Cuba beach scene in VAradero

A Change of Travel Plans

This month’s Travel Link-Up topic asks what kind of traveller you are.  Well, I can tell you I am an organised, planned-in-advance traveller.  Travelling with kids I find that you have to be, or you’ll wind up in a dodgy hotel without a swimming pool.  Or, worse, a restaurant that doesn’t serve pasta.  And, someone under the age of 10 will have a hissy fit.

This summer has challenged my Type A personality.  The best laid plans of mice and men … and all that.  I get the concept but it’s much harder when unforeseen change happens to your summer.

My husband was informed last week that he will have to work this summer.  Our holidays plans have gone askew at the last minute.

We are still really looking forward to spending a week in Iceland together at the beginning of June.  We are taking advantage of the free stopover in Iceland offered for flights between London and the USA.  My husband will return to London after the Iceland road trip.

I’ll be spending the summer in the United States doing our usual East Coast summer thing.  We will spend July and August between our house on Martha’s Vineyard and my parents in Pennsylvania.  I feel like I know that strip of the I-95 between Boston and Washington D.C. really well having driven it countless times every summer.

sailboat  off the coast of Martha's vineyard

With the kids going to summer camp in West Virginia for two weeks in August, I am going to visit a friend who I’ve not seen for a long time in Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Sao Paulo bridge

I had intended to go on a photography tour to Cuba during this two week period but that has been cancelled by the tour operator. I think I would prefer to go to Cuba from London with the family anyway.

On my US passport, I would not be able to visit any of the beaches because tourism isn’t included in the ‘allowed reasons’ for visiting Cuba.  Beaches are considered ‘tourist reasons’ and not cultural enough.  British people and others visiting Cuba, however, have no such restrictions.

Cuba beach scene in VAradero

To use another trite expression:  when one door closes, another one opens.

Not only have I have never been to Brazil but I’ll get to catch up with old friends.  My friend, Anne, and her family have been in Sao Paulo for 3 years.  They have another year left on their expatriate contract before they head back to California.  We’ve got some tickets to go to the Olympics next year in Rio de Janeiro but she’ll have left Brazil by that time.  I think of this visit as a reconnaissance mission 🙂

We had been planning on spending a couple of weeks at the end of August in Russia.  My son has created a model of St. Basil’s Cathedral out of Lego and wanted to see the real thing.  Luckily, our British Airways tickets can be refunded and I had been dilly-dallying on doing our visas for Russia.  I’m telling you – Russian visitor visas are a complete pain!!  You have to fill out a lot of paperwork (including every country you have visited in the last 10 years), get biometric identification, send off your passports etc.  I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that after all!

Instead, we will return from the USA through Iceland again.  You can get a free stopover on Icelandair in Iceland both ways.  Hopefully my husband can meet us there for the long bank holiday weekend at the end of August.

What are your summer plans and your travel personality?  Are you an organised holiday planner or a last minute person?


This month’s Travel Link-Up  has been hosted by Kelly from Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes, Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi, Rebecca from Runaway Kiwi and Catherine from Luxe Life.


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I am an American expat based in London with my travel-loving family. I write at Just Go Places Blog about luxury, cultural and family travel.

9 thoughts on “A Change of Travel Plans”

  1. You managed to save it at the last minute. Good for you. I don’t like it when my travel plans fall through. Kind of drives my type A travel personality a bit bonkers. One year we went from going to Paris, to changing to South Africa and then finally decided on Peru. I had myself to blame for that one… Have a fantastic summer. Cheryl

  2. In regards to Cuba, what an odd restriction to make for people from some countries but not others!
    I’ve heard that visas for Russia are a total nightmare for US citizens too actually, although I believe you do get a ridiculously LONG travel visa once you have filled everything out. But still, it’s just so much paperwork!

    1. OMG really? I was a bit worried about Russia. We travel all the time and I was worried about having to explain that we have different passport stamps on different passports in our family.

      I think Cuba and the US have a difficult relationship hence the random restrictions placed on Americans from both countries. On the plus side, at least from 2014, Americans can finally get into Cuba even with restrictions.

  3. Let’s back up to that Martha’s Vineyard house for a moment! I wanna come see you there. I imagine it as a spread in some kind of beach magazine. Please tell me I’m right?!

    And Sao Paulo must be amazing. I think you have to do Cuba soon. I wanna go there too. A few weeks ago I saw a documentary about Cuba and the journalist interviewed a group of Americans there. turns out the group were real estate agents. I’m telling you: Once that embargo drops completely, people will buy those beautiful houses in the city, renovate and turn them into expensive appartments. Hotels will be built. Even though this is great for Cubas economy and the people, I dread the day a Starbucks or Mc Donalds place opens.


    1. You should definitely come visit! Actually it’s only a small place with no beachfront. We rent it out when we are not there. I have to get to Cuba soon I think. Relations are thawing really fast and you are right, it will be swooped up soon by all the American developers. I too know a Cuban-American who is acting as a ‘broker’ there for properties.

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