We are rafting the Colorado River in 2011, spending eight days running the rapids. I've always wanted to raft the Colorado, partly because my parents made sure I was infected with the love of the canyon through backpacking trips during my adolescence. Although I have traveled around the world, no destination has replaced the Grand Canyon in my heart. I have been to the bottom of the canyon many times but never spent more than three days at a time inside the walls. That I will be inside those ancient red walls for over a week is almost too good to be true. I can't wait.
Nancy Steele, Altadena
Plenty in U.S.
With unlimited time and money, my 2011 travel plans would focus on the United States. Some travelers might yawn over a domestic itinerary, but my eyes haven't yet seen many parts of my native country. Now's a good time to savor a taste of each state's landscapes, history, food and residents. I hope to celebrate a big birthday by spending a long weekend in London with my younger sister, who lives in Berlin, before going to Edinburgh to visit a high school friend and absorb Festival Fringe. Doesn't that sound like a brilliant way to celebrate a 40th birthday?
Amy Hooper, Costa Mesa
Home to Germany
My funds are limited for traveling, but that won't deter me. I am originally from Germany and have not been there in at least 10 years. My 11-year-old needs to see where I am from and what makes me who I am. We will go on a fantastic castle-hopping tour in Bavaria. We will start in the northern part, where I'm from, and tour a bunch of old ruins and (for me) taste some great, intensely rich and dry wine of the "Frankenland," eat mushroom stew and venison — I can taste it already. As we head southbound, driving along the "romantic street," we will, I hope, partake in some of the traditional wine or beer fests. We will stay at small-town bed-and-breakfasts or stay with the locals, who are often open to renting out cheap rooms. One for sure thing will be the bike tours through the Taubertal and a city tour of Rothenburg, one of the true antiques of the Medieval area.
Sigrid Caldera, Monrovia
My wife, Monica, and I will cruise around the Australian continent on the Dawn Princess, with a pre-cruise stay in Sydney. Then in summer back-to-back cruises: a Greek Isle cruise ( Athens to Istanbul) and a Black Sea cruise with pre- and post-cruise stays in Athens and Istanbul, respectively. In December, an island-hopping cruise in the Indonesian archipelago with a pre-cruise stay in Singapore and a post-cruise side trip to India.
Murali Srinivasan, Marina del Rey
In a weak moment I promised all eight of my grandchildren I would take them on a trip of their choice when they graduated from high school. We have done Indonesia, Japan, Egypt, a Caribbean cruise and Africa. It wasn't until a few years ago I realized I will have two graduating in 2011, and they're holding their Grammy to her promise. Granddaughter Kristina has dreamed of visiting Paris, so we're taking a river cruise on the Seine and ending in the city of her dreams. Grandson Kurt chose Australia and New Zealand. Thank goodness, the next and last grandchild doesn't graduate until 2017.
Norma Boehne, Temple City
Swim with sea turtles
My girlfriends and I are going to Costa Careyes in January for a week of beach riding, sun and swimming with the sea turtles. We read about how safe and preserved the area is and want to support Mexico as a destination. There is a wonderful sea turtle sanctuary there we hope to visit and a new cultural center. It is low-key and just what we all need to start the new year.
Laura Urquidez, Ballard, Calif.