Ten Places Around the World That I Would Love to Visit

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I don’t plan to write a big heart-drenched article about the 8 most romantic places to spend Valentine’s Day (though I guess kind of did already for creditcards.com), but I do think the ‘Day of Love’ is good inspiration to talk about a few places that I would love to visit in the coming years. The world is big, schedules are tight, and like most parents, I don’t frequently get to just hop on a jet and explore somewhere new for a few days. Even though I have some miles and points in the bank, I have to be pretty thoughtful about where I really want to go in order to make it happen. Otherwise, destinations I would love to visit get lost in the shuffle in favor of easier or more familiar places.

 

From the West Coast to the other side of the planet, here are ten places I would love to visit using my miles and points.

Iceland

Iceland has become a trendy destination, but that doesn’t make it look any less appealing. In fact, being popular has actually made it much easier to get to with United kicking off flights from Newark, American starting flights from Dallas, and even some low-cost carriers operating flights from the Lone Star State. In the coming years, I would love to visit Iceland and hike, see glaciers, waterfalls, soak in the hot springs, and explore. Serious bonus points if we can throw in some Northern Lights, too!

San Diego

This is the only lower 48 destination on my Top 10 list of places I’d love to visit, in large part because we had a whole trip planned and ready for takeoff when Hurricane Harvey had other ideas last summer. Drinking coffee listening to the wavers, heading out on a boat, kayaking the caves, biking around town, and eating big, delicious, burritos sounded lovely then, and still does today.

Mexico City

Mexico City is only a little over two hours by air from Houston, so this one seems simple enough, but it just hasn’t happened yet. The architecture, food, history, riverboats, and art in Mexico City are calling my name and I look forward to one day answering that call. Hopefully, I can take along my mom who was a Spanish teacher and visited Mexico City many decades ago. This would be a great destination to explore together!

Norway

I’ve actually been to Oslo and skied in Norway, but I want to return with my family, this time to the area around Bergen to see the charming towns, fjords, and relish in the very long summer days. Scandinavia, and even specifically Bergen, is known for being very family friendly with pop-up playgrounds all over the place, so I think my crew could fit in quite nicely for a little while.

New Zealand

Continuing the theme of beautiful outdoor landscapes and adventures, New Zealand is another destination I would love to visit that we once had 100% booked, only to lose it to the realities of life. It became the right trip at the wrong time. Two years later, it’s still the wrong time, but on the bright side there are now nonstop flights to Auckland and Sydney directly from Houston, so if I wait a little longer maybe we can just teleport there. Frankly, I’m okay waiting a little longer for this one until both of my girls can appreciate the gift of being able to experience somewhere so far away that most people from around here will never get to see with their own eyes.

Mont Tremblant

I love to ski, and thank goodness my daughters seem to be heading in that direction, as well. A place where I would love to ski with them in the coming years is Mont Tremblant, located about 90 miles northeast of Montreal in Quebec. Montreal itself is a charming slice of Europe right here in North America, but based on what I have seen online, Mont Tremblant appears to take that up a notch. It looks like a storybook European village complete with ice slides for the kids in the middle of the streets. Oh, and there’s good skiing and points-friendly hotels, too. What’s not to love?

Kauai

I’ve been to Kauai a couple of times, but it remains one of my absolutely favorite spots on earth. I’m actively working on a 2019 return summer trip to the islands, but this time I want to rent a house (or at least a condo) on the northern shore of Kauai and stay for a little while in our own quiet corner of paradise. While we are there, we may again visit a couple of the great resorts like the St. Regis Princeville or Grand Hyatt Kauai, but I would love to just pretend we live on Kauai for at least a week. I want to listen to the girls play outside in the perfect weather, roll out to the beach in the afternoons before naptime, shop at the farmer’s markets, cook dinner, and then head out for shave ice and watch the sunsets in the evenings.

Banff

We had penciled in Banff for a visit this summer, but unfortunately, it has been crowded out by other things. While we won’t get there as soon as I hoped, my desire to take this trip to Canada, slip into the hot springs, and gaze out on breathtaking Lake Louise hasn’t diminished at all. As with most of these outdoor national park type adventures, waiting just a little while longer until my youngest is school-aged will likely improve the trip experience for everyone since she will be a better age for hiking and adventuring.

Isle of Skye

Last but far from least, I would love to take my family to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. We adored our time with the girls in Scotland a couple of summers ago, but we just didn’t have the time to make it all the way west to Skye on that trip. Skye is home to fishing villages, medieval castles, and breathtaking landscapes. I’d love to visit the Fairy Glen, swim in the fairy pools, explore Dunvegan Castle, take the Quiraing walk, see the Neist Point lighthouse, eat local fish and produce at the cozy Three Chimneys, and take about a billion photos at everywhere in-between.

Spending the time to earn miles, monitor credit cards, and learn award chart sweet spots sure is easier when you think about all the places your miles can take you. While these were ten places I would love to visit in the future, in honor of Valentine’s Day, tomorrow I plan to talk about ten trips I loved that are already in the scrapbooks.

Now that you know my top ten, I’d love to hear all about the spots that are calling to you!

 

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Comments

  1. Just got back from MEX a couple of weeks ago (think my husband was tagging you on Twitter with our son’s airplane pants). Truly an underrated destination and VERY family friendly. I felt like there was a baseline sentiment of “cool, a kid!” instead of the “oh, there’s a kid here . . .” sentiment we get sometimes in the US. Example: nice restaurant had high chairs and not only that but ones that matched the restaurant decor.

  2. We have similar wish lists. I enjoyed my visit to New Zealand and the Isle of Skyle last year. I’m planning a return to New Zealand this May and a trip to Iceland this October.

  3. Like your list–we have been talking about New Zealand, but sure don’t want to fly economy–gonna take a while to bank enough points for that one in biz! We did Tremblant in the summer (would also love to return to ski!) and it was SUCH a great summer vacay with kids. Iceland last summer was simply incredible. We went in the shoulder season (end of May, first of June) and we were not at all overwhelmed by crowds. Just prepare yourself that everything there costs 2-3X as much!

  4. great list! My husband and I were Bergen a few years ago and would LOVE to go back. We also find ourselves talking about destinations in Asia but until our littles are older, I’m not brave enough to attempt that long of a flight with them.

  5. The Greek Isles. Should have gone for our honeymoon but instead we are going for our 30th wedding anniversary
    Using the SPG triple crown of Blue Palace, Mystique, and Athens New Hotel. Thanks to your advice and insight. Bravo

  6. Norway – if you get to Bergen, take the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour. You will get to see everything you described on your wish list. Google it. It’s a very famous tour that encompasses everything you want to see.
    Banff- So, so touristy. If you have the time and the transportation, go to Jasper instead, driving there along the famous Icefields Parkway. That alone, stopping at the massive waterfalls along the roadside, will be worth your time. And do a very quick view of Lake Louise (seriously, SERIOUSLY touristy) but take my word for it, take the road to Moraine Lake instead (very near Louise). Google it. Infinitely more beautiful and far less people than Lake Louise. I’ve never understood why, but Louise gets all the publicity. Moraine is ridiculously beautiful. You’ll thank me later.

  7. AND…… what you must see at some point in your life are the Italian Dolomites (Dolomiti) mountains, nestled in the German-speaking part of Northern Italy. Once you’ve been there, IMO, nowhere else will do. Nowhere.

  8. My list is very similar! The Koloa Landing on Kauai is outstanding! (although we stayed when it was a Wyndham) and Fairmont Lake Louise is a MUST! It made this ocean loving girl a lover of mountains!

    My list would include the French mountains and Barcelona.

  9. I would definitely pass on San Diego and Mexico City. San Diego is overrated, beaches are very cold and look OK. It feels just a great place for a convention but nothing else. Mexico City is a huge overpopulated city with high crime rates and terrible traffic. Since I don’t like Mexican food I have no desire to get back. From your list above definitely Iceland and New Zealand are top on my list. I would definitely add Greece and Italy to the list as there is just so much history to explore and beaches and food are amazing.

    • Sad to say as a Southern Californian, I would agree somewhat on San Diego… It would be a good long-weekend trip, but it would definitely be at the bottom of this list for me. It’s lovely, and there are fun things to do, but a lot of them I think you could just as easily do in Houston or any other major city (zoos, parks, etc.). If you do go, I was there a few weeks ago, and the recently renovated Hotel Republic is great, and part of Mariott Autograph Collection. Club access for Gold and above w/free continental breakfast and happy hour drinks/snacks.

      Could not agree less on MEX, and glad that others here like it as well. Lots of places in the world that are overpopulated, with high crime rates and terrible traffic that are still worth visiting, and MEX is definitely one of them.

  10. Our lists are very similar. Viet Nam… Hanoi and Halong bay is high on my list too.

    There are some ski towns in Switzerland that I want to visit, but they are overpriced compared to many other destinations of similar caliber.

    My sister said Mont Tremblant is amazing, but very very cold.

      • Try Andermatt, no sun exposure on the snow until February! Fabulous powder and smaller crowds than the famous ski areas. Accessible by Swiss Rail from either Zurich or Geneva.

      • I haven’t been to Switzerland to ski/snowboard but I did go snowboarding in the Austrian Alps in Innsbruck and it was great. I was able to rent everything and get lift tickets for less than a lift ticket cost in Tahoe.

  11. I go to Tremblant every year, i live in Quebec City, so its one of the few places that are easy to get to. I would recommend booking something for next winter before it changes categories…and to think that just last year it used to be 10k per night…a quick tip, book at the standard rate, and then call the hotel directly to have them secure the upgrade to a suite for 45CAD per night…may have to huca if you dont get the right person…best trick ever. If you want to splurge, book yourself at the Fairmont, the Gold level is great with free breakfast served early enough for first tracks, and enough free entrees at night to fill you up after a day of skiing. This is where i used my fairmont credit card free night certificates as rates may go as high as 900CAD for high season weekend nights…RIP Fairmont Visa…

  12. My list is pretty local, relatively speaking.
    1. Northern lights, maybe in Canada.
    2. Crater Lake and Oregon Coast
    3. Wildflowers in bloom in the Rockies
    4. Banff and its surrounds
    5. All access visit to Area 51
    6. Heaven

    • I agree “local travel” is also great, Grandpa Points. We live in Colorado and sometimes forget to enjoy our beautiful state. Having said that, I also lived in Oregon for many years–do not miss the Oregon Coast and Crater Lake. Just stunning. The weather on the coast is generally better in September than in the the summer. We’re heading to Banff in August–my husband has never been there and I haven’t been there in 44 years…I was 12. I’ll let you do the math! 🙂 But, I’m at the airport heading to Amsterdam and I am so darned excited about being there…in the winter, no less. Travel is grand, no matter where. PS…I love your blog posts along with Summer’s. You all keep it real!

  13. I agree with my wife Nat above about Mexico City. We only spent 4 nights but it was so kid friendly. All the restaurants welcomed us and our 9 1/2 month old. We found a great park in the Condesa that had a huge playground full of kids and parents. We even dragged the boy to Teotihuacan by getting a driver; Nat wore him to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. And since Grandma and Grandpa were along we were able to take Tiffany at One Mile at a Time’s advice and go to lucha libre. It was a great use of our Alaskan companion certificate.

  14. Not in any order of priority or likelihood of getting there soon, though a few are on the horizon:
    1) Stans – All I’ve heard from people who have gone is positive, with great pictures
    2) Atlantic Canada – Finish out my Canadian provinces
    3) Kaieteur Falls (Guyana) – From photos and accounts, the rival of any in the world
    4) Senegal – I haven’t done enough in Africa, and this is easy to reach and culturally important
    5) Molokai and Lanai (Hawaii) – I’ve been to the main tourist islands, something different
    6) Palenque, Mexico – Want to compare to the Yucatan Mayan sites
    7) Greenland – Amazing landscapes, not many people
    8) Any U.S. National Park – Never been disappointed – Guadalupe Mts. up next
    9) Vietnam – I grew up in the war era, but more interested in the nature and people
    10) Antarctica – Any miles and points strategies for that one aside from a million Barclay points?

  15. We did Mont Tremblant as a day trip out of Montreal. I see you want to spend a night there, which is fine. I don’t know if you’ll feel you really want more than one day of actual skiing. We were a bit unlucky, as the weather was relatively warmish – not really enough snow for the place to be really magnificent when we were there; rocks peaking out and slushy at lower levels. That obviously colors my memories, but maybe you’ll hit Mont Tremblant at its best.

  16. We have visited several of the places on list and I would agree highly with New Zealand and Kauai being desirable locations to visit and would love to see Skye. Adding to your list I would highly suggest Croatia. If you have say 2 weeks, rent a car and see regions like Istria, cities like Zadar and Dubrovnik. You will find Croatia is quite unique and a diverse country with so much ancient history one thinks they are in Italy. Croatia has beautiful national parks like Krka and Plitvice with remarkable waterfalls. Shoulder season is best to travel there because Europeans flock to Croatia starting in mid-May.

  17. Living in Montreal I do not understand your wish to travel that far to go to Mont Tremblant! Especially since you visited Whistler this winter!! Mont Tremblant might be the best ski resort in Quebec, but it is no way comparable alpine or rocky resorts! And you have a lot more European charm in Quebec City than in Montreal… What about skiing in South America in summer?

    • Now that does also sound really fun. It would blow my mind I think to ski in our summer! Mont Tremblant sounds so charming, and Josh has family in Montreal and Connecticut that perhaps we could see if we took a ski trip that direction, so there are family ties in addition to the area just looking so charming! I think I do need to add skiing in SA to my list though!

  18. Great iist. We just went to Isle of Skye last year and it was everything we had hoped it would be. We also walked out to Neist Point (the lighthouse in your picture). I have been a lot of places, many that I would like to return to some day, but Scotland was so great that we are planning on going back asap.

  19. Iceland, New Zealand, and Antarctica are high on my list. As are Europe and Africa. Japan too, to visit aunts and uncles before they get much older and pass.

    I’ve always wanted to do one of the alumni trips MIT offers, complete with a professor who is an expert in that region. But they are way out of my price range.

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