My 2014 Travel Plans

Several times in the past I’ve outlined my future travel plans, and in every case they ended up being inaccurate. Plans change, opportunities arise and some things just don’t pan out.

I present this not as an official document, but as a draft of what I know as of now. The further out in time I go, the less clear everything becomes.

Last year I announced that I was going to slow down a bit, and this year I will finally start to do that. I admit that my slowing down is still way more active than most people, but for me, it is a bit slower. I’ll be spending more time in one place and doing side trips. The result of this, I hope, is that I will be more productive, write more for this website, and finally (FINALLY) get my book done.

You can see a complete list of the countries and territories I think I’ll be visiting in 2014 if you scroll down to the bottom of my country list.

I started the month in Sydney, flew to Vegas, then went to LA and now I’m in New York. I’ll be flying to Cape Town tomorrow via a 16 hour layover in Munich. I’ll be in South Africa the rest of the month, finding a place to stay for several weeks in Durban. By January 16, I will have already visited my 4th continent in 2014.

I’m planning to be in Durban most of the month with some short side trips to Lesotho and Swaziland. At the end of the month I’ll take a trip up to Victoria Falls with possible side trips to Botswana or Mozambique.

I’ll spend the majority of March on a boat to/from and on the island of St. Helena. This will be one of the longest trips I’ve taken to reach such a small spot. 5 days to get there on a mail boat, 8 days on the island and then 5 days on the boat back. As there is no runway on the island, there is no other way to get to the island other than by boat.

After returning to Cape Town from St. Helena, I’ll be getting back on a boat to go up the west coast of Africa with G Adventures. I’ll be on the M/S Expedition, the same ship I took to Antarctica in 2012, and I’ll spend a month traveling up Africa visiting the following countries: Namibia, Angola, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia, the Canary Islands, Western Sahara, and Morocco.

After ending the West Africa cruise in Morocco, I fly back to South Africa for my photo tour. We’ll be going from Cape Town to Kruger National Park while taking some amazing images along the way. I fly back to North America in late May.

June — August
Here is where things start to get a bit more fuzzy. The basic plan is to go on a road trip through Western Canada with the ultimate goal being visits to Nahani and Wood Buffalo National Parks, my two remaining UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada. I’m assuming I’ll be attending TBEX sometime in early June, but the dates and location haven’t been announced yet. The road trip might also get cut back depending on some other projects I have pending.

September — December
Here I really have no idea what I’ll be doing. There are a bunch of conferences in Europe I’ll probably be attending. The Society of American Travel Writers’ annual convention will be in Iceland in September. The Adventure Travel Trade Association has their world summit in Ireland in October. TBEX Europe will probably be somewhere in October as well. I’m thinking of getting a short term apartment somewhere in Europe, probably Spain, and then using that as a base for traveling in Europe. In addition to the conferences I’m thinking about doing a road trip in to visit world heritage sites in Spain and Portugal as well as visiting many of the islands in the Mediterranean. In December my plan is to take my mother on her first trip outside of North America and do a river cruise in Europe.

I know it seems like a lot, but I’ll actually be moving around much, much less in 2014 than I did in 2013. Even when I am moving around, I’ll be on a boat so I wont have to move from hotel to hotel, which makes life much easier.

I should pass several travel milestones this year:

  • In February I’ll probably become a silver level member of the Traveler’s Century Club when I visit my 150th country/territory. It looks like it will be Zambia or Botswana.
  • In March I’ll celebrate my 7th year of non-stop travel.
  • Sometime in April I’ll visit my 100th UN member state on the West Africa Cruise.
  • Later in the year, I’ll probably visit my 300th UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’ll visit some in Africa, but Europe is where the biggest concentration of them are. If I do the Spain/Portugal road trip, I should do it easily.

I have several other non-travel goals as well:

  • Finish my book and get it into the hands of a publisher.
  • Get an photography assignment for a major travel magazine.
  • Get some speaking gigs with non-travel/blogging/social media audiences.
  • Write significantly more on the blog. My big problem has been writing while constantly moving.
  • Write some more guest pieces for other websites.
  • Meet more readers. If I’m moving less, I should have more time to meet people, which I always enjoy.

When you travel for a living, every year is totally different from the next. 2014 looks like it will not be an exception!

43 thoughts on “My 2014 Travel Plans”

  1. Hi Gary,

    It would be great to grab a beer or even a meal if you have the time when you come to Portugal. I would imagine you’ll probably be sticking to the northern regions but if Sintra, Elvas or Evora sound appealing then lets make a plan.

    All the best,

  2. Hey Gary have I told you yet that you are my hero? I hope to become a member of the TCC in three or four years time :) That’s my big dream.
    I’m glad you are going to be in Benin, Togo and Ghana in April. I would be travelling through these countries in April too and would be glad to meet up.

  3. Great awesome trip…you need full energy and money to cover all these….Great! Wish you to enjoy this long trip. Share your travel experience that helps other tourists who plan ahead.

  4. I’m traveling to malaysia next summer time. We’ll fly the other way and come back with a deliver (we reside in Scandinavia). I’ve observed Germany is awesome. I’ve never been there, so it might be the ideal choice.

  5. It’s difficult to read about history and places and remember it. Seeing it in person makes it come alive and it becomes more personal. The people I’ve met on my travels are so interesting and really add to the adventure. I hope you get to check off all the places on your itinerary this year and I’m looking forward to your book!

  6. I completely agree that this is still not slow enough for the average slow traveler. But to each his own. I’ve learned along the way that people travel very differently, they way they live their lives. I’m just glad you share with us yours!

  7. Look forward to reading about the new adventures. You’ve some great places on the list. Love the comment about the iPhone photography! Cheaper, easier and better… Thanks for the great articles.

  8. Looking to read about your 2014 adventures. You’ve some pretty great places on the list! I love the comment about the iPhone as a travel camera. Quieter, easier and cheaper!

  9. If this is slowing down then you must have had busy years in the past! Incredibly jealous of your Africa trip – definitely on my bucket list. Looking forward to reading your book, when do you aim to have it done by?

  10. Seems like a really nice plan for 2014! Wow, 300 UNESCO sites, very good job. Only about 700 to go then (i think?). Anyway great travel plans, very inspiring read as usual. Thanks!

  11. There is something to be said about not setting a schedule — it always nice to have that freedom! Excited to hear about the adventures!!

  12. It’s look amazing. I think in Africa and Asia there are many place to visit, but travel will be very fatiguing

  13. I’m planning a trip to germany next summer. We’ll fly the other way and come back with a ship (we live in Scandinavia). I’ve heard Berlin is nice. I’ve never been there, so it might be a good choice.

  14. You must have been traveling like crazy last year if 25+ countries in 2014 is slowing down ;) My mom really wants to do a European river cruise too. They seem to be getting more and more popular and it would be so much fun at Christmastime.

  15. Thanks for the share. I see You’ll be making a stop in Argentina! Have you been there before? My wife and I just planned a guided tour through Argentina and was wondering if you knew any most see/do things while we are there.

  16. Wow, what an incredible 2014 you have planned! Looking forward to following along your Africa adventures particularly!
    How do you get into the Traveler’s Century Club?? By visiting 100 countries??

  17. Looks like you’ll be spending a lot of time on boats in the next few months :-p I can’t wait to hear about St. Helena! Sounds like quite the task to get to.

  18. Looks like a great year ahead…please let me know of you are passing through Philly as it would be fun to trade stories with you. :)

  19. I see March will be exciting with St.Helena island! So remote, so unknown!
    Looking forward to your April African adventures as well… wow, I’m aching for the Canary Islands!
    You’ll have time to think about September, Gary. Traveler mustn’t overplan… Surprises can be great. And traveling by impulse as well!

  20. Hi Gary. Your travel plans for 2014 seem to be quite interesting. When you are in Cape Town, I assume you will take the garden route to Kruger. Check out Platensberg bay. Platens berg hotel is simply amazing, especially the infinity pool. I wonder if you will spot a leopard in Kruger. . . . Leopard, the only one of the Big 5 that we did not see. .. Good luck. Have a safe journey. :)

  21. You have just drawn my attention to the island of St. Helena. I checked it out and it looks incredible! Hope you have a great year of travel..

  22. Hi Gary! This sounds like a GREAT plan for 2014. Looking forward to read about your next trips in Africa! Nice to read about your travel milestones as well! I also like your idea about getting a short term apartment in Europe. You might already know, but try to be in a city with 1 or 2 good airports (not too big and too far so you don’t to come 3 hours in advance) with good airlines (direct flights to nice destinations). I would of course advise the perfect city of Gothenburg in Sweden, Oslo in Norway or Copenhagen in Denmark, but then, you will get the worst European weather from October… cheers and happy travels! ;-) Cindy

  23. Exciting itinerary Gary. I went to Vic Falls twice in the last year and a bit and found the most fantastic thing there is not so much the Falls, but the Lower Zambezi National Park, a few hours drive away. For decades it was the private reserve of the President! A canoe trip on the Zambezi is a somewhat expensive thing to organize for one person, but it is well worth it. It’s amazing how close you can get to the animals and I got some of my best wildlife shots there. Highly recommend.

  24. Great 2014 travel schedule, Gary. I’ve been to St. Helena. Luckily, the seas were smooth which allowed us to arrive safely. Sometimes, ships sail to St. Helena only to find out that the seas are too rough to attempt a visit. Keeping my fingers crossed that you don’t experience that issue. It’s a unique destination.

    • Wow. You are the second person in a few days who has told me they’ve been to St. Helena! Not many people have been there!

  25. Wow, a slow year for you looks like an insanely awesome year to me!
    Your South Africa tour sounds great, I’m going to sign up! I’m not usually for tours, but this is an experience I don’t want to miss.
    I’m very much an amateur photographer though, with just a very standard Fujifilm F550 digital camera. Which has served me well in the past, I must say.

    • Regina,


      Don’t worry about the camera so much. I can take great shots with an iPhone.

      There is always an option of renting a camera for a week as well, if you want to zoom in on lions and elephants.

  26. How do you get to do this?? I’d love a job like this. Its right up my alley. Feel free to email me. Thx

    • I spent over 4 years traveling on my own dime, created a popular travel blog which brought in sponsors and contacts in the travel and tourism industry which allow me to do this.

  27. I don’t think you slowdown in 2014…you just spend less time at the airports and on the air but you will end travel more countries such as Africa :-)

    • It’s the airports and the moving around that is the problem. If you move to a new hotel every day, you spend an enormous amount of time in transit and packing.

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