Best Travel Experiences 2015 according to Travelers
I love this time of the year. This is a time that comes with many recaps and year balances, time to think about the best travel experiences 2015 and let us be aware of the months passing and we feel they fly sometimes.
I always let some space to make my own recap and to check out how was the year ending in general. This year 2015 to me was a year of hard work and learnings. I was the whole year focusing on www.nomadicchica.com and connecting with amazing people through it.
Despite being a lot more time than I wanted in Santiago in Chile, I managed to travel at least once a month this year. I have traveled inside the country and visited amazing places I’ve had on my list for years. In April went to Brazil for the first time and was love at first sight! It was also my first time attending a Travel Conference and WTM was a great experience to connect with other people in the travel industry. I like the country so much that I’m going back in February for Rio Carnival! wOOT wOOOOT!
Best place I have visited this year was definitely Atacama Region in North Chile.
Visiting the Dryest Desert in the whole world fully flowering was one of the most touching travel experiences one can live.
Lessons from this 2015 are quite a few.
I figured this has been my favorite work ever, and even if it’s the hardest I’ve done it’s also the most rewarding. Working on what’s your passion really feels like all the hard work, the long nights writing and editing are at the end: FUN.
Probably the biggest lesson I’m going to keep from 2015 is ‘Don’t take anything for granted’. And this includes not only situations but also people. Even if it’s hard to me to trust people, I have a tendency to trust and be all-in with my affections and I make some mistakes on who I’m opening my life sometimes. So I’ll be more careful about this next year, basically, I will trust my guts as they tend to be right. You know when you have ‘that’ feeling about something not going great? You’re probably right.
My travel dreams for 2016?
I’m looking forward to go to Antarctica and Central America on 2016
Travelers Travel Best Experiences of 2015
I have called a few awesome Travel Bloggers to share with us their own Best Travel Moments of 2015 and what they’ve learnt and where they are expecting to visit the year coming. We want to feed you wanderlust and inspiration for having best memories on 2016.
NomadicBoys Dare2Go TravelsWithCarole EatSleepBreathTravel TwoScotsAbroad TravelNuity BigWorldSmallPockets WhenWomanTravels AmINearlyThereYet TravelAddicts ThoughtCard GlobalGallivanting TheSavvyGlobetrotter TheTravelSisters LiveDreamDiscover TheBrokeBackpacker ReflectionenRoute CrookedFlight RoamingRenegades GypsyCouple MyAdventuresAcrosstheWorld WhereintheWorldisNina
Stefan and Sebastian from Nomadic Boys
The best place we’ve visited this year was the Komodo National Park in Indonesia. The waters surrounding the Komodo National Park form part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth: a paradise for divers. It was even selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Komodo National Park is also home to the largest species of lizard in the world – the Komodo Dragons. We met the dragons on Rinca island (photo attached). The dragons can grow up to 2-3 metres in length. They gained the nickname of Dragons because of their dragon-like appearance and aggressive behaviour.
Well, they do start out life quite tough having to run away from their mothers who try to eat them right after they’ve hatched!
A visit on Rinca Island has to be with a guided tour by one of the park wardens who know how to manage the dragons and will help you stage some excellent photos with them (photo attached).
Googlemaps has been a good send! You can pre-download the map of an area and can ensure you’re going to the right place / check a taxi driver/tuk tuk driver’s not trying to rip you off. Another lesson we learnt travelling as a couple is that most arguments stem from fatigue and/or hunger – knowing this helps manages all tantrums.
In 2016, we really want to visit Latin America.
Yasha and Juergen from Dare 2 Go
Yasha and Juergen +Berta (their home and self-built overland camper) from www.dare2go.com share their slow travels, aside from the typical “bucket list” and guidebook highlights. Find them also on their Facebook.
Best place visited was the road up to Paso San Francisco in Catamarca province, Argentina.
It began as a recommendation from 2 friendly Argentinean men in a service station. We were travelling along the edge of The Andes in Argentina, roughly following Ruta 40 and taking detours from time to time. When they suggested driving up to Paso San Francisco our first response was that we weren’t ready to go back to Chile. No, they thought the drive was so stunning that we should drive up towards the border, even if we didn’t want to cross it. When we got closer we decided we should take their advice. The pass itself is at 4700m and just over 200km from Fiambala, the last town. We are so glad we did it: the road is perfect, and the scenery is indeed stunning.
When we got closer we decided we should take their advice. The pass itself is at 4700m and just over 200km from Fiambala, the last town. We are so glad we did it: the road is perfect, and the scenery is indeed stunning.
Lessons learned from this experience, always listen to what the locals recommend, and take the time to make detours. Overall, we are constantly reminded that slow travel is the way for us to go
And next year: we plan to spend some time in Brazil, once the rain season is over.
Carole from Travels with Carole
Carole Terwilliger, from www.travelswithcarole.blogspot.com share us her visit to China!
My most exciting trip in 2015 was to China, and within that trip the most exciting place I visited was the Great Wall.
A lesson learned on the road this year when I went to Bali is to always do a cross-check on what meds/shots are needed when you visit an exotic country. I had read that malaria pills were needed and was about to request them from my doctor when I heard from a friend who was in Bali recently that first, there are very few mosquitoes in tourist areas and second, that malaria is not a problem on Bali though it can be on some other islands in Indonesia. So by luck, I saved money, time, and aggravation by finding out that I did not need malaria pills.
In 2016 I plan to visit China again, and this time I am excited to visit the pandas on their home turf.
Hannah from Eat Sleep Breath Travel
Hannah is a Canadian travel addict who has been dreaming of adventure and traveling on and off since 2011. You can find her at www.eatsleepbreathetravel.com
The best place I visited this year was Bagan, Myanmar. Not only did it allow me to live out my dream of pretending to be Indiana Jones, but it had the most amazing sunrises I have ever seen in my life.
Getting up for those sunrises was one of the highlights of my four-month trip. It was refreshing to know that I was awake at 4:30am to experience something amazing, not because I was on a sugar high from too many shots at the club. If I lived there, I would probably do it every single day. Exploring the temples of Bagan was pure magic and probably the best travel experience I have had to date.
Although I don’t want to replace it, and probably can never replicate it, I hope to have a similar experience next year as I plan to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Although I think for that adventure I will have to put aside Indiana Jones and embrace my inner Tomb Raider instead.
Gemma and Craig from TwoScotsAbroad
Craig and I are in month nine of an eighteen month career break to travel the Americas and Europe so selecting a highlight is pretty tough! We’ve hiked, biked, and partied our way around South America and Cuba but I’m going to choose a very personal city, Vancouver. On Hallowe’en, Craig proposed to me under the fake stars of the H.R MacMillan Space Center in Vancouver, and for that, Canada’s greenest city will always be top of the pops! Love story aside, this city has everything. Mountains, parks, eateries, markets, and my favourite a Seawall which is ideal for pedalling around!
I’ve learned that you can’t plan everything and that fast paced travel very quickly equates to burn out. This lesson was learned in month four, Cuba. Four months of the ‘two nights here’ ‘one night there’ type of travel is not effective. You don’t get a feel a place and you spend way more cash executing this type of travel.
We leave our beloved BC for Seattle and Portland in January. We then fly to meet Mickey in Orlando before a couple of months in Central America. In March, we return to where it all started – SXSW music festival in Austin before making our way back to Europe to spend the next four months discover our home continent, at a very slow place!
Shandos from TravelNuity
My favourite travel experience in 2015 happened right towards the end of the year, when I flew to Indonesia for a week as a guest of the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism on a famil trip. A key factor of how fabulous a trip is, is the group of people that you travel with, and travelling with 8 other travel bloggers meant there was never a dull or quiet moment!
It also helped that we went to some pretty awesome places, with the highlight being a live-aboard boat to the Komodo National Park. As well as coming face-to-face with the fearsome Komodo Dragons, we also fit in some excellent snorkeling, spotting manta rays, turtles, clown fish, moray eels and more.
The main lesson I learnt is to always be ready for last-minute opportunities, plus it can be better to travel as a group, something I haven’t done much previously.
My plans for 2016 are still up in the air, and I could name a long list of places I would love to visit, but one of the top places is the Philippines – luckily where TBEX Asia is being held in October 2016!
Steph from Big World Small Pockets
Steph as many here is a travel addict. She has never stayed at home or working for too long, and an expert on traveling cheap to fund her nomadic lifestyle. You can find her at www.bigworldsmallpockets.com and her Facebook.
The best place I in visited in 2015 was the small city of Adelaide. This gorgeous part of Australia is often overlooked in favour of other larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but I actually preferred it! When I was there the Adelaide Fringe Festival was in full flow and there was a wonderful arty atmosphere across the whole of the city with plenty of great theatre and live music going on.
My time in Adelaide really taught me the importance of going and checking out a destination for myself, rather than listening to others. Many people had told me not to bother visiting Adelaide, but I’m so glad I did. This great little city had fantastic bars, wonderful markets and some super daytrips to nearby beaches and wineries. I loved it!
In 2016 I am hoping to travel to another of Australia’s less popular destinations, namely the town of Broome in the very north-west corner of the country – it looks stunning!
Rishabh and Nirali from Gypsy Couple
Darjeeling in India, popularly called the Queen of Hills home to sprawling tea gardens, an UNESCO world heritage railway system, popularly called a Toy Train and offering unbeatable views of the Himalayas is our best destination for 2015. It helps that it is wonderfully cool during summer and produces arguably the best tea in the world.
2015 taught us that timely bookings and spacing out trips is very important if you wish to meet your budgets and everyone has a budget, just bigger or smaller in size.
Our wish list for 2016 is Sri Lanka, Bhutan & Indonesia and if we can squeeze it in, Malaysia as well 🙂 Though it’s never done till it’s done. Wish us luck 🙂
Geri from WhenWomanTravels
I am not a person that is easily impressed and I am always looking for more authentic experiences. But have to say – Cuba surprised me! And not only surprised me but made me fell in love.
I have heard a lot about Cuba and its warm people and beautiful nature. But what you feel when wandering the streets can’t be explained. Yes, Cuba is poor country and its people are struggling with poverty. Yes, Cuba was closed to the world for decades. Yes, the food in Cuba is quite simple and limited. And yet, everything is real, natural and feels just like home.
At least is how it felt to me. In Cuba you don’t need to run, to hurry or to fight with any problem so typical for the western world. In Cuba life is simple and so you feel as well. And even if the Cuban people are trying to survive in very difficult circumstances, this does not prevent them to smile and be kind. This has rather sobering effect.
I am attracted by places that have positive magnetism and places where you can get to know yourself better. Such places are usually ‘underdeveloped’ in a western meaning but they keep wisdom collected during centuries and even millennium. This is to say that I wish to visit Mongolia, Patagonia and Cappadocia in 2016. They are remote, life is difficult there but visiting places like that is the best way to stay in touch with nature and our inner self.
Eloise and Stuart from Am I Nearly There Yet?
Without a doubt the best place we visited this year was Tasmania, the island state south of the Australian mainland! Unspoiled beauty, epic cuisine, wilderness adventure, camp fires on beaches under the stars – and enough national parks to explore for a lifetime! If you’re heading to Australia – get yourself down there!
Lessons learned this year: That it’s OK to go home for a while. We’ve been travelling for 5 years straight, and being back in the UK this time around has been amazing. Hopefully in 2016 we’ll be visiting places closer to home an around Europe – Sweden and Norway are high up the bucket list!
Lance and Laura from Travel Addicts
Lance and Laura Longwell are authors of Travel Addicts. They enjoy exploring the world, hikes of exceptional beauty, and sharing a beautiful sunset together. Find them at www.traveladdicts.net and Facebook.
We went to a number of remarkable destinations in 2015, but our favorite was the Galapagos Islands. Off the west coast of South America, this archipelago is a naturalist’s dream – dozens of species have evolved into completely separate endemic groups.
Since Charles Darwin put the Galapagos on the map, they have been at the top of many travelers bucket lists – including ours. This was recognized as the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site for its pristine environment and undeniable contributions to our natural world. Both above and below the water, the Galapagos amazed us at every turn!
Danielle from The Thought Card
2015 was a phenomenal travel year for me. I completed my resolution to travel to 5 countries and with that being said, I experienced so many amazing travel moments. My best travel moment in 2015 was spent standing at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
Looking out at the towering green cliffs and vast blue ocean was a humbling experience. Ireland is an excellent travel destination and I loved the culture, the rich history and beer!
One of the most important travel lessons I learned this year is to be flexible when traveling; not every moment has to be spent doing something or being somewhere. In 2016, I hope to put these lessons to good use in Iceland and Italy.
Anna from Global Gallivanting
Anna Phipps is a full-time explorer, dreamer, and nomad from the UK, currently obsessed with India. You can see her adventures and tips for traveling in India on her blog www.global-gallivanting.com and keep up with her adventures at Facebook
I just came back from an amazing trip to Arunachal Pradesh – a remote, magical, tribal state in the Himalayas in the North East of India. Arunachal Pradesh totally blew me away as it was unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before, so off the beaten track that parts of the mountains are not even mapped. The spectacular mountain scenery, the colourful Tibetan monasteries, the tribal people and wildlife were incredible but the most amazing part of it was that it was so blissfully untouched by tourism and by the modern world – It felt a real adventure!
Visiting Arunachal Pradesh felt like I had stepped back in time as I visited tribal communities living in bamboo huts and leading a lifestyle almost untouched by the modern world and it taught me that we really don’t need so many material possessions to be happy. It’s such a refreshing escape that puts the stresses of the modern world into perspective!
I’m a little obsessed with India, it’s just such a huge and diverse country and the more I see, the more I want to explore. India is not just a place that you go to travel, it’s a place you can learn from, one that can change your life and after visiting the North East I want to visit more off the beaten track and tribal areas as I think there is so much we can learn from their fascinating way of life.
Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter
My first trip to Singapore turned out to be the best place I visited in 2015. I figured I would enjoy the island city-state but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. There is no one thing that really made it my favorite- more the combination of hawker centers, the ethnic quarters, waterfront promenade, safety…and even the Supertree light and sound show.
I learned a good lesson with this trip too. I have an aversion to “cheesy” activities and fully expected the Supertree light show to be cheesy. Instead, I found it charming and delightful and am happy I decided to experience it in person. Although I don’t have any set travel plans for 2016 yet, I would love to travel to Bolivia next year.
Matilda and Patti from The Travel Sisters
Traveling to Japan for a visit to Jigokudani Yaen Kōen (aka Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park) was our favorite travel moment of 2015. The entire experience was delightful. We loved the beautiful snow covered trails, the amazing ryokan that was home for a few days and of course, the snow monkey antics. Watching groups of monkeys relaxing and playing in an onsen was pretty darn cute.
We also learned a valuable lesson on that trip- to expect the best of fellow travelers. We had the misconception that viewing the snow monkeys might be annoying as many visitors travel to see them. Although we expected some pushing, shoving and jockeying for a good photo, we were pleasantly surprised that everyone was polite, respectful and waited their turn. Hopefully we will have the same experience in our 2016 travels- topping the list currently is traveling to Norway to observe polar bears in their natural habitat.
Sarah and Nathan from Live, Dream, Discover
2015 was an amazing year for us as we spent time on three continents: Europe, North America and Asia. It makes it tough to pick a favorite moment but I’d have to go with Cappadocia, Turkey. Everything about our time there was amazing, from staying in a cave castle carved out of the rocks to exploring the otherworldly landscapes. However rising into the sky at sunrise along with 90 other hot air balloons definitely has to be a contender for top moments of the year.
We traveled to some pretty diverse locations in 2015 which made our biggest lesson of the year confirmation that the majority of people are really the same wherever you go. With the world focused on the hate and terror going on right now it’s easy to forget that these horrendous acts are performed by small groups, not by a country or religion as a whole. From the Muslim country of Turkey to the Catholics of Italy and the Buddhists of Thailand, once you look beyond the religious and cultural differences you find that we all really want the same thing: a happy, healthy life we can share with loved ones. Traveling gives you the chance to really see that.
It’s going to be hard to beat this past year for amazing experiences but we’ll do our best! Starting with the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. After that who knows?
Will from The Broke Backpacker
The most amazing place I visited this year was easily Venezuela – a land that everyone warned me was ridiculously dangerous, and wound up being one of my favourite places on this great planet! From towering mountains to overgrown jungles, coupled with the amazing locals who were always keen for an adventure, this was one awesome place.
What did I learn on the road this year – in Venezuela and everywhere else? That it’s possible to make a living out of travel blogging! I have some incredible people reading my blog, so I’m leveling up my traveling by doing something nuts – a two year overland adventure from the UK to Papua New Guinea. I’m pumped as hell for 2016, which will bring me to places like Iran and Pakistan and show me a completely different side of the world. It’s going to be a fantastic year!
Corinne and Jim from Reflections en Route
This American couple living in Germany are making their priority to travel as often as possible. Taking advantage of living in the center of Europe and sharing their adventures at www.reflectionsenroute.comwww.reflectionsenroute.com/ you can also find them on Instagram
Have you been to Meteora in Greece? Wow! I knew before I even arrived that I was going to be impressed, but I wasn’t expecting to be blown away! We took an epic Eastern European train trip in August, and we were turning back east in Thessaloniki, which is only a three hour drive to Meteora. We didn’t think twice about it. We rented a car and drove to Kalabaka, the town closest to the stone pillars so unique to that area. To imagine that monks built their monasteries on the tops of these pillars is mind-boggling. You just have to see it to believe it. The views and the sunset were amazing.
Eileen from Crooked Flight
It’s so tough to pick one destination, but I’d say London, only because I made this city my permanent home over the summer! Moving from Boston, MA to the UK has been one of my biggest adventures so far. But it’s allowed me to explore so much more of Europe already, including Portugal, Ireland and Romania so far.
The most challenging but incredible trip in 2015 was my honeymoon with my husband to New Zealand and Australia for three weeks. It was for three weeks and took countless hours of traveling just to get there. Through compromise and flexibility we were able to see so much of both countries while enjoying oceans, mountains, caves, cities and more. It was definitely an adventure!
I hope to make it to Italy for 2016, which seems like a realistic goal I’m excited to experience. But before that I will be checking another destination off my bucket list – Iceland in January!
Nic and Paul from the Roaming Renegades
They are a husband and wife team fromManchester, UK. They are fed up with the 5 day working week and fortnight long holiday once per year and sharing their travel adventures at www.theroamingrenegades.com and Facebook
For us the best moment of 2015 would be finally visiting the Alps, it had been a dream of ours to be able to gaze upon the snow topped peaks of this beautiful place!
But not only did this dream come true but we got to have the most amazing adventure in Interlaken, Switzerland too. From traversing 2000ft high granite walls and swinging off a single wire on the via Ferrata, to watching the days first rays of sun reflect off the North Face of the Eiger, or white water rafting down the glacial melt of Jungfrau, to even paragliding off a 4000ft mountain before we had even sat down for breakfast before launching ourselves off 30ft waterfalls and natural slides in the canyons…this was a trip never to forget!
That adventure is always around the corner if you are open to it, never say never or close your mind, be open to possibilities and always keep believing in your dreams…they just might come true!
In 2016 we will be quitting our jobs and setting off on an indefinite journey around the world! It’s going to be a big year for us and with many new destinations along the way! The ones we are most excited about are: Croatia, China, Thailand and New Zealand!
Charles from McCoolTravel
My best travel moment of 2015 was being treated to a multi-course feast by Anthony, the head chef of Viking Cruises, and his team. Earlier that day, Anthony led our small group through the local farmer market in Ajaccio, Corsica, selecting high quality and super fresh ingredients for our special meal. After the morning market visit, my wife and I explored Corsica with a tour and then spent time on a Mediterranean Sea beach (in December!) before our world class dinner that evening. The highlight entree was a seafood bouillabaisse that was visually stunning and totally rocked my world.
Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
Komodo National Park, in Indonesia, is by far the best place I have visited in 2015. Indonesia is the first country I have visited in South East Asia and it often surprised me and shocked me.
What I loved about the Komodo Islands is that they are completely different from the rest of the country. Where Indonesia is crowded with people and somewhat polluted, only a few people live in the Komodo Islands where nature (and the Komodo dragons!) rule and the air is clean. The landscape is dry, as the sun is quite strong and the heat incessant. Yet, I didn’t let it bother me as I hiked to the highest peaks to get a fantastic view of the bays. It was totally worth my effort!
My plan for 2016? I will get back to South East Asia, to be more shocked and amused as I explore this incredible continent.
Nina from Where in the World is Nina
My best travel experience of 2015 must have been my visit to Crater Lake in Oregon. Just a couple of hours outside of Bend is one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the world, and the deepest in the USA! It’s simply gorgeous, especially in winter. The surroundings are powdered in fluffy snow and the lake is icy blue.
So why was this destination so incredible for me? Sure it’s a stunning site, but for me it was much more. I saw snow for the first time! I’m 30 years old, and I’ve never seen snow. Incredible, right?! So this visit was a highlight for that sole reason. I threw a few (cheap shot) snowballs at my boyfriend and flung snow up in the air. It was liberating but flipping freezing!
We would love to know what was your Best Travel Experiences 2015 and what was the biggest lesson from this 2015? Do you have any travel dreams for 2016?