Where To Next? My Autumn+Winter Travel Plans for 2018/2019
Written by Jaillan Yehia
It really has been a summer of legend here in the UK, but I’m finally ready to admit that the British heatwave is over, that no, I probably didn’t need to buy that extra fan after all, and that there is life (and travel) beyond the UK in the glorious sunshine.
Considering I’m a travel obsessive, I have stayed in Britain a lot this year, way more than I ever have before.
I put this down to a combination of things: first, since moving back from Canada I am IN LOVE with the UK in a way that I wasn’t before. I get so excited about the British seaside and our pretty, history-packed cities, and I really do see it all through new eyes having lived in the glass architect-drawing of a metropolis that is Vancouver, BC.
Another reason I’ve stayed in the UK for so much of 2018 is that when the weather is good here you just have to go with it, because you literally never know when you’ll see the sun again. I ended up exploring places like Bristol and Salisbury in the blistering heat, and that’s not an opportunity you get every day.
After my recent trips to Menorca and Majorca I promised myself that I’d go back to the Balearics this summer for at least a week-long package holiday, and just lie on the beach and chill out. But in the end I wasn’t willing to leave the scorching shores of Blighty behind, even for a holiday to Spain. How crazy is that?
I did manage to fit in short breaks to Bologna, Italy and Aarhus, Denmark between June and August and honestly that was the perfect amount of European travel for me.
Finally I think I did bigger stints of local travel because I find the older you get the more you appreciate small things, learn to love what’s on your doorstep, and the more time you want to spend at home in your jim jams cuddling the cat. But maybe that’s just me?
Anyway enough of that – I’ve loved my staycation summer but I’m now ready to head off again on some new adventures, so here are the key travel experiences that I think are going to make the rest of my 2018 rock.
My travel plans for Autumn and Winter 2018/2019
1. Short Break to Marbella, Spain
My preconceptions about Marbella pre-date the whole ‘No carbs before Marbs’ thing. I went through a long phase of writing off Spain, especially the heavily touristed areas, thinking the resorts would be wall-to-wall tackiness. How wrong I was.
I’ve found that even the most touristy areas of Spain are surrounded by stunning scenery, and if it’s peace and tranquillity you want, you can always find it.
I went on to fall in love with Spain, especially the islands, and I’ve now been invited to see the luxurious side of the Spanish coastal resort of Marbella with Kempinski staying at the absolutely gorgeous 5-Star Bahia Estepona.
2. Craft Weekend in Telford, Shropshire, UK
Yes the pesky UK again! But this time I’m revisiting the site of my first ever trip away from home which is making me nostalgic. When I was a kid I went on a school trip to Ironbridge Gorge, and as a city girl from the sight of the actual Ironbridge set amid Shropshire scenery remains etched in my mind.
It turns out that as well as Ironbridge being a World Heritage Site, packed with museums and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the UK, the town of Telford has a burgeoning craft scene and is a great place to explore if you’re creatively minded. Watch this space for a full report.
3. Month-long yoga & Ayurveda retreat, Eastern Sri Lanka
This is a biggie. I’ve been planning my month in Sri Lanka for nearly a year. Ok that’s a slight exaggeration, I’ve known I was going to set aside October for yoga, wellness, spas and ‘me time’ in Sri Lanka for months, but I only started doing something about it around 2 weeks ago.
I’ve travelled to Sri Lanka previously, before I started blogging – which quite honestly seems like a lifetime ago. To put it into perspective it was just after the civil war ended, so tourists hadn’t started to come back yet, and my lasting memory is of sharing incredible sites with nobody but monkeys and small groups of local schoolgirls, who were usually wearing white dresses. It made it very beautiful, peaceful and also a bit eerie.
I’m now going to check out 5 different places on the teardrop island to find out why there’s so much buzz around Sri Lanka, especially from a wellness perspective.
4. Make Time For Mam, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, England
In between international trips I’m going back to visit my mum in Geordieland: otherwise known as Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’ve obviously been visiting Newcastle for decades and I can tell you it has changed loads.
The regeneration and energy in The Toon makes this an exciting city to add to your list for 2018/2019 – and may I recommend a visit during winter when you can see the unmissable local spectacle* of native Geordies on nights out in sub-zero temperatures without any need of a jacket.
*Also available in Glasgow.
5. Somewhere in the world with my Airbnb credit
Like any good traveller I love me a bit of AirBnB . But I had a weird experience last year when I turned up to a flat I had booked and paid for in Copenhagen only to find the owner denying all knowledge of me or my reservation. I know, it’s the nightmare we all dread, but it happened.
Luckily I was with my Danish family who helped me find alternative accommodation (another fun story: hotels are either fully booked or insanely priced in CPH at Christmas so I ended up sleeping in a naval barracks).
As a result I now have some AirBnB credit burning a hole in my account and I am scouting around to see what fun spontaneous excursion I can have if I marry the credit up with some last minute cheap flights. If you’ve stayed in a good AirBnB and reckon I’d like it, please shout!
6. Folkestone & other south coast seaside towns
My most important UK trip for 2018/2019 is to the south coast of England to check out towns like Folkestone, Bognor Regis, Southampton – and probably back to Ramsgate – to decide where to move to next.
Having lived in London, Vancouver (Canada) and now Surrey, I’m ready to up sticks and live somewhere new. I really want to be somewhere that’s got a creative vibe, but is slower-paced than my old home in Camden Town and I am hankering after a sea view. This is going to be a fun search.
7. Christmas River Cruise, Europe
I absolutely love Christmas, and there’s nothing better than combining that love of the festive season with my passion for shopping overseas and eating (and drinking of course).
I’ve spent a couple of Christmases in tropical locations and loved them, but this year I think I’d rather stay in Europe and get really festive.
Having long been a fan of Christmas Markets (my faves are Strasbourg, Belfast and Brussels) I usually like to fit in a minimum of one short haul destination per Xmas season, but over the last few years I’ve noticed more and more travellers relax on a European river cruise while getting their Euro Christmas market fix.
It seems like an absolutely brilliant idea – instead of having to think about parking and snow chains and rogue European lorry drivers (I had a hair-raising experience on my way to Frankfurt Christmas market in heavy snow one year which has put me off for life) you glide up to your chosen market on a pretty river boat, stuff yourself full of Gluhwein and pretzels then get back on board again to be spirited off to the next one.
As a massive fan of European city breaks, it’s been a recurring regret that I haven’t found time to go on a river cruise, and the more I read about other people’s cruise adventures – especially the food onboard – the higher up the ‘must do’ list river cruising has crept. So I promised myself that 2018/2019 would be the year I finally take a river cruise, what a way to end the year it will be.
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