Without a doubt, travel has been the highlight of 2017 for me. I’ve never had such an active year, travel-wise. It included a multi-destination European trip I planned completely on my own (the first time I’ve ever done that!), the longest trip I’ve taken since I was nine years old (to Southeast Asia) and checking out several new stateside destinations that have been on my bucket list.
I so loved doing a travel recap post last year, so I thought I’d do the same this year. 2016 was pretty epic in terms of travel, but 2017 somehow managed to top it! I visited lots of new-to-me places, discovered some new favorite cities, and picked up four new countries. (I’m at 28 now, and hopefully will hit 30 by my 26th birthday!)
Also, prepare yourself – this post is word heavy and filled with photos.
I didn’t get away until March of this year, but I started off with one of my favorite trips, to Los Angeles! It had been well over a decade since I’d been to the city and I completely fell in love. It’s a place I could totally see myself living in one day. I liked it so much, in fact, that I’m planning a repeat trip this spring, with stops in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs!
Over Mother’s Day weekend, I visited a city I’ve wanted to travel to for years: Charleston! My mom and I went for a fun Mother’s Day getaway, and had the best time! This city is beyond charming with its candy-colored houses and incredible food. I couldn’t recommend it more for a long weekend trip.
Read my Charleston recap here.
Two of my close friends from high school live in Boston, so I’ve made a few trips there over the past few years to visit. It’s become one of my favorite east coast cities! I went again this May, for shopping on Newbury Street, dinner in the North End and walks around the Harvard campus! (Also, the above photo is from breakfast at Tatte Bakery, a Boston staple. Everything there is delicious.)
It’s become something of a tradition to make a trip to my roommate’s house in Mystic, Connecticut a few times every summer. It’s such a cute coastal town and a peaceful getaway. I love sitting by the water for hours, only to leave to grab lobster rolls for dinner!
My next trip was also to Massachusetts — but an entirely different part: My first trip to Nantucket! I absolutely fell in love with this perfect, picturesque island and had the perfect weekend there with friends from college. We went sailing, ate too many lobster rolls, had an afternoon at Cisco Brewery, shopped downtown and grilled hot dogs on the patio of our AirBnB. It was such a perfect weekend that we’re already thinking about next year’s escape!
Later on in June, a few friends and I took the bus to Philadelphia for the day to visit a friend from college. Though we didn’t stay the night, we managed to stuff a lot into our day in Philly. We saw the Liberty Bell, walked around Rittenhouse Square, went to Reading Terminal Market and of course, got cheesesteaks. It’s a great city and I’d love to explore more of it on a repeat trip!
Read my Philadelphia recap here.
I went home to Chicago for the Fourth of July. I love Chicago so much, and it’s definitely at its best in the summertime. Drinks on the Riverwalk, a Cubs game and dinner with friends downtown were just a few of the highlights of my week in the Windy City.
Read my Chicago recap here.
I’ve wanted to visit Montreal and Quebec City for what feels like forever, and I was so excited when that trip finally became a reality over the summer! We did three days in Montreal and one day in Quebec City. The food in both spots was amazing, and it was a great way to get a taste of Europe without actually leaving North America!
Summer ended with spending Labor Day weekend in Mystic. This time a big group of us went and though the weather was less than ideal, it was still an amazing weekend! We tried some new restaurants in Mystic and made a visit to a winery. (A great rainy day activity!)
If you can believe it, I hadn’t done a full weeklong vacation yet in 2017 until October! But it was one well worth waiting for: I headed to Europe for a 10-day adventure at the end of the month. First stop was London, where I met up with friends for a truly incredible weekend in my absolute favorite place on earth. We had perfect fall weather, too.
Read my London recap here.
From London I took an early morning EuroStar to Brussels. Belgium was a new country for me, and one I was eager to explore (and especially, eat all the food!) I spent two days in Brussels with a day trip to Bruges, which was easily one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. (I only wish I had a bluer sky while I was there.) In both cities, I ate plenty of mussels, waffles and fries throughout my three days!
Recap to come.
A friend was living in Paris for six months, and even though I just spent a week there last year, it was a good excuse to spend a day in one of my favorite cities. Most of the day I spent in line for the Christian Dior, couturier du rêve exhibit. It was seriously incredible, filled with designs from throughout the fashion house’s history.
Read my 2016 Paris recap here. 2017 recap to come.
From there, my friend and I headed south to Lyon, France. I had never been to this French city before and was excited to explore! It’s definitely less touristy than Paris — I’ve never encountered a place in Europe that was less friendly to English speakers. (Not in a rude way, but museum descriptions weren’t in English too, that sort of thing.) But that made it such a cool experience! I had some amazing meals here, too.
We also took a day trip to Annecy, about two hours east of Lyon, near the Swiss border. I know I’ve said this before, but this is seriously one of the most charming towns I’ve ever been in! We were also treated to a gorgeous sunset. Just look at that photo above. Magical.
Recaps to come.
Over Thanksgiving week, I went on a really incredible work trip across the pond to England and Scotland. We spent time in the Cotswolds, Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh — one of my absolute favorite cities. It was a magical week in my favorite country!
If you can believe it, my most spectacular trip of the year didn’t happen until December. My family had been planning a two-week trip around Southeast Asia for over a year, and it was well worth the wait. We spent the first week in Vietnam, where we visited Hanoi, Hue, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An and the beaches of Da Nang.
Many recaps to come.
After that, we flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore the temples of Angkor. I actually really liked exploring the city of Siem Reap as well. And seeing ancient temples like Angkor Wat was an incredible experience. I highly recommend a trip to Cambodia if it isn’t already on your radar!
Recap to come.
From there it was off to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a few days before we went down to Bangkok. I was only in Bangkok for a few hours before I went to catch my flight back to NYC, via Hong Kong!
Recap to come.
…That was a lot! If you made it to the end, I’m impressed. And a note: I really couldn’t be more grateful to have had the opportunities I’ve had this year to travel. I know it’s a lot and I don’t take a minute of it for granted. Travel is one of my greatest joys in life and I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to see as much of the world as I have.
And on that note, my thoughts for 2018! Despite the fact that I’m exhausted and will be very happy not to get on another plane for a month or so, I’m already thinking about where I’ll be headed next year. I’m planning a return trip to California, this time with stops in Santa Barbara, home to one of my favorite films, It’s Complicated as well as Palm Springs. I’ll also hopefully be heading back to Nantucket this summer! A trip to Vermont in the fall is also high on my list, as is a weekend in Washington, D.C., where I haven’t been since I was in high school!
As for international travel, I have two big destinations on my mind: Australia and New Zealand! A friend is studying in Australia, and if you read this post, you know I love any excuse to visit pals who are living abroad. While I’m on that side of the world, I definitely want to see New Zealand, too. My trip to Iceland reminded me how much I love a more scenic, natural beauty-focused trip. I feel like a trip down under will be the perfect combination of city and scenery!
And on that note, I wish you a very happy new year spent with the people you love most.