The Travelocity Gnational Gnomads are not only travel experts, but also some of the most well-traveled people in the world. Collectively, they’ve been almost everywhere in the world. We asked our team to reflect on their best trip of 2018 and ended up with a wide range of places. Their answers may surprise you; they are certainly not your typical picks. We hope these destinations inspire you to start planning your own trip.

The Best Trips of 2018 According to Travel Experts

Traverse City, MI

Traverse City

Traverse City aerial road trip photo by Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic of Mikes Road Trip: For me it was a year filled with lots of international travel. I was in India for a month, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and a month in the Czech Republic. I also did several trips to Mexico and a few American road trips. All of these experiences were incredible, but one road trip that stood out was to Traverse City, Michigan, where the fall foliage was in full swing. As someone who lives in the desert Southwest, the vibrant colors of autumn are a rare sight. 

Traverse City embodies everything a road tripper could want—there are curvy roads that induce a desire to see around the next bend; Roadside farm stands spilling over with fresh produce; Cobalt blue water set against a backdrop of hardwood trees set ablaze by the changing season—to dramatic Photoshopped-looking sunsets. The food, beer, lodging and Midwestern hospitality are pretty good too! 

Brazil

 Rio Preto’s black waters in Brazil

Rio Preto’s black waters in Brazil. Photo by Eric Stoen

Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo: I visited 16 countries and 8 states in 2018, and had a lot of amazing adventures, but my absolute top travel experience was Brazil with my 8-year-old. I had never been to Brazil before, but with visas now far easier to get (as of January), it seemed like a good time to finally visit. We flew into Manaus, explored around the city for two days, including taking a boat to the Meeting of the Waters (where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões join together) and then drove to Novo Airão, where we boarded an 8-cabin ship. For four days and nights we went up the Rio Negro and explored the Amazon Rainforest. It was magical! We took small boats up tributaries that were so clear and reflective that you couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began. We fished for, and ate, piranhas, and we swam in the river often (yep, the same one with the piranhas). We trekked through abandoned rubber settlements. We watched pink river dolphins. We learned to make fire and animal traps in the forest. We visited local villages and had pick-up soccer games with the kids. And there was no internet or cell connectivity to distract us. I highly recommend turning off your phone and heading into the Amazon with your kids. You’ll never forget the experience!

Switzerland

Switzerland Lake Geneva

Switzerland Lake Geneva Photo by Spa Travel Girl

Ava Stritt of SpaTravelGal.com: From luxurious watches to the snow-capped mountains, Switzerland offers much to everyone. There are so many reasons to travel to Switzerland, which has not only their own culture, but the best of neighboring counties as well. While enjoying the snow-covered mountains, sparking mountain lakes, skiing, luxury spas and classic landmarks, like the Matterhorn, be sure to notice the clean air and the freshest cuisine of anywhere I have visited.

Split, Croatia

Croatia

Croatia Photo by Kirsten Maxwell

Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip: This past year we were fortunate to have some excellent family adventures. My favorite travel experience, however, would be the trip to Croatia my husband and I took without kids to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We spent nine days hiking through Plitvice Lakes, exploring ancient Split, day tripping to Bosnia and Montenegro, and enjoying every minute of our time in Dubrovnik. The country is made for exploring, eating, and getting off the beaten path, and you won’t find more sunshine, better food, or friendlier locals than what you get in Croatia. I highly recommend it to everyone I meet and can’t wait to go back again with the kids.

Whitsundays, Australia

Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays

Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays. Photo by Erin Holmes

Erin Holmes of ExploreWithErin: 2018 was a great year of re-entry into travel for me after settling into life in a home base. In 2017 I stopped 5 years of nomadic travel burnt out and exhausted. 2018 I saw a burning passion to get back into it. In 2018, I hit up one new country (my 76th), one new State in my home country and several other destinations. Vietnam, Malaysia, USA, Mexico (twice!) and Queensland, Australia. And as much as I loved exploring country 76 in Vietnam, or lying on the beaches of Mexico, I have never seen anything like Whithaven Beach, in The Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia. Perfect white sand, turquoise waters, and isolation like an island in the middle of nowhere. Heaven. Get there from the mainland with a tour like ocean rafting and prepare for a day of sun, surf and bliss.

Halkidiki, Greece

Agionissi Resort on Ammouliani Island in Greece.

Agionissi Resort on Ammouliani Island in Greece. Photo by Mommy Travels

Meagan Wristen of Mommy Travels: In 2018 we visited eight countries, five of which the kids had never been to … Greece, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, France, and Australia. As I look back, our best trip of 2018 was the Halkidiki region of Greece. I adore every place I’ve been in Greece. Halkidiki along the Aegean Sea with gorgeous water, is more low key, yet offers a full Greek experience tourists are often after. One quaint little city after another offers a variety of experiences to be had. Alexander Beach, where the water is shallow and calm, offers an excellent beach experience. Ouranopolis is full of delicious restaurants and fun shops. The tiny island of Ammouliani, where you feel secluded and off-the-grid. Being off-the-grid and getting that kind of family time can be hard to find. We stayed at Agionissi Resort in a darling little room and enjoyed their two private beaches. The pace was slow and peaceful, I highly recommend it. 

Oahu, HI

Honolulu Hawaii

The beautiful coastline of Honolulu, Hawaii shot from an altitude of about 1,000 feet during a helicopter photo flight over the Pacific Ocean.

Jeremy Scott Foster of Travel Freak: In 2018 I took 53 flights and flew almost 75,000 miles on four continents. Funnily enough, my best travel experiences didn’t even require a passport! Despite having traveled to 40 or so countries, I’m discovering that some of the best adventures can be waiting for us at home. By and far, my number one destination in 2018 was Oahu, Hawaii. I spent a month exploring the entire island, from the island metropolis of Waikiki to the laid back vibe of the North Shore. Oahu is an island begging to be explored. The beaches are pristine, the landscapes are otherworldly, and Oahu has some of the best hiking I’ve encountered anywhere in the world. Whether you’re looking for lazy days by the beach or lost in the lush rainforest in search of waterfalls, Oahu is where you want to be.

Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv, Ukraine Photo by PointsandTravel

Cacinda Maloney of Points and Travel: Looking back through the year, I went to 15 countries and took 27 trips, so it is hard to choose my best travel experience of 2018. I visited 5 “new-to-me” countries: Guadeloupe Islands, India, Ukraine, Slovakia, Guyana and St. Maarten. I visited 11 destinations in the USA, and went to Mexico 7 times. I even went on a river cruise down the Rhine, the Main, and the Danube Rivers in Europe, where I visited 5 countries in 3 weeks! So you can imagine how hard it is to pick my favorite! But if I have to, I will pick the Ukraine, as it was the most unique and intriguing trip I took. Why you might ask? Because I have never experienced anything quite like the old Soviet town of Lviv, Ukraine. With its hundreds of underground coffee houses, bakeries, and speakeasies, there was NEVER a dull moment! But I do have to say that it was next to impossible for me to pick my best travel experience in 2018, as there were SO many.

Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico

Sonora, Mexico

Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Pattie Cordova

Pattie Cordova of Living Mi Vida Loca: My best travel experience was visiting a little city in Sonora, Mexico named Magdalena de Kino. It’s my mom’s hometown and recently labeled a “magic city” by the Mexican government. I loved walking on the cobble streets and visiting the old church as well as shopping along the kiosks lined up in the town square. My favorite part, was all the different food vendors!  I couldn’t get enough of the Fritos Preparados — a bag of Fritos topped with beans, diced tomatoes, diced onion, mayo and ketchup.
Where was your best trip in 2018? Would you recommend it? If so, leave your suggestion in the comments below!
Meagan Wristen of Mommy Travels is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. 

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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