I don’t know about you but I have a bucket list. I was inspired by the movie ‘The Bucket List’ starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicolson. The movie plot follows two terminally ill men (Freeman and Nicolson) who come together by chance, become unlikely friends and then decide to go on a road trip. They write down their ‘wish list’ of things to do before they “kick the bucket” – hence the name – The Bucket List.The destinations they visit include watching the pyramids in Egypt, visiting the Taj Mahal in India, speedway driving in California, lion safari in Tanzania, motorcycling along the Great Wall of China and climbing on Mt Everest. Of course Nicolson is very rich and can afford to travel all around the world to tick off their bucket list items.
Selecting your destination
For the rest of us we have to take a more leisurely pace. Whether you get a map of the world and pin those cute little flags into the desired destination, make a list and put it on the fridge or cut out glossy brochure images of where you would like to go, it is all about visualising being at the destination of your dreams. For others it may be a more sentimental journey, reconnecting with family and friends or visiting a place that holds importance in your memory.
Once you have your list it is then a matter of prioritising your destinations, maybe grouping them into a logical order to travel in and then finding out how much it is going to cost you. On my bucket list I had dancing salsa in Cuba, swimming in the Caribbean sea and a late addition of taking my grandson to Disneyland. So with Cuba and the Caribbean firmly in mind I set about working out the logistics.
Explore Travel Options
Depending on your destination the modes of transport may well be limited. Travelling within NZ you have car, air, train or boat as options. Destinations outside NZ you first need to take a flight or board a ship. Not a lot of choice there.
Part of travelling is the fun of using other modes of transport that you may not have considered like trains, cruising, motor biking, or even horse back.
Some destinations are limited by the air carrier and where they fly to. Some need a combination of flights on differing airlines. With travelling to Cuba it meant either flying to Canada and then directly to Havana or going via Mexico. The USA was just thawing it’s relations with Cuba but had not yet allowed flights to Cuba directly from the US. So we flew from Christchurch, Auckland, San Francisco (with a stop over), Mexico City, and then onto Havana Cuba.
If you are not in a hurry or don’t have to worry about returning to work before your leave runs out, you have the option of using local transport to get from A to B. This lets you experience the country side and the people on a whole other level. We decided to circumnavigate Cuba. Their are options to take motorbike trips, ride the old American cars plus a few other of the usual bus options. We opted for a cruise. We took a cruise boat from Havana and stopped at several stops around Cuba as well as Montego Bay Jamaica. It was simply amazing!
The great thing about cruising is that you get on board unpack your bags and you don’t have to do anything until you reach your final port of call. Yet you travel from destination to destination along the way. I find cruising relaxing and it is like having all your housework and cooking done everyday while you enjoy the wonders of the world.
You can choose to take shore excursions and explore each stop as much or as little as you like. On-board there is an abundance of food options along with fantastic entertainment, on-board shopping as well as space to just soak up the sun while the ship gently moves through the sea.
Check the weather
Don’t be lured into selecting a destination because there is a ‘really cheap airfare and hotel package’ going. Often they can be cheap as it is the low season and the weather is not as desirable. It is no fun being stuck in the Pacific Islands from December to March during the monsoon season. While November to April is the official hurricane season with global warming it has meant weather forecasts are less predictable than the past. Just look at our mild winter this year. I use the weather underground website to research my desired destination and the weather history for that location over the period of my intended travel. While the weather is what it is, if you want a beach holiday in the warmth then make sure that the cheap airfare advertised doesn’t have a high probability of lightning storms, hurricanes, sand storms, snow storms, typhoons or it is the middle of tornado season. Why tempt fate? Unless of course your bucket list includes the ability to chase tornadoes through central Texas.
Have you experienced any amazing weather events during your travels? If so share them in the comment area. We would love to hear about your adventure.