Your 2015 travel tips from 15 travelers

It’s totally unfair to ask a frequent or seasoned traveler to pick one particular place he/she’s been to and mark it as “the favorite spot on earth”. That’s the stress I put these 15 individuals in; 15 who have roamed the earth and have on their list the most beautiful, exotic and enviable places; 15 who have found charm and uniqueness in each of the spots; and 15 who, with much remorse, have to narrow their choices until they come to one.

If you’ve walked the same traveling shoes they had, you would be nodding in agreement. I did.

This story is about drop-everything-pack-your-bag-and-go because procrastinating on your dream travel/s can lead to a “what if” moment, a question that will hound you for the rest of your life. Not a good state to be in.

Here are 15 people consumed by wanderlust who can pinpoint you to your next destination this 2015, and tips on how to enjoy the place to the max, which included this: “Pictures are great, but take the time to put down the camera, take a deep breath and soak it all in.”

Carmen Go: Santorini. Explore the island by renting a car or ATV because there are nice beaches far from the main beach. Taking the Sunset cruise is a must.

Carmen Go explored the island of Santorini by renting a car & ATV


Where to next? Cancun, Mexico. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the place and the beaches in Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres and in Cancun itself, are fantastic!

Chiqui Recto: Paris, France. Without question, the City of Lights is a compact wonder of wide boulevards, gracious parks and leafy squares best explored on foot. Paris is magical all year round, but it’s particularly gorgeous in June when days are longer. With the sun not setting until 10PM, there’s more time to enjoy the outdoors.

Chiqui Recto says Paris is gorgeous in June when days are longer giving more time to enjoy the outdoors longer.
Where to next? The U.S.A and the amusement parks for the kids.

Girly Bisnar: Balesin Island. Don’t forget to pack these essentials— sunblock, sunglasses & a hat; try the ramen in Sakura resto and the sweet sticky rice in Phuket village; take a Jacuzzi dip at night at the Mykonos Village; have a mojito in Bali Village while basking in the moonlight.

Girly Bisnar says to sample the dishes on the villages in Balesin Island
Where to next? Palawan, this popular tourist destination is worth the visit.

Des Aportadera: Cote d’Azur. French Riviera weather is great, the food is good, and of course, the shopping is fabulous. For me, Spring or Winter is the best time to visit, when its not too crowded and “true nature of the Riviera” is at its most appealing. Sit by the promenade, have a cup of coffee, read a book or just stare at the Mediterranean Sea, it’s quite calming.

Des Aportedera says to head to the French Riviera in spring or winter when it’s not crowded. 
Where to next? Greece to bask in the beauty of the Aegean Sea this time, and see the Acropolis.

Chica Gaite: Riomaggiore, Italy, in the southern-most fishing village of the Cinque Terre. The beauty, the sounds, the smells, the taste and the kindness of the people will knock you out. Start your day early, pack a meal, bring a headlamp and wear good hiking shoes; hike the 5 villages, trek through old olive trees, vineyards, old water mills with sweeping views of the Ligurian coast; explore unlit tunnels for it can lead to some of the amazing private coves.

Chica Gaite says to start your day early in Riomaggiore, put on your hiking boots & hike the five villages.

Where to next? Islands of Hawaii for some winter escape, surfing and “Mahalo.”

Emon Cabarrouguis-Burhardt. Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s quite a challenge to get there but worth it. Invest on a good (DSLR) camera and pack lots of memory cards. Take lots of photos and delete the bad ones later. Bring a handy waterproof camera as well, in case you have to be in a rough area or damp/wet location or just want to go light on a night in town.

Emon Cabarroguis-Burkhardt says to take 2 cameras to Pachu Piccku–a good DSLR & a handy waterproof camera– & lots of memory cards. 

Where to next? Turkey, for the third time. It’s already home for me.

Patrick Tan. Tuscany, Italy. Definitely rent a car, leave room for unscheduled stops and take the scenic roads, not the autostrada (highways), to truly experience the magic and grace the region.

Patrick Tan says to rent car & travel the scenic roads when in Tuscany.
Where to next? Scandinavia to experience and learn from the seemingly perfect balance they’ve struck between work and leisure, the modern architecture and the Aurora borealis.

Rey Moraga: Paris, France. Soak it all in—the art, cuisine, architecture and the discerning people; live like a local and visit the unsung places; go to a market and learn about the produce and the unmistakably French food – it’s very inspiring to understand their savoir-faire of eating and drinking; and if you can, try to get a room in a palace-rated hotel like Le Royal Monceau.

Ray Moraga says to go to the market & learn about French food when in Paris.

Where to next? Madrid for the Madrid Fusion, one of the world’s most exciting culinary events in the world.

Anna Corcino: Myanmar. Tip: ATMs are now available in most tourist spots—Bagan, Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake, but if you bring cash (USD) make sure that they are fairly new, not marked with ink or ripped.

Anna Corcino says to make sure to take unstained/unmarked USD in Burma, it’s what the moneychangers accept. 
Where to next? El Nido, Palawan. I’m starting my summer adventure early.

Daphne Jocson: Maldives. Always a travel tip would be booking plane tickets and accommodations in advance in order to make the trip more affordable. Do your research on your destination with travel blogs as my favorite point of reference since they tell it how it is. No sugar-coating.

Daphne Jocson says to book early to get a good plane fare deal to Maldives.
Where to next? Japan for the Cherry Blossoms. It has always been a dream of mine.

Princess Marfori: Easter Island, Chile, a “hard to get” place but well worth the journey. The location (it’s the second most remote place on earth, next to Antartica), as well as it’s beauty and mysticism, make it my favorite. There’s a different vibe to the island that can be felt. Head to this rock which locals claim to be the navel of the earth and believe to possess magical and healing properties.

Book flights directly from the airlines’ website. Preferably with an IP address from the country of departure. If you’re techy or know someone who can bounce IP addresses, do so. It can save you up to 40% off.

Princess Dizon says head to this rock, which locals claim to be the navel of the earth, in the mystical Easter Island.

Where to next? Turkey.

Ida Damo: Lake Holon because it took a great effort on my part to reach it. Go the easy trail at Salacafe and open your heart, mind and body to new experiences. 


Ida Damo says that the trek to Lake Holon is long & challenging, so take the easy trail.
Where to next? Batanes. “Magpapa-Dawn Zulueta Mo Ako!” to somebody who can carry my weight.

Langga Ramos-Lakibul: Tennessee, USA, is a cultural and historical hotspot. Head to Nashville’s The Parthenon and the Opryland Hotel. Go the Gatlinburg, where the scenery is breathtaking, and ski; take the unguided horse back riding at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and eat the chocolate covered grasshoppers. 

Traffic is heavy leading to Gatlinburg yearlong, let someone else drive or take the local trolley service.

Langga Deslaes-Lakibul says to ski the slopes of Gatlinburg in Tennessee, USA.
Where to next: Chicago to catch up with relatives and dive into the best deep dish pizza in the world!

Trece Villenas: the Scottish Highlands, a heartbreakingly beautiful place rich in history. Get a local tour to explore the Highlands and marvel at the raw beauty of its mountains, lochs and glens; read reviews; and wear sturdy shoes.

Trece Villenas says to hire a local tour guide when touring the Scottish Highlands.
Where to next? Explore the natural wonders of the USA, before visa expires.

Abok Gaite. Bahia de Las Aguilas in the Dominic Republic-Haiti border. Touch base with a local and try renting their motorcycle for the day (I did). Cheap (and awesome) way to get around as the beach is far from town.

Abok Gaite says to rent a motorcycle to get around Bahia de Las Auilas in the DOminican Republic.
Where to next? Argentina- for the steak, the wine, and Patagonia.

Reading all these, has the travel bug bitten you yet? Happy journeys this 2015!

*****


For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the SUnStar Davao newspaper on January 8, 2015.

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