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Murphy the RMGTO Mod Dog
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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to see if I can bring any other life to the forum. In the early stages of planning my first trip outside the US or Mexico. Always had a small list of places I'd like to see. So got a two questions:

1. Where have you been, that is not a normal tourist trap, that you would highly recommend? Not looking for answers like Hawaii or Paris.
2. What's on your bucket list to visit?

My Travel Bucket List:

1. Okavango Delta - grew up with a subscription that got me National Geographic VHS once a month, loved Wild Kingdom series, and still stop whatever I'm doing any time I hear David Attenborough's voice. Okavango always caught my attention being a delta in the middle of a desert with no outlet.
2. Scotland - my Dad's family has done a lot of geneology and trips to Scotland tracing our ancestors. Would like to go see it some day.
3. Northern Lights - looking for input on this. I'm not sure where to go see this. Have family in Fairbanks Alaska. Some of the 'glass dome' hotels/cabins in Scandinavia sound neat. Just want to see a full out show by the Northern Lights, rest of the trip would be a bonus.
4. Japan - would like to go when the cherry blossoms are full out. The architecture of the old temples and high speed rail have always fascinated me. Probably like to make it a long trip, and take the train working up the country.
5. Croatia - Plitvice Lakes National Park looks incredible to me, I know it is pretty touristy but I want to see it. All the little coastal towns with Roman ruins would be awesome to see and your in a more out of the way places than say Rome.
 

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Have Bar, Will Travel
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wow.

so places I've been to and like to recommend.

1) Ireland, nearly anywhere that isn't dublin. I spent 3 weeks in and around shannon due to work - went sightseeing every weekend. see the country side. The people are some of the friendliest on earth even if you can't always understand it. you can't actually get lost - or I doubt you can. great place.
2) Scotland. I've been twice and both times ended up flying out of Edinburgh. If I go again I'm getting to glascow just to do so, and I want to get on a boat out to the outher Hebrides islands. HOwever having been around the north part - again love it and will go back someday. Edinburgh is nice enough but I've been there and done that already. again nice people mostly and you will absolutly run into some people you can't understand. watch trainspotting, you'll see what I mean, yes that's real.
3) Wales going on the 1-2-3 trip. similar to above. Of the rest of the UK I've been though london can smurf off. Cardif wales is great.
4) Barcelona Span - now yes one of the top 10 largest cites in the world and when you fly into there you'll notice it. Once on the ground not quite so much. They speak castilian spanish there - so slightly different dialect and spellings. again though very friendly and helpful people. Great archetecture and also the pablo Picasso museum. I would go back. If going back to spain I am told I need to go to Sevile.
6) Canada - Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver especially. Nice enough places but also major cities where people talk funny. They actually do hate on americans or have whenever I've been there. I've also always gone there for work so they wanted my money too. Montreal has nice places to visit and is a great stopping point if you think you want to go to France someday. Now mostly the people were nice. ALso if you like maple syrup, the real stuff. You'll love maple liquor - think whisky distilled from a mash comprised of maple syrup - not whisky with maple syrup added. OH and decent beers. Try the Icewine.
5) Toulouse France - despite all other bits the rest of france is actually fairly nice and I do recommend parts of it. Paris suck and it smells and so pass. Toulouse is a touch different since it's the home of Airbus industry. Which means nearly everyone where does speak some english and they are willing to do so. Side note - and I say this about any location not just france - learn some of the local lanugage so it looks like you tried. It's good for you and good for your environmental awareness. learning warning phrases too.
6 Narita/tokoyo Japan - don't bother. In fact I don't like Japan at all.
7) Osaka Japan - potentially. Now I did ride the bullet train down from Narita. so been there done that. however Osaka is intesting. All of Japan is too small and too cramped and I didn't really like any of it. food costs too much and the place is weird in general principle. Fact - there are used underwear vending machines in the train station in Narita.


Bucket list place. To the other side of the coin there are a number of places I want to see.

1) all 50 US states. At this point I've done 37 but it's hard to get to some of the outliers and no I don't consider flying over, nor going though the airport there as visiting the state. Also I don't consider riding the train across as visiting either.
2) perhaps 1 a,b and c - I want to see Yellowstone and spend time there, as I also want to see mount rushmore and some other national parks.
3) Desipte my light disparage on Canada I do want to go though part of the countryside. I didn't like Vancouver as it felt like I made it back to Seattle, but I did like Montreal and I would like to see other palces. Example I want to go see Yellowknife.
4) Singapore - I hear interesting things from people that have expated there and yes I do want to go there and sit somewhere whilst sipping a proper singapore sling. Yes I know it wasn't invented there. ALso just so I can say I was there and take a picture of it I want to see the 4 floors of whores. (its a real place there)
5) Germany - everytime there has been a work reason to go I never seem to get that trip. SO I've been to Toulouse 3 times. I would tour Germany due to family. NO I dont think I would rent a car to drive the "ring".
6) Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Yes before Maria chimes in I know they aren't the same place but I figure if I made it up there I would try to hit up all 3.
7) this is slowly moving up higher on the list - Iceland. I only know of 3 people that have ever been there.
8) Argentina - due to the top gear episode.
9) Australia and New Zealand - Always wanted to see there - even before the GTO.

I'm sure there are others if I noodle it longer this was off the cuff.
 

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Have Bar, Will Travel
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OH I forgot a bit.

Amsterdam and the Netherlands - despite popular mythos I would say there really isn't much reason to go there other than you probably end up flying to Amsterdam. It's a nice enough place and I do tell people to visit but I don't consider it a high- need to see location.

Beligum - loved my 3 days in Belgium even though they were all in one small town. Country side is great, the people think they are french, that's ok too. They are nice enough about it. Food is great. oh and they make guns there.
 

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DW can't take a J... or a D
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On a flight home from Germany at this moment. Just one piece of advice, tourist traps are that way for a reason. I was in France recently for work and convinced my wife to fly over and meet me in Paris for a couple days before I continued my trip. It was probably the best bit of vacation we've ever had. Also if you're unfamiliar with international travel, any of the major european cities are a good icebreaker - I wouldn't make my first trip somewhere too far off the beaten path. Long story short, don't rule out a destination just because you think you might not like it. Parisians are easily the nicest people I've interacted with in any of my travels. Prague and Rome are also great destinations.

By the way, since you mentioned high-speed trains, you can grab the Thalys out of Paris to a number of other european cities. goes just as fast as the 'bullet train', and was underwhelming other than the fact that 90 minutes later I was in the heart of another country.

I've spent a few weeks in Scotland before, great country and would absolutely go back but probably as part of another trip (i.e, spend a week in Scotland then hop a flight to somewhere like munich)

Current Bucket List:

  • Iceland (to see Northern Lights and other stuff)
  • Australia (scuba diving)
  • Africa. Vague, I know - but I'd really like to spend 2-2.5 weeks there and do some sightseeing/hiking/safari. Haven't done enough research to figure out where I'd like to go.
 

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Fake bacon lover
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#1 rule to having a great vacation: Attitude!!!

Be laid back
Don't rush, give yourself plenty of time for everything
Enjoy the surroundings
Don't expect it to be "like home"

You can have a great time almost anywhere. Also, agree with VGT. To took my Mom to Paris many years ago. Did the usual. Had a wonderful time in an awesome city. JMO

Will post some more later.
 

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Fake bacon lover
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Looking to see if I can bring any other life to the forum. In the early stages of planning my first trip outside the US or Mexico. Always had a small list of places I'd like to see. So got a two questions:

1. Where have you been, that is not a normal tourist trap, that you would highly recommend? Not looking for answers like Hawaii or Paris.
2. What's on your bucket list to visit?

My Travel Bucket List:

1. Okavango Delta - grew up with a subscription that got me National Geographic VHS once a month, loved Wild Kingdom series, and still stop whatever I'm doing any time I hear David Attenborough's voice. Okavango always caught my attention being a delta in the middle of a desert with no outlet.
2. Scotland - my Dad's family has done a lot of geneology and trips to Scotland tracing our ancestors. Would like to go see it some day.
3. Northern Lights - looking for input on this. I'm not sure where to go see this. Have family in Fairbanks Alaska. Some of the 'glass dome' hotels/cabins in Scandinavia sound neat. Just want to see a full out show by the Northern Lights, rest of the trip would be a bonus.
4. Japan - would like to go when the cherry blossoms are full out. The architecture of the old temples and high speed rail have always fascinated me. Probably like to make it a long trip, and take the train working up the country.
5. Croatia - Plitvice Lakes National Park looks incredible to me, I know it is pretty touristy but I want to see it. All the little coastal towns with Roman ruins would be awesome to see and your in a more out of the way places than say Rome.
I'll have to take a while to think on #1 & 2. Been to a lot of place (mostly Europe), the world is a great place to visit!!

But I can tell you my best holiday while living there was a two week tour through Southern Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, & Switzerland. I had no agenda other than plane tickets in and out of Munich. Rented a car and made a big circle. Even drove Stelvio Pass (from Top Gear - best road in the world) Would recommend. Having the car was ultimate freedom, might would do rail next time, but I don't know. I had good time either way. Maybe 3 weeks next time ;)

PS: parking in Switzerland was fOOOOKING expensive!!! lol (actually everything in Switzerland is $$$ but man o man, is it beautiful. I spend two full days at Lucerne.

As for your places
1) Visited a friend in Cape town and went out to a private reserve. It was FANTASTIC.
2) Made several trips for work to Aberdeen Scotland. Drove around a bit in the country side. Very beautiful place. Beware though, WEATHER. It can suck.
3) Lived for 3 years waaaaaay north in Norway. Never, EVER did I see the northen lights... ??? I again blame the weather. I was right on the ocean in Southernish Norway. Its cloudy about 90% of the time. So, again, be warned about the weather screwing things up!
4) Japan would be cool. I think I'd rather go to Vietnam & Thailand though.
5) Had lots of guys from work in Norway that would go to Croatia. They said it was fantastic. Would certainly do!
 

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Livin' life
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1. Exploring more of Australia. By that I mean by road into the far north and outback. Also to South Australia and the Great Ocean Rd. There's a lot of places to see out there. I plan on spending more time on the Great Barrier Reef
2. Road trip around New Zealand is supposed to well worth it. Nobody I've spoken to has a bad word about it at all. Definite place for me to go.

I can recommend Tasmania as a place to visit. Hire a car and see some of yesterdays Australia. Some excellent challenging walking tracks too for the adventurous. It doesn't have a tourist feel about it at all, very relaxed. I also recently enjoyed a trip from New Orleans to New York via Memphis, Nashville and Washington, but y'all know about those places already.
 

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Have Bar, Will Travel
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VG makes a good point about a first foray too. I wouldn't tell someone to just on a plane and fly out to _ to connect to a plane to _ that wasn't a fairly large place to start with. Insert anything in the blanks. My first europe trip was only for work so it was direct to Toulouse. Fortunately I did already know some french and wasn't too worried about it. but it was an ordeal that I wouldn't want to inflict on someone for their first place. For example Toulouse customs is closed on sunday - which is also when I arrived. - I had to litterally ask someone to stamp my passport as they just waved me on by anyway. I was the only person on our flight out of Amsterdam to be from a non-EU country


So to that end if I was going to recommend a first forway - Edinburgh is probably one of the places I would pick first. It's not London but they speak and understand engligh - it is a bit of a tourist trap location - from there you can get other places with ease - and there is plenty to see there for 2-3 days easly. Like the HMS Britannia - the last royal yacht commisioned for the royal family. Interesting bit of history.

Anyway as before how you launch into the trip is a big part of fun. I can't get my wife to understand the concept of planning 1 day minimum to do nothing. Doesn't mean you have to camp in a hotel room but it means you don't have to stress about timing if you miss something you want to see. It amazes me for how much of a lack of planning she does for nearly everything else in life if I mention trip to _, in one hour of less she has a draft timeline in hand.
 

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Murphy the RMGTO Mod Dog
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I appreciate general travel advice. I never have been good at any other language. I was always good at learning to read or write Spanish, but once I tried to speak I butcher it. I know what I want to say, but it never comes out right, and could never roll my Rs. I have several 'oddities' even in speaking English. So good thought by all of you, and I hadn't thought of it, but I likely need to be some where that is English friendly to start out. As for skipping 'normal' spots, I was planning on going in and out of big places and branching out from there. Like Croatia, probably would start or end in Venice.

As for your places
1) Visited a friend in Cape town and went out to a private reserve. It was FANTASTIC.
2) Made several trips for work to Aberdeen Scotland. Drove around a bit in the country side. Very beautiful place. Beware though, WEATHER. It can suck.
3) Lived for 3 years waaaaaay north in Norway. Never, EVER did I see the northen lights... ??? I again blame the weather. I was right on the ocean in Southernish Norway. Its cloudy about 90% of the time. So, again, be warned about the weather screwing things up!
4) Japan would be cool. I think I'd rather go to Vietnam & Thailand though.
5) Had lots of guys from work in Norway that would go to Croatia. They said it was fantastic. Would certainly do!
I've been to the Animal Park in San Diego. Between that and Nat Geo childhood, I just want to see animals in Africa. Okavango just has most of the animals I'd like to see, isn't just flat plains, and has a decent tourist infrastructure.

I'm odd, I like rain, fog, and snow.

I would've figured Norway would be a good place to see the Northern Lights. I know they change intensity due to sun activity and you can almost plan for when better shows would be. So has anyone actually seen the NLs? I see VGT said he was thinking Iceland to see them.

My brother did 6 weeks in Thailand, but his trip was different. He worked for a Thai restaurant, ended up renting from them, and is family to them now. They retired and moved back to Thailand, so my brother went over there and got put up with them and family. Incredible trip, but no way for me to replicate it. Thailand was very close to being on my original list. Japan always has just interested me, but I'm a nerdy engineer.

Sounds like a lot of northern Europe uses Croatia as a go to vacation spot.

On a flight home from Germany at this moment. Just one piece of advice, tourist traps are that way for a reason. I was in France recently for work and convinced my wife to fly over and meet me in Paris for a couple days before I continued my trip. It was probably the best bit of vacation we've ever had. Also if you're unfamiliar with international travel, any of the major european cities are a good icebreaker - I wouldn't make my first trip somewhere too far off the beaten path. Long story short, don't rule out a destination just because you think you might not like it. Parisians are easily the nicest people I've interacted with in any of my travels. Prague and Rome are also great destinations.

By the way, since you mentioned high-speed trains, you can grab the Thalys out of Paris to a number of other european cities. goes just as fast as the 'bullet train', and was underwhelming other than the fact that 90 minutes later I was in the heart of another country.

I've spent a few weeks in Scotland before, great country and would absolutely go back but probably as part of another trip (i.e, spend a week in Scotland then hop a flight to somewhere like munich)

Current Bucket List:
  • Iceland (to see Northern Lights and other stuff)
  • Australia (scuba diving)
  • Africa. Vague, I know - but I'd really like to spend 2-2.5 weeks there and do some sightseeing/hiking/safari. Haven't done enough research to figure out where I'd like to go.
Africa, start watching nature shows and you'll catch on to where they are going. Kalahari Desert (Okavango is in this area), Kruger National Park, Masai Mara, Serengeti, etc.

Have you researched the Northern Lights much?
 

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DW can't take a J... or a D
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Have you researched the Northern Lights much?

Only a bit. The one thing I've found is that you can do all the research and weather will screw up your entire trip, so I've looked for destinations where you have a pretty good shot to see the lights, but also a bunch of other neat things. I'm not sure if they are still doing it, but Icelandair running a program for a while where you could fly to/from Europe with a stop in Iceland, and they would let you do a 3-4 day layover at no cost (most other airlines would make you break up the trips, and cost more). We were looking at doing a week in Edinburgh with a three day kicker in Iceland on the way back. Would be a cool trip.


Edit: Looks like they're still doing it.
 

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Yabba Dabba Doo!!
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We just did Costa Rica, stayed in a resort on the pacific coast. Plan on going back to stay near a volcano and experience more authentic Costa Rica. LIB airport super easy to get in and out of and the people in Costa Rica were super friendly. Did a couple of river cruises with my dad in Europe. Great way to see Europe minus you are on a boat with most people over 60. Loved Amsterdam, Austria and Budapest.
 

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Born in a class 5 hurricane
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Bucket list place. To the other side of the coin there are a number of places I want to see.

1) all 50 US states. At this point I've done 37 but it's hard to get to some of the outliers and no I don't consider flying over, nor going though the airport there as visiting the state. Also I don't consider riding the train across as visiting either.
I too am on a quest to visit every state. My definition of "visit" may be a little loose, but off the top of my head the states I haven't set foot in are Delaware, Arkansas, North Dakota, New Mexico and Hawaii. I've been kind of saying I was going to save Hawaii for last, but I doubt I will ever get to North Dakota. I'd also hate to put off Hawaii in favor of those states.

I've never been too big on international travel (visited England once for work), but I should consider it before I get too old. Lots of good ideas here. Iceland actually sounds like a neat place.
 

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Fake bacon lover
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I'm odd, I like rain, fog, and snow.

I would've figured Norway would be a good place to see the Northern Lights. I know they change intensity due to sun activity and you can almost plan for when better shows would be. So has anyone actually seen the NLs? I see VGT said he was thinking Iceland to see them.
If you like rain, I can give you excellent advise on where to go in Europe! haha

It is funny, I spent 3 years at roughly the same latitude as Anchorage Alaska, never saw shit. But yes, I HAVE actually seen the northern lights one cold December night. Where? Are you ready for this? Deer lease outside of Nocona Texas, about 10 miles south of the Red River. Coolest shit ever. This was probably 15yrs ago and there were reports of seeing the Lights waaaaaay south. The sky was a pink glow with these while lines that would fade in and out. Not the like the colors you see on TV or pictures. But still very very cool.

I bet Iceland is good for viewing because they likely don't have as much cloud cover as many parts of Northern Europe (Scotland & Norway). Far Northern Norway is way up there too. I never visited that - because it was $$ to fly up there just to freeze my ass off. I bet they get the northern lights often.



As for Language. I speak English. And shit English. Can sorta order a beer in Spanish. Most major European cities (Paris, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Prague, ect, ect) are cake as everyone you need to deal with speaks English. ALL people in Scandinavian speak extremely good English, as do almost all the Dutch, and Belgium people. Get way into France and Germany, and you'll find older folks who don't. Outside of Rome, Italy can be pretty hit or miss as well. But, I've been all over Eurpope and never had an issue honestly. I bet Croatia would be easy as all these guys visiting don't speak there tongue either. Now if I was dropped into BFM (bum fucked Mongolia), yup... that could be issue, but I don't know why I'd be in BFM!!!
 

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Murphy the RMGTO Mod Dog
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Discussion Starter #14
I too am on a quest to visit every state. My definition of "visit" may be a little loose, but off the top of my head the states I haven't set foot in are Delaware, Arkansas, North Dakota, New Mexico and Hawaii. I've been kind of saying I was going to save Hawaii for last, but I doubt I will ever get to North Dakota. I'd also hate to put off Hawaii in favor of those states.
Go to New Mexico once a year for our anniversary. Yes ABQ and a lot of New Mexico sucks, just ask Andrea. North of Santa Fe is nice though. If you're in to history and science, Los Alamos is a nice day trip from Santa Fe. Valles Caldera is beautiful. We stay at Ojo Caliente, makes for a nice relaxing trip.

If you go to Hawaii, I suggest Kauai or Maui.
 

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450+rwhp club :D
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Did Croatia last spring it was great. Wait until later in May for better beach weather. London>Dubrovnik>Hvar>Split>Rijeka>Venice>Fano>Balogna.

Couple years ago did Munich>Zurich>Florence>Rome>Positano. Started with last weekend of Oktoberfest, by the time we got to amalfi coast stuff was shutting down for the season so might suggest end of September again for better beach weather.

Next trip will be either Spain and Portugal, or Amsterdam, Belgium, Ireland, Scottland.

Never had any issues finding someone who could speak at least a little bit of English in order to get around, and in most big cities all the service people speak it well.
 

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damn globetrotter over there lol
 

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Worthless Staff Mbr
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I went to North Platte and Lake McConaughy, NB in 2018 and had a really great time. We did an overnight road trip, drove out there early one day and stopped a few places along the way. Left the next day around 11 and went to even more places. Had an Atlas and pretty much anything with water or parks we went to that was about 30 miles or so away from the freeway there and back. Cost was cheap, just hotel and gas pretty much, and I still think it was one of my better trips I've had as an adult.

Another place is SE Utah, like Blanding/Mexican Hat. Not the towns themselves as they're nothing, but the scenery around them. So beautiful. The Moki Dugway is cool as hell.

The prettiest place I've been in the US was Ouray, CO during a snowstorm. Highly recommended. It's called the Switzerland of America for good reason. I can't even describe how beautiful it was and unfortunately was before smart phones so no pics.

Go to New Mexico once a year for our anniversary. Yes ABQ and a lot of New Mexico sucks, just ask Andrea. North of Santa Fe is nice though. If you're in to history and science, Los Alamos is a nice day trip from Santa Fe. Valles Caldera is beautiful. We stay at Ojo Caliente, makes for a nice relaxing trip.

If you go to Hawaii, I suggest Kauai or Maui.
Lol can confirm NM sucks, but every state has their shit parts. As Scyry said, if you visit stay north. New Mexico is a beautiful state if you avoid Albuquerque. Hell even Albuquerque is pretty with the mountains right there, but there's so much crime and drugs it's insane.
 

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Murphy the RMGTO Mod Dog
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Discussion Starter #18
We sort of added to our travel plans, and anchored them to a different path. We camp a lot, well less the past couple years with having young kids. We now have a third on the way. So we decided to make our camping setup, and wrangling of kiddos easier so we can go more. So we bought a travel trailer. We went smaller so we can go to National Parks easier, plus I want it to be an easy pull with my F-150. So the current goal is to start checking off National Parks with the kiddos. Still going to hit Europe next year, but going forward family trips will be circled around this:
Travel Trailer.jpg


May be I should've posted this under I did a thing?
 

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Born in a class 5 hurricane
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The prettiest place I've been in the US was Ouray, CO during a snowstorm. Highly recommended. It's called the Switzerland of America for good reason. I can't even describe how beautiful it was and unfortunately was before smart phones so no pics.
That was an amazing area. Unfortunately I planned my time through there poorly. I decided to drive from Estes Park to Silverton all in one day. The sun was setting as I was driving through that area, the "Million Dollar Highway"/US 550. Didn't get to see the area in its full glory nor take any decent pictures.

I did rent a Jeep the next day in Silverton and drive up into the mountains. That was a really fun experience. If you ever get bored, look for videos of people driving Jeeps from Ouray to Telluride through Big Black Pass. Steep drop-offs with high pucker factor. The Jeep rental place specifically said to not go to that pass.
 

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Fake bacon lover
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We sort of added to our travel plans, and anchored them to a different path. We camp a lot, well less the past couple years with having young kids. We now have a third on the way. So we decided to make our camping setup, and wrangling of kiddos easier so we can go more. So we bought a travel trailer. We went smaller so we can go to National Parks easier, plus I want it to be an easy pull with my F-150. So the current goal is to start checking off National Parks with the kiddos. Still going to hit Europe next year, but going forward family trips will be circled around this:
View attachment 500009

May be I should've posted this under I did a thing?
EXCELLENT!

When I was a kiddo, we had travel trailer. Took, many family vacations in it and much enjoyed those times. I think you made a fine purchase and will enjoy the snot out of that thing**!

**yes you certainly did a thing ;)

Is your F150 an eco-B? I'd imagine it'd tow that smaller trailer fairly well. (as would the 5.0 honestly too) Might get interesting in windy conditions, and you're gonna become a trailer backing champ in time!
 
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