New year, new travels: our plans for 2017
We'd been enjoying Australia so much that we had to force ourselves to sit down and think about where we wanted to travel in 2017.
When we wrote this post, it had been nearly four months since we started working, and with another two to go, we were in a great position to understand how much money we're likely to have for the travel fund
With that in mind, and after days of research, here are the six countries we decided to visit in 2017...
Nº 1 - Vietnam
Our friends have been telling us to visit Vietnam for years, to enjoy (among other things) the delicious cuisine and cheap beer...
In February, I (Rachel) will be flying to Hanoi to meet my mum, Wendy, for our first backpacking trip together! We'll be visiting Bai Tu Long Bay and travelling south to Hoi An for some overdue mother-daughter time.
Two weeks later, I'll be saying goodbye to Mum and meeting my best friend Nicola in Ho Chi Minh City to cruise the Mekong Delta and (budget permitting) visit the Phu Quoc island.
Update: At June 2017, you can see the first of my Vietnam posts are up! I'll be posting more throughout the year so keep an eye out.
Nº 2 - Myanmar
Now is the time to visit Myanmar.
Matt's Nan travelled the country a few years ago and although tourism is developing slowly, we're keen to visit before it becomes the next 'big thing' on every backpacker's bucket list.
With our research still in the early stages, we'll be flying into Yangon to explore the city and we plan on seeing Bagan at sunrise, pictured below. We're also hoping to visit more remote regions, but with the government restricting access to certain areas, this will take a significant amount of planning.
Watch this space to see where we end up!
Update: We spent a glorious month in Myanmar, and we were surprised at how easy it is to get around, as well as how genuinely excited and happy many Burmese people are to see tourists. We'll be publishing detailed accounts of our time late 2017.
Nº 3 - ECUADOR & the Galápagos Islands
When we think of David Attenborough we instinctively picture the Galápagos. These alluring islands are packed full of enchanting natural life, such as the blue-footed booby bird, and after years of talking about travelling there, we've decided that 2017 is the time for us.
Neither of us have visited Central or South America before, so in May 2017 we're going to leave South East Asia to fly half way around the world. We've read stories of people saving over 50% on island cruises by booking last minute, so after exploring what Ecuador has to offer, we're going to try our luck!
Failing that, you'll catch us taking the ferries between the islands of San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana and Santa Cruz.
Update: We managed to bag a last minute cruise deal in Quito, that saw us exploring the Western itinerary around Isabela island. Blog posts to follow!
Nº 4 - Guatemala
It's the visuals of Guatemala that first piqued our interest: the dramatic volcanoes on the horizon, the cobbled streets and tranquil lakes. Then we read about the Mayan ruins, the opportunity to attend Spanish language schools and the number of adventurous activities on offer.
Guatemala, out of all Central American countries, is the one we kept coming back to and getting excited about - so off we go!
Nº 5 - Mexico
Fajitas were one of our staple meals at university. We're hoping that our Old El Paso kits are a far cry from local street food and we can't wait to get our chops around enchiladas, quesadillas, guacamole and spicy salsa, all washed down with a cold Corona.
We're looking forward to seeing some seriously majestic moustaches and exploring the palm-fringed beaches and bustling cities of Mexico, which is likely to be the last stop of our 2017 travels.
Nº 6 - Colombia
We met so many travellers in Australia (and once we started our travels, Vietnam and Myanmar...) who urged us to head to Colombia. It ended up making a late addition to this list.
From the salsa dancing to the lush green landscape and Caribbean coast, Colombia sounds like our kind of place.
Check out our travel resolutions for 2017 and follow our journey on social media.
*All photos are courtesy of Pixabay, apart from Colombia's Valle de Cocora snap!