The 3 place rule and where we’ll go next

A landscape view of the entire Sapa valley, with rice fields in the foreground and mountains in the background.

Travel is our biggest expense and a major part of our lives. We actually spent more on travel than rent last year, and hope to do the same for 2016. To make sure travelling doesn’t just remain a lofty distant dream, we started setting concrete travel targets.

Our basic target is the three place rule: every year we want to explore three new places.

Rooftops of Lisbon with sea in background
Exploring Lisbon for the first time.

But why someplace new?

For years I was flying like a yo-yo between Sweden, the UK and Germany (I’m Swedish but lived in the UK and Germany) to see family and friends, and had little money and time to go elsewhere. Although I still love a weekend in Berlin, a stroll down the south bank of the Thames in London, or a day out in Copenhagen, I also want to go to more challenging places.

The world is a pretty big place, and using the three place rule helps us prioritise where to go. Travelling to new places pushes us further out of our comfort zones, and teaches us about the world in ways that even Wikipedia couldn’t do. It also makes me appreciate the everyday life I lead the rest of the year so much more.

Hills behind a group of trekkers
The views are excellent outside of my comfort zone.

In 2016 we’re set to hit our three place target in record time. Because we prioritise it.

These are the places we’re planning to go this year:

Riga, Latvia [New]
We went here in January and fell in love with the city. Riga was a magical winter wonderland and we are planning to go back next summer and expand our trip to include Estonia and Lithuania too.

Old building covered in snow
Old Town Riga was stunning in the snow.

Madrid, Spain [New]
In February we’re hoping to defrost a bit and explore Madrid for the first time. Instead of Valentine’s and anniversary gifts our pennies will be put towards a joint trip which we’ll share memories of for years to come.

Krakow, Poland [New]
We’ve heard wonderful things about this historic city, and will be spending Easter in strongly Catholic southern Poland. We will also take a day out to visit Auschwitz for the first time, which I have wanted to visit in person ever since learning about the Holocaust in school.

Newcastle, England [New]
Despite living in the north of England for four years, I never made it to Newcastle. The middle of the UK is very underrated (why do so many people insist on only visiting London or Edinburgh?) and I am hoping to visit a dear friend who has recently become a Geordie.

Stockholm, Sweden [New to Ash]
Eurovision is hosted in Sweden this year, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. We’ll couple cheesy costumes and street parties with exploring the central Stockholm islands.

Jo in front of big countdown clock to Eurovision
Last time Sweden hosted Eurovision I travelled from England to join the fun.

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany [New]
We will be heading to western Germany for a countryside summer wedding (not ours!), and are hoping to squeeze in some time in Cologne, Düsseldorf and possibly the Nürburgring. That last one might be more for Ash’s sake than mine. 😉

India [New to Ash]
I went to Delhi and the north of India on my first visit to Asia years ago, but am looking forward to exploring the south of India with Ash. We might also take a brief detour to Kathmandu as I would like to show Ash Nepal (one of my favourite countries).

Taj Mahal in the distance
Agra wasn’t my favourite, but I’m willing to give India another go.

Aside from the new places, we’re also bound for some oldies but goldies:

Manchester and Sheffield, England
We met studying in Sheffield and have a lot of love for this old industrial city. Ash’s sister is now studying there too, and we can’t wait to visit. Manchester – one of the most underrated UK cities, in my opinion – is just an hour across the stunning Peak District national park, so the plan is to combine the two.

Leafy trees surrounding a small river lined with stones
The Peak District is beautiful even on a rainy day.

London, England
Despite being Swedish I’ve spent more time in the British capital than Stockholm. This year we’ll try to squeeze in a few days in London to visit friends and favourite areas (Holborn, Covent Garden and Borough Market, I’m looking at you). Ash goes here on work trips too.

Sussex and Kent, England
Ash is from Hastings, Sussex, on the south coast of England and we regularly travel there to visit family. We are lucky to have very hospitable family members who happily host us several times a year, making these trips affordable.

Concrete pillar and rudimentary room with art on walls
A new place within an old. The old Observer Building in Hastings is now a creative space and art gallery.

What near or far places are you visiting in 2016? If you have any suggestions for things to do in our destinations, we would love to hear them!

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