When the kids are little, we tend to take trips focused on them. Setting aside our own wanderlust in favor of building memories for our children and exposing them to educational experiences. In recent years traveling with children has become easier but not so much when mine were little.
I do not miss those days of needing a vacation after coming home from vacation. By the time you arrived, unpacked and settled in, it was time to pack up again. Even though my family has wonderful memories of our vacations and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, me, the mom, rarely had a minute to relax and really enjoy those vacations. All you moms know what I am talking about. As my Grandma used to say about camping “it’s doing everything you do at home without the use of running water or electricity”. In other words for us moms, vacation is often more work than just staying at home.
Studies show that traveling can actually prolong your life. The research by Dr. Sebastian Filep in 2010 found that jetting off on holiday is one of the three main contributors to happiness. After we’ve arrived, and began to relax, we let go of our everyday stress and worry. We go out and explore and are more active which improves our health and wellbeing. Nothing like exploring a new place to really get the senses buzzing. All the new sights and smells, not to mention all the great food. So if a holiday = happiness, and happiness = a long life, it’s probably time to get out there and explore. The kids have flown the nest so what are you waiting for? Spread those wings and start ticking off destinations on your bucket list.
Scotland is deeply steeped in natural beauty and history. It is one of the most ideal UK getaways if you want to experience stunning views. You could choose to stay in a countryside cottage in Skye or a penthouse in the middle of the city of Aberdeen. If you love walking or taking long drives like me then Scotland is entirely for you. It has countless trails from Hadrian’s Wall (another item on my bucket list), The Malt Whisky Trail, the Castle Trails and the West Highland Trails. There is much more to Scotland than whiskey, hills, and haggis. There is a rich history of the people (Scotch Irish) who crossed the ocean and settled in Appalachia where I live. I would love to visit my family homeland of Ireland, see the White Cliffs of Dover, and maybe even pop over to London to visit the queen.
It wouldn’t be a list of the most relaxing places unless it also has one of the friendliest countries in the world on it. French is the official language and the predominant language in Quebec, but English is spoken just about anywhere you are likely to visit. Good thing I took those 5 years of French in high school. Canada gives lots of options from skiing to beachfront relaxing. You can choose any time of the year to go and be inundated with activities. You can head to Brunswick for whale watching or find a guide to take you trecking through the forest along the migration trails of the caribou. The Canadian landscape (or cityscape) have the kind of effortless beauty you are likely to find in an oil painting. Canada has a huge advantage over everything else on this list. It is our neighbor so I can just drive there.
Food, wine, and romance what more could a woman want? Italy is romantic without even trying to be. It is the most perfect place to head to linger a while. There are countless options from hotels to private villas and apartments so you can tailor the holiday to your budget and taste. Rome, Venice, Tuscany open-air markets, Vespas whizzing by, and old women making pasta by hand. I could spend a lifetime in Italy. Tuscany is the perfect base for an Italian adventure, in the heat of the midday sun, high in the mountains you can smell orange blossoms, and lemons and as the night draws in, Jasmine takes center stage. Is there any wonder Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my favorite movies. Once in Tuscany, you can make quick trips to Lucca, Florence, Pisa and more – ticking off many typical tourist spots but finding the parts of Italy that mean something to you. During peak times most museums have a long waiting line, so book in advance to make the most of your time there.
If you ever wanted to be Ginger on Gilligan’s Island or even Mary Ann then Seychelles is the place for you. You can island hop by ferry or plane until you find your own “deserted” island. In total there are 115 islands, and while that might sound overwhelming, it has never been easier to travel between them. Love the beach? There are an astounding 65 beaches on the island of Mahé alone. If you want to pretend to be Mrs. Howell, you can opt for a private 5-star paradise with private beaches and fresh fruit every morning, or you can choose one of the gorgeous hotels. Seychelles is the ideal place to be “stranded” for a couple weeks while The Professor builds that coconut radio.
Ready to be amazed by architecture, meet friendly people and dive right into a cultural melting pot then this one is for you. Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world. The other two are Monaco and the Vatican City. While visiting Singapore, you also visit many other places in Indonesia. You can visit Kuala Lumpur or head out to Jakarta or East Java. East Java is a bit more rugged but one of the must do things while in Indonesia is to spend 4 days in Surabaya and visit the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The area is so stunning that you’ll be checking out this property site to find some great deals on vacation properties for your next visit or buy and join the expat community. When you’re done in Surabaya, you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump to the last stop on this list, Bali.
Bali is for those like me who love a bargain. Everything that is on sale is up to be haggled for. You can even use the same tactic on your hotel room and any tours you’ve booked. Snorkeling is a big draw for tourists here, head to the east coast for some calm, clear waters. Hop on a boat and float your way deeper into paradise by visiting the three Gili Islands, they are predominantly for partying, swimming, and scuba diving but the white shoreline isn’t something you’re going to want to miss. Insider tip, make sure you jump on a public boat rather than a private one, else you’re going to be in serious need of those haggling skills. Bali, the place of temples, monkeys, and lush green terraces. Eat, Pray, Love was filmed in Ubud, which is the cultural hub of Bali and is the beating heart of the wellness movement – head there if you are doing a bit of soul-searching. Although, you could just ditch all the activities and just relax.
What’s on your travel bucket list?