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.
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.
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 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.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights during the past 12 months!
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.
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.
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
- Why Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland Is an Amazing Attraction?
- Hamilton Gardens New Zealand – How to Enjoy the Beauty of Nature?
- Aratiatia Dam – How to Enjoy the Full Force of the Waikato River?
- Huka Falls – Why You Need to Visit This Natural Attraction?
- Why the Sky Tower in Auckland Is Great Value for Money?
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.
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!”
Related Posts to Hawaii
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.
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.
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
- Why the Drive from Banff to Lake Louise Will Blow Your Mind?
- How to Enjoy the Amazing Drive from Jasper to Banff?
- Why the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper Is the Ultimate Adrenaline Rush?
- Brewster Travel Canada – How to Enjoy an Amazing Glacier Walk?
- How to Enjoy a Breathtaking 48 Hours in Jasper National Park?
- Amazing Things to Do in Jasper National Park When You Visit
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).
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.
Related Posts to Iceland
- Where to Enjoy the Best Things to Do in South Iceland?
- How to Experience the Best Things to Do in North Iceland?
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.
Related Posts to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
- How to Enjoy the Best 3 Days in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?
- Sassy Bass Crazy Donuts – How to Enjoy the Best Donut Experience?
- How to Enjoy a Guys Getaway on Alabama’s Beaches in 48 Hours?
- Why Alabama Beaches is the Best Girls Getaway Destination?
- Enjoy the Best Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Events in the Fall
- Why Fall Is the Best Time for a Gulf Shores Orange Beach Getaway?
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.
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.
Related Posts to Disney World, Universal Studios and Orlando
- Hilton Orlando International Drive – How to Enjoy the Perfect Stay?
- 5 Amazing Things to Do at Islands of Adventure in Orlando
- Universal Orlando Resort – How to Experience the Best 48 Hours?
- Why Loews Is the Best Universal Studios Hotel Choice?
- Coco Key Orlando Water Park – How to Enjoy an Affordable Vacation?
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.
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.
Related Posts to Ireland
- Killarney National Park Tour – A Guide to the Best Attractions
- 48 Hours in Killarney – How to Enjoy the Best of County Kerry?
- 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.
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.
Related Posts to Poland and the Baltic States
- 24 Hours in Tallinn – How to Experience the Best of the Old Town?
- 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.
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.
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.
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?