So many places, so little (vacation) time! Don't let the anxiety of picking a destination keep you from traveling. Once you commit to going, the rest will fall into place. We took a poll around the Contiki office and came up with our 2013 Wish List. Read on for inspiration, ideas on picking a destination, and tips for making it happen this year.
WHY I can't wait to experience Barcelona's incredible museums, beaches and food – and maybe even catch a Barca game!
HOW A trip in February is already in the works! Ticket prices are great right now and I'm getting the low down from friends who have been there.
WHY I backpacked around Europe for 3 months in 2011. Now that I've crossed that off my list, my goal is to go to countries with famous surf breaks so I can check them out and catch a wave or two.
HOW I like to make a visualization board with photos and maps of the destination I want to travel to, and hang it up in my room or at my desk, somewhere I can see it everyday.
WHY This city is the ultimate American spot for my two favorite travel pastimes – music and food. I've always wanted to try an authentic bowl of gumbo and hear talented jazz musicians live in a nightclub. Plus, New Orleans was voted "Best American City to Visit" in 2012 by Travel and Leisure magazine.
HOW I'm planning on going in February for two reasons – Mardi Gras will be finishing up but locals will still be celebrating, and it's one of the best travel months for airfare prices. Contiki's Southern Adventure starts in Southern California where I live, so I only need to buy a one-way flight back home when it's done.
WHY I heard that it's the best place on Earth to visit because the diversity and beauty outshines anywhere else in the world. I also recently received my Scuba Diving Certification, so what better place to explore.
HOW I'll be accepting donations for the "Send Brianna to the End of the World Fund." Please give generously – your donation makes all the difference.
WHY Everyone I know who's been there tells me the same thing - GO! Berlin's art scene and rich history has eluded me for years.
HOW You have to make it a priority and commit to giving yourself an unforgettable experience. With a different mindset and a little bit of planning, the rest will fall into place! I plan on traveling in October or November so I can take advantage of lower airfare and smaller crowds. I'm also saving up my vacation days – no 'one day here, one day there' in 2013!
WHY My fiancé is part Scottish and it would be fantastic to try some authentic sheperd's pie, check out the beautiful Scottish highlands, and discover the true origin of the Loch Ness monster! Contiki's Hogmanay New Year's tour would be a great introduction to Scotland.
HOW I am saving up vacation days (not traveling at all this spring!) and taking advantage of the New Year holiday to make this trip a reality!
WHY NOT?! The food, the sights, the elephant rides, and mostly the experience of being truly lost and immersed in a culture where I don't know the language and am at the mercy of the locals.
HOW I highly recommend choosing dates that fall over a holiday! Last year I went to Peru over Thanksgiving, and this year I'd like to make the Asian Adventure my Second Annual Thanksgiving Trip. Vacation days are sacred so you have to maximize them any way you can!
WHY I've been wanting to take the Eastern Road tour for a while. Not only to see beautiful and history rich cities like Berlin, Prague and Vienna, but also because my heritage is largely German and Polish. I'd love to explore the food and culture of my family history.
HOW If I do my own nails instead of going to a salon, make food instead of eating out, or skip buying that pair of shoes I really don't need, I can put that money aside for a "Travel Savings Account." If I lose motivation, I give myself a reminder like: "I could buy this schmancy latte now OR I could save this money to drink one at a little café in Prague!"
WHY Last year I did Contiki's Ireland and Spanish Spree tours, both of which offered amazing culture in their own respective ways with breathtaking sights. This year, I am looking for another cultural experience but on a whole new level. Russian and Scandinavian history, scenery, and culture has me geeked on traveling Contiki's Russia Plus trip in 2013.
HOW I generally book my vacations over a holiday to take advantage of my vacation time at work. Not only does planning out your trip in advance allow for plenty of time to save and prepare, but flights are generally cheaper, especially during fall and winter.