This year I thought I’d end things with a bit of a review of the year. There were definitely some big travel stories in 2016. And I’ll share a quick recap of a few of my favorite blog posts.
Let’s get started.
One of the biggest stories of 2016 is when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. England and Wales were very much behind this, but Scotland and Northern Ireland were less inclined. It sent shock waves through the world for sure. I remember staying up late that night to hear the results.
Time will tell what this means to you as a traveler to the UK and the rest of Europe. The powers that be are still working out the details and it may take some time although the new prime minister wants to get things moving along. And who knows what will happen with Scotland as they’ve indicated they’d like to remain part of the EU. Will Scotland vote for independence from the UK? Who knows.
I know some Brits who aren’t happy about this. It will make travel a bit tougher for them in the future. Gone will be the days of simply hopping on a low-cost flight to the Continent and not worrying about custom lines or boarding the Eurostar in London and spending a weekend in Paris. Again there will just be more hoops to jump through.
The upside for American (and Canadians) is that the exchange rate with the Sterling Pound has never been better. So if you’ve been dreaming of time in London or the Scottish Highlands then now is the time to go.
Terrorism in Brussels, Istanbul, Nice, Berlin and Orlando
Let’s face it bad news gets all the attention. And nothing is worse than the attacks we saw in 2016 starting in March in Brussels with the explosions at the airport and the metro station. Then we had the airport bombing in Istanbul in June and then the Nice truck attack in July and the Berlin Christmas market just a week ago. Add in the Orlando nightclub shooting in early June and some other stabbings that occurred in Europe and it definitely was not a pretty year.
But as scary and awful as these attacks are, the odds are still only 1 in 20 million that you’ll be killed by a terrorist act compared to 1 in 100 for dying in a car accident. So don’t let these attacks keep you from your dream vacation. Put it in perspective. And simply be aware when you do travel.
Remember: we need to continue to live our lives as we want. If we don’t, then the terrorists win.
The Zika virus hasn’t hit Europe (my specialty) but it certainly has been a concern for those traveling to Mexico, the Caribbean and to Central and South America. In fact, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil saw some big name athletes choose not to go because of the threat. We’ve seen it hit here in the United States too.
In this case, if you are concerned about contracting Zika, then consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is the best source for information. Make a good informed decision and not one based on some of the scare in the media.
Now I’d like to share some of my personal favorite travel things from 2016. There are definitely some fun highlights!
Finding inexpensive flights to Europe
Yup, I found some. For a while in late spring and early summer 2016 I was getting all kinds of alerts on fares. I nabbed some really inexpensive fares for clients traveling from Cincinnati to Rome and a fabulous fare for myself to travel from Cincinnati to Dublin (trip is coming up).
Here’s what I’ll tell you — they can be found. You just have to be diligent. You have to be persistent. I use Airfarewatchdog and set up alerts. Hipmunk is great too. Better yet, use a travel planner (like me!) to keep an eye on them for you if you are looking to go somewhere in particular. If you’re open to going lots of places, set up alerts for yourself. You’ll get emails when the fare is good.
As I wrote my blog posts this year, especially in the second half of the year, I began sharing some of my “obsessions” — places I really want to travel to. The West Highland Way trail in Scotland, the fjords of Norway, County Donegal in Ireland, Chamonix and Mont Blanc in France and Hadrian’s Wall in England. Ob-sessed! I’m hoping to get to at least a couple of those places in 2017. Fingers crossed!!
I’m a published author!
Yes! I finally made this dream come true by writing Location Inspiration Guide: A Journey Through Italy. It was a LOT of work, but I am very proud of this accomplishment. I researched the heck out of this to find over 100 places in Italy that I thought were a little less visited. My goal is to give you some new and different places in Italy to inspire you to pack your bags and finally make that trip to this amazing country. It’s typically one of the top 3 countries I hear folks tell me they want to visit. I’m hoping this inspiration guide will be just what you need to make those plans.
And in honor of the new e-book I dedicated 5 straight blog posts to Italy. From the wines of Italy to Italy’s UNESCO sites (there are many) to my personal favorite places in Italy, I shared more information about one of my favorite countries.
Wander Your Way won 2 awards
In 2016 I won both the Leibster Award and the Versatile Travel Blogger Award. I’m pretty proud of these. Both are peer awards given to bloggers by other bloggers which is such an honor. We bloggers can be tough on each other. So when other writers think you have a kick ass blog, it’s a big deal. And I got to answer some fun questions and nominate some other bloggers.
And as always, I try to offer up some travel tips. One of my favorite posts of 2016 is entitled “So You Think You Can’t Afford a Trip to Europe?” There are some amazing tips for getting the most out of your dollar and I also offered up some great tips on how to save for that trip in this post. And for those who don’t know exactly where to go, this post helps you figure that out. I love being able to help you travelers in any and every way I can.
Stay tuned to next week’s post as I give a preview of what the travel world has in store for 2017. I certainly have some of my own big travel plans, but I’ll also be offering up some great advice for travel in the new year. It’s never too soon to begin making those plans!