What is Your Favorite Trip?
Pardon today’s blurry photos… they are from 2009! Today I thought it would be fun to share favorite trips (please share yours in the comments section, if inclined!). I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit and see some amazing places. But if I had to pick ONE favorite trip, I think it would be the trip I took to Greece back in 2009. I was between jobs (I had been laid off from my job at Procter & Gamble but got a new job at Coty). So I used my severance check to go to Greece for two weeks!
I was 27 years old and at the time I had never traveled alone, and only been to Europe a few times. My grandmother had told me stories of a summer spent in Greece and it just sounded magical. (It was.) I was pretty scared, and I booked the whole thing so quickly! I accepted got the job, told them I needed two weeks before I could start, and went straight home to book plane tickets and hotels.. And I think I left a day or two later? Sometimes I look back and think, “wow, that girl was pretty fearless!”
It was an amazing trip.
I started in Athens for a few nights and did all the historical stuff and exploring, took a ferry to Mykonos and spent a few days there on the beach, and then spent the bulk of my time in Santorini… first staying on the black beach (Kamari) and then the cliffs of Ouia. There were lots of hiccups and stressful moments but all in all, I had an absolute ball. There was no social media to document any of it… just blurry digital camera photos. I still think about this trip all of the time. Besides being one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been, it was meaningful, it was formative (it taught me how to love to travel alone), just really special.
I backpacked around Europe with a friend after graduating college for about 3 weeks and I still can’t believe we did it! Had to find a place to stay spontaneously in each city, went to 3 countries, met other travelers. It was great! Also pre iPhones and I wish I had more/better pictures!
My sister did the same thing!!! I always wish I did that; I went straight into working upon graduating and never took the time to have a wild adventure!
I have two that are most memorable. The first is a trip to Italy I took with my husband in 2013. It was my first time visiting Europe, and I just remember being in awe that I was actually there. Everything was so beautiful, and we visited places I had only seen in books and movies at that point.
The second was the first time I went to Northern Michigan, specifically the Leelanau Peninsula. It was one of the few times I was traveling, but actually felt like I had come “home.” We now go Up North every summer, and I literally tell everyone in the Facebook group to go! It’s the most beautiful summer spot in the country.
Dana, your comment about feeling like you had come “home” resonated so much with me! I first went to Downeast Maine on a whim 7 years ago and had that same feeling: I was home. I now go every late Spring/early Summer, sometimes inviting my parents, brother, MIL to tag along (and act as the occasional babysitter for my two boys). The trip gets a little longer every year, and this year it will be just my husband and me. We feel so at home! The goal is buy a second home there and have that be the place we live in the warmer months and where my boys can come home from college (many moons from now!) and bring their friends. I love when others understand that “home” feeling! And now I’ve added Leelanau Peninsula of places to explore.
That feeling of traveling but being “home” is one of the most magical!
The Leelenau peninsula is amazing, we try to get there every few years at least.
I am Elena from Greece!!
I just wanted to tell you that you are welcomed to come to my country anytime you wish..!! I am a psychologist and read lots and lots of books and we would have so much to talk about & as we enjoy a sweet Greek wine!! Xx
Thank you! Might take you up on that!!!!
It wasn’t a trip per-say. It was my study abroad in Denmark. Yes, I had been in college for 3 years, but I was just down the road 2 hours from my parents. This 6 months in Europe was my first time being away away. Having to make friends, plan my own travel and spend time in a place where English was native language. My classmates were mostly international and I mastered the art of the train schedule. It was the best 6 months.
That is incredible!!! I always wish that I studied abroad; probably my greatest regret in life thus far!
I feel like those solo travel experiences in your 20s are the ones you never forget… I traveled alone around Thailand for 2 weeks and it was probably the most memorable, transformative travel experience. My partner and I also traveled around Norway together which was one of my favorites! I like to do a blend of both culture (cities, museums, art) and outdoor exploration (national parks, hiking) wherever I go, and both of those destinations fit the bill. I’ve missed traveling abroad so much over the past couple years and can’t wait to do some more international trips soon.
I know, I’ve missed it too!!!!! Feeling like I need a big adventure.
I was in Greece 2009 too! The sunset from Oia is still one of my top 3 sunset experiences ever. Absolutely magical. Thanks for sharing!
Truly the best!!! It was so long ago but it’s still cemented in my head, sitting up in the cliffs of Oia with a glass of white wine, watching the sun set.
Any solo trip has transformed me. I find solo travel so impactful and did a lot of it in my 20s. I felt safe in and awed by Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
Now I am getting married, and hope I’ll still find ways to insert solo travel into my life! Even if it’s attaching a few extra days onto a work trip, it feels so refreshing. I don’t know why but I feel some kind of societal pressure to travel with my partner now that I have one – and if not then with friends/family.
I could not agree more!!! Those are some incredible trips. I’d love to get to Australia and New Zealand some day. With you on the societal pressure, I love traveling alone and think it is something I will probably always do!
I love this blog post topic and reading other’s responses!
For me, it’s impossible to pick one. I loved my study abroad semester in central Mexico as it was my first time out of the country and I was speaking Spanish all day every day. I loved my honeymoon because it was just so care free (Barcelona for a few days and then a quick flight to Bavaria followed by many km driving from my dad’s hometown of Kempten to Interlaken to a tiny town in Alsace and everywhere in between). I loved Istanbul and central Turkey for exposing to a Muslim country that helped heal what I had previously been exposed to in the Army. I feel like each trip is magical!
I wouldn’t have been able to choose either, you are right – all magical! Istanbul has been top of my list for a while now.
I have really enjoyed my road trips to New England where part of it I’ve traveled by myself, and part of it I’ve stayed with friends. A great combo! I love road trips(especially solo ones) because you can usually stop whenever and wherever you want and make it your own adventure! Hoping to do another one soon!!
That IS a great combo! Sounds so nice. I really love solo travel, and look forward to the idea of a solo rode trip once I’m driving again!
When I was 25 I went on a guided group hiking trip in Patagonia! I went alone, whereas everyone else in the group had come with a partner or a little subset of friends. I wanted to go so badly, was single, and couldn’t get any friends to commit, so ended up with this option. It was THE BEST! Everyone in the group ended up being so nice, the hiking guides were incredible, and I had the comfort of not being completely alone, but also feeling like I was doing something independent. Group trips can be tricky and you never know when you’re going to get stuck with some weirdos, but they can be a great way to dip your toe if you are a one-some! Plus, Patagonia is stunning.
Wow, that is incredible! Good for you!!!
Love this, yes! I recently did something similar in Costa Rica. I called it “structured adventure.” Went alone but there *was a group to fall back on a little /provide a little comfort if needed.
Costa Rica. We started the trip seeing sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean and finished the trip at a sloth sanctuary. It was animal lovers dream.
That sounds absolutely amazing!!!
I backpacked through Europe for 6 weeks after I got my master’s degree- I did one leg of the trip with my mom, one by myself, and then my husband joined me for the last leg. I went to Paris, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, Munich, Bern, Florence, and Venice. It was one of the happiest times of my life and I am SO ready to do it again- for even longer next time!
WOW! That sounds incredible.
I’ve been all over Western Europe (to 11 countries) but my favorite trip was to Barcelona, Spain. It’s sunny, the food is incredible, the architecture is so unique, the music, the Cava, the Roman history, the modern art… It’s easy to get to from the East Coast and not crazy expensive like some other cities. It’s a fascinating mix of old and new. You can easily to a 4 day trip if you don’t have a lot of time to spare. Go!
I went to Barcelona years ago with an ex boyfriend and loved every minute! I still dream about the pan con tomato!
Hard to pick just one trip, since I’ve been lucky to have so many good ones…
I’ll have to go with my first trip to Europe. I was just out of college and the friend who was travelling with me ditched me at the last minute.
I went with my brother, who is very close with me, and we spent a month roaming around Europe, having lots of adventures.
It was the best, we often talk about repeating this trip, but now that we both have families with small kids, it seems hard to do.
That sounds wonderful. There is something so special about those early trips, you really appreciate it!
I went to Slovenia for a week last August alone after a very tumultuous personal situation, and it was beautiful and soooo amazing to tap into my fearlessness and independence again. Solo travel can be so transformative and just relaxing!! Love to see it.
I couldn’t agree more!!! I went to Tulum after a bad breakup and felt the same way; regaining independence!
I think my favorite trip of all times was a weekend girls trip to Cinque tierre that I took with a couple of girlfriends back in 2014. I was living and teaching in Bulgaria at the time and this was a spur of the moment decision for a friend’s bday. Cinque Tierre was beautiful, we went on probably one of the most arduous hikes I’ve ever been on, but the view was worth it. And the food was amazing and the people so friendly. I would love to go back some day
OOOOH That sounds incredible, I am jealous – have always wanted to go!
Love it! My favorite trip was a grad school graduation gift to myself, a year later (gotta love a paycheck!) to Ireland for a one woman, 14 day, bar crawl. I booked the trip in November 2016 and met my now husband in February 2017. It was so empowering to 1) travel alone 2) drive on the proper side of the road 3) stick with my original plans and not change anything for my significant other. It was not my first time to Ireland (former Irish dancer), so it was AWESOME to explore & connect with so many people. Didn’t hurt that I “look Irish” so I fit right in when I’d slide on up at a pub. Plus, the weather was great when I visited! Wouldn’t trade those two weeks for anything!!
That sounds like the absolute most fun!
We did the exact same trip- Athens, Mykonos and Santorini for our honeymoon, 35 years ago. (Yes, you have some senior readers) That trip will forever be my favorite trip. It was romantic, adventurous and contained some mild mishaps that provided stories to recall all these years later. We still talk about visiting a beach on Mykonos (on the other side of the island) and missing the last ferry boat back to the town. It was one very LONG walk back. We traversed over many ancient and winding cobbled stone roads, with no cell phones or navigation to help us along the way. But the glorious sunset and sweeping views made us feel like we were at the ends of the earth. Thank you for your lovely post. It took me back!
Wow! So cool. It is such an amazing place. But yes a very long walk!!!!!!
Greece looks amazing!! My friend just got back from her honeymoon there. I would also have to be #basic and say study abroad in Sevilla, Spain. Part of that I did 5 days of the Camino de Santiago with a friend and it was perfect and so cheap! We would make dinner every night at the pilgrim hostel and wine was 2 euros a bottle. Another trip was when my boyfriend and I went to Paris in 2018.. he was in London for a work trip so of course I demanded we go to Paris LOL. I just remember walking up the metro stairs for the first time and seeing all the gorgeous buildings around and being in awe that I was actually there.
Sevilla doesn’t sound basic to me!!!!
I was in Mykonos and Santorini that summer too, wonder if we crossed paths?!
Best trip ever was back in 2008 in Italy. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I flew into Rome and out of Venice ten days later…apart from knowing we had to get to Venice we had no plan, just a tent and a tiny rented Fiat. We went all over the place exploring and had the time of our lives. It was so special and also really not ‘us’ at all. We’ve never camped again!
These days I’m a terrible accommodation snob and our trips are highly planned. I love them but they’re different. I don’t think we could recapture the magic of that trip and I would struggle to camp these days but it says a lot that it’s my best-ever trip…so grateful for the experience and the memories.
Ah so cool! I wonder!!! That sounds like an incredible trip.
I feel the same way. As I’ve gotten older, I need more comforts (especially hotel room and bed) and have become such a snob. It is nice to be able to afford a more luxurious trip but those early trips when I was young and broke were so much fun!
Favorite Trip: An all-inclusive Tauck European River cruise as a family down the Danube River celebrating our daughters MPH from the University of Pennsylvania. The trip of a lifetime with our amazing daughter. Would do it all again tomorrow!
my family LOVES tauck trips and the danube is high on our list!! We have done several other river cruises with them and always recommend to others.
WOW sounds incredible!
One of my goals for the next year is to travel alone, so this post is inspiring to actually sit down and narrow where I want to go!
My most memorable trip has to be one that was totally spontaneous and actually not one in need of much planning. One night in college, close to finals, a friend and I just needed a good “break”. So we decided to get about 2 hours of sleep and wake up in time to drive the 4 hours to watch the sunrise on the nearest public beach. I am not an early bird by any means but something about this had me on a total adrenaline rush the entire drive there. We got there just in time and spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading on the beach, eating in the cute little seaside town and absolutely not stressing about whatever school work was waiting for us back at college.
Yes, I hope you do it!!!!!
(And that sounds so special and memorable!)
One of my favorite trips was a spontaneous trip to Ireland to see U2. My niece came with me and it was her first trip to Ireland. The show was amazing and seeing a band in their hometown was just so special. Of course most people near us at the concert were from NJNY area. We all had the same idea!
Oh I love that!!!! So, so fun and special (and seeing U2 is just magical, I saw them ten years ago and it is still one of my favorite concerts!)
Aside from the entirety of my study abroad in Ireland in 2007, in 2019 I got to go on a trip to Ireland with my best friend. We were traveling with a political delegation, so had amazing “insider” access and lots of amazing extra perks, but mostly I was just so happy to be able to share a most beloved place with a most beloved person. The bonus was that we were able to stay an extra two days in my favorite city and visit family and all my favorite haunts.
A less glamorous trip is a trip that I do the first weekend of November every year with my girlfriends to a lakehouse that’s just a two hour drive away. It’s a place where I feel instant joy, peace, and calm and I look forward to that weekend every year.
My most favorite trips…
In terms of being formative and feeling independent, studying abroad in London in college, plus long weekends in Paris, Malaga, Edinburgh, and Berlin was huge for me personally. Similar to the way I leapt into college 1,000 miles away without much hesitation (leaving Charleston for Boston), studying abroad was the most incredible challenge and I wouldn’t change a thing.
In terms of vacations, I think it’s a toss up between my husband and my food-focused trip to Venice and Modena and our beach vacay in Anguilla. I would redo both trips in a second!
I was 27 too the first time I traveled alone. I had just gotten divorced and had money from splitting up our assets. I went to Bermuda and had a wonderful time. I stayed at the Hamilton Princess, which was the fanciest place I had ever stayed in. My meals were included with the package and it was awkward the first night eating by myself, especially since there were so many honeymooners! I did some windsurfing and snorkeling. And lots of sightseeing. It was so important to me to prove I was capable of doing things on my own.
I backpacked around Europe for 5 months with a friend when I was young and that was absolutley incredible, but I think a 5 week trip around Turkey with my partner would just trump that if I had to pick. We travelled around independantly, on local buses, with no set plans. We just wandered around that amazing country staying at a mix of high & low end accommodation. We fell in love in with the country and the people and had some incredible experiences like a hot air balloon over Cappidocia at dawn.
I’m going to Greece for two weeks in July and can’t wait!!! This makes me even more excited!!
I was in between jobs two year in a row so right around Memorial Day in 2016 and 2017 I took a two week soloteip to Europe. Visited Budapest, Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam, Lisbon. Fell in love with Budapest and Lisbon. I loved the lazy daysof walking around, eating good food and reading outside. I remember binging Sarah J Maas ACOTAR. It was a time that i discovered my passion for reading.
Remembering these two trips have inspired me to book another solotrip.
Solo travel is good for the soul! Some restaurants have a group table where you can eat with others. The first time I did this was in San Francisco. I was surprised to meet people living in SF who wanted a quick seat; they gave me great travel suggestions. I am an early riser & I am comfortable eating breakfast & lunch on my own. If I go out at night I make reservations & take cabs whether it’s to eat or attend a play. Often I buy deli picnic food & a bottle of wine for dinner in my room or order room service. I always buy flowers for my hotel room on my arrival day. I love traveling by myself – can stare at a painting for an hour, take a nap, or marathon through sites.
I went on a Maymester my junior year of college to Israel, Turkey, and Greece and it forever changed me. I didn’t know any of the other students on my trip but ended up having the best time. I kept a journal of my time there and sometimes it makes me tear up reading it because the trip was so special.
I’m 27 and just started a new job in finance a few weeks ago. I graduated with my MBA in March and wanted to take a solo trip to celebrate so I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico solo 3 weeks ago before my new job began. I had the best time exploring and trying new restaurants on my own. However, recently I have felt that I’m behind other people in life. It’s so hard not to compare. I was sitting at the pool of my hotel and this woman sat down next to me and we started chatting. She asked how old I was and when I told her she told me how she traveled solo at 27 too and how it has shaped her life. She told me not to worry about societal pressures of getting married and having children so young that there is so much more time for that. I’m not a religious person but It was such a coincidence that she told me that in a time I felt so unsure of what my purpose was. I’m so happy we crossed paths because it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Never measure your life by someone else’s yardstick— courtesy of my therapist.
Super hard to do in practice yet so important.
I met a man (platonic) on the flight back from my first serious relationship breakup. Said man had flowers, chocolate, and the most useful honest truths for me (was returning from his sister’s wedding). It’s funny how the universe works. I hope you find contentment in the season of life you are in. Remember you are living out at least one answered prayer (/ vibe/feeling since you’re not religious 😀 ) already.
My best trips were backpacking in New Zealand when I was 18 and then a few years later, after graduating, my husband and I went on an 8 month trip around the world. We started off in Kenya and traveled to South Africa by road, then flew to Bangkok and traveled around Southeast Asia, met my sister in Kuala Lumpur for Christmas (she was studying abroad there), spent New Year’s Eve in Sydney, then flew to New Zealand, Fiji and Central America, finishing in Cuba. It was amazing!! We’ve been doing smaller trips since then, but are taking 8 weeks unpaid leave next year to travel through Asia again because we really miss that feeling of flying to a far away place only with a backback, without an itinerary, and just exploring!
What a great topic!! I feel lucky to reflect on so many cool trips over the years in the US, and I have also been to Europe a handful of times. But my favorite of all I think was a girls’ trip to NYC in late February/early March 2020. That trip means so much more to me because of how the rest of 2020 was after. It was an absolutely perfect weekend: we stayed near Times Square, did so much fun sightseeing and ate so much delicious food, and it was truly the BEST possible last weekend of true normalcy before the pandemic. We flew back home the day the first COVID case was located in New York! Crazy.
I got married younger than I had any right to, and had lived a very sheltered life. My husband and I hadn’t so much as spent a night in one another’s dorm rooms let alone gone away together and on our honeymoon to France I just remember thinking “I can’t believe they’re letting us go to Europe alone.”
I have two- the first was landing in Spain in 2007 for my semester abroad. I couldn’t believe I was actually in Europe. I’d only left the country once (Cozumel on a family cruise), and like others have said, I couldn’t believe I was actually in Europe. I couldn’t believe I would finally get to see the places I’d only read about in books. The whole semester abroad was one incredible experience after another (also insanely hard since all of my classes were taught in Spanish and mine was mediocre at best- ha!).
The second was our honeymoon in Patagonia. Once again, this was another place I’d dreamed about visiting. To actually be there was absolutely awe inspiring. I felt like I was on another planet- and the opportunity to see the world with my new husband was the icing on the cake. It felt almost surreal to actually go on a bucket list trip as well.
I don’t know how people pick a singular trip. The best trips are ones with unexpected twists that make amazing stories. I have to go with an honors program trip (I did a few in one summer) they partner with a national park for education/exploration/hiking. It’s called Partners in the Park — if anyone is in college now DO IT. It’s free through your college grants.
I did one in Sequoia NP, so beautiful in the backcountry with a group of 10 of us and two teachers. It rained a TON— think hours of rain, once it stormed where 4 of us were soaked sitting in a tent but damn the bonding in that tent. Trudging down a mountain soaked to the bone. I met one of my closest friends that’s like a little sister to me who was my roommate on the trip as well. I am so grateful she needed to poop at 2am and was scared to go alone…. it forced me outside on a mountain to see the most beautiful stars! (Islands have great skies as well… tops goes to a cruise due to lack of light pollution). I ran with a friend to the top of a ridge to catch a sunset on the mountain we were on and cried in awe at the beautiful scene. It was holy. Another parks trip we hiked part of the Appalachian trail and my teacher broke her wrist midway through… thankfully another classmate was an EMT— we had to split into small groups in the middle of dark forest starting to storm to hike out… It was frightening however the 2 days spent at my teacher’s cabin afterward (taking a shower! after 4 days or so of none was heavenly) was awesome. Super fun to see thru hikers and trail magic in the flesh. I hope to hike El Camino Santiago one day.
Other great ones— Jamaica (Sandals HAHAHAHAA— with my best girl friend bc I was single by that time and it had already been booked), super beautiful. We had an awesome time even at a couples only resort. Costa Rica – stayed in a cloud forest. Iceland for a long delayed honeymoon with my partner (hint— camper van 24/7 is not for the faint of heart after 6+ days lol. Love bubble is real immediately after marrying and I truly think it’s the ideal time for honeymoon but not always possible) was phenomenal. It’s like walking around a Nat Geo film 24/7… Theme park with said partner but our very first trip— I got rampantly ill after eating bar soup. They pretended to not hear everything. We waited for one ride till end of weekend and wow– it was the BEST ride and shut down once we rode. Do not ask me why coasters seem to have tons of maintenance issues. Always ride your top choice at park open to best your chances and work the park back to front to reduce line waits.
Big fan of always keeping 1 day or so of a trip with zero plans to allow for spontaneous fun. Botanical garden you wander to. Coffee shop you discover. Etc.
I am stealing these destinations in the comments for my own list.