You may know that Flirting with the Globe recently celebrated its second “Blogiversary.” (In non-blogger terms, this means FWTG turned two years old). If you’ve read my Blogiversary post, you know it’s been quite the year of travel! If you haven’t read my recap of year two, you should start with that post which you can find here. With so many amazing travel experiences in the past 12 months, I’ve decided to break down this year’s best and worst travel experiences for my readers.
This Year’s Best (and Worst) Travel Experiences
Best Travel Experience: Heli-hiking on Tasman Glacier in New Zealand
O-M-G. This experience with Alpine Guides was A-mazing. I’m squealing just thinking about it, actually. Let’s just say that trekking across a frozen glacier during the midst of summer is an epic bucket list day, no matter how often you travel. Oh, and did I mention I got to “co-pilot” the chopper?! You can read about my experience in more detail here.
Best Relaxing Getaway: Tulum, Mexico
Tulum blew me away! I’ve been to Mexico plenty of times and (incorrectly) chalked up the country’s resort destinations as pretty much all being the same; however, Tulum is extremely unique. Tulum is… magical. The city has a quirky, laid-back hippie vibe which I instantly fell in love with. (And, I actually relaxed)!
Suggested Reading: Is Tulum the Best Vacation Destination in Mexico?
Best View: Flight over Milford Sound in a prop plane
The quintessential New Zealand experience of seeing Milford Sound with Air Milford and taking in the fjord’s stunning scenery from above did not disappoint. Take my advice and do this if you travel to New Zealand! The company partners with Southern Discoveries to include a cruise once you arrive to the sound. The cruise was stunning, but the views from above are unparalleled. This photo is just one of the many ever-changing jaw-dropping views I experienced on my prop plane flight. (Stay tuned for a post detailing them more thoroughly).
Suggested Reading: Epic 10 Day New Zealand and Australia Itinerary
Best Hotel Experience: Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
I’ve stayed at several extraordinary properties this year, but Dromoland Castle was my ultimate favorite. I literally got to play princess for the day! The castle was grand and historic, and the sprawling grounds were a joy to explore. If you’re headed to Ireland, a night at Dromoland is worth the splurge.
Suggested Reading: The Ultimate Ireland Road Trip
Best View from a Hotel: St. George Lycabettus Boutique Hotel in Athens, Greece
It’s pretty tough to beat the sunset view of illuminated Acropolis in Athens, Greece from the rooftop at St. George Lycabettus Boutique Hotel… I spent a good portion of my free time perched on the balcony gazing at the city below me.
Suggested Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Athens
Most Unique Hotel Experience: Glamping at Garden Village Green Resort in Bled, Slovenia.
Glamping at Garden Village eco-resort in Slovenia was truly a unique and special experience. Even if you’re sleeping in one of the pier tents, you won’t be roughing it with the resort’s luxury amenities and gourmet restaurant.
Suggested Reading: 1 Week Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary
This one was a surprise for me! I was excited to head to my first dude ranch to experience something new and different, but I had no idea just how much I would fall for the “ranch life” at White Stallion Ranch.
Suggested Reading: Why You Need to go to a Dude Ranch (Even if You’re Not a “Horse Person”)
Best New International Destination: New Zealand… and Slovenia
I literally cannot choose between Slovenia and New Zealand – I loved both destinations so much! Both countries made for a ridiculous road trip and have a lot of similarities when it comes to breathtaking scenery. New Zealand’s terrain is more dramatic and rugged, but Slovenia has an undeniable charm and offered bucket list travel experiences with less time spent in the car, which may ultimately mean that my road trip with Auto Europe through Slovenia takes the gold for this year…
Best New USA Destination: San Juan Island, Washington
San Juan Island is stunning. Where else in the USA can you zip through lavender fields on your moped one moment and then sea kayak with orca whales the next? Friday Harbor is charming town and makes a memorable weekend getaway.
Best Meal – Aleria in Athens, Greece
The seven course chef’s tasting menu at Aleria knocked my socks off. I particularly loved the fact that each course was a modern, playful interpretation of a classic Greek dish.
Suggested Reading: 5 Must-Try Culinary Experiences in Athens, Greece
Most Frustrating Travel Moment: Flight Cancellations
On the way to Ireland I flew to England for a friend’s wedding in Bristol. I had planned for a quick 24 hours in Bath (a city that’s been on my bucket list forever), but my flight on Norwegian Air was CANCELED due to mechanical issues! I ended up flying out the following night, which meant that I missed my entire trip to Bath… and half the wedding I had flown to Europe for. I clearly didn’t have great luck with flights this year because a few months later my flight with United Airlines to Sydney was canceled, which caused me to miss more than a day of my short time allotted in the city.
Suggested Reading: Climbing The Sydney Harbour Bridge with a Terrible Fear of Heights
I was thrilled to have a quick layover in Istanbul, a city I truly love. I had just left for my solo trip to Athens (and was already planning my next trip back to Turkey), when I heard the news that a police bus had been the target of a bomb in a central part of the city. My heart breaks for the people of Istanbul and Turkey who continue to suffer, and I hate that tourism is at an ultimate low in this historic gem of a destination.
Suggested Reading: Where East Meets West: A Weekend Guide to Istanbul
Worst Travel Disappointment: Skellig Michael, Ireland
I was very aware of the fact that weather conditions could prohibit me from being able to take a boat over to Skellig Michael, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my hopes up. I really wanted to experience the Skelligs, but both mornings I spent in the Portmagee area the sea was too rough to make the pilgrimage to the craggy island.
Suggested Reading: What You Need to Know Before You Go to Skellig, Michael
What has been your best (and worst) travel experiences? Which of these places would you like to experience?
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I was a guest of some of the above companies and hotels, but as always, all opinions are my own. Photo Credits: Aleria photo courtesy of Aleria Restaurant. CC photo from Flickr: Skellig Michael by Arian Zwegers
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