This year we traveled a ton. Together, we visited Europe three times, and both visited a fourth time independently. We also traveled to several new countries and U.S. states, made more car rentals than I can count, and pondered the varied meanings of “free wifi.” Throughout this all we had many wonderful experiences, and a number of frustrating ones as well. This is what stands out:
Favorite road trip: Iceland’s southern ring road.
This was a tough one because we had a lot great road trips, and the Oregon coast in particular was amazing. In the end though, constant sunlight, tiny towns, waterfalls, and vast plains of volcanic ash were just so weird and amazing that they beat out everything else.
Favorite new country visited: Hungary.
In Hungary we found a surprisingly beautiful country filled with warm people. We weren’t there long and I was sick for much of the trip, but we managed to try new foods and explore Budapest — a city that felt a bit like a more affordable, less crowded Paris.
Favorite new state: Michigan.
We went on a several-day road trip through a few Midwest states this fall, but Michigan — and especially the Upper Peninsula — is what stands out most now in my mind. Coming from the West, the endless forests, lakes, and rivers were amazing, and the charming cities didn’t hurt either.
Favorite new food: Trdelnik.
This was an easy one; though we tried plenty of new foods this year, finally tasting trdelnik — a cylindrical, Eastern European cake — after five years of waiting was one of my favorite travel experiences of all time.
Favorite flight: LA to London on Air New Zealand.
Eleven hours in a metal tube is usually pretty tough. But Air New Zealand’s bed seats, in coach, were an incredible, wonderful surprise.
“Favorite” travel mistake: Booking a hotel in Iceland for February 2016.
Embracing our mistakes, and learning from them, is an important part of our travel philosophy, but it was still frustrating when I accidentally booked a pricey hotel room outside Reykjavik for six months after our trip. We were driving around some glaciers and geysers late at night, I was completely jetlagged, and for some reason I didn’t notice that I had the dates on my phone screen wrong. Luckily the hotel agreed to change the reservation, but I’m still waiting until February to see I ended up with some new charges on my credit card.
— Jim Dalrymple II