2023 is gone. Weird year. No comment! Here we are - 2024 - It's time for all Vagabonds to get off their couches or out of their recliners and just GO! Walk, fly, take a train, board a boat or drive a car to a place on your Bucket List or a place familiar that you have missed. I have the most profound and romantic memories the first time we went to Italy many years ago. I am an American who loves this great country. However, going to another country and experiencing the culture, the food, the people and all that a country has to offer can dramatically alter your perception of life.
To give all Vagabonds some perspective on travel, here is the popular comic Jim Gaffigan on his vacation, with his five kids, to Disney.
I'm sure most Vagabonds can relate! I remember taking our kids to Disney a long time ago. We stood in many lines to see and experience many different Disney offerings, including Dumbo. My favorite was riding, with my daughter, through It's A Small World several times on one trip. The best part was that the ride was very cold once inside. Perfect for relief from the hot Florida summer sun.
Even though I am not a Travel Guru, I do have a lot of experience finding places to lay your weary head after a long day of flying, driving or riding to get to the place that will illuminate your life. Since I'm an architect, great travel starts with the perfect place to relax, have a nice glass of vino and go beddy bye. Great design, great comfort and great location are always on my list when finding places to lodge while traveling. Here are some links to some of the best online services to find great places.
i-escape - IMHO - This is the number one site to find great hotels with all the attributes I've mentioned so far. You can also find great places with reasonable prices.
ChicRetreats - Another great online site for cool, small boutique hotels at great prices, particularly in Europe.
Sawday's - Cool little hotels everywhere for decent prices.
Unusualhotelsoftheworld - This online hotel search service feature 345 unique hotels all over for very low prices to very high. It's worth a look. For instance, they have a tree house in Basque country of Spain for $130 per night.
FURTHER AFIELD - More cool places on the cheap, primarily in Europe.
RELAISCHATEAUX - Great places for a little bit more cost.
KAYAK - One of the largest hotel search services online with hotels from high to low in over thirty countries.
AIRBNB - Worldwide places, many offering great design and comfort at low prices. We have stayed in many AIRBNBs in the US and Europe.
SMALL LUXURY HOTELS - A little higher priced but you can find some outstanding small hotels.
EXPEDIA - One of the largest collections of hotels from simple & cheap to luxurious & expensive all over the world.
Here are some suggestions for planning your Bucket List Dream Trip.
1. Commit time and effort to planning your itinerary, where you will go and where you will stay.
2. Take time to research all the places you are going to vacation in.
3. Read every review you can find on any hotel, small residence or other accommodation you plan to stay in.
4. To keep your stress levels under control and enjoy your vacation I highly recommend a minimum of three nights at each place you stay.
5. The best times to travel are in early Spring or early Fall. Temperatures are comfortable for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming or just enjoying a nice glass of Pinot Noir while enjoying a beautiful view from the terrace with the one you love.
6. IMHO - If you have never been, I highly recommend Italy, France and Spain. The people, the food, the places, and the cultures are transformational. Generally, the prices for amazing hotels tend to be much less in Europe than in the states. Of course, the good ole' USA from Napa to the Southwest to New Orleans to New York to Chicago always offers pleasure for the Vagabond Traveler.
One last thought - Watch this short advice video by a well-known travel writer - Rick Steves. He has written many books on travel and has been on television since 2000 giving advice on how to travel like a Local.
So, the bottom line - Get busy - Research, plan and GO!
Happy New Year as you travel!