Wanderlusting: The 10 Countries I Most Want to Visit in the Near Future

My last blog post about travel envy was kind of a bummer, so I decided that I needed to write something a bit more positive before the week was over. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I’m not going to Istanbul with Aaron, I started thinking about the 10 countries I’d most want to visit. My only criteria for the list was that 1) I had to include countries that I’ve never been to before, and 2) they had to be places I’d want to visit in the near future (i.e. in the next 10 years or so – not when I’m much older and less adventurous/active), which was pretty easy because I haven’t been everywhere… yet.

Below is the list that I came up with, with the countries listed in alphabetical order:

Cambodia

Up until very recently, Cambodia was totally at the top of my must-see list. Throughout our honeymoon in Bali & Vietnam, we met several other couples who just raved about the food, beaches, friendliness, and cheapness of Cambodia, not to mention the complete awe of experiencing Angkor Wat. However, another travel blogger that I highly admire recently wrote about why she thinks that Cambodia has recently changed, and not for the better. Kate really knows her stuff, so I believe her when she says that she didn’t love her latest experience there. I’m hoping though that things will turn back around for Cambodia, so I can get enthusiastic again about visiting it.

Cambodia

Cambodia – thanks for the pics, Alice!

Chile

Aaron and I had so much fun backpacking around South America in 2009, but we felt a bit amiss that we didn’t make it to Chile. Ideally, our trip there will include experiencing cosmopolitan Santiago, snowboarding in Portillo, surfing in Pichilemu, and a few days exploring Easter Island.

Ecuador

Aside from wanting to see the Galapagos Islands, I’d never thought too much about visiting Ecuador; that is until my friend Jen came back from a trip there last year and had the best time ever. She promised that she’d one day write a blog post about her trip (right, Jen?), so I’ll leave it to her to tell you why she fell in love with the country.

Ecuador

Ecuador – thanks for the pics, Jen!

Iceland

The Blue Lagoon, live music, Northern Lights, Einstock beer – what’s not to like? If there were direct flights from Reykjavík to Dublin, we would have combined Iceland with our Ireland trip last summer.

Mauritius

My family friend visited Mauritius during her Semester at Sea, and as soon as I saw the photos of the perfect turquoise water and bleached white sand, I knew that I’d have to go there some day. It was definitely in the running as one of our own honeymoon destinations, but we’d like to combine it with a few weeks in South Africa as well, and we didn’t think we’d be able to do all of that right after the wedding. I guess it will just have to be the destination for a special anniversary trip, right?

Mauritius

Mauritius – thanks for the pics, Hana!

Morocco

As soon as I can find the time to spend a week in Marrakech, I’m going to make it happen. My friend Daniel was lucky enough to spend this past NYE at this insanely beautiful estate, and said that he just thought the whole area was really beautiful and interesting. Also, my mom and sisters got to ride camels near Tangier a few years ago which looked really fun.

Morocco

Morocco – thanks for the pics, Rachel and Nicole!

Burma/Myanmar

One of my friends from college has lived in a handful of foreign countries since grad school, and although she’s currently living in Kabul, she is supposed to head back to Yangon soon. Only recently a tourist destination, she says that traveling around Burma is like going back in time. Aaron and I want to see what that’s like before everything becomes too modernized.

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Real Honeymoon: Portugal

My friends Shannon and Eric recently went on an incredible honeymoon in Portugal.  I’ve been hounding Shannon for details for weeks because I’m hoping to go to Portugal myself next summer.  Read her responses to my questions below, and if you want to see more, check out this blog post, too.

When and where did you honeymoon?

We traveled throughout Portugal in the month of August.

How long was your trip?

16 days.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We wanted to go somewhere (1) where we both had never been, (2) with good weather at the time of our travels, and (3) that could provide us with both adventure and relaxation.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

being together and not at work! And the food!

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We traveled through Portugal by car which worked out well, but was slightly stressful because in the event of an emergency we did not have a phone.  We were surprised to learn that our smartphones would not work in Portugal.  Rather than chance it, I would have picked up a phone at the airport for peace of mind.

Also, our itinerary was fly into Lisbon (3 nights), drive to Porto (2 night), drive to Douro Valley (2 nights), drive to Montemor-o-Novo/Evora (2 nights), drive to Algarve/Portimao (4 nights), drive to Sintra/Cascais (1 night), fly out of Lisbon.  If we could do it all over again I would have stayed less nights in the Algarve since at this time of the year the beaches are crowded and accommodations are overpriced.  Or in the alternative, I would have stayed in a less high traffic town and spent the extra money on a boat trip or other daytime adventure as opposed to overpriced accommodations. We also learned the hard way that there is only one non-stop flight to Portugal from LAX a day so book your tickets early to avoid our mistake of multiple layovers.

How much planning did you do in advance?

We had help from a travel agent for booking our accommodations and some restaurant reservations which took away some of the stress of planning a trip, but when it comes to traveling I like to be in control so we definitely spent many hours pouring over our travel books.  We started making reservations around 2-3 months before, and spent some time as the trip got closer figuring out which towns to stop at along our drives, and what specific things we wanted to be sure not to miss.

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