I didn’t intend to write this article because, just like I’ve written “highlights of the year” articles every year, I didn’t think there was anything interesting enough to include in this article!
It’s funny (and so telling about my current priorities!) that when I think about my year, I think about the long summer days I spent with my boys on the beach in Wales. This year we spent almost the entire summer on the coast of Wales and it was amazing. I remember George starting kindergarten and proudly walking to school in his tiny little uniform and carrying his big backpack, but that trip to Dubai in March feels like a lifetime ago. You can I really had to double check if it happened this year because it feels like so long ago. During that trip, Joseph looked like a baby, but he’s a little boy now!
Scrolling through my Instagram feed and reflecting on my trip brought back so many great memories. We all know how much we like to lament about Instagram, but it’s really great for keeping track of our lives and using it like a digital journal to record all our precious memories.
After a lot of scrolling, here are the highlights of my 2018 trip…
January – Wales
I stayed home all of January. I don’t think this is by choice. I think I just wasn’t organized enough to book a trip. I usually hate staying at home in January (which is why I have 3 trips booked for January 2019!). In fact, I spent some very nice days around Wales.
My favorite was the day we went to Beddgelert, one of Sam’s favorite places in the world. We drove there through Snowdonia and it was a beautiful, crisp winter day with freezing blue skies and frost on the ground. The weather in the UK in January can be very limited and it can be difficult to get out and about. So you need to make the most of this lovely sunny day!
February – Glasgow
I took a solo trip to Glasgow in February and had such a great time that it made it onto my list. I had been to Glasgow several times before, but this was the first time I had seen a city like this. It’s very stylish, effortlessly cool, and has plenty of places to eat, drink, shop, and stroll. One of my favorite things about Glasgow is the fact that it’s also very close to the countryside. One day I was there, I hopped on a train to Loch Lomond, hiked in the mountains one minute, and the next I was back in town eating at a really cool Indian street food restaurant. I can’t recommend Glasgow enough for a wonderful weekend getaway!
Read more: How to spend 48 hours in Glasgow
March – Dubai
This was a truly epic trip as we traveled to Dubai for 8 days with Sam and the boys. We were making a video about our trip with Emirates Holidays, so it turned out to be a great itinerary and we were lucky enough to have private access to many of the locations. This is a once in a lifetime trip and I feel so lucky to be able to experience this with my family.
Read more: Family trip itinerary to Dubai
April – Rotterdam
Ah, Rotterdam. I completely fell in love with this city! What a beautiful, unique and interesting place. I was working with P&O Ferries to promote ferry travel. I have to admit that Rotterdam wasn’t my first choice for a city vacation, but I absolutely loved it.
The cafe culture and vintage shopping alone is worth a trip to Rotterdam!
Read more: How to spend 2 days in Rotterdam
Finnish Lapland stole a piece of my heart, and as a girl who doesn’t really like the cold, that’s saying something! Skiing, reindeer riding, mountain biking through snowy forests, adorable log cabins, swimming in ice holes, igloos, and some of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten. What’s not to love? This was truly a bucket list trip, and it was amazing.
Read more: An incredible arctic adventure in Finnish Lapland
May – Orkney Islands
I can’t help but feel a sense of calm as I recall my family’s trip to the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Honestly, it was the most peaceful place I’ve ever been.
Read more: Travel Hack’s Guide to Orkney Islands
Ireland road trip
This was an almost week long solo trip to Northern Ireland, something I don’t normally do. A whole week is a long time to spend alone. But it was so nice and so wonderful. I loved the ease and freedom of road trips, and it was liberating to be able to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I’ve seen a lot of Ireland and Northern Ireland and loved working with Jury’s Inn on this project.
Read more: My Ireland Road Trip – 1 week itinerary
We ended this month with a family trip to Turkey with Mark Warner Holidays. This was great, Mark Warner’s first summer vacation and we all loved it. It was such a great family trip, with a great nursery for the kids and lots of activities to keep us all happy.
Read more: An active family’s dream holiday at Turkey’s Fokaia Beach Resort
June – Brussels
This was the first event of the Blogger Course Weekender and I traveled to Brussels with a few members of the e-course. My trip was with WowTrip, a company that organizes surprise holidays for me, and I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when I found out I was going to Brussels.
Thankfully, Brussels was the perfect place for a weekend getaway. We spent one day in Brussels, one day in Bruges, and one day in Ghent, and it was amazing.
Read more: WowTrip Review: Want to take a mystery vacation?
July – Cologne
The second weekend of the blogger course was in Cologne. Cologne was another city I had never thought of visiting, but once again I had a great time with the guys on the course.
August – A family trip to France
We went to France on our last summer trip with Canvas Holidays and stayed in a mobile home there. The campground we were at had the most amazing pool facilities, so we basically spent the entire week swimming, playing in the water, eating croissants, and drinking red wine.
Read more: Canvas Holidays review: Affordable family glamping holidays
September – Norway
Our trip to Norway in September was one of the highlights of the year. It was unbelievable. I accompanied her on her P&O cruise and although I wasn’t actually on the cruise ship, I got to sample some of the great shore excursions they offer cruise passengers. We did everything from kayaking in the fjords to downhill mountain biking, visiting traditional farms and sampling the goat cheese they produce, and going crayfishing on speedboats. It was amazing!
Read more: An epic adventure you can’t miss in Norway’s fjords
October – Japan
The short trip to Japan was my first taste of Japanese culture and I absolutely loved it. I visited Miyazaki Prefecture in the southern part of the country to highlight a wonderful, little-known region of Japan. It was so beautiful and this short trip gave me a taste of this beautiful country and I wanted to see more.
Read more: 3 days in Miyazaki Prefecture
November – Cornwall
Cornwall may not be as exotic as Japan or Norway, but this was one of my favorite trips of the year. Elle and I traveled to Cornwall and stayed at the Watergate Bay Hotel for a short but relaxing and exhilarating holiday. We took an early morning yoga class, went surfing, took a vigorous walk along the beach, and ate like queens!
Read more: Get a taste of the bay at Cornwall’s Watergate Bay Hotel
December – Saudi Arabia
And our last trip of the year was to Saudi Arabia! I’m still wrapping my head around my journey from Saudi Arabia and trying to find the words to describe my journey without being influenced by those around me. You can spend the day just sitting in a quiet room looking at photos and thinking about your trip. I shared my first impressions and why I chose to visit Saudi Arabia on Instagram, so check it out here!
View this post on Instagram
well, this is surreal. Watch the sunset from the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia, the country I thought I would never visit. But I have just returned from a visit for the Formula E race (similar to Formula 1, but with electric cars), which temporarily opened the country to tourists. I received a lot of messages asking me why on earth I wanted to go to Saudi Arabia. Why would you say yes to this when you’ve been invited to so many trips? We’ve all seen what’s in the media at the moment, and it’s just the sun and the sun. It’s not a rose. The main reason I wanted to go was curiosity. In my experience, there are no countries like the ones you see on the news. More importantly, ordinary people are not in the headlines. Also, just because a country has a particular law doesn’t mean everyone agrees with it. What I saw in Saudi Arabia was the exact opposite of what I expected. The country is beautiful and the people are beautiful. The people are friendly, welcoming, chatty and funny. They told jokes, were curious, asked questions, and everywhere they went they met people who wanted to stop and talk (mostly women. Oh my god, women who can chat like Saudi women have never met!?) I was not. At no time did I feel unsafe or uncomfortable, I was not only treated with respect, but as an equal. I’m really glad I went to Saudi Arabia. I don’t plan on going back anytime soon, but I think this was a lesson for me to not judge people or make assumptions based on what I see in the media.
A post shared by The Travel Hack (@thetravelhack) on Dec 16, 2018 at 12:16am PST
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you want more updates from The Travel Hack to see how I traveled in 2019, join my weekly newsletter or , connect with me on Whatsapp to chat and get updates on your phone.
Highlights of my trip include:
(Yes, I don’t really understand what happened in 2015 either…)