Prior to 2017, I’d only actually been abroad with friends once or twice. As my New Year’s Resolution for that year, I made myself promise that 2017 would be my year of travel – I’d be spontaneous, take advantage of every opportunity and go and see the world (while maintaining my full time job – I’ve gotta get my money somewhere!). That promise was definitely fulfilled – I had 12 holidays in 12 months, visiting many areas of Europe as well as faraway destinations like Mauritius and Barbados. Some of them I’ve done on a big budget going all out, and others were done on a tiny budget living in hostels and getting by on the bare minimum. The one thing they all had in common is that they were all fantastic, and opened my eyes to how amazing the world is.
While I’m looking at potential holiday destinations for this year (perhaps not 12, but I’ll give it my best shot) I thought I’d look back and reminisce my favourite destinations so far…All pictures used are my own!
- Orlando, Florida
It makes sense with my love for America, but Orlando is a firm winner in my eyes (although I’m guessing that’s only because I’ve not had chance to visit New York yet…) – everything looks so picturesque, the weather is amazing and I’m a big kid at heart so a total sucker for Disney and Universal. I’d gone when I was younger but unfortunately have limited memory of that trip, so I was beyond delighted to return summer 2016 with my family. Although it’s hardly a hidden gem, I fell in love with Disney Springs – it had such a buzz about it, so many cool restaurants and shops to explore. Location wise, we stayed at a beautiful villa in Kissimmee which was so homely – I could definitely get used to that life!
- Bridgetown, Barbados
Ah, Barbados. What a place! Everything about it has so much energy, from the locals, the food, the nightlife – everything. This trip was the root cause of my addiction to plantain chips, followed by an overwhelming disappointment when I returned home and quickly realised no-one makes plantain chips here as good as the ones in Barbados. We stayed at the Hilton, and our balcony had the most wonderful sea view – waking up to the sound of crashing waves and the warm air is one of the best feelings ever. All the buildings are so bright, bold and colourful; it feels such a happy place. All the locals we met were absolutely wonderful, so friendly and welcoming which really adds to the magic of the place. I’ll definitely be back!
- Port Louis, Mauritius
A close competitor to Barbados, Mauritius is also hands down one of the most incredible places I’ve visited. I’d definitely describe this as a honeymoon location – it’s stunningly beautiful and oh-so-peaceful, but there’s not so much to do in terms of bars/clubs. Don’t get me wrong though, sometimes there’s nothing I love more than a relaxed holiday! We stayed at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, easily one of the most glamorous places I’ve ever stayed.
- Barcelona, Spain
I recently revisited Barcelona last month for the second time, firmly establishing its placement in my top 5 favourite destinations. Ideal weather, the proximity of the city and the beach and my favourite cafe on earth (Brunch & Cake – complete food porn in all senses of the world) are just a few reasons why I love Barcelona so much. There’s plenty to do, from exploring the quirky Las Ramblas or enjoying Mojitos on the beach. I would caution you to be careful with belongings, though – on the most recent visit my friend had her iPhone stolen out of her hands while using her maps, so stay wary!
- Budapest, Hungary
If you’re looking for culture, affordability and great nightlife, you need to visit Budapest. I visited here as part of a longer Europe trip in April 2017, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The difference in currency here is crazy, everything is so unbelievably cheap – when Espresso Martinis cost the equivalent of £1, how can you not fall in love with this place?! The architecture is incredible, there’s so much to do during the day that you’ll never be stuck for ideas. For evening entertainment, head to the thermal baths (great through the day too, but the nighttime parties are bucket list kinda level!) or explore the ruin bars, my favourite being Szimpla Kert. Imagine the kookiest and most eclectically decorated bar on earth – the atmosphere in these places is beyond incredible. So excited to head back here in August for Sziget festival!
That concludes my round up of my top 5 holiday destinations – I’m so excited to add more places to the list as I get more holidays planned this year! What’s your favourite place to visit and why?
Thanks for reading,