My 2013 Travel Calendar

I wrote a similar post last year when I was studying to write my CFA Level 2 exam and had not done any traveling for months. This year, I’m equally miserable because my better half is doing CFA Level 3 this year (I’ve decided to give it a skip for now- MUST finish it next year) so we can’t travel until that’s over. He writes 1 June, and of course I have a bumper rest-of-year planned 🙂 Rishav is probably going to have a heart attack if/ when he reads this, because I’ve only cleared about a quarter of this schedule with him 🙂
I am slowly getting him there, but he finds travel (the process of applying for visas, flying, jetlag, transit times) too much of a hindrance to justify the actual time we’re abroad. I know, he’s insane.

Here’s what we’ll be up to (hopefully… all being well):

We’re off to Paris, staying RIGHT on Champs Elysees (the Parisean equivalent of NYC’s 5th Avenue), then Barcelona (staying here) and finally Madrid (staying here).
I’ll be doing a “Best of Paris” story in the Sunday Independent and of course will be covering Spain in detail on the blog. I did Paris years ago when I just started working and had no money at all- hence we lived on Burger King. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the best Paris has to offer this time round, we even have a meal at a Michelin star restaurant planned 🙂 I’d like to do some of the tourist stuff, but mainly just want to walk the streets of Paris and soak in the vibe all while eating lots of Nutella pancakes. Emma tweeted the link to this blog about a girl who moved to Paris for four months, and then ended up living there permanently–> I love it and it makes me even more excited about the trip.

The sweet people at World Leisure Holidays contacted me in January to go to Mauritius and experience some of their resorts. I said no (I know, who says no to a trip to Mauritius?!?!) because after Seychelles we were beached out and didn’t think we’d enjoy a beach holiday fully. Also, my dad had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and I just wasn’t feeling up to traveling. Anyway, by about March he was improving and I started getting the travel bug again, so I contacted them and they said that their tickets were finished! Obviously I had severe FOMO when I read Talya’s and Bailey’s accounts of their trips 🙂 So they’ll be getting more tickets soon, and hopefully we can arrange a trip in July.

My trip to Seychelles with Constance Hotels was so amazing, I’ve decided to go on another trip with them- this time to Maldives, where Constance has two resorts. We still have to finalise the finer details, but I’m considering doing 4-5 nights in South India (Kerala), and then fly to Maldives- did you know it is only an hour away? Apparently Kerala is so beautiful, you can sail along the backwaters on a houseboat, visit markets on the riverbank, go to a tiger sanctuary. India is also incredible value for money, a 5 star 10 day holiday can easily cost around R15k per person, including flights.

Unfortunately there is no direct flight to Maldives or Kerala. I hate flying via anywhere, it just puts a dampener on the trip for me because of the added travel time which exhausts us. At this point option 1 is to fly JHB- Doha- Kerala – Maldives – Doha- JHB on Qatar airways or on Emirates which obviously flies via Dubai.

I have an SAA credit card, and this entitles me to a free flight anywhere in Africa when spending more than R60,000 a year. I was a tad confused about where to go.. and got some great suggestions from all of you folk (thanks for that!) – but it looks like we’re going to be really limited in terms of time because of… the rest of this post… so I think we may just do a long weekend away to Namibia. I’ve heard the sand dunes and beach are right next to eachother and its gorgeous. Still looking for luxury accommodation- haven’t found anything yet.

I’ve been chatting to Club Med for close on a year now about a ski holiday to the Swiss Alps, but we just haven’t gotten the dates to work. They do 1 week all inclusive packages (including skiing, food, drinks, entertainment- everything), so I’m looking to do this possibly at the end of November or beginning December. I’m a bit worried I won’t like the cold, and I’m not sporty at all so will probably be falling all over the place, but I do think skiing is something to tick off the bucket list.

We never travel over Christmas because it’s usually too expensive and I don’t have the energy or inclination to do the whole fight at the office about who gets to take Christmas leave… but this year I’m hoping to do a Far East trip.
The same SAA credit card rewards me a free international  flight anywhere in the world if I spend more than R160,000 in a year on my credit card. Which is alot, I know. I’ve cancelled my garage card and have routed most of my debit orders via my credit card. Also, whenever we book flights or buy anything big, I try and use my credit card and then nag Rishav to reimburse me his share. Obviously, I have a spreadsheet tallying my spend and mentally reprimanding myself for being ridiculous to want to have a spend goal… but.. it’s a free flight, and an excuse to travel. You can’t waste a free flight right?! Forget about the fact that it’s only one flight and we’ll still have to pay for the other flight and find accommodation plus plus plus. I don’t think media hostings are going to even be possible at that time of year, but I will try. So I’m thinking Hong Kong- Kuala Lumpur – Singapore, maybe Bangkok too.

Have any of you guys been to anywhere on this list? Travel tips- attractions, where to stay, things to do etc… are always appreciated.

As I expected it would, writing this post alone has lifted my mood.. so here’s to the second half of 2013!