By my standards, 2016 was not a busy year of travel. Mr Ayla would say differently because his travel expectations are not quite as high as mine but when we only visit four different countries in one year, well, that’s just a little bit too quiet for my liking. (I know I may sound completely greedy and unappreciative here but when your passion is travel, there is never enough of it that you can fit into one lifetime let alone one year!)
That’s not saying that I would change 2016 for anything though. Falling pregnant in June may have scuppered some of the travel plans we had for the last six months of the year but I wouldn’t change anything about it for all the travel in the world and we still had some amazing adventures.
Top Travel Moments of 2016
An American adventure
Our biggest and best travels of 2016 was a surprise birthday trip to the USA for Mr Ayla’s 30th. The USA was not somewhere that I was ever particularly excited about visiting (this was, after all, Alex’s dream holiday, not mine) but there were so many moments from this trip that I simply couldn’t forget that it has ended up being one of my favourite ever trips.
There were so many highlights on this trip for both of us, just a few of which were unexpectedly loving Las Vegas, driving along quirky Route 66, watching the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, eating our weight in brunch in San Francisco, camping in Yosemite National Park in our exceedingly bright campervan and roadtripping along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most stunningly gorgeous coastlines I have ever seen.
Spring in Amsterdam
Another highlight of the year was eating ALL the waffles and pancakes in Amsterdam (and I really do mean all) while strolling along the beautiful canals decked out with colourful tulips in spring time. We also visited Anne Frank’s House – I’m not really a fan of museums but this is one of the most interesting museums we’ve been to.
AN ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND IN COPENHAGEN
Our anniversary weekend took us to the lovely city of Copenhagen which I would go back to in a heartbeat and has definitely peaked my interest in seeing more of Scandinavia.
PAMPERING ON THE AEGEAN COAST
Then some down time along the Turkish Coast came at just the right time at the beginning of my pregnancy when I was in desperate need of some relaxation. Lying in the sunshine, food and (non-alcoholic) drinks on tap and daily naps and massages made this another highlight of the year.
We also managed several staycations a bit closer to home in Brighton, Winchester and the cute little village of Rye, as getting to explore more of our own country is always something I love doing.
Travel Plans for 2017
Apart from the main glaringly obvious plan of having a baby some time in next three months, we still hope to travel as much as we can this year and of course I plan on making the most of my maternity leave. As soon as Little Miss Ayla is here and she’s all good and healthy, I’ll be sending off for her first passport and getting her straight on the path to being as much of a travel addict as I am. With two travel addict girls on his hands, Mr Ayla is going to have a lot to contend with!
A BIRTHDAY TREAT TO THE UAE
I’ve only ever really considered visiting the UAE as a stopover for a couple of days enroute to somewhere else but I’ve heard so many great things about it being such a baby and kid friendly destination that I had to include it in my list of places to visit this year with bubba in tow. While it’s classed as a long haul destination from the UK it still isn’t too far to go, so both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are calling my name.
I’ll be turning 30 at the end of this month (excuse me one moment while I just go cry in the corner) but as I can’t exactly be flying to some exotic location when I’m the size of a whale and about to pop means that any big birthday celebrations will have to be put on hold for a while.
Seeing as my birthday present to Mr Ayla for his 30th was our great American adventure, he was planning on treating me to something similar for my birthday – because it’s only fair right? So he’s kindly told me that a trip to the UAE will be his birthday present to me – but of course I will still be the one planning the trip because that is ALWAYS my job (and I love it) – and I am already so excited to have some travels to look forward to after Little Miss Ayla arrives.
Heading back to Gibraltar
Being the place we got married and having family living here, we try to visit Gibraltar as often as we can so for one of baby’s first holidays, Gibraltar is a definite for us in 2017 (plus we’ll have all my family there to help out with any babysitting duties!). Even though she won’t really understand at such a young age, I can’t wait to show our little girl where we got married and take her to somewhere I have considered as my second home since I was little.
A RELAXING beach break
I’m not sure quite how relaxing a break with a baby can be but a sunny beach destination sounds like the ideal place to go to at least try to relax. I’m thinking somewhere like the Algarve in Portugal, the Balearic Islands or the South of France which are all short plane rides away but all with gorgeous coastlines.
European Christmas Markets
I know Christmas 2016 is only just over (although the ridiculous amounts of chocolates we still have left seem to disagree) but I like to plan ahead! I always hope to visit a new Christmas market and 2017 will be no exception. Whether it’s the wintery wonderland of Vienna or one of the popular German markets, just a weekend in one of these festive locations sounds magical.
What are your travel plans for 2017? Do you have any tips or recommendations for any of our planned trips? Or any other suggestions for destinations to travel to with a baby in tow? Let me know in the comments below or at: