Most Photogenic Landscapes of Iceland: An Action-Packed 8 Day Road Trip with Crazy Travelista

Most Photogenic Landscapes of Iceland: An Action-Packed 8 Day Road Trip with Crazy Travelista

Iceland Group Trip Details

8 days/7 nights

Dates: October 2-9th, 2018

Start: Reykjavik 

End: Reykjavik

Come Travel to Iceland with Crazy Travelista!

I am super excited to finally be going back to Iceland and to take a few awesome travelers with me! On my last trip in January, I had the WORST weather and as a result crappy pictures so I am determined to go back and re-do all the awesome places I saw, plus add a few more cool spots!

We will be mostly visiting the South Coast (my favorite area in Iceland) with all the epic waterfalls, as well as the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. We will also stop to pet some friendly Icelandic horses whenever we see them!

I am also making it my mission to make it to a few of the lesser known natural hot pools in Iceland (I have a few awesome ones marked down!). If time permits, we will do a few easy (ish) hikes as well. We will try to get to some of the more famous sites before the crowds, so there will be a few early mornings!

Also, we will be in Iceland during Northern Lights season! So hopefully they will come out to play during our time there. Most our accommodation will be in a secluded area, so if they come out, we should be able to see them without having to drive anywhere! Yesssss.

Is This Trip for You?

If you are a fun loving adventurous spirit with a good sense of humor and love meeting new people and experiencing different cultures, this trip is for you! These trip will focus mainly on adventure activities, and photography, so a love for both is a must!

This Trip is NOT for you if:

If you love drama, drugs, or getting black-out wasted every night, this trip is NOT for you. This is for the more mature traveler who doesn’t mind long days of adventures and photo taking. There will definitely be some wine drinking as well, so it’s not going to be all serious, trust me. 

This trip is probably not for you if you are a budget traveler. My group trips will mimic my traveler style, which I describe as “ballin on a budget” (I heard it on a rap song and thought it described my style perfectly). This style means not budget, but not super luxury. Basically, I like nice places, but I find awesome deals to make them cheaper. Most the accommodations we stay will be comfortable, cute, and unique. 

Where Will We Visit in Iceland?

  • Reykjavik 
  • Golden Circle
  • South Coast + Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls (+ one secret waterfall)
  • Vik +Reynisfjara black sand beach
  • Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon + boat tour 
  • natural hot pools all over Iceland
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon (where Justin Bieber shot his music video)
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Northern Lights chasing (from our balcony hopefully)
  • Plus more!

iceland photo

Rough Iceland Itinerary

*things may change slightly but this is roughly how it will go down

  • Day 1: Arrive/explore Reykjavik
  • Day 2: Golden Circle/Gulfoss waterfall/Thingvellir National Park 
  • Day 3: South Coast Waterfalls (Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss)+ secret waterfall
  • Day 4: Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon + natural hot pools +possible easy hike 
  • Day 5: Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon & Black Diamond Beach
  • Day 6: Drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula + Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall 
  • Day 7: explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula and back to Reykjavik in evening 
  • Day 8: Depart Iceland/possible Silfra fissure snorkel before departure 

iceland photo

What’s Included:

  • Accommodation in double occupancy (shared room with same sex)
  • Transport starting and ending in Reykjavik
  • Entrance to national parks and natural hot pools (excluding Blue Lagoon)
  • Car rental/gas/car insurance
  • Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon boat tour (get up close to the icebergs)
  • Farewell pizza and wine dinner at our accommodation

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights to/from Iceland 
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Food (except pizza/wine night, see above)
  • Alcohol
  • Optional Activities 

Optional Activities 

  • Blue Lagoon (I honestly didn’t care for the Blue Lagoon on my trip but I understand some people just have to do it..in this case, we can make it work for those who want to experience it)
  • Snorkelling the Silfra Fissure

Note: depending on how many people want to do the Silfra Fissure, we may not have time to work it in unless the entire group wants to do it. However, if only a few want to do it, it will take place on the last and final day of departure…meaning, you would have to be taking a late afternoon/evening flight (at least 3pm or later) for this to work out. We can discuss this once I get a headcount of how many people want to do this.

Price

Non-refundable deposit: $500

Total Price (if deposit paid after May 7th): $2250

Discount price if deposit paid by May 7th: $2050

Discount Price if deposit paid by April 30th: $1975

*We will have a kitchen most of the trip so we can slash costs of food by cooking. Eating in Iceland is expensive as shit so you will definitely not want to eat out every meal! By cooking/eating packaged meals from grocery stores, you can get by for 8 days in Iceland from $100-120 total in food costs (and even way less if you don’t mind eating mostly spaghetti/pizza).  

You can secure your spot for the trip by signing up HERE!

How To Get To Iceland Cheaply 

WOW AIR!

It’s incredibly cheap to get to Iceland these days on WOW Air. If you can pack light, you can get there for as low as $199 round trip! I flew from Baltimore for $99 each way!  So although Iceland is the most expensive place I’ve ever been (along with Switzerland), you can make it up with cheap flights and cooking meals. Also with your tax return you just got! BAM!

Group Size

I plan on taking 4 people on this trip, so it’s going to be a really small group. If I get more interest, I may take 6 people, but will then need a volunteer driver! Sign up ASAP as spots are extremely limited!

*Please do NOT book any flights until you receive confirmation from me.

See you in Iceland! ♥

 

Banff, Canada Group Trip: Epic Hikes, National Parks, Lakes & Awesome Instagram Views

Banff, Canada Group Trip: Epic Hikes, National Parks, Lakes & Awesome Instagram Views

Trip Details:

Dates: June 24-30th, 2018

Starts: Calgary, Canada on June 24th

Ends: Calgary, Canada on June 30th

Hosted by: Crazy Travelista & CareBear Abroad

lake louise photo

Crazy TravelistaCareBear Abroad are super excited to be opening up our first group trip together! We have traveled to over 20 counties together and would be delighted to have like-minded travel enthusiasts join us for an awesome trip exploring the Bucket List destination of Banff, Canada.

Come travel with CareBear Abroad & Crazy Travelista and join our fun adventures hiking all around the Canadian Rockies seeking out the most epic instagrammable views of the amazing blue lakes, the gorgeous National Parks, and the epic mountainous landscapes.

Is this This Trip for You?

If you are a fun loving adventurous spirit with a good sense of humor and loves meeting new people and experiencing different cultures, this trip is for you! This trip will focus mainly on hiking and photography, so a love for both is a must!

If you love drama, drugs, or getting black out wasted every night, this trip is NOT for you.

Fitness Requirements 

Because this trip is specifically focused on hiking, a moderate fitness level is recommended. We will be doing 2-3+ hours of hiking per day (maybe a little more on some days). We also may be kayaking and/or stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on some of the lakes (optional activities).

We also plan on mixing in some relaxing activities such as soaking in hot springs and horseback riding (optional).

Trip Style: Comfort/Privacy

For this trip, everyone will get their OWN PRIVATE BEDROOM, so perfect for those who value their privacy. But, if you want to bring a friend or significant other, we are offering a $200 discount (you will have to share the same queen size bed so you should probably really like/love this person). ♥

This trip is going to be co-ed! So both guys and girls can apply!

Where Will We Visit in Banff?

Each day will focus on hiking to the best viewpoints of the Canadian Rockies and vibrant blue lakes. The key places we will visit include:

  • Moraine Lake
  • Banff National Park
  • Peyto Lake
  • Lake Louise
  • Yoho National Park (Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit)
  • Icefields Parkway 

moraine lake photo

What’s Included:

  • 2 breakfasts
  • Accommodation in your own private room
  • Transportation
  • Gas/tolls
  • Daily entrance fees for ALL National Parks

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights
  • lunch/dinners
  • Alcohol
  • Any extra activities not mentioned

Optional Activities (additional charge):

  • Horseback riding in Banff or Lake Louise
  • SUP or kayaking on Lake Louise or Moraine Lake

Trip Cost:

Non-Refundable Deposit: $375 due March 15th (this will guarantee your spot)

Total Price: $1675 due April 30th

Early Bird Price: $1575 if paid IN FULL by March 10th or $1525 if pain IN FULL by March 30th

*there will be a $200 discount per person if you would like to bring someone (friend/gf/bf) and share a queen bed with them in your own private room. (We only have room for 2 groups of significant others/friends to join, so make sure to sign up soon if you want to bring someone!)

Sign up at this form here to reserve your spot today!

Photo by benjaminvanwaart

 

CrazyTravelista’s Best of Croatia Group Trip: Dalmatian Coast + Istria (+ Slovenia Day Trip)

CrazyTravelista’s Best of Croatia Group Trip: Dalmatian Coast + Istria (+ Slovenia Day Trip)

The time has come. I am finally bringing along a few adventurous girls to Croatia with me! This is exciting news since Croatia holds a very special place in my heart. ♥

Why Go To Croatia with CrazyTravelista?

First off, I think Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world (out of the 74 I’ve visited). I consider myself an expert on everything Croatia. In case you didn’t know, my boyfriend of 4+ years is Croatian and currently lives there. I live in the US, but I visit 4-5 times a year (I have a lot of airline miles so I don’t pay for most my flights). 🙂

I have been to Croatia 20+ times by now and know the ins and outs, the BEST places to visits, the best photo spots, how to get around, and what to avoid. So I am super excited to bring a group with me to show you guys around my favorite places in Croatia! It really is an amazing country!

best of Croatia group trip

We will be packing a LOT of destinations into a small amount of time in order to see the best places the country has to offer. If you want a lazy vacation sitting on a beach all day, this trip is not right for you. I am looking for those who really like to discover a new destination and who likes to go out and explore as much as possible.

The trips will be for adventure lovers who love nature, discovering off the beaten path places, and the best photo spots.

For more info on my group trips in general, visit my article here.

You Kinda Should Like Photography

This tour will be heavily photography based, so a love for taking awesome shots is a must! Although I’m not a professional photographer by any means, I do have a knack for finding the best viewpoints and framing the shots and I would like to help out in any way I can. Plus, I know all the good Instagrammable spots in Croatia. 

best of Croatia group trip

I will share all my tips on how I get all my shots when I travel alone and help everyone get their own awesome shots on the trip. Even if you suck at taking pics, I guarantee you will go home with some amazing shots (even if I have to take them all for you myself♥). 

You Should Come on This Croatia Trip if you:

  • are friendly/love meeting new people
  • love seeing epic scenery (& don’t mind a little hike to get to it)
  • are fun loving & adventurous
  • have a good sense of humor
  • love experiencing different cultures
  • love adventure activities and photography
  • like wine (although it’s ok if you don’t, no pressure)

This Croatia Trip is NOT for you if:

  • If you love drama, drugs, or getting hammered drunk every night
  • are a super budget traveler (the travel style will be “ballin on a budget”/comfortable)

Age Limits:

22-38 years old

Group Size

6-8 people max

*The spots are extremely limited so please sign up as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot. I want to stick to a mini small group to focus on a more intimate feel so we can really get to know each other. 

Girl’s Trip

Sorry boys, this one is for the ladies only 🙂


Croatia Trip Details

Length: 12 days/11 nights

Dates: May 26-June 6th, 2018

Start: Split, Croatia on May 26, 2018

End: Split OR Dubrovnik (you will have the option to end in Dubrovnik on the morning of June 6 or drive back with me to Split and arrive around 3-4pm in Split on June 6).

Travel Style: “Ballin on a Budget”/Comfort


This road trip across Croatia will combine the most popular seaside towns and islands on the Dalmatian coast, the most stunning national parks, and the lesser know Istrian region. If you haven’t heard of Istria, think gorgeous medieval hilltop towns surrounded by Tuscany-like rolling hills and vineyards. We will be basing ourselves in Rovinj, one of the most colourful and picturesque towns in all of Europe.

For more convincing on Istria and Rovinj, you can view my articles:

Exploring Istria, Croatia by Car: the Perfect 1-Day Road Trip

What to do in Rovinj: The Ultimate Guide to Croatia’s Most Underrated City

best of Croatia group trip

This 12 day/11 night trip will highlight the most stunning places in Croatia, and also a day trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia (one of the most underrated cities in Europe in my opinion). 

best of Croatia group trip

And if you are a Game of Thrones fan, we will try to squeeze in some optional tours in Split and/or Dubrovnik.

This trip will be based on a “rough” itinerary…but I also left some wiggle room for unplanned adventures (because those are always the most memorable, right?). 

Where Will We Visit in Croatia?

  • Coastal port of Split (the gateway to the islands)
  • Picturesque Hvar Island
  • Small town of Omiš, beautifully framed by the Cetina River
  • Makarska Riviera
  • Dubrovnik, aka King’s Landing
  • Plitvice National Park, the most stunning national park in Croatia
  • Rovinj, the colorful gem of Istria
  • Medieval hilltop towns of Istria
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia-one of the prettiest capital cities you will ever see
  • Mystery destination

What’s Included:

  • Basic continental breakfast on some days 
  • 11 night accommodation in double occupancy (shared room with your own bed)
  • Private transport that starts and ends in Split (or Dubrovnik-see above)
  • Tolls/gas/parking fees
  • All ferry tickets to islands
  • Local SIM card with 10GB data (phone must be unlocked)
  • Entrance to Dubrovnik City Walls
  • Entrance to Plitvice National Park
  • Day trip to Slovenia
  • 1 winery tasting

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights to and from Croatia 
  • Travel insurance (mandatory-no exceptions)
  • lunch/dinner
  • Alcohol
  • Optional activities (see below)

Optional Activities:

  • GOT tours
  • Dubrovik cable car
  • Ziplining in Omiš
  • Cooking class in Istria

Price

Non-refundable Deposit: $500 (due February 12, 2018)

Price: $1990 total (due March 20, 2018)

*Refer a friend and get $100 OFF your booking 🙂

Sign up here to reserve your spot. Space is limited to 6-8 people!

*Please do NOT book any flights until you receive confirmation from me.

 

Crazy Travelista’s 2018 Mini Solo Group Trips (Norway, Croatia, Banff, & Iceland)

Crazy Travelista’s 2018 Mini Solo Group Trips (Norway, Croatia, Banff, & Iceland)

A solo group trip? Wait, what?

My ultimate goal is to inspire others to travel more. I love solo travel and love empowering women to do so. I also LOVE the camaraderie and friendships made from going on group trips. Which is why I have decided to make 2018 the year I open up some fun group trips and have a small group of adventurous souls join me.

These group trips are perfect for those who usually venture solo but who want to connect with new people. But if you would like to bring a friend along, go right ahead!

What Sets Crazy Travelista’s Mini Group Trips Apart from Other Group Trips?

First off, the group size will be capped at 8 people max to focus on a more intimate feel so we can really get to know each other. 

These group trips are designed for the lone traveler who is scared to travel alone, who has no one to go with, or who just loves connecting with new people around the world.

The tours would be heavily photography based, so a love for taking awesome shots is a must! Although I’m not a professional photographer by any means, I do have a knack for finding the best viewpoints and framing the shots and I would like to help out in any way I can.

I will share all my tips on how I get all my shots when I travel alone and help everyone get their own awesome shots on the trip. Even if you suck at taking pics, I guarantee you will go home with some amazing shots (even if I have to take them all for you myself♥). 

The trips will be for adventure lovers who love hiking, discovering off the beaten path places, and the best photo spots.

The trips will be based on a “rough” itinerary I designed…but we will also leave plenty of room for unplanned adventures (because those are always the most memorable, right?). 

I have been on 5 group trips so far and the best part about these trips is the life long friendships that develop from them.

As soon as you sign up, I will start a private Facebook group to introduce everyone as soon as possible. They did this on one of my previous group trips and it was awesome because it was like we knew each other by the time we actually met in person.

Are These Trips for You?

If you are a fun loving adventurous spirit with a good sense of humor and love meeting new people and experiencing different cultures, this trip is for you! These trip will focus mainly on adventure activities, and photography, so a love for both is a must!

These Trip are NOT for you if:

If you love drama, drugs, or getting black-out wasted every night, this trip is NOT for you. This is for the more mature traveler who doesn’t mind long days of adventure and photo taking. There will definitely be some wine drinking as well, so it’s not going to be all serious, trust me. 

These trips are probably not for you if you are a budget traveler. These trips will mimic my traveler style, which I describe as “ballin on a budget” (I heard it on a rap song and thought it described my style perfectly). This style means not budget, but not super luxury. Basically, I like nice places, but I find awesome deals to make them cheaper. Most the accommodations we stay will be comfortable, cute, and unique. 

Age Limits:

22-38 years old

I’m not trying to be a dick, but I am going to put age limits on my trips, just because it gets very awkward when there is too much of an age gap. It’s such a better vibe and more cohesive when people are closer in age and in more in the same stage in life. 

However, if you are a little but outside these age limits and you think you would still be perfect for these trips, send me a message and let me know. I am willing to make an exception in some circumstances. 🙂

Girls Trips

Most of these trips will be female only (sorry guys). I am all about the female empowerment thing and encouraging girls to venture out on their own. Although if you want to come with your boyfriend, let me know and I may be able to make an exception on some trips.

*the co-hosted Banff trip is open to boys :)*


I have 4 group trips planned so far (& I may add 1-2 more later). Here are the timeframes for each just to give you an idea:

Lofoten Islands, Norway: March 1-5th, 2018

Croatia: May 26-June 6th (& maybe again in early September 2018)

Banff, Canada: June 23-29 2018 (co-hosted by CareBear Abroad)

Iceland: late September/early October 2018


*The spots are extremely limited as I am only taking up to 8 people max on each trip (Norway is only 4!) so please sign up as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot.


Lofoten Islands, Norway (Photographing Arctic Landscapes + Northern Lights Chase)

Dates: March 1-5, 2018

I have dedicated an entire post to this trip which you can check out here:

Come Travel to the Secluded & Breathtaking Lofoten Islands, Norway with Me!

*This trip is tentatively full, but there could possibly be one opening so make sure to sign up on the form on the blog post if you are interested in going! OR you can access the form here.

Best of Croatia:  Dalmatian Coast + Istria (+ Slovenia day trip)

Length: 11 days/10 nights

Dates: May 26-June 6th, 2018

Start: Split, Croatia 

End: Split, Croatia 

Crazy Travelista Group Trips

I am especially stoked to host this Croatia trip as Croatia is like my second home. In case you don’t know, my boyfriend of 4 years is Croatian and lives in Split. I live in the USA, but that means I am in Croatia MANY times a year. In fact, I have been to Croatia 20+ times! I know the country very well and know the best places to go. I also know where to avoid. You can say I’m basically a Croatia expert so I am going to take you to all of my favorite places! 🙂

Plus, I think Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world!

Crazy Travelista Group Trips

This road trip across Croatia will combine the most popular seaside towns and islands on the Dalmatian coast, the most stunning national parks, and the lesser know Istrian region. If you haven’t heard of Istria, think gorgeous medieval hilltop towns surrounded by Tuscany-like rolling hills and vineyards. We will be basing ourselves in Rovinj, one of the most colourful and underrated picturesque towns in all of Europe.

Crazy Travelista Group Trips

This 11 day/10 night trip will pack in as much of Croatia as possible, and also a day trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia (one of the most underrated cities in Europe in my opinion). 

And if you are a Game of Thrones fan, we will try to squeeze in some optional tours in Split and/or Dubrovnik.

Where will we visit in Croatia?

  • Coastal port of Split (the gateway to the islands)
  • Ritzy/picturesque Hvar Island
  • Small town of Omiš, beautifully framed by the Cetina River
  • Makarska Riviera
  • Dubrovnik, aka King’s Landing
  • Plitvice National Park, the most stunning national park in Croatia
  • Rovinj, the colorful gem of Istria
  • Medieval hilltop towns of Istria
  • Ljubljana, Sloveina-one of the prettiest capital cities you will ever see
  • Mystery destination

What’s Included:

  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Accommodation in double occupancy (shared room)
  • Transport that starts and ends in Split (AC vehicle, all ferry tickets to islands)
  • Local SIM card with 10GB data (phone must be unlocked)
  • Entrance to Dubrovnik City Walls

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights
  • lunch/dinner
  • Alcohol
  • Any extra activities not mentioned

Optional Activities:

  • GOT tours
  • Dubrovik cable car
  • Ziplining in Omiš

Price range: $1980

Non-refundable Deposit: $300 

Sign up here. You will get email confirmation by next week of the final price and dates.

*Please do NOT book any flights until you receive confirmation from me.


Banff, Canada: Epic Hikes, Lakes & Best Instagram Views (7 days/6 nights)

Dates: late June 2017 (will be finalized in the next 2 weeks)

Starts: Calgary, Canada 

Ends: in Calgary, Canada

Hosted by: Crazy Travelista & CareBear Abroad

banff photo

CareBear Abroad & Crazy Travelista are super excited to be opening up our first group trip together! We have traveled to over 20 counties together and would be delighted to have like-minded travel enthusiasts join us for an awesome trip exploring the bucket list destination of Banff, Canada.

Why you should join us on this tour?

Come travel with Crazy Travelista & CareBear Abroad and join our fun adventures hiking all around the Canadian Rockies seeking out the most epic Instagrammable views of the amazing blue lakes and stunning mountainous landscapes.

Should You Join us on This Trip?

If you are a fun loving adventurous spirit with a good sense of humor and love meeting new people and experiencing different cultures, this trip is for you! This trip will focus mainly on hiking and photography, so a love for both is a must!

Because this trip is specifically focused on hiking, a moderate fitness level is recommended. We will be doing 2-3+ hours of hiking per day (maybe a little more on some days). We will also be kayaking and/or stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on some of the lakes (optional activities).

We also plan on mixing in some relaxing activities such as soaking in hot springs and horseback riding.

*If you love drama, drugs, or getting black out wasted every night, this trip is NOT for you.

banff photo

Where will We Visit in Banff?

Each day will focus on hiking to the best viewpoints of the vibrant blue lakes of Moraine Lake, Banff, Peyto Lake, Lake Louise, and Yoho National Park (Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit).

What’s Included:

  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Accommodation in double occupancy (shared room with same sex)
  • Transportation starting in Calgary

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights
  • lunch/dinners
  • Alcohol
  • Any extra activities not mentioned

Optional Activities:

  • Horseback riding in Banff or Lake Louise
  • SUP or kayaking on Lake Louise or Moraine Lake

Total Price: TBD in the next 2 weeks

*We will be going in June which is the beginning of peak season. We picked this time since we wanted to ensure the lakes are NOT frozen and the hiking trails are not closed due to snow. (i.e. it will be more expensive than off season but we will see more awesome stuff!)

Sign up for Banff trip here. You will receive an email as soon as final trip details are released.

*Please do NOT book any flights until you get confirmation from me.


Most Photogenic Landscapes of Iceland: Epic 8 Day Road Trip

Tentative Dates: September 20-27th, 2018 (will be finalized by next month)

Start: Reykjavik

End: Reykjavik

Crazy Travelista Group Trips

Where will We Visit in Iceland?

  • Reykjavik 
  • Golden Circle
  • South Coast with all badass waterfalls
  • Vik black sand beach
  • Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon & Ice cave
  • natural hot pools all over Iceland
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Dyrhólaey Peninsula 
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Plus more!

What’s Included:

  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Accommodation in double occupancy (shared room with same sex)
  • Transport starting in Reykjavik
  • Entrance to national parks and natural hot pools (NOT the Blue Lagoon)

What’s NOT Included:

  • Flights to/from Iceland 
  • lunch/dinner
  • Alcohol
  • Any extra activities not mentioned

Price: TBD (will finalize by next month)

*We will have a kitchen most of the trip so we can slash costs of food by cooking. Eating in Iceland is expensive as shit!

Sign up for Iceland trip here.

Please do NOT book any flights until you get confirmation from me.


Yay, let’s do this!! ♥

PS: If you have any suggestions for more group trips, please let me know!

I am super excited to meet everyone!

 

Top 10 Travel Highlights & Surprises of 2017 (+ 2018 Preview)

Top 10 Travel Highlights & Surprises of 2017 (+ 2018 Preview)

As another whirlwind travel year comes to an end, it’s about that time to reflect and reminisce on my crazy year and highlight my top moments/surprises. In 2017, I traveled to 13 new countries including, Ecuador, Finland, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Cyprus, Oman, and Jordan. I also revisited some of my favourite countries including Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Norway.

In 2017, I visited a total of 17 countries on 4 continents. WOW. I didn’t even notice it was that many until I typed it out. I guess I’m really living up to the name Crazy Travelista. 🙂

Without further ado, here are my Top 10 Travel Highlights & Surprises of 2017:

1. Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos is on many bucket lists and a dream destination for animal and sea lovers. But it costs a fortune, right? WRONG. I did one week for under $1K. Yep, I got skills like that haha. You can read about how I did it here  and also free or cheap things to do in the Galapagos here.

It was just so fascinating to me walking around and seeing Sea Lions sitting on park benches, marine iguanas (that look like mini dinosaurs) wading next to me in the water, and stopping for a traffic jam of life size turtles in the wild. Oh, and seeing a sea horse up close in the wild was freakin incredible!

But my ultimate favourite memory was swimming with hammerhead sharks and sea lions at Kicker Rock. I’m not going to lie, I was scared shitless of jumping into the water above a shark, let alone a whole swarm of them. But it was a once in a lifetime experience and I wasn’t going to pass it up. If you do ONE thing in the Galapagos, take the tour to Kicker Rock on San Cristobal Island.

Gopro Hero 5 Session underwater

2. Northern Lights in Tromsø, Norway

One of my top 5 bucket list items of all time was finally fulfilled in Tromsø, Norway this year. I miss the Northern Lights in Iceland the year before and was so bummed. But let me tell you, it was well worth the wait and just made it that much more special when I finally got my first glimpse.

2017 Top 10 Travel Surprises

Not only did I see the Northern Lights, but they really put on a dramatic dancing show of electric neon green in the sky that I cannot describe it with any other word besides MAGICAL.

If you’re really itching to see the Northern Lights, Tromsø is a fantastic place to do so. I highly recommend the small family run tour company called Tromsø Friluftsenter. Hands down my favourite tour I’ve ever taken! You can read about my experience in my blog article Chasing the Northern Lights in Tromsø (+Beginner Northern Lights Photography Tips)

3. Lapland, Finland

God, I loved Lapland. I didn’t think i would enjoy it that much but it really surprised me. I’m not the biggest fan of freezing cold destinations, but Lapland has single handedly changed my mind!

2017 top 10 travel surprises os

What really captivated me was all the super unique winter activities that you can try that are specific to this region. My favourite activities were the Husky ride, snowmobiling on a lake to see the Northern Lights (unfortunately they didn’t come out that night), taking a photography tour of the arctic landscapes, and especially the sauna plus an arctic ice dip. I did end up seeing the Northern Lights in Levi the next day!

I also really enjoyed a reindeer ride and visiting an ice hotel. Oh, and you can also visited Santa Clause Village and cross the arctic circle! Where else in the world can you do these things?

The only thing I missed was sleeping in an glass igloo hotel, which I plan to return for one day!

Related: Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

4. Japan

My favourite destination of 2017 goes to Japan! Japan is like steeping into another world and I definitely experienced the most culture here than any other place in 2017. I’m not usually a big fan of huge capital cities, but Tokyo is certainly an exception.

My senses were constantly stimulated walking around the chaotic yet peaceful city, and I could have spent my entire time in Japan exploring Tokyo and been satisfied. My favourite part was experiencing an owl and cat cafe.

Other favourites included expiring Kyoto (dressing as a geisha is a must), climbing the Fushimi Inari shrine, taking a sushi making class, visiting the Bamboo forest, and walking part of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage route.

Japan is easily one of my top 5 favourite countries in the world and it’s somewhere I will 100% return to. Japan was the cleanest and most organized country I have ever been with the most respectful people I have ever encountered. If only the rest of the world would follow their lead. 

5. Indonesia

Indonesia was near the top of my bucket list, especially Bali. And boy did it live up to my high expectations. I spent 2 weeks hopping around the islands, swimming with manta rays, snorkelling, surviving the craziest driving on a motorbike ever, chasing waterfalls, frolicking through rice fields, and slurping down smoothie bowls.

Bali is the perfect place to live it up in luxury, for next to nothing in cost. The people were amazing, the temples were grande, and the option for healthy food was endless. What’s not to love about Bali?

The only thing I missed was Komodo Island and Raja Ampat, which I plan to return to explore some day.

If you’re looking for the perfect place to solo travel, Bali is it! I felt safe and welcomed and I would highly recommend it for female travellers. Until next time Bali…

Bali articles:

How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

Cute Places to Stay in Bali with Amazing Views for Under $40/night (+ 1 Splurge!)

6. Philippines

When I was younger, my family sponsored 2 Filippino girls who became like family (and lived with us for years). I always wanted to go see where they came from and I finally got the chance this year. With over 7000+ islands to choose from, it was hard to pick where to go. But since Palawan got rated the most beautiful island in the world, I knew I couldn’t miss it.

I spent a week between Coron and El Nido island hopping some of the most beautiful waters I have ever seen. I climbed the most dangerous hike I will ever do at Mt. Taraw and motorbiked around El Nido. I caught some epic sunsets at Las Cabanas and got daily massages.

 

I rented a kayak and paddled out to Bikal Beach on Cadlao Island through a gnarly storm that came out of nowhere (I’m glad I didn’t capsize and lived to tell about it hehe). Palawan was outstanding and gave me just the ideal amount of adventure and relaxation.

 

You can read about my adventures here: Palawan, Philippines | How to Spend 7 Days in Paradise (Coron + El Nido)

7. Colombia

My second trip to South America this year brought me to the super dangerous country of Colombia (extreme sarcasm people). Colombia is such a colourful and vibrant country and I felt completely safe traveling there solo.

My favourite part of Colombia was visiting Tayrona National Park. It’s basically a national park filled with endless gorgeous beaches. You can even rent a hammock and stay the night there if you are into the camping (and spiders) thing. My only regret is that I only spent one day here.

Other highlights included climbing El Peñol for the EPIC views from above and visiting the most colourful city I’ve ever seen in Guatape. Oh, ad you can’t miss the beautiful and lively city of Cartagena. I basically spent all my days eating ceviche and photographing the dreamy colorful balkanise of the city. Colombia quickly became my favourite country in South America!

8. Peru

Another top 5 bucket list items was checked on my trip to Peru when I visited Machu Picchu. The long wait was more than worth it and it didn’t let me down one bit! What was even more special is that I miraculously almost had the whole place to myself. What a dream!

I spend 6 days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley constantly being awed of the next site. I attempted and completed the most exhausting hike of my life at Rainbow Mountain (above 17,000 feet altitude).

And to top it off, I enjoyed one of the most scenic train rides I’ve ever taken through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu.Oh, and I ate ceviche just about every day and didn’t feel guilty about it one bit. All in all, Peru was awesome!

Peru article: Peru | Sacred Valley Quick 6-Day Itinerary

9. Jordan

Another “dangerous country” I visited myself this year (sarcasm again people). I want to start by saying that the hospitality I experienced in Jordan was some of the most heart felt i have ever experienced. I felt super welcome and super safe the entire time.

most epic views of Petra

I spent 3 days in Petra and it blew my mind!!! Along with Japan, it was my favourite destination of 2017. I felt like Indiana Jones discovering the lost city of Petra and I had so much fun hiking around the city and doing some mini photo shoots.

The highlight for me was Petra by night which was pure MAGIC. If you go to Petra, definitely don’t miss it!

My biggest regret about Jordan is not staying longer and exploring more of the country. But it’s just an excuse I will use ti return! Jordan, I love you!

Jordan articles:

The Most Epic Views in Petra (+ how to reach them)

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra (aka “The Important Sh*t You Need to Know”)

10. Oman

Most people I know have never heard of Oman and/or don’t know where it is on a map. And this is exactly why I wanted to visit! For the few people I knew who have visited, I have never heard a bad thing about the country.

The main attraction for me is all the Wadis in Oman. Think a desert oasis with a bright green body of water in the middle, lined with palm trees. It was like a mirage, but in real life. Oman was amazing and I had the best time renting a car and driving around to find new places. The Omani people were very kind and I felt right at home in this beautifully untouched Middle Eastern country. I highly recommend you visit soon before it becomes super touristy.


So What’s In Store for CrazyTravelista in 2018?

Well, let’s just say that 2018 is going to be the year of GROUP TRIPS and I’m super excited about it! I have 4 trips planned so far to Lofoten Islands (Norway), Croatia, Banff, and Iceland. The Norway trip is tentatively filled, but keep a look out very soon for details on Croatia, Banff, and Iceland. So excited to meet like-minded travellers!

In terms of solo travel, I have my eye on some places that I’m hoping to get to this year. But as always, who knows if I will actually make it to all these places.

CrzayTravelista’s 2018 Travel Wishlist

  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Bhutan
  • Hong Kong
  • HaLong Bay, Vietnam
  • Patagonia
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Sicily, Italy
  • Georgia (country)
  • Banff
  • Malaysia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Back to Albania

Looks like I have lots of planning to do! Cheers to 2018!

What are You Travel Wishes for 2018?