2020/21 Hot List - February 2020 Edition
So, now that we've passed T-minus 100 days to the Georgia trip, the booking of the follow-up trip could be nigh. A surprise tour opportunity, new tensions in the Middle East, and a new epidemic turned last months rankings topsy-turvy, so without further ado let's see where we stand at the moment:
1. INDIA - Last Month: 9 (+8)
Breaking News! I just discovered a perfectly-timed group tour to India from an operator I've been wanting to try for some time. Bottom line: If the research period works out, this trip might be booked by the time March rolls around.
2. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Last Month: 4 (+2)
The trip itself moves up in the top half of the rankings, but I am narrowing down the options. If I were to do this one, it would be some sort of South Africa-Namibia combo, with an outside chance of hitting Vic Falls as well. The big question is still getting there/getting back.
3. EASTERN EUROPE TRAIN JOURNEY - Last Month: Not Ranked
For a long time, I've wanted to take a 'no reservations' trip. One where I book my my flights, but go completely seat-of-the-pants in between. I've tried, but I've always ended up planning everything. My current thinking is to fly into Belgrade, leisurely wind my way through Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, and fly home from Sofia. I think if there's any destination I could do this, it would be these under-the-radar countries. The possibilities are endless...
4. SLOVENIA - Last Month: 7 (+3)
Sometimes, you just want to sit in a sidewalk European cafe and watch the world go by. This would be the country to do it in, and it's been on the list for a long, long, time. Someday, I'll get there.
5. SOUTHEAST ASIA - Last Month: 2 (-3)
This destination had been holding steady near the top of the list, but takes a hit due to uncertainty about this coronavirus thing. We'll see how things pan out in the next month or so. It would be a group tour, but to which destination? Cambodia? Laos? Myanmar? The biggest doubt I have in my mind is the heat. It's gonna feel like summer in North Carolina there, even if I go in November.
6. NEW ZEALAND/AUSTRALIA - Last Month: 6 (No change)
Holding steady in the rankings, despite my terrified reading about funnel-web spiders recently. It really comes down to time and expense and which of the two countries I'd decide to explore.
7. ANCIENT ROAD TRIP - Last Month: 1 (-6)
The word 'overtourism' enters my thoughts when thinking Rome and Athens, but I didn't have a lot of time for research in January, so for now, this one stays on the list. The big question: how difficult and/or expensive would it be to do this independently using buses, trains, and ferries? That would be the main factor in deciding if/when it's a viable option.
8. A CABIN IN THE SMOKIES- Last Month: Not Ranked
Let's just call this one the 'easy' button. Now that I live near the beach, I have no interest in renting a beach house for a week. But spending a week with this view? Sign me up.
9. UK/IRELAND - Last Month: Not Ranked
I honestly can't believe I haven't been to Ireland by now. But, there's always been more cool, more exotic places to go. If I were to decide to do something 'short' (less than two weeks), Hopping across the pond may be the best option.
10. OMAN/QATAR - Last Month: 3 (-7)
Stupid warmongers! This destination, which had been crawling up the list, nearly fell all the way off of it this month thanks to increased tensions in the Middle East. Hanging on at least for one more month to see how things shake out.
DROPPED OFF: Uruguay, Malta, The Alps
STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION: Baltic States, Mexico.