My 2012 Travel Wishlist

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According to the doomsday-sayers, the world is going to end before the year is over.

If 2012 is supposed to be the year the world ends, then you had better believe I'm going to make the most of it and go out with a bang.

And, for me, “making the most of it” means traveling as often and as far as I possibly can.

The Catlins, New Zealand

My 2012 Travel Wishlist

Though my travel plans are far from complete at this point, there are a lot of places I plan to visit in 2012 — and even more that I want to visit if possible.

Here, then, is my travel “wishlist” for this year:


It's only mid-January, but I've already crossed this destination off my list. I spent 5 days in Canada's capital city last week, exploring all the things Ottawa has to offer in the winter.

Ottawa, Canada

It was a nice escape for a few days (despite the chill and snow in the air), and has me motivated to try and travel somewhere each month, even if it's not very far from home.Β And it also has me interested in seeing more of Canada.

If I have time this summer, I'm thinking a Canada/New England road trip might be in order. I figure I could take 10 days and visit Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and then drive back home through New England.

The U.S.

Speaking of traveling closer to home, there are still plenty of places to explore in my own country. After my epic summer road trip last year, I've come to realize just how huge and diverse America really is. And I want to see more of it.


I already know I'll be back out West in June for the TBEX travel bloggers conference, which is taking place this year in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I'll definitely be exploring Denver on that trip, and may even tack on a few days in Utah, seeing as how I fell in love with it last summer.

Before then, though, I have a week to travel in March during spring break from grad school. I've been contemplating a whole host of options — all of which would include warm weather.

  • I could go visit a friend who moved to Los Angeles last year and force her to show me all the touristy spots in Hollywood.
  • I could go back to Hawaii to explore some of its other islands, since I only visited Oahu last year. Flights to Hawaii are actually more affordable than you might think this time of year, and I won't lie — I've already been perusing hotelsΒ and dreaming of visiting volcanoes.
  • I could head South and visit Savannah, Georgia, a city that has been calling to me ever since I spent a day there back in 2006. I want to walk under trees draped with Spanish Moss and listen to the city's creepy ghost stories, all while taking tons of photos.
  • Or I could go to Orlando, Florida, to finally give in to my geeky side and spend a few days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Decisions, decisions!


People tell me that Iceland is just as wild and beautiful as New Zealand. Which means, of course, that I've been dying to visit for quite some time. I think 2012 will finally be the year.

The Sunship at midnight

Iceland by o palsson, on Flickr

Even though I'd really like to travel somewhere warm in March, there's a good chance I may scrap all those warm-weather plans and trade them in for Iceland instead. March is still prime Northern Lights-viewing time, but the days begin to get much longer as the country nears spring. Plus, I generally enjoy traveling in the off-season when I can (especially when the destination is not a cheap one!).

If I decide I must have a tropical break in March, however, I'm going to tack a stopover in Iceland onto my big European adventure this summer. Either way, I WILL get to Iceland this year.

Eastern Europe

Ever since I read “The Historian,” I've had a nagging urge to visit Eastern Europe. And, since I'm back in school now and get a few months off in the summer, I figure this year is as good a year to go as any — perhaps the best opportunity I'll have for quite some time.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria June 2006 0002

Rila Monastery by donald judge, on Flickr

So, come July, I'm going to be squeezing in:

  • Bulgaria, to visit some monasteries and hopefully listen to plenty of folk music.
  • Romania, to visit medieval towns and search for vampires.
  • Hungary, to explore Budapest.
  • Slovakia, to visit family that I've never met and learn where my dad's side of the family came from.

If possible, I would also like to include:

  • Austria, to see the Alps and hum “Sound of Music” songs in Salzburg.
  • Slovenia, to see if I'll fall in love with the country like so many others have.

It's a lot to fit in, and it will be the longest, most “foreign” solo trip I have ever undertaken. But I'm super excited to finally experience this part of the world.

The UK

After my Eastern Europe sojourn, I'll be hopping over to the UK for a few weeks.

Northern Constabulary Pipe Band (and grandson) - Massed Bands at Pitlochry Highland Games 2007

Pipe Band by conner395, on Flickr

Though nothing is set in stone yet, my UK destinations will likely include:

  • London, to see the sights and soak up some Olympics fever.
  • Oxford, to feel like I'm in a Harry Potter film.
  • Bath, to visit Stonehenge.
  • Liverpool, to stalk some old Beatles haunts.
  • Edinburgh, to walk to Royal Mile and eat some haggis.
  • The Scottish Highlands, to hunt for Nessie and see some beautiful scenery.
  • Glasgow, to watch the World Pipe Band Championships with some friends.

This will be my first time in the UK, and I definitely plan to make the most of it!

Other possibilities

My year already seems unbelievably full of plans and possibilities, especially for someone who doesn't travel full-time. But, like I said, if the world is going to end before we reach 2013, I plan to go out with a bang! If any other travel opportunities crop up, I will definitely be taking full advantage of them.


So how will my year pan out? Well, plans will undoubtedly change, of course, but here's how 2012 is shaping up so far:

January:Β Already visited Ottawa, Canada

March: One of the following: Los Angeles, Hawaii, Savannah, Orlando, or Iceland (which would you choose??)

May: Maybe that Canada/New England road trip

June: Colorado

July: Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia for sure, maybe Austria and Slovenia, too)

August:Β The UK (England and Scotland)


What kind of travel plans do YOU have for this year? What countries appear on your wishlist?

*Note: This post was sponsored by a third party.


  • Kim says:

    Great plan Amanda! We start our indefinite travels this year with a US road trip of the National Parks all summer (after first visiting family in Ohio and friends on the east coast) and then we fly to Ecuador! We plan on fitting in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina before the world ends πŸ˜‰
    Kim recently posted..Why I’m Quitting My Job to Travel

    • DangerousBiz says:

      That road trip of yours sounds amazing! My sister and I did a big US roadtrip this past summer, which included stops at a handful of National Parks. They were all AMAZING.

      It sounds like you should get plenty of travel in before the end of the world, too! πŸ˜‰

  • Rob says:

    You stole my “go somewhere every month” Idea! Or maybe I stole your idea. Oh well. I’ve got something booked for 10 of the months so far.. starting with hiking in Arizona next weekend.

    I like your March list. I was initially skeptical of Iceland (not all that warm even in summer) but there’s a lot of equinox-centric stuff going on, and you can get from where you are to Iceland for pretty cheap in March. Looks like about $750.

    If you haven’t booked your flights to Europe you might look at a “stopover fare” and head to Europe via Iceland. I just did a test route BOS-KEF-LHR-BOS and it’s about the same price as flying direct to London.

    Have a look at to check it out.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I love that you’re planning a trip every month! It’s a great idea, and I’m definitely going to try to do the same. Or at least go somewhere big every other month!

      And I have already done plenty of Iceland research on my own, including looking into the options you’ve mentioned! πŸ˜‰ Originally, I was going to add in a 3-day stopover on my way to London (since IcelandAir lets you do that for free), but now I’m really tempted by a week there in March. It’s not high season yet, and it would still be cold, but there would be 12 hours of daylight, and most tours would be running. But everything would be cheaper! Way cheaper than in July. I’m going to seriously consider it and make up my mind within the next couple of weeks!

      Plus, if I decide to go to Iceland in March instead of July, I can look for any cheap flights to anywhere in Europe for this summer, instead of just re-checking IcelandAir prices to London every week.

      • Rob says:

        Of course you’ve done lots of research. I forgot you’re a planner. πŸ™‚

        The good thing about having gone to Ottawa in January is that pretty much nowhere else you plan to travel will truly feel cold. Iceland in particular is *much* more moderate. πŸ™‚

        • DangerousBiz says:

          Yes, a planner I am! Or, at least a researcher. I love doing my travel research.

          And so true about Ottawa! Just tonight, my mom was complaining that it was going to be “so cold” the next few days. … The weather forecast is calling for temps in the low-20s (F). I told her that’s nothing compared to how cold it was last week in Ottawa! So yes, I should definitely be able to survive Iceland in March. πŸ™‚

          • Rob says:

            Iceland is on my list, too, but I’m not sure when. I am still considering this summer, as I could get there for $300 return from Stockholm, and I’ll *be* in Stockholm. So many places to go and so little time!

  • We’ll probably be in the UK during August as well! How awesome would it be to meet up? Our plans are so up in the air (as I’m sure yours are), but it would be super cool if the stars aligned just right. πŸ™‚
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Fisherman’s Bastion: the Saving Grace of Budapest’s Castle Hill

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Oh my gosh, that would be amazing if our paths crossed! I know for SURE I will be in the UK the first 2 weeks of August — because the World Pipe Band Championships are the second weekend in August in Galway. And I plan to do most of my England/Scotland exploring before that. You’ll have to keep me updated on your plans!

  • Tash says:

    Ohhhh, I too planning Canada (you’re WAY ahead of me, ha!), but for a uni 3 month placement – fingers crossed. This would also let me jump around to some weekend trips in the US, of places I haven’t been to before.
    I would avoid the UK over the Olympic year like the plague….but that’s just me! Going to be nuts, and exy!
    I have just booked a trip for April, to Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana….so that should have a US stopover too (unavoidable).
    Love your list, and look forward to reading about your adventures!
    Tash recently posted..Sydney Test ’12

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Ooo, where in Canada are you hoping to get a uni placement? That would be fun! And yes, it would probably mean you’d be able to take some trips to the US pretty easily!

      Plenty of people have warned me to stay away from the UK during the Olympics. πŸ˜‰ But I’m still totally going! In fact, I’m convinced that, with everyone warning people to stay away, I’ll be one of the only tourists in London not going to any of the sporting events! Lol.

  • Barb says:

    HI Amanda
    I wish that m’y 2012 bucket list was as big as yours!

    I have 2 countries on my 2012 list- USA & Canada. In June, I will go to Hi. It is mostly to see m’y family but also for R&R. Then, we are planning on returning to Quebec & perhaps a few days in New Brunswick for September. But, that one is in the planning stage.
    These are big trips for my hubby & I; we live in France.

    Wishing for you to spend March on the neighbor islands in Hawaii! πŸ™‚
    Barb recently posted..Goodbye, dear San Diego

  • Laurence says:

    Wow, for someone who doesn’t travel full time your plans are pretty exciting looking! I’ve got no idea what 2012 is holding for me yet, but Eastern Europe and Iceland both sound like brilliant ideas. And the UK is a short jaunt across for me, maybe we could meet up πŸ˜€
    Laurence recently posted..A village of death and memory in France

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, I know, if you didn’t know my travel situation, it would probably be pretty easy to assume that I travel all the time!

      I’ll definitely let you know my plans for the UK if you do want to hop over to London or Edinburgh for a few days. Or, who knows, I may end up finding a cheap flight to Paris and fly in there instead!

  • You’ve got big plans! I highly recommend Savannah, Georgia.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Big plans indeed! Hopefully I can afford all of them… haha.

      I certainly hope to get to Savannah at some point; it’s been on my “must-revisit” list for a few years now.

  • I can highly recommend Iceland – New Zealand-like landscape but with even fewer people.

    And Bulgaria is also beautiful – not many people there either; they got out as fast as they could after the Communist regime fell. Sofia and the Black Sea resorts are far from beautiful, but the countryside is spectacular.
    Richard Tulloch recently posted..SYDNEY HARBOUR DAY 11 – Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the recommendations, Richard! I’m really looking forward to finally seeing Iceland — it may happen very soon!

      And good to hear about Bulgaria. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll see there yet, but I really have no interest in the Black Sea resorts — I want to see some of that spectacular countryside!

  • Cat Gaa says:

    Next weekend I’m off again to Alicante, and the only other trip I have planned is to Turkey during Holy Week (you remember how that gets in Spain!). My boyfriend will be doing a training course around Spain for four months, so I’ll have plenty of places to visit, and I think a career change is in order so that I can travel a bit more!
    Cat Gaa recently posted..What to do in Spain if: your phone gets lost or stolen

  • Juliann says:

    I’m so envious of your plans to visit Iceland! That’s a top destination pick for me, but I don’t have any plans to go in the near future. I can’t wait to see what you say about it.

    My own travel plans this year include business trips to China, Belgium, and Singapore. Vacations might include Savannah and St. Louis, plus another spot in Europe after my business in Brussels is finished.

    But I have to say, in all honesty, I don’t care much where I go as long as I go SOMEWHERE!
    Juliann recently posted..The Dolphins – Part 3 – Mike

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I really can’t wait to see Iceland, either! People tell me it’s just as beautiful as New Zealand, which has me dying to see it for myself.

      Your own travel plans seem pretty great! That’s awesome that you get to travel to so many cool places for business. But I totally agree with you that, at the end of the day, I don’t really care where I’m going, as long as I’m going somewhere!!

  • OMG come South so that we can meet! And I highly recommend Iceland!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..France & Italy With Trafalgar Tours: Day 6 (Part 3)

  • Ryan Brown says:

    So many amazing places on the list Amanda, sounds like it’ll be an epic year for ya! I’ll be in New Zealand until October, but this is the key to the rest of the world for me, and I think I’ll be exploring SE Asia by the end of the year. It would be pretty crappy if the world ended just after I finally broke free!!!
    Ryan Brown recently posted..A Quick Drive Around the Wellington Coastline.

  • Ryan Brown says:

    Oh, and Hawaii or Iceland get my vote! I lived in LA for a year, so let me know if you need some places to visit. And if you go to Hawaii, check out Lahaina in Maui…if there was ever a Tree of Life, it is that one in the village.
    Ryan Brown recently posted..Hey Bro, I think That Girl Is Checking Out Your Tiger Print One-sie!

  • Candice says:

    Iceland is high on my list too! Let’s go!
    Candice recently posted..G is for Guinness, T is for Textured Butter Balls

  • Wow that is a fantastic list! I read The Historian too and like your idea of making a trip because a novel inspired you!
    Debbie @ European Travelista recently posted..Bamberg Germany and Little Venice

  • Claire says:

    I am looking to travel stateside in March as well, and was considering 1 or 2 of your choices as well! Sunny and warm are MUSTS.

  • I’d love to spend time in Eastern Europe as well. Maybe 2013 plans. πŸ˜‰
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..RTW: Q’s Packing List

  • Shaun says:

    I got tired just looking at your list lol. You certainly are going to some awesome places. In July/August I’m off to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Go big or go home, that’s my travel motto! Lol. Your summer sounds like it’s going to be great, too, though!

  • Pauline says:

    Hey Amanda,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, but I have never left any comments. I am from Toronto, Canada. And should you decide to come up here, email me and I would be more than happy to show you around town (given that our schedules work out and that you actually want me to show you around..hehe!!).

    Now to answer your questions – I’m heading out to SE Asia at the end of the month. I’m thinking of visiting Hongkong, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, and Bangkok. VERY EXCITED! πŸ™‚ I would love to visit Brazil and Argentina..maybe next year!


    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hi Pauline! Thanks so much for your comment! It’s always good to hear from people like you who perhaps usually just read my posts but never throw in their 2 cents. I want your 2 cents! πŸ˜‰

      And SE Asia is indeed very exciting!! I know so many travelers who really love it over there. Have fun!

  • Traveling every month is a cool goal. I really need to see more of Canada, since I’ve only been to Toronto and Vancouver so far. I love the idea that you went in winter… it’s nice to visit places when it’s not always sunny and warm.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..A lazy Sunday morning in Key West

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It’s often nice to visit places in the off-season; you get to see an entirely different side of a place when it’s not teeming with people.

  • Rebecca says:

    I did a similar thing last year, lay out all the travel plans I wanted to do throughout the year. And I accomplished them all! This year, not so much.

    Iceland in March sounds great! And funny enough, I met more New Zealanders IN Iceland then any other nationality. The scenery is stunning, though not as good as NZ, just different.

    Good luck this year!
    Rebecca recently posted..Random Weekend: Book: Italian for Beginners

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m sure some of my plans will change, but hopefully any major changes will just be in the form of even more destinations being added to the list!

      I really am leaning towards Iceland in March… hopefully I’ll have made up my mind for sure by the end of the month!

  • Sky says:

    Great list! I’m not sure what I would pick in March – probably LA or Savannah, but that’s just because I really want to visit those places!

    My plans for 2012 include going to Guatemala for 10 days in March, Panama for 16 days in April, and then heading out to California in September for a few months.
    Sky recently posted..Change of Plans

  • Glad to see Romania is still on your list, though I would also include Austria if you can, they had the most superb views of the Alps in summer. Its divine…
    Cristian Balau recently posted..If it’s okay to take fingerprints, why not DNA?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Romania is definitely still on my list!

      Everyone has been telling me that I really have to go to Austria… so I’m going to do my best to fit it in!

  • You are indeed a planner!
    I often go for the more impromptu trips inspired by what crosses my path!
    Having said that I too will be in Scotland for some of the summer (possibly August when you’re there!) with a sojourn in Italy and France hopefully in the spring…
    Linda ~ Journey Jottings recently posted..Are the ‘Ochre Pits’ the Pits?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I love to plan. Though, I’m lucky that I can usually strike a balance and not OVERplan. I actually like to call myself a “researcher” rather than a “planner.” I like to know what all of my options are before I go to a place, so that I can always find something to do. I try not to plan out every day though — that gets boring, and doesn’t leave any room for plans to change!

      And if you are in Scotland in August, be sure to let me know! Perhaps our paths will cross.

  • Daisy says:

    So many responses! Making travel plans just stirs something in all of us. On my list are:

    Auckland (NZ)
    Cornwall (UK) in spring or beginning of summer
    Sydney for New Years eve to kick of 2013!
    Daisy recently posted..U.S. Vaccination Schedule

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yay New Zealand! Glad to see Auckland on your list, even if it is my least favorite city there. πŸ˜‰

      And Sydney for New Year’s Eve sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to ring in the new year there, with some fireworks over the harbor!

  • Iceland! Amazing! I have always wanted to go there! And you will LOVE eastern europe… it is my favourite part of Europe
    Jade – recently posted..Best of/Worst of Travel in 2011

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve really wanted to go to Iceland in the past few years, too! And, even though I haven’t officially announced it yet, I’ll be headed there sooner than later! πŸ˜‰

      And I’ll have to keep in mind that you’re traveled around Eastern Europe! I’m going to need plenty of tips for this summer.

  • Larissa says:

    Hey Amanda,

    Oxford is a very nice place, to be honest one of my favourite places in the world(just like Budapest). If your in Engeland and you have the time: go to York as well! It has a beautiful Cathedral( biggest one from midevil times in Nothern-Europe) and has the Shambles, one of the oldest ‘shopping’street in de world and takes you straight into Tudor times!! In Salzburg, you can almost visit anything from the Sound of Music, expect the house/palace where the Von Trapp family lived. A whealty American bought it and it closed to public, don’t know if it’s still like this but it was in 2007! x

    • DangerousBiz says:

      If I can, I’ll add in York too, because many other people have told me to try to see it!

      So much to see, so little time!

  • Larissa says:

    Oh and in Scotland, definetly go to the Hebrides!! I heard it’s one of the most beautiful group of Islands in the world!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve heard that, too! Not sure if I’ll get there, but I’m definitely planning on going into the Highlands, and hopefully over to the Isle of Skye.

  • Ali says:

    Ok I’m really behind on your blog! I really want to go to Iceland, sounds like such an awesome place. Your Europe list sounds great too. I have no idea what Andy and I are doing beyond April, but if any of our travels overlap, I’d love to meet up with you again. I really want to get to eastern Europe! Have fun at TBEX, we won’t be there, but we are going to check out TBU in Italy in a couple months.
    Ali recently posted..How Much I Spent in Southeast Asia for Two Months

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m SO excited about Iceland (I haven’t officially announced it on my blog yet, but I’m going in March!). And definitely keep me updated about your plans for this summer… it would be great if our paths crossed at some point!

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