2017 Year in Travel – How We Maximized Our Time on the Road?

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Every year we take time to reflect on the last 12 months and this year is no different. As each year goes by, we always say that the next year cannot get any better but yet again, 2017 was another amazing whirlwind adventure. We constantly surprise ourselves not only by the amount that we travel but also by the plethora of amazing adventures that we experience around the world. Let’s take a look at our 2017 year in travel and why this was yet another epic 12 months for A Brit and A Southerner.

2017 year in travel

Whether we are visiting new places such as the Baltic States or returning to old pastures such as Iceland and the UK, we now consider ourselves to be experts in maximizing our time on the road. When we look back over the last few years, we have been fortunate to travel to a myriad of memorable destinations. Take a look at the section below on our “travels in numbers” to get a better perspective on how many countries, US states and other amazing locations we have visited over the past few years.

new zealand travels

For those of you that have been following our travels over recent years, you will know that we started this tradition of “reviewing” our year in travel a couple of years ago with our 2015 year end review.

At the end of 2016 and start of 2017, we embarked on an ambitious round the world adventure visiting the likes of UAE, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. Looking back on our 2016 year of travel, that was a pretty amazing year but arguably, 2017 has been even better!

2017 year in review

2017 Year in Travel – By Numbers

It’s always interesting to take a look at an overview of your travels over the last year. It’s crazy to think that we have visited twelve different countries in the past 12 months, many of which we visited for the first time. 2017 was a landmark year for us because in January we hit our 50th and final US state when we landed in Honolulu, Hawaii!

  • 12 Countries – Canada, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, UK, USA.
  • 14 US States – Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas. 
  • More Hotels than we count…but many memorable ones!

We are proud Hilton Diamond members so many of our hotel stays are at Hilton chains across the globe. However, we have also experienced a few local hotels that we can strongly recommend, particularly the gorgeous San Carlos Condominiums in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

gulf shores and orange beach

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights during the past 12 months!

New Zealand

2017 started with a real bang for us as we brought in the New Year in New Zealand! Having spent the past week exploring the gorgeous city of Melbourne, Australia and taking an epic Great Ocean Road day trip, we thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing week exploring New Zealand’s North Island.

bay of islands new zealand

A blend of rural and urban adventure saw us explore downtown Auckland, take a day trip drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands before heading further south to Hamilton and the Rotorua/Lake Taupo region of the North Island.

huka falls new zealand

Spending a week in New Zealand gave us a brief glimpse of the beauty across the Maori nation and certainly inspired us to want to revisit this beautiful country in the not too distant future!

Related Posts to New Zealand
  1. Why Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland Is an Amazing Attraction?
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Hawaii

Many will say we saved the very best until last with our adventure to reach all 50 US states! Hawaii is just as many people told us – beautiful. The gorgeous sands of Waikiki Beach combined with the rich yet poignant history at Pearl Harbor makes Hawaii a must-see destination for everyone.

waikiki beach hawaii

Although our trip was relatively short and we only stayed on the island of Oahu, it gave us plenty of inspiration to want to us to go back and explore further…particularly the surrounding islands that are less crowded and “off the beaten path!”

2017 travels

Whether we were enjoying the epic experience climbing Diamond Head or learning about the history at Iolani Palace, there was plenty to keep us occupied for the few days on the island!

Related Posts to Hawaii
  1. Pearl Harbor Memorial Tour – Why Is It the Best Attraction?

Canada

2017 was historic for many reasons but perhaps one of the most iconic was celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary! What better to way to celebrate this than by visiting the Maple Leaf Nation and exploring two of the breathtaking national parks – Banff and Jasper.

banff national park canada

If you are looking for the ultimate experience for epic landscapes, these are perhaps the best two parks you can visit anywhere in the world. From the gorgeous Lake Minnewanka scenic drive in Banff to the towering Jasper SkyTram at Whistlers Mountain, there is no shortage of amazing experiences awaiting your next visit.

jasper national park

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to both and I think if we have any regrets looking back on 2017, it’s not having the opportunity to head back to Canada to explore more of the national parks. That’s definitely a bucket list item for 2018!

Related Posts to Canada
  1. Why the Drive from Banff to Lake Louise Will Blow Your Mind?
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Iceland

After visiting Iceland during the winter season and falling in love with this spectacular country, we were eager to visit during the summer and experience the “24 hours” of daylight (the exact opposite to what we experienced in winter).

north iceland

After an epic 7-day Iceland road trip where we enjoyed a myriad of the best waterfalls along with a spectacular whale and puffin tour in Husavik courtesy of North Sailing, we realized that the Land of Fire and Ice is at the very top of our favorite countries list. It’s one of those places that once you visit, you cannot help but fall in love with the beauty throughout the nation.

husavik iceland

Related Posts to Iceland
  1. Where to Enjoy the Best Things to Do in South Iceland?
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Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

One of the lesser known destinations in the US that we LOVE visiting is Gulf Shores and Orange Beach! We always look forward to returning to this stretch of Alabama coastline to enjoy 32 miles of pristine, white sandy beaches along with delicious cuisine available at the best places to eat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

bayes southern grille orange beach

Three days of “fun in the sun” along the Gulf Coast is a great way to relax by experiencing the gorgeous Kiva Dunes Golf Course and a sunset dinner cruise on the Perdido Queen.

gulf shores and orange beach

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Disney World and Universal Studios

2017 was another iconic year for both of us as we visited Disney World for the first time (in Heather’s case, not once but TWICE!). 24 hours in Disney World may only be enough for one park for most visitors but we opted for a typical fast and furious visit by experiencing three parks in one day! Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom in just one day – a lot of walking, extremely tiring but incredibly rewarding.

disney world orlando

Heather is an avid Harry Potter fan so having the opportunity to head over to Universal Studios and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter along with everything else was an awesome experience.

universal studios orlando

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Ireland

October saw us head across the pond to the Emerald Isle to enjoy a 7-day Ireland road trip while spending several days in Killarney for the TBEX travel bloggers conference. We spent three nights at the best self catering in Killarney courtesy of Luxquisite Property Lettings before heading along the Wild Atlantic Way to explore some of the iconic landmarks including the Cliffs of Moher and many others.

ireland wild atlantic way

We partnered with Europcar for our car rental in Ireland and we can well and truly attest that they are a great company to hire cars when you next visit. Although we had limited time to explore Ireland, we still enjoyed many adventures and cannot wait to return to experience other parts, including Northern Ireland.

wild atlantic way ireland

Related Posts to Ireland
  1. Killarney National Park Tour – A Guide to the Best Attractions
  2. 48 Hours in Killarney – How to Enjoy the Best of County Kerry?
  3. Why Hodson Bay Hotel Is the Best Place to Stay in Athlone?

Poland and Baltic States

November saw us venture back to Europe again as we embarked on another ambitious trip through the Baltic States in only 9 days! We arrived in Warsaw, Poland to spend a couple of days exploring the history and gorgeous architecture there before heading to the smaller Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

christmas in tallinn

We fell in love with the Estonian capital of Tallinn, primarily because of the Christmas markets in the Old Town Square before heading across the Baltic Sea to Helsinki and our final stop in Oslo, Norway.

oslo norway

Related Posts to Poland and the Baltic States
  1. 24 Hours in Tallinn – How to Experience the Best of the Old Town?
  2. 48 Hours in Warsaw – How to Enjoy the Best Things to Do?

Christmas in the UK

Our final trip of 2017 saw us head back across the pond for the 5th time as we spent Christmas in North-West England. Prior to heading to the UK, we enjoyed three days in New York City to celebrate the holiday season. For those of you that haven’t spent Christmas in the Big Apple, it’s an amazing experience seeing all of the store displays on Fifth Avenue and of course, the iconic Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center.

We spent much of our time in England exploring the Fylde Coast and the county of Lancashire. The city of Lancaster, market town of Skipton and idyllic village of Downham are all areas that we spent time walking around.

poulton le fylde lancashire

As we continue to travel around the UK when we return each year to spend time with family, we will be sharing more and more spots outside of London that we recommend visiting for visitors to the UK that may not be as aware of what is outside the capital.

Summary

We have been incredibly fortunate to enjoy so many amazing trips in 2017! If you were to ask each of us our favorite trip…well, it’s a tough one because every one we took was unique and amazing in its own right.

2017 year in travel

Iceland will always be a place that we love and we had an amazing road trip adventure exploring Ireland but as we close out the year in 2017, we are already excited about the potential opportunities awaiting us in 2018!

What was your favorite trip in 2017 and what are you most looking forward to in the New Year?

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9 COMMENTS

  1. What an amazing year in travel for you guys. I think my favourite, and one I want to replicate, is Christmas in the Baltic region. I can’t wait to read about your plans for 2018, but know they will be wonderful. Happy New Year

    • Happy New Year to you too Lyn! Yes, the Baltic trip was amazing for sure and a great way to end 2017. Ireland and Iceland were both amazing trips also, making it almost impossible to pick a favorite trip over the last 12 months. Our plans for 2018 are actually fairly limited right now except for heading back to New York City in a few weeks and then California at the end of February (both for travel-related conferences). Looking forward to following your travels in 2018 also!!

  2. My favorite was Venice, Vienna & Budapest. But I loved the night ferry from The Hook of Holland to Harwich, UK. You should visit the fens of East Anglia & Peterborough. The cathedral there is gorgeous. Plans this year are back to the UK, Haiti and undecided.

    • Hi Lauri, sounds like you had an awesome year! We have visited both Vienna and Budapest before and loved them both also and of course, Venice is still on our radar! East Anglia is part of the UK that I have actually never been to so thanks for the tips. Hope you have a great 2018!!

  3. You had an incredible year! My answer would probably be same as yours. I loved all of the trips! There is only one that stood out just a little bit more, one to Lima with the love of my life 😛

    • Lima sounds amazing, Peru is definitely on our radar! South America is a continent that we are yet to visit and hopefully we will be changing that in 2018. 2017 was an amazing year for sure and there were just so many epic experiences that makes it difficult to pick one. Iceland and Ireland were definitely two of our favorites because we road tripped around both and thoroughly enjoyed spontaneously stumbling across hidden gems in both countries.

  4. New Zealand has been on my bucket list for YEARS, but I think I’m going to finally make it a reality in 2018. Your experiences looked amazing, and I can’t wait to take it all in. Definitely bookmarking those posts for when I book my trip. Thanks!

    • Hi Sujeet, you are going to LOVE New Zealand! We cannot wait to go back and we only spent one week there exploring the North Island. So many great things to do, check out our section on New Zealand under Destinations for more information on things to do. I highly recommend Huka Falls in the Lake Taupo region of the North Island and of course, if you love the Lord of the Rings movie series, Hobbiton is a must-see spot! Definitely looking forward to hearing about your visit there this year.

  5. Banff & Lake Louise is definitely the most beautiful place on the planet. Those peaks, amazing snow, and off the hook terrain make it some of the most enjoyable skiing anywhere. I hope to make it back soon.

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