Well, look at me, getting all organised and publishing this list in November instead of waiting until January rolls around! Turns out that leopards can really change their spots after all!
If there’s one question I get asked a lot at this time of year, it’s the one about where you’re planning to go next year. It comes in various forms:
Partners Lonely Planet have just published their researched, voted and curated list of the best places to travel in 2019 too. With a snazzy book to match.
It took hours of meetings, consultations, votes and discussions (to which I was invited and involved) before they came up with their decision.
So if they have that, then why am I bringing you mine?
Well, it’s just as lovingly curated. There is voting involved (does asking the baby count?) and of course there is research. There is not, as of yet, a book.
But Lonely Planet has to think of the world. I only need consider you guys. The thoughtful, curious, luxury, traveller.
Also, I haven’t been everywhere.
And, because, well, you ask! Your blogging wish is my command…
Two cities really stand out at the moment for “off the beaten track” art and charm:
Graz, in Austria – has a triple whammy. UNESCO World Heritage Site and City of Design but it’s also Austria’s Capital of Culinary Delights. I’ve travelled there solo (and pregnant) and with husband and toddler in tow and I loved it each and every time. For an out of city escape, you can also head into the nearby Styrian mountains for brettljause in a Buschenschank (it’s nicer than it sounds and involves a lot of scenic wine tasting.)
The Hague – has a similar vibe in that it’s dripping with international accolades yet rarely recognised as a holiday destination in its own right.
Here, you also get a sandy stretch of beach.
Catch the Girl with a Pearl Earring, the Peace Palace and enough cosy cafés to caffeinate you well into 2020.
Oooh, this one is tricky. In classical terms, there’s always New York, New Orleans and the islands of Japan but I’d also throw Quito and the whole of Jordan into the mix (just be sure to keep checking the travel advice – which is what you should be doing anyway.)
Detroit has also burst back onto the scene as it’s prospects are looking up: think Motown, cool architecture and some astonishing American history.
They’re truly stunning but they don’t have the “big” animals roaming around so if that’s what you’re after then I would recommend sub-Saharan Africa for a safari.
Ahhhh…. I don’t want to be a killjoy here but I strongly recommend you check things out with your doctor before booking anything. Bear in mind that you’re at higher risk of blood clots when pregnant and that you may well be, how shall we put this, more concerned with the state of drinking water and which medicines you take than usual. Less risk averse? And with good reason.
So, taking all that into account, my personal recommendation would be to not head too far from home. Don’t spend too long on a plane and don’t get too far from medical facilities you know and trust. But these are just my personal thoughts.
Also, zika. Antimalarials.
So, with all those caveats in place, here’s what I’d suggest.
I love this beautiful, friendly, calm country in the Middle East and in fact I did travel there when pregnant. Relax in beautiful luxury at the Chedi Muscat (with one of the world’s best spas) or journey through this land of gleaming mosques, orchards, desert sands and pristine beaches. It is hot here, though, which is a drawback when pregnant.
But with a sensible approach, good air conditioning and a lovely hotel, it satisfies a thirst for adventure with safety (currently zika free and has great healthcare. But always check before you go!)
(Note – Jordan is on this year’s list with very good reason! But Petra is a major highlight of visiting Jordan and whichever way you slice and dice it, that involves an entire day walking on uneven ground in the heat. Not ideal for most pregnant folk and it would be near criminal to travel to Jordan and not see Petra.)
I have you covered: the best places to travel with a baby.
If you’re looking for something squarely aimed at children but that isn’t Disneyworld or Center Parcs (nothing wrong with them, I’m just guessing you don’t need me to bring them to your attention) then consider Europa-Park in Germany and the Terra Botanica Theme Park in France
Both are theme parks but they aim to inspire and educate as well. One in an international sense, the other in a horticultural one.
Wheeee…well, one of the classic road trips is the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It uses Melbourne as a hub and can be completed in a leisurely and interesting week. Koalas and kangaroos virtually guaranteed.
If you can handle hairy camels and an all round hairier pace, then take to the beaches and mountains of Morocco. Again, you can cover a lot of ground and encounter plenty of derring-do within the space of a week.
And then there is the country made for a road trip: the USA.
I’m very lucky to have received a curated list of the best hikes in the world from certified mountain guides. So get your itchy feet stomping on that!
Hmm. Well, for out of this world beaches, the Maldives, Seychelles and Madagascar spring to mind. But there’s Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia, too, plus plenty of beach spots in Australia. Closer to home, Europe has plenty of beaches but it can be tricky to find a balance between the crowds and the sometimes crisp weather.
Hehe. Well, it is a big, wide world out there. I have a hard time narrowing down where I would love to travel to next.
So, I’d recommend browsing around the blog!
There’s even a section on the best holiday destinations in the world to help you out.
If all else fails, try spinning a globe or flicking open the pages of an atlas. You’ll have to just trust your lucky stars you don’t end up in a war zone. Or in Hull (with apologies to Blackadder and, of course, people who live in Hull.)
Happy travel planning!
*According to, well, me. But I do get a lot of practice and inside info ;-)
Disclosure: Some of these trips, or parts of them, may have been hosted, but that hasn’t affected which exciting places I’ve chosen for this list. The wanderlust and desire to share the adventures with you is very much my own!