Wow, its still crazy to me that 2017 is over. I know we all say it every year, but this one really flew by. Maybe it was all the travel, maybe it was all the life changes… whatever it was, it was magical.
The year of 2017 introduced me to new destinations, brought me back to old favorites, and allowed me to get to know more of my beautiful country.
A Bit of American History
To start of the year, in January, I returned to Boston for the first time since 2005. While the city felt familiar, I got to know it in a whole new way… in the cold. It was a fun weekend girls trip and I enjoyed seeing our country’s historic center, trying Mike’s Pastries, and eating a whole lot of food. Ice Skating in Boston Common was memorable too (even though it resulted in my best friend needing orthopedic surgery!)
The weekend after Boston, my mom and I escaped to the ultra-luxurious Grand Velas Riviera Maya. I cannot say I have ever been treated more like royalty before in my life. This resort spoiled me like no other. The beautiful accommodations, unbelievable spa, and Michelin star dining were unlike anything I had ever experienced. I will definitely try and return to this resort.
Bienvenidos a Miami
For my birthday, I took the ultimate girls’ weekend trip: Miami! Lots of shopping and beach time were obviously part of the trip. We also ate (A LOT!) Cuban food was too die for, but nothing could top Gianni’s at The Villa Casa Casuarina (aka. The Versace Mansion). I swear to you all, I have never ever ever had a more amazing meal in my life.
I went to New York a few times this year too, we all know that its like a second home to me. Nothing too exciting there, except a negative hotel experience that I will share eventually.
I also visited my new favorite destination in Mexico: Los Cabos. I’m not a big ocean person, I like sitting on the beach, but I dont go in the water too much, so Cabo was perfect for me. The beautiful pools, the hot temperatures, it was the perfect mid-April getaway. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos was perfect, I highly highly recommend it.
I took a mini-break from traveling mid-April to the end of May. There was a lot going on with my family, resulting in me not being able to travel. I took a mini-trip at the end of May to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I had never visited the Twin Cities before! I was so excited to hit up Mall of America. Lets just say after 5 hours, I was ready to take a month-long break from shopping.
From June 23 to July 21, I jetted off to Europe. I started my trip with a river cruise on the Danube River, something I had done in 2016 too. While this was a work trip, I had plenty of time to relax. I even got to go out in Budapest to the coolest port-bar called BOB (the Bacardi Original Bar). I made great friends with the crew on my ship, and fell more in love with Budapest than I had before.
After the Danube, I spent three nights with my friend Michael in London. Instead of doing the touristy stuff, I lived like a local for three days, spending my time in Hyde Park and in Paddington. Michael also took me to the BEST local restaurants, I’m still craving Halloumi sticks from NAC. Michael and I also took a day drip to Bath, a town I probably would not have otherwise visited. Word of advice, if you go to Bath, bring a swimsuit so you can enjoy the modern bath spa… we didn’t do this and I’m still regretting it 7 months later.
Post-London, I met my mom and brother in Amsterdam for a river cruise on the Rhine River. This one was so different from the Danube, because instead of seeing large historic city centers, we visited small river towns that were German/French in culture. Strasbourg was probably one of my favorites, and Heidelberg was near the top of the list too. After the cruise, we spent a day in Basel and Zurich. Switzerland was unlike any country I visited in Europe, so regal and natural in its own way.
A Little Break
I took my brother to New York for his birthday trip two weeks after we got back from Europe. It was a quick trip and we mainly spent our time eating and shopping, but he was happy so that was all I cared about.
Once September came around, I started graduate school, so traveling had to take a back seat. I needed to figure out how much I could handle at once. Around this time, I really started to help my mom with her travel agency. So while I wasn’t really traveling, my mind was on travel 24-7.
Disneyland for Adults
I took my first trip to Las Vegas this year in October with my family and our family-friends. Even though it wasn’t full of partying and gambling, I still fell in love with the city. It’s basically Disneyland, for adults. There’s so much to do, even if you don’t want to spend $1000s. We were there the weekend after the tragic events occurred, and it was unbelievable to see the love and solidarity of people coming together. The city was still very much awake 24/7. We even escaped for a few hours to hike Red Rock Canyon, which was definitely a highlight of this trip! I’m ready to go back already, this time for a totally different kind of trip!
In November, my friends and I did a mini-staycation for a night in the city. It was a friend’s birthday and we thought it would be the perfect excuse to get a hotel for the night and not worry about Ubers to and from the city. While this wasn’t “travel” per say, for people who don’t have the opportunity to travel far, something like this is a great alternative.
Traveling for Work
My quarter of graduate school ended around thanksgiving, so I was able to go on a Travel Agent FAM trip to Mexico in early December. I visited 15 resorts in 3 days with 16 other travel agents! This may sound like a lot of work, but remember I was in Cancun and I was being handed a glass of champagne at EVERY single resort. It was a blast and afterward I felt like a total expert on AMResorts. I will be posting a guide very shortly on how to know which AMResort is for you!
Closing Out the Year
To close off the year, my family took our annual New Years Trip. This year we went to the RIU Palace Peninsula in Cancun, again. It was one of those crazy Russian vacations I have previously written about. I know that everyone who was with me is already looking forward to next year.
Looking back on my goals for 2017, I achieved quite a few. I visited 1 new country, 2 new states, and 4 new cities. I know I can achieve even more in 2018… so watch out world, the Jet-setting Spirit is coming.