2011 Travel Plans – Where is LandLopers Headed Next?

Galapagos Sunset

I’m not usually a big fan of travel bucket lists. I like reading other people’s lists, but I never really felt like it was something I needed to do. Ultimately, there are very few places I wouldn’t like to visit at least once. Yes, there are destinations I want to visit before others, but I have found my travel intentions rarely turn into travel realities. I tend to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, sniffing out good deals and travel bargains. That being said, I have put together a wish list for 2011. It’s partly based on already planned trips as well as trips I hope to make this year. Time and money are always the limiting factors for me because, until I win the Mega Millions, I do have to work in order to pay for the dogs, house and of course travel.


We have always wanted to visit a quiet, mountain chalet covered in snow. We don’t ski but the concept of spending a day in a winter wonderland capped off by an evening enjoying hot cocoa with a roaring fire has a certain appeal for us. It’s never worked out, usually because of busy winter-time work schedules, but 2011 will be different. We have managed to identify a long weekend when we will be traveling to Banff, the very winter wonderland we have always imagined. The areas of Lake Louise and Banff National Park are nestled in the Canadian Rockies, a veritable nature lover‘s paradise. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff offers rugged beauty, unspoiled landscapes, and pristine mountain ranges.

Before planning my trip, I rooted around the Banff website to make sure there were plenty of activities available in the area. Since we don’t ski, we wanted to make sure that we were doing more than sitting around staring at each other; as nice as that fireside cocoa sounds I don’t want to do it for three days. The information I uncovered was overwhelming and convinced us that Banff was the perfect Canadian getaway. I won’t detail all of the activities, but some of the ones we plan to do are:

  • Dogsledding – as the owner of Siberian Huskies, you know I have to try this
  • Tubing at Mount Norquay – Even though we don’t ski, tubing down a mountain sounds like a thrill
  • Snowshoeing by moonlight with a Heritage Guide at Lake Louise – I’m not quite sure what this entails, but it I am definitely intrigued
  • After-tubing scene at the Hot Springs – How could you not love this?

Banff will not only be a tremendous indoctrination into the ways of the Canadian Rockies, but will make for a perfect start to the 2011 travel year.

Four Seasons Manele Bay

Lana’i, Hawaii

If you’re familiar with LandLopers, then you are probably aware of the fact I was recently named one of the Lana’i Visitor’s Bureau New Media Artists in Residence. I am extremely excited to be involved with this innovative program that uses the power of social media to tell the world about Lana’i. There are several other bloggers participating, each of whom will visit at different times. My trip is scheduled for February and while I was just in Lana’i last September, I am eager to return.

Although our stay was a brief five days, we fell in love with the small, Hawaiian island almost instantly. There’s just something about the quiet island that appeals to us. I think it may be because it is a true retreat from the hustle and bustle of some of the other areas in Hawaii. We did a lot on our last visit, but in February I am eager to explore more of the island including the Luahiwa Petroglyphs as well as Kaiolohia Bay, otherwise known as Shipwreck beach. Regardless of what we end up doing, I know I will have many more stories about Lana’i to share with everyone.

That concludes what is already planned for 2011, but of course it is only the beginning of my travel adventures for the year. After Lana’i, the next big trip to plan is our annual vacation. We usually take 8 days or so to explore a new destination and the trip serves as our major getaway for the year. There are currently a couple of candidates for this trip, which will probably happen in late April or early May.


For as much as I love Europe, I am surprised at some of the places I have NOT visited. This year I want to correct that travel oversight. The hypothetical trip will begin in our favorite city, Paris. Our stay there will be brief, but long enough for us to revisit our favorite areas and more importantly eat some of the foods we can only find in the City of Lights. From Paris, we will take a train to Brussels where the plan is to spend several days staying in the heart of Brussels, with a day trip to Bruges. Following Brussels, we will once again hop on the train for our final destination, Amsterdam. I have always wanted to tour this exciting, Northern European city with its canals and skittle colored homes. Scott has visited both Belgium and the Netherlands, so he will be leading us on a tour of some of his favorite sites.

If we choose this option, we will be gone for 8-10 days, depending on schedules. Some of the highlights would definitely be:

  • Nutella crepes in Paris
  • Beer and fries in Brussels
  • Exploring the Brussels Old Town
  • Discovering the charm of Bruges
  • World class culture and adventure in Amsterdam

Notre Dame, Paris

South Africa

The second hypothetical trip is essentially the exact opposite of Europe, a trip to South Africa. South Africa has always intrigued me, but it has only been fairly recently that I have started learning more about this dynamic country. From the coastal city of Cape Town to the wilds of Kruger National Park, there’s no limit to activities in South Africa. The only possible negative is the long, 18-hour flight. That’s a long time to be in a plane and I’m not sure if it’s doable for a 10-day or less trip. But, it is at the very top of my travel list right now and I think I’m going to find a way to make it work this year.

The rest of the year is a bit more murky, but I am sure opportunities will arise throughout the year as they usually do. I could never have predicted the unique budget friendly opportunity to explore Israel in 2010, but that ended up being one of my favorite trips. Even though I can’t say with certainly the new cities and countries I will be exploring throughout the year, some of the top spots on my travel list include:

  • South America- Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Brazil
  • European Christmas Markets
  • Iceland
  • Scandinavia
  • And of course Antarctica, that will always be on the list until I can make it a reality.

Regardless of where I go, I can’t wait to share the adventures with you!  Where should I go, what are your recommendations?

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

5 thoughts on “2011 Travel Plans – Where is LandLopers Headed Next?”

  1. Matt, it already sounds like an amazing year of travel awaits you!

    A suggestion: once you arrive in Bruges, you may wish you had planned to stay a bit longer than a day trip. I was there for three days, which was overkill, but two would be perfect. At least make sure you’re there for sunset! So beautiful on the canals!

  2. Nice 2011! Although I am Canadian I have never gone dogsledding although I’ve heard it’s a blast. Just a tip though – heard the dogs are unbelievably smelly so bring a bit of tea tree oil for under your nose.

  3. Thanks for the great tips! Most of this list is a wish list and certainly not all will happen, but of course the planning is something I really enjoy. :)

  4. Wow! I’m looking forward to reading about your trip to Banff. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get up to the Canadian Rockies but I don’t think it’s going to happen this year. So many places to go, so little time…

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