Happy New Year to you and I hope you had a lovely time over the festive period. For me, 2016 flew by, with a lot of talk about blogging but without much happening if I’m honest. However, I did travel lots (more on where I went below) and I managed to buy a house which is something I’d wanted to do for some time but I was scared about doing this as it felt like a massive commitment. My savings were in case I ever wanted to pack up, run away and travel the world. But, I decided to take the plunge and despite a few obstacles along the way I don’t regret it and you know what, I can still pack up, run away and travel the world but I would just need to get a job!
Where I went in 2016
One of the things I love doing at this time of year is going through my previous year’s diary as I write in my new one (I’m afraid I’m old school and still have a paper diary) and list all the places I’ve been. I find it’s easy to forget over the course of the year where exactly I’ve been and in 2016 I did a lot of travel … 12 countries visited, 28 flights, 16 hotels/apartments and a heap of wonderful memories.
January / February – The beginning of January saw me visit family in the North West of England. At the end of January I met up with my best friend and a couple of her lovely friends in the Philippines. We spent two weeks there, with roughly a week on the beach in Boracay and a week up in the North of the country exploring the rice terraces. For me this is such a fantastic country; dreamy beaches, stunning scenery and friendly people. The only downsides are the poor transport links and the food isn’t as exciting as let’s say in Thailand. However, I would love to return here and check out Palawan which is meant to be amazing.
In February I went to Berlin with my best travel blogger buddy, Sarah, from Let Me Tell You About A Hotel. We spent a weekend in the capital and I loved it. I would recommend visiting the East Side Gallery. This is an open air gallery created from the Berlin Wall.
March – March saw me go to China to visit my best friend who was living in Shanghai. This was a bit of a last minute decision as I usually make travel plans well in advance but she got news that she had a new job in Europe and would be moving in the summer so I felt it was too good of an opportunity to miss out on. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations because of some of the struggles she had told me about living in China. However, I really did enjoy exploring this country. I spent a few days in Shanghai and then got a train to Beijing with an old school friend (small world) who happens to now live in Beijing. I spent a few days in Beijing and then travelled to Xi’an. Next was a flight to Guilin to head to Longsheng and Yangshuo. These were a real highlight for me, I would recommend getting out of the cities if you can and check out the countryside where the way of life is very different and the scenery is impressive.
April – In April I was lucky enough to be invited on a wonderful press trip with a group of lovely travel bloggers to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. You will have hopefully seen some of my posts from my time there but if not here you go, My St. Kitts: A Little Taster From My Time There and 20 Things You Need To Know About St. Kitts. There is still a lot more to tell you about my time there so watch this space. St. Kitts is a truly special Caribbean island which for a tiny place has so much to offer.
May – At the end of this month I went to Stockholm for a long weekend break. This trip passed by in a bit of a blur to be honest, as earlier in the month I had been so busy with my new house. The weather in Stockholm was not all that great and whilst I did a small boat cruise to the Archipelago capital, Vaxholm, I would like to see more. One big positive of this trip was that I had some of the best sushi ever!
June – It appears I stayed home this month. Sometimes you just need that!
July – July saw me go to Geneva to visit some old university friends. I had a lovely time and even got to have lunch in Italy. I also went to The Hague to help help my best friend (who had been in China) settle into her new home. Although we were busy, I got a real feel for the place and I know I will be visiting her lots! This month also saw me go on a a girly break to Cornwall. We hired an apartment, relaxed, drank wine and went surfing (obviously not all at the same time!).
August – In August I went to Monaco with Sarah from Let Me Tell You About A Hotel. Wow, what an expensive place this is! I enjoyed my time here, it’s uber luxurious and you can really see how the other half live! It does make me want to see more of the South of France as I’d never been before. This month I also got to stay at The Pig hotel in the The New Forest. I’d had my eye on this hotel for a while and had wanted to visit The New Forest for ages. I wasn’t disappointed. It is such a lovely hotel in a gorgeous setting, however, I was a little disappointed with the food there but that said I would like to try it again.
September – In September I went back to The Hague (I told you I’d be back). This was a girly catch-up with friends but this time I got to see more of the sights including the beach.
October – This month I went to Milan for a few days with my friend. We hired an apartment and although we did not do much sightseeing, it was a great trip as it mainly consisted of shopping, eating and drinking wine. This is the fourth time I’ve been to Italy and I just absolutely love the vibe of this country!
November – In November I had another trip with Sarah from Let Me Tell You About A Hotel as it was her birthday. I joined her and some of her best friends for a night in Paris. We had a great time. We wandered around the Christmas market, enjoyed rooftop cocktails and dinner and then had a morning cycling around the city. My last trip abroad of the year was a long weekend in Vienna. I’d wanted to go to Austria for a while and really wanted to check out the Christmas markets. I was not disappointed with this city, so pretty and lots of markets dotted around the place.
December – December saw me head up North to Lancashire and Nottinghamshire to visit family and friends over the Christmas break.
Travel Plans for 2017
So far it seems I don’t have many trips booked for 2017 which is unlike me but it doesn’t mean I’ve not got plans. I’ve always got my beady eye on a number of flights! FYI here are some amazing deals with Emirates and British Airways at the mo (their sales run until 31st January). What I do have planned includes a (another) trip to The Hague in January, a trip to Luxembourg in March and a road trip to the USA over Easter. I’ve wanted to go to Luxembourg for a while so this was a lovely Christmas present received. If you have any recommendation of things to do or places to eat there that would be much appreciated. As for the USA trip, so far we have only booked our flights to Atlanta and we are working on our itinerary as we speak. So again if you have any suggestions of destinations that are do-able from Atlanta that would be great. I’ve my eye on Australia for the end of the year and if I can I would absolutely LOVE to squeeze in South Korea at some point. If I can hit 50 places visited in 2017 I would be seriously happy!
Where did you go in 2016? What were your highlights? What are your travel plans for 2017?