I thought I’d take a little time to reflect back on all the travelling I have done this year as 2017 rolls in. This is a very self indulgent post but one I hope you will forgive me for writing. Because I want to share with you all of the trips I have taken this year despite being a student on a small budget. Admittedly one or two of these trips were supported by my boyfriend and family but for the majority I have paid for all of them from money I have earned this year or had previously saved. This just proves you don’t need to be rich to travel regularly, it is just a case of using your money wisely.
I never set an aim of how many places I wanted to travel to this year. I had a fair few plans mapped out at the beginning of the year due to my boyfriend living abroad but a lot of the trips were booked only a month or less out.
So how did I fare with my travel plans for 2016? Well I achieved all of them and more. Here are all of the adventures I took this year no matter how big or small.
14 Trips of 2016
New Year in Rio de Janeiro
I began the new year in Brazil, having landed there for my first trip in mid December. It was my JP’s new home and one I knew I would be visiting many times in the coming months. New year in the city that was about to host the olympics was pretty special. The trip was mostly about getting to know the city and ticking off a few of those tourists attractions.
This trip was booked about two weeks before we actually went but we still got a pretty good deal as it wasn’t peak season. A long weekend was perfect for our trip and we had such a good weekend exploring the parks even if it was freezing cold and pretty wet the whole time. It was my first ever trip to Disney and I can’t believe it took me so long. The next one will certainly be sooner.
Second trip to Rio de Janeiro
As I said Rio de Janeiro was going to be a place to feature a lot this year and Easter was the second time I flew that long haul route to Brazil. At this time of year the temperatures were still soaring and I did a lot of soaking up the sun by the pool and beach. While in the country I didn’t just enjoy the city but got to take a few trips out of it too.
This was the second trip we took from Brazil to another South America country (the first being Chile in 2015). We had heard a lot of good things about BA and it was obvious why when we landed. Such a gorgeous city with amazing food and cafe culture. Our long weekend here was just enough to get a flavour for the Spanish speaking city.
This island is around four hours from Rio and is possible for a quick weekend trip thanks to its easy access. We loved our first trip here: with amazing weather, palm trees lining the skyline and a town without cars. We crammed so much into our weekend here yet still went back to Rio refreshed.
Family holiday in the Algarve
This was my first family holiday in a long, long time and I think only my second abroad with my family. We had amazing weather and a good mix of relaxing and exploring for our 10 days amazing. It was my first trip to the Algarve but a return for my parents so we enjoyed a little drive to see how the area they knew had changed, and my had it changed! And of course being a family holiday meant I didn’t pay for a huge amount either…
Third and final trip to Rio de Janeiro
I had, for many months previously, thought I might head back to Rio for a fourth time but by the time I flew out this third time I knew it would be my last. That being said I would leave and return to Rio a handful of times during this three month period. During this final Rio trip I was able to dive right into expat life and work on the Rio 2016 Olympics as well as tick off a handful of touristy activities.
One of those trips from Rio and one I have to admit I didn’t fund myself was to Michigan. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog for a long time I met JP at summer camp in America in 2011. So when our camp friends from that year invited us to their wedding, we couldn’t say no. We had a magical few days enjoying a Michigan summer and catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in five years.
I would want to visit the whole of South America if I could but one place I didn’t want to leave without going to this time was the falls. I had heard so many amazing things about them and they had been on my bucket list for forever. Thankfully we had a long weekend to enjoy the falls from both Brazil and Argentina and yes it is as amazing as everyone says it is.
Arraial do Cabo
We had always planned to go to Buzios but when it came to actually taking the trip the images that came up on Google of Arraial do Cabo lead me to book the trip there instead. It is only around 30 minutes from Buzios so probably doesn’t vary much, however, I would imagine it is less touristy. We had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend away from the city here.
Return to Ilha Grande
We loved Ilha Grande so much the first time around that we had to return again. We stayed in a slightly different part of town and did slightly different activities but it was still as good as the first time around.
Then came the big new country for the second half of the year. Mexico. Somewhere I had never expected to go at the beginning of the year but somehow by June had ended up booking flights there. We went for the formula one and it just happened to coincide with the day of the dead parade. The flights were expensive but thankfully the cheap cost of being there didn’t make it such an expensive trip. I just wish we could have explored more than the city.
The Christmassy winter trip, after such a warm Christmas last year I felt we needed to make the most of being in Europe for the festive season and head to another new country. I loved this city break: the amazing food, the Christmas markets, cups of gløgg and that real hygge feeling. It was everything I hoped for and more, certainly made itself on my favourite cities list.
Finally, to round the year off we have headed to Devon. As you read this I will be lounging in my trackies in front of the fire curled up with a book (I hope). We are staying in a tiny village called Latchley with is just north of Plymouth and near to Dartmoor National Park. We will explore a little of the area but will mostly be enjoying some down time after such a crazy year!
Where have you travelled this year? Share your travel tales in the comments below.