Have you made (more) travel one of your resolutions for 2008? As if any of us needed a reason to travel, this year offers up a full calendar of travel events to get you out the door and exploring your world. Try on these 12 colorful ideas for size!
January: Celebrate Carnival in Netherlands Antilles. The 5th kicks off seven weeks of Carnival celebrations on the islands of Curacao and Bonaire, culminating on Fat Tuesday, February 5th. Additionally titillating for passport stamp collectors, this is the last year you can visit the “Netherlands Antilles,” as the state will cease to exist in December 2008. You can find suggestions for budget Caribbean travel in this post.
February: Total Lunar Eclipse. On the morning of the 21st, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from North and South America, Europe and most of Africa. Put it on your calendar now so you don’t forget! The next total eclipse will not occur until December 21, 2010.
March: Indian Holi Festival. The Festival of Colors, where temples and people are decorated and dyed, will be celebrated on March 22nd. If you can’t get to India this year, find out if your local Indian community is holding an event.
April: Canberra Balloon Fiesta. Australia’s largest hot-air balloon festival is up and away from the 12th-20th.
May: Eurovision Song Contest. The final of the contest which launched ABBA and Celine Dion and which keeps Europe glued to their tubes all night will take place in Belgrade May 24th.
June: Quebec City’s 400th Birthday Celebrations. Events run from January to October, with a lot of events overlapping in the month of June. Come late and stay for the Anniversary Day celebrations July 3rd.
July: Baltica International Folklore Festival. Taking place this year in Vilnius, this rotating festival celebrates song and folk dance from around the world, with special focus on the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
August: Beijing Summer Olympics. The summer travel event of 2008! If you’d like to go, you should have already started planning by now, but for latecomers, here are some thoughts on doing it cheaply.
September: National Party Conventions. 2008 is an important U.S. election year. Be there as a delegate or volunteer when the presidential candidates are selected! The Republican National Convention kicks off on the 4th in the Twin Cities; Dems will have already selected their candidate in Denver the week before. Greens meet in July in Chicago, Libertarians in May in Denver.
October: Georgian Wine Harvest. The grapes have ripened on the vine and need to be picked in October — and what better place to experience the wine harvest than in the birthplace of wine itself? This month is full of festivals in Telavi, capital city of the Kakheti wine region. The NY Times has an article about the experience here.
November: Anne of Green Gables Turns 100. The 30th marks the birthday of L.M. Montgomery, best known as author of the Anne of Green Gables series. Hard to believe these books have been enchanting readers for a century! Live your childhood dream: though you’ll never marry Gilbert, you can visit Prince Edward Island, enticing you with a year’s worth of activities surrounding its most famous daughter.
December: Fiestas de Quito. The Ecuadorian capital city celebrates its founding by the Spanish on the 6th with festivities marked by music, dancing, bullfighting and fireworks starting two weeks prior to this anniversary.
Where are you headed in 2008? Let us know in the comments.