Happy New Year, dear readers!
Welcome to 2011, which promises to be full of travel dreaming, planning, innovation, excitement, education (entirely possible frustration and anxiety: I’m talking to you, baggage fees, full-body scans and over-enthusiastic patdowns), stuff you forgot at home and stuff you’ll be thrilled you brought back with you to your everyday life.
The hope is that you’ll do all of it together.
It’ll surely be a year filled with as much (or more) work than last year, and hence with the same scheduling challenges. Before the month gets away from you, sit down with your significant other (offering wine, chocolate or exemption from chores can help focus reluctant attention), break out a world map and calendar, and for the love of Pete, plan to go somewhere.
Been meaning to do more weekend trips (or simply get out of the house) but can never seem to plan ahead? Sign up for regular alerts from sites like Groupon, Zozi and TravelZoo so you’ll hear about fun experiences to share and great deals on them all.
Need help deciding on a place to go? Well, that’s what I’m here for. Wander through my destination posts and guides, ask me your travel questions here, or lend me your “like” over at Facebook and post your queries on my wall.
This might be the year for you both to take off and explore a place you’ve always wanted to go, just to know you didn’t spend twelve whole months at your desks. For instance, except for Bali, I’ve never been to Asia. Or for that matter, the entire continent of South America. Or the Middle East. Or Antarctica (though I did see a very cool documentary about it over the holidays). Heck, I’ve never even been to Eastern Europe. So don’t feel bad if you feel like you haven’t yet seen the world — it’s still there for the seeing.
Maybe you’ll see a far-flung corner of the Earth with an eco-friendly company like Natural Habitat Adventures, the World Wildlife Fund or Intrepid Travel. Polar bears, pyramids or remote mountain temples, anyone?
Or maybe you’ll go stay in a wacky, offbeat, utterly unique lodging like Quebec’s Ice Hotel (like I will, later this month). Perhaps you’ll sleep inside some artwork at Berlin’s Arte Luise Kunsthotel; an Airsteam Trailer at Cape Town’s Grand Daddy; a grounded Airplane Suite in the Netherlands; a seaside treehouse at Sanya Nanshan on China’s Hainan Island; or a beagle at Cottonwood, Idaho’s Dog Bark Park Inn. (And oh yes, I said a beagle.)
And hopefully, you’ll both feel more comfortable traveling to a place where neither of you knows the language very well, by taking along a new iPhone app called Word Lens. This spectacularly exciting invention allows you to, while offline, point your iPhone’s video camera at a sign in a foreign language…and have it visually translated it for you.
It’s $5 per language, but I can already see myself and Adam gallivanting across Slovenia, Israel, Oman, Gabon, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina…and way more.
Wherever you’re fantasizing about this year, I hope you’ll bring me along, however virtually. There’s nothing I love to see more than two workaholics who manage to get the heck out of Dodge.
Because believe me: I know of what I write.