and allowed us to tack on Singapore (an old favourite) and Hong Kong (where the husband proposed) as well as taking in the sights of Vietnam – all on a dreamliner – so that sealed the deal.
Now we have locked in flights, our attention has turned to the hotels and the specifics of the trip.
This is where the internet comes into its own. I start with Trip advsior and then move to blog sites and reliable sources of information to plan any trip. Trip advisor is great for narrowing options, but I would always encourage people to look further afield. The Telegraph has a fantastic travel section and is full of recommendations and reviews. Wordpress and other blog sites allow you to explore places through others who are like you or who inspire you. Read the airline magazines, talk to your friends, follow their adventures on social media (no matter how jealous you get!) and hit up work colleagues for tips and advice when they get home from their adventures.
You are your best travel agent so my advice is don’t rely solely on your local travel shop. They deliver a great service when it comes to taking the hassle out of it or adding in things you had not thought of – but no one knows you and what you love to do, better than you do.
Soon I’ll share the trip itinerary and the hotels we chose and why. Meanwhile, the anticipation is building – Vietnam, we can’t wait to explore you in 2018.
Highlights from small heights
Planning a holiday is usually left to my parents. I have little to no choice whatsoever, and can only hope that my parents do it right. And lets be frank, its one of the few things they excel at it.
Between choosing amazing hotels with matching swimming pools and highly interesting locations, usually all without consulting a Travel Agent as well as impressing someone who doesn’t have any idea what’s going on, and on top of that writing an (average) blog about it, Mum’s pretty cool.
Oh, and Dad? You’ll have to ask him, because I’m not sure what he does, other than brief me on where we’re going and fret constantly about changing hotels and flights.
Anyway on to Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong.
From what I hear, we’re going to come face-to-water with some amazing swimming pools, as well as not do too much sightseeing.
We’re also revisiting Fullerton Bay, an old favourite of mine in Singapore, which we went to two years ago – suffice to say, we’re in for a treat. Dad also proposed to Mum in Hong Kong, but I hardly see how this matters.
Charlotte’s two top tips: Don’t be impatient, and stop bothering me, I’ll tell you all about it when I go there!