Last year I shared the top ten countries we want to visit next. It was such a fun post to create because it sparked some really exciting conversations between me and Luke and researching your dream holidays with no consideration for your budget is really fun. So I decided to make it an annual post as we cross some countries off our list and set our sights on new corners of the globe. We each make a list of five countries that would be our dream vacations if money and time were no object. The only rule is to make it onto the list, it has to be a new country for that person and if there’s overlap, only one person can claim the country and the other has to pick a new one. Even though we have separate lists, we both agree that in a perfect world, we would travel all over the globe and see everything we possibly can!
In 2018, we crossed off two countries from our top ten, one from each list. We visited France in February with two of our friends. It was a quick weekend trip to visit Disneyland Paris, but on the first night, we did go into Paris for dinner (gotta love steak and frites!) and to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. France is definitely still on my list as I’d love to spend more time in Paris and the country as a whole. (Read about our trip here and here.) In September, we honeymooned to Italy and spent nearly two weeks travelling around the southern part of the country. We visited Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome. We would both love to go back to see more of the country, like Florence, Venice, the Lake District, and more!
Austria would probably be my dream winter vacation. (Hello Hallstatt, amirite?) This year, I would love to go abroad to get some proper winter weather and experience more authentic Christmas markets. Countries for that kind of trip would include Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, and Belgium. But Austria definitely takes the cake.
Everyone I know who has been to Belgium couldn’t recommend it more highly. All of the photos I’ve seen from my friends’ travels seem like they’re straight out of a fairy tale. This might be one that’s realistic for us this year since it’s so close and would be so easy to get to. (Fun fact: Luke rode his bike to Brussels once for an Alzheimer’s charity.) We’re considering it for our anniversary weekend in September, so if you have any autumn in Belgium tips, let us know!
Brazil was on Luke’s list last year too, actually. Last year he told me he wants to see the Amazon Rain Forest and São Paulo and I can’t fault him for that. We’ve talked about visiting South America on an extended trip (some day) to see as much of the continent as we can and we would certainly be remiss if we didn’t explore all of the wonderful culture and beautiful sights that Brazil has to offer.
This was the only one that was in the top five for both of us, but I claimed it first. (Luke’s the real winner though because that means he gets six to my five!) We actually considered going to Canada for our honeymoon last year, tacking it onto our trip to Colorado for my brother’s wedding. We did a decent amount of research and I absolutely fell in love with the Banff area especially. When we were booking our trip back for Christmas, we looked into having a night or two layover in Old Quebec City, but it just didn’t make sense logistically. We have been looking at adding it to our dream road trip through New England though. Canada just seems like such a beautiful country on the whole, no matter what season, and I would love to visit some day. Actually, it’s also a country that has been in our discussions of where we might live in the future. To me, it seems like a good balance of having the space America has and the socialism that Europe has.
I’ve noticed a shift in our dream holiday conversations. Instead of talking more about weekend escapes in Europe, we’ve been dreaming about longer trips to explore other corners of the world, particularly Asia. There’s so much about China specifically that intrigues both of us. History, architecture, food, culture, fashion. All of it, really. It would be a dream come true to see all the different things China has to offer from big cities to sweeping landscapes. And of course The Great Wall.
I included Greece this year because we’ve been talking for months for taking a spring or summer trip to visit some Greek islands. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen anymore, but one can dream, right? After all, that’s what this post is for! I would definitely love to visit those picturesque islands one day and my sister found an amazing deal on a villa on a lesser-known island that’s just as beautiful. So win-win! Not to mention, I’ve always had a fascination with Greek history and mythology. I would love to explore some of those places mentioned and see as much ancient history as I can!
Japan seems like such a beautiful country with a rich history and delicious food. I’ve honestly been putting off watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix for years because I’m pretty sure I would just hop on the next plan to Japan and I might not come back! I know there’s a lot more to Japan than sushi, but that’s definitely the biggest lure for me at this point in time. I hope we get to visit some day so I can do more research about the country and its history.
New Zealand was on my list last year. To be honest, it will always be on my list. (Until we go.) From what I can tell, nothing beats the beauty of the New Zealand landscape. I mean, there’s a reason why Lord of the Rings was filmed there! We would love to rent a camper van and drive it around New Zealand for a month. And try to count all the sheep!
I probably could have guessed the others on Luke’s list, except for Russia. I was really surprised he included it. Especially since a few days before we talked about our top five, I told him that if we ever visit Russia he has to wear one of those big fur hats. He hates hats! I don’t know why he would agree to it! But now, with these stakes, I’m more determined than ever to visit Russia!
Okay, full disclosure: I have become obsessed with visiting Singapore since I saw Crazy Rich Asians last fall and read the books over the holidays. The way that Kevin Kwan describes the food and landscape seriously make me want to hop on the next plane. I didn’t know a lot about Singapore before I started reading the books and it just seems like the most magical (and cleanest) place! Ever since reading the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, I firmly believe a tourism company needs to start a CRA tour that offers similar experiences from the books. I would pay serious money for that, I promise.
What’s on your list for 2019?