I know what you’re thinking, yet another “Best of 2011″ post? I realize that I did a whole series on the topic as did every mainstream paper, magazine, TV show and of course blogger. That being said, I was tagged by a fellow travel blogger to participate in this round robin post, similar to this post I wrote: Easy as 123 – My ABCs of Travel.
However, the bloggers in question, the Traveling Canucks, are great people and this sounded like fun. So, without further ado, here are my favorite travel memories of 2011.
Best Domestic Travel Destination
This is a tough one since I really don’t travel domestically all that often. But I was able to spend some time in a few great American travel destinations, including my favorite – Lanai, Hawaii. This is why I love Lanai so much:
- Otherworldly Landscape of the Garden of the Gods in Lanai
- Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones – The Quest for the Lanai Petroglyphs
- In Search of the Mouflon
- Luxury Within Reach on the Tropical Island of Lanai
Best Travel Experience
As I outlined in this post from last week, spending time in Wadi Rum in Jordan was my favorite travel experience of the year. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a true world treasure and spending the night in a Bedouin camp is something I will always remember.
Best International Destination
I struggled with this superlative, mostly because I visited a lot of great travel destinations in 2011. Ultimately though, I just had to go with my heart and pick New Zealand. This post explains why I chose New Zealand as my favorite 2011 destination and the posts below expound on its allure.
- 42 Things I Love About New Zealand
- On the Road Again – Franz Josef to Wanaka on the Great West Coast Drive
- New Zealand TranzAlpine Scenic Rail Experience
- Black Water Rafting in the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo
Worst Travel Experience
2011 was overall a great travel year and fortunately disaster didn’t rear its ugly head (knock on wood). That being said, I don’t always love every travel experience, and here are a few that didn’t sit well with me this year.
- When Good Ideas Go Bad – Petra by Night Experience
- Queenstown, You Let Me Down
- Paying the Price for Lunch on a Volcano in St. Kitts
- Organized Drowning – Hawaiian SNUBA Experience
Most Embarrassing Travel Moment
Not surprisingly this event also made my Travel Worst list, and deservedly so. The volcano hike in St. Kitts seemed promising, but in the end it was a long slog that left both me and my camera broken. Yes, the views were beautiful, but I turned into a pathetic mess on the way down, and THAT is my most embarrassing travel moment of 2011.
Best Local Destination
Living in Washington, DC, there is no shortage of fodder for this category. Instead of picking one of the myriad museums or attractions, I want to look beyond DC to one of the many great day trips in the region – Charlottesville, Virginia. Here’s why I enjoy spending a long weekend in Mr. Jefferson’s city.
- Overlooked UNESCO Sites – A Visit to Mr. Jefferson’s Virginia
- Sampling Virginia’s Winery Tours
- Travel Details – James Madison’s Temple
Best Travel Lesson
I’m opinionated and ofttimes too vehement in those opinions. This year taught me to stop prejudging destinations and to go wherever I may have the opportunity. Until recently, the Middle East never appealed to me for travel, but that changed quickly with trips to both Israel and Jordan. Now the region is one of my favorites, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further. Here are some reasons why I love traveling in the Middle East.
- 42 Things I Love About Jordan
- Hidden Treasure of Petra – The Monastery Trail
- Five Favorite Moments in Jordan
- Four Not to Miss Experiences in Jerusalem
- A Visit to Forgotten Muristan
And that’s it! These are the 5 travel bloggers I would like to see complete their own version of the Best of Travel 2011 (here are the rules).
What were your travel favorites of 2011?