By Susie Reese
On the top of many New Year’s resolution lists is travel. Would-be adventures want to explore exotic destinations, ride that newly opened, record-breaking roller coaster, or seek the most decadent chocolate cake ever. For Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications and Jen Andrade of The Mom Reviews, travel resolutions are more than just a wish-list of places to visit. They’re a guide to the next year’s adventures.
“I always try to visit new destinations, so I start with countries that I want to explore the most,” says Carter, who has been blogging her adventures since 2012. “Then I move to cities, and finally I choose adventures that I’d like to do. Sometimes the adventures end up in countries I’ve already visited, so I will return, but if I can find the same thing in a new place, I’ll make it happen. “
Writing her online magazine, Bucket List Publications, has helped Carter visit more than 44 countries, yet each year, her travel resolution list grows. In 2014, her list included Latvia, Bahamas, Austria, Canada, Thailand, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Panama, and several parts of the United States. However, Namibia has a special place in her heart.
“I always wanted to do an African safari, and I recently did that in Namibia,” says Carter. “It surpassed all my expectations. I felt like I was on a movie set daily. Being surrounded by animals in their element was life-changing.”
Choosing destinations and separating those Carter needs to visit and those Carter wants to visit can be challenging.
“As a mother and a wife, there are several factors to consider,” explains Carter. “I try to limit my travel to one new country or destination a month so time is definitely considered. I also try to include destinations in all parts of the world to have a broad range of experiences each year. I let [my daughter] Athena’s likes and dislikes lead me toward some destinations, and [my husband] Darren chooses one major trip a year as well.”
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Jen Andrade of The Mom Reviews agrees. She’s been documenting her travels since 2009, and her children and spouse’s tastes are very important when choosing her destinations.
“If it’s a couple’s trip, I want there to be enough to satisfy both of our interests. That also goes for family trips,” says Andrade. “I have an almost 16-year-old girl, 13-year-old boy, and eight-year-old girl. It’s hard to have them all happy all the time.”
Andrade’s first dream destination was Hawaii, which she achieved through her work with The Mom Reviews.
“We have been able to visit every island in the last three years as a family and as a couple for my website,” says Andrade, and Hawaii has surpassed all her expectations. “I thought to myself, ‘[The islands] can’t be that different from each other!’ but they all had unique characteristics to make them so special. I can’t wait to visit any of the islands of Hawaii again!”
Related Story: “Away We Go with Jen Andrade of the Mom Reviews”
This year, Andrade visited Vancouver, Mexico, and Aruba, and will be traveling to California’s Conejo Valley and Boise, Idaho. On her travel resolution list are the Grand Canyon and Greece, but Andrade has already found her family-favorite trip.
“I think a cruise would be the best family trip because it seems to meet the needs of all of us.”
For Carter, Peru is the next key destination.
“I haven’t been to South America, so it will be a new continent, a new country, and I’m certain several new adventures. It’s the best of all worlds. “