Up, Up and Away for 2016

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view from the empire state building

I started working on this list halfway through 2015. It seemed that the more places we saw, the more places we wanted to see. I remember writing back in 2012 that we needed to start sharing more of our travel stories. Every time I would write a story about a new adventure we were on, everyone got all excited and had tons of questions. Back then the stories were all about places to travel within driving distance. Fast forward three years and our travels are taking us much farther away. I think it’s just part of growing, and catching more of the travel bug. We’ve also had our audience of readers change. Years ago I was getting more requests for luxury travel on a budget, now it’s all about luxury family travel, and although it’s great to save money the emphasis has shifted to carefree vacations. We want wonderful experiences and are willing to pay for it.


Last year I made a list of just a couple places we wanted to go and then I left room on our travel calendar for unplanned trips.  Before I knew it, we were booked for the whole year. I’m sure the same will happen this year, but I also need to be more strategic about what trips we take to maximize our time away from home. So although this is our travel list for 2016, I have no doubt that it will change throughout the next year. 

  1. Alaska, maybe on a cruise?- (We are thinking May will be the month to visit, but that could change) This will be our first time seeing Alaska and I think a cruise might be the best way to see more of the area to pinpoint where we want to return to next year to explore in more depth. Plus our last cruise experience was amazing, and the girls can’t wait to go back. Our cruise series was one of our top viewed travel series of the year, so I know more people are thinking like we are. We are even considering a small boat cruise for more of a hands on experience as opposed to a traditional “vacation”.  
  2. Caribbean Cruise (Thinking about November)- Along the same lines of seeing Alaska, we think this would be a great way to see more islands. We have been to Turks & Caicos twice and loved it, but it’s time to see more. We have a few other islands already on the list for this year, but we think this would help us see more islands to help with planning for 2017. We are planning on a large cruise ship experience for this trip.
  3. Punta Cana- (Maybe September or sooner) I saw some pictures and fell in love. There are some amazing resorts that are calling our name. Plus those blue waters and amazing sunsets…
  4. Hawaii- (Maybe in February or later this year) My first visit to Hawaii was to Honolulu, and I am thinking that might still be the way we will spend our first time there as a family. Oahu has Pearl Harbor, and that is a must for me to show the girls among other fun things. I know it’s more “touristy” but I think those things are perfect for first visits.
  5.  Florida Keys- (March seems like the best time for us to visit) Key Largo has been on my travel wishlist since I first heard the song “Key Largo” by Bertie Higgins. I know it’s a cheesy 80’s song, but I like it just the same.
  6. Canada- Pete and I have both always wanted to visit. Canada is huge and we haven’t narrowed down where we want to go, but we are adding it to the list for this year. It also helps that we can drive there on an extended road trip.
  7. Pennsylvania/Williamsburg- (Trip booked for April) We loved visiting during the fall last year, and we are excited to see it during the spring this year with a stop in Williamsburg. It will make a great history lesson for the girls too.  Since Pete still has family in Lancaster, we will be making a trip back there at least once a year, and I hope we eventually get to see all the seasons!
  8. Boston/Cape Cod- (October during our Bi-coastal Halloween Celebration and early june) Pete has been to both before, but it would be new for the girls and I. My favorite vacations always involve being by the water and Cape Cod has always been on my list to see.
  9. Mexico- I’ve been to Cabo, Tijuana (I went to college in San Diego in the 90’s, so that’s a given), Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Puerto Nuevo… but that was all before I had a family. There are so many luxurious family resorts and we want to visit some of them. Being on the west coast this is a very convenient vacation option for us and many of our readers.
  10. Fiji- Fiji keeps popping up on our radar. I’ve received reader emails asking about it and we’ve been researching it more and more. With direct flights daily from LAX, a red-eye flight is an easy way to be in paradise the next day.
  11. US River Cruise- (June) I can’t think of a better way to see the south than on a river cruise. Pete has traveled through the southern most states, but the girls and I haven’t. There is so much history for us to see and fun things to do.
  12. Portland- (July) Vegan food, beautiful scenery and as quick plane ride. 
  13. Seattle- (July) Same as Oregon. Food and family fun.
  14. Bi-coastal Halloween Celebrations- (October) Disney World, Universal Orlando, Disneyland, Universal LA, Salem Massachusetts 

What destinations are at the top of your list this year?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I would love to go to any of those places on your list. The top of my list is a trip to Germany and a Alaska Cruise.

  • That is quite a list. I would love to visit Alaska but would want to drive so I could see Canada on the way. I want to get to Portland, it is a couple hours from me and I have yet to go. Can not wait to hear your stories from your travels this year!

  • I love how diverse your list seems to be! We are currently saving to spend two to three weeks in Europe next year but are still really wanting to do an all inclusive in Central America over the summer.

  • It’s really nice to get the opportunity to travel with the whole family. That’s an awesome list for places to go to! I can’t wait to read about them.

  • My kids and I are exploring New York City this spring. We plan to do all the tourist-y things before tourist season. I am most excited about the Museum of Natural History.

  • These all sounds like fabulous destinations! I would love to check out all of them myself! We are heading west this year to check out the western states!

  • What an amazing list! Disney World for my kids is at the top of my list, but I’d love to go back to NYC or Boston, visit California or Europe for the first time, or maybe the southeast coast…. I should write a list for myself, clearly! Ha! 🙂

  • You should definitely come to Canada. There are so many great places to see here. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. It is at the top of my must go to destinations.

  • I’ve always wanted to be a traveler, as when I was a kid, we only went to Wyoming to visit family every year. I promised myself that I would take my kids awesome places like these when I grew up and became a daddy. Then I married a girl from Wyoming, and we go up to Wyoming a few times a year to visit family.

    I think the top of my destination list is GO ANYWHERE BUT WYOMING.

  • nice list wanna go to each of them! its always nice to write down list like this to motivate ourselves and pursue it! goodluck!

  • I’d love to visit Alaska. I was born there when my dad was in the service and I’ve not been back since we moved. So far we are only booked for a trip to Texas to sun our buns.

  • If you come to Canada you must visit Toronto! I moved to Toronto in the summer of 2010 and we just adore it here. Such a great place. All these places sound awesome! Would love to visit most of them!

  • Fiji is on my list of places to go. Great list of places for sure. Thanks for sharing. And I agree, we always splurge on vacations

  • We are traveling to Disney World next month, although we live in Florida so it’s kind of a cheat. I am also hoping and planning on something for NYC for the end of the year.

  • Wow, I’m just so glad that you had the fun adventure! I’ve never been in cruise in my life, and I wanted to of course. That is really beautiful, hopefully, this year.

  • You are my travel shero right now! I am going to Punta Cana ::cross fingers:: within two weeks for my bday and a travel write up so excited! My readers are also into my travel adventures too looking forward to your 2016 adventures to share here!

  • It sounds like you have a wonderful list of places to go. I want to go on a few expeditions too. I would love to go to the Keys, Hawaii, Canada, and a few overseas locations. Maybe one day.

  • Sounds like a great travel plan! Love all the places you listed there. Hopefully, you can explore more Asian destinations too!

  • Fiji seems like such an exotic, incredible trip to be able to take. I would love to visit there, or Hawaii. Basically anywhere with lush beaches that will take me away from winter in Pennsylvania.

  • Berlin, Romania, and Iceland I have booked. Yippee!

    So many other places I wish to go: Cape Town, Argentina (well, all of South America), South Pacific, most of Asia.

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