2018 has been an incredible year filled with Travelbunny highlights both in travel and blogging. Me and Mr Jones have had some unique travel experiences that we’ll always remember. I’m all about collecting memories not things so it’s good to round-up the year and remember the amazing times we’ve had together as a couple, with family and with friends.
It’s been another busy year and 2018 has taken me to three continents, ten countries (two new) with a total of 17 trips. I’ve continued to explore the UK and closer to home in beautiful Sussex – you can read more about Sussex in Sussex Bloggers which I run with my friend Kathryn.
Some trips below I’ve written about, some made it to Instagram or Facebook and others lurk within the pages of my journals ready to share when time allows. So let’s travel back through 2018 on The Travelbunny…
I love trips that become an annual tradition and this is one of them. Each year we spend a few days in Tenerife with friends. It’s great to get some winter sunshine but the main focus of the trip is a mini tennis tournament. We play doubles tennis most weeks throughout the winter but the January trip means we can play every day in the sunshine! Tenerife is seriously underrated and isn’t just sun, sea and English breakfasts. Mount Teide makes a great day out and the authentic villages in the north of the island are very pretty. We hope to pay a visit to Masca for the views next month. I’ve stayed in many hotels in Tenerife over the years with work and for pleasure but the one we prefer is the Bahia del Duque in Costa Adeje.
February took me to three diverse destinations this year. Copenhagen was the first and is a pretty place to visit in Winter. We stayed at the Admiral Hotel a renovated warehouse opposite the Opera House. It’s in good walking distance to many sights including the Little Mermaid and Nyhavn.
Our second trip in February took us from Nordic winter in Copenhagen to Caribbean sunshine in Barbados. My first visit to the island and hopefully not my last. We stayed at the gorgeous Cobblers Cove hotel a boutique hotel on the islands west coast. A hire car meant we took a mini road trip around the island. We loved the drama of the East Coast and may have got lost once or twice. Wouldn’t be an adventure otherwise would it!
Read more: A Bajan Road Trip
Rodrigues Island is somewhere you’ve probably not heard of – unless you’re an avid reader of The Travelbunny…! This off the beaten track island around 590 km north-east of Mauritius is one of the most authentic places I’ve visited. Think beautiful scenery, caves, quiet coves, crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. I found fabulous food, the friendliest of people, adventure and local festivals. From wildlife reserves with giant tortoises to corals reefs alive with vibrant fish, snorkelling scuba diving and kite surfing this is a place I’d dearly love to return to some day.
Read more: Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean
We love Spring skiing and Morzine Avoriaz in the French Alps are the perfect place for it – especially if you have friends who have a house there! This year our trip coincided with Rock the Piste a series of music concerts which take place on the slopes around the Portes du Soleil area. The skiing was good with plenty of snow and not too many people on the slopes. We choose a week when neither the French or English schools are on a break and it makes a huge difference.
Read more: Ten Reasons to love the French Alps
Chair Lift from Lindarets Bowl, Avoriaz
Family time in April and we spent a week with my son and his family, including my new grandson Jack in Ilfracome. I love north Devon as we had family holidays there with my grandparents when I was little. It was good to recreate the tradition. We stayed in beautiful seaside themed apartment overlooking the harbour and had a fabulous week exploring the area.
Read More: Things to do in Ilfracombe
Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe
The Wood Norton
April saw us head west for the second time with a stay at The Wood Norton in Evesham. The imposing Grade II listed hotel is one of the Cotswold’s best luxury hotels; brimming with character, charm and an added blend of historic country house style and contemporary design. It’s also a great base for exploring some the Cotswold’s cutest villages.
Read more: A stay at the Wood Norton in Evesham
The Wood Norton
May came and so did a visit to friends who live in Spain. We had a relaxing few days doing nothing much in particular, chatting and enjoying the sunshine.
Read about: Spain
June with its glorious weather arrived and coincided with a visit to Cumbria and my first time in the Lake District. We stayed in a cottage in Arnside with my parents – a Christmas present to us all from my son and daughter and their partners and we made some special family memories. We loved exploring the area and paid visits to Kendel, Lake Windermere, Grassmere and Coniston Water. Me and Mr Jones climbed Old Man Coniston which was hard work but totally worth it for the amazing views when we reached the top.
Tor at Old Man Coniston
A work trip came next to Majorca where we’d organised a corporate group incentive trip to Port Soller. We stayed at the fabulous Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel. The town itself is lovely, another place I’d return to, with lots to do in the area. We organised group trips to Palma, the island’s capital and the pretty village of Deira.
Read more: Spain
A secret destination called in July and a press trip with The Blogger Course.The destination was unknown until we got to the airport although if you’d wanted to check you could find out a few days before. Cologne was a lovely surprise and it was great to meet up with other travel bloggers. Some I’d met before and some new friends made. We climbed the Cathedral, drank Kolsch, enjoyed some great German food and had a fabulous weekend in the city.
Old Town Cologne
Within a few days I was back at the airport and heading off to Spain. This time for a big birthday surprise and a couple of days with friends. From there we hopped on a train and tacked on a night in Valencia. We walked our socks off in the city – I clocked up 17 km on my Fitbit one day! Delicious tapas and pintxos were our staple diet for the day and we explored the city’s famous market and had lunch at the beach. A dry river bed that’s been made into a park ribbons through the city and is home to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences which we explored.
Pintxos in Valencia
In August I visited a blogger friend, Viveka, who lives near Helsingborg in Sweden. I based myself in Helsingbor and met up with Viveka each day who was the most brilliant guide and showed me around the city, Kullaberg and Molle. We took a trip over to Helsingor in Denmark to visit Kronborg Castle aka Hamlet’s castle and explored the state-of-the-art library and restored dockyard. And of course we found time for Fika!
Next stop Paris and a stay in the fabulous Paris Boutik La Librairie in Le Marais. We didn’t stray far from Le Marais as we decided we didn’t want to spread ourselves too thin and just wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the area. As we were staying in a converted bookstore we decided to give our weekend a theme and decided on a Literary Weekend in Paris. I also went a Paris Secret Food Tour of Le Marais to get a taste of the area.
Read more: A Literary Weekend in Paris
One of my photos was hung in Mayfair gallery The Herrick as part of a Samsung S9 campaign with Traverse. Forty bloggers were each loaned a Samsung phone and sent out to take photographs. One photo was chosen from each blogger to be displayed at the gallery and three would win a Samsung S9 phone. This was my shot and I was delighted that it was one of the winners. An aluminium print of my image now hangs in the Samsung reception! Proud moment.
Elsie Rose, Hastings Fishing Boat
The Big One – Costa Rica was our big trip this year. We arrived in San Jose, hired a car and spent two weeks on a road trip of Costa Rica. After starting our trip in the country’s capital San Jose we explored La Fortuna and put our head in the clouds in Monteverde Cloud Forest. We relaxed in Punta Leona and encountered amazing wildlife and conservation in Manuel Antonio. I’m devoting the whole of January on the blog to Costa Rica but until then here’s a taster. Five reasons I fell in love with Costa Rica.
Read more: A Costa Rica Adventure
I was delighted to be a finalist in the Travel Media Awards 2018 in the social photography category for my Instagram account. I didn’t win but had a great time at the awards ceremony held at the ME in London.
An afternoon was spent cooking up a German feast with the German National Tourist Office and Hello Fresh. About 15 bloggers had a tasty time making Schnitzels, roast veggies and learning about German food.
Since I went to Amiens last year and heard about the light show on the Cathedral I’ve wanted to see it. Plus they have a massive Christmas market in the city. We took a last-minute trip on Euro Tunnel and spent a night in the city – hotel and train cost £55 each between four of us plus petrol and tolls so a bargain break. The light show was incredible and worth going for that alone. They also do it in the summer so if you’re in the area do go along.
I spent a day at the BBC Good Food Show with Travelsphere Holidays. I’d previously been to the summer show and enjoyed a second visit in November for the winter version. We met chef Tom Kerridge and learned about how Travelsphere gives back to the communities they visit with its Travelsphere Cares initiative.
Read more: Travelsphere Cares
A day trip to London with National Express to check out the Christmas markets and London lights got me feeling especially festive. Read more to find out where to see the best of London’s festive decorations.
Read more: A Festive Day Out – Christmas in London
It only feels like a few days ago that I got back from a press trip with Inghams to Alta Badia in Italy. The gourmet ski trip was a revelation – the Italians do food and skiing so well with gourmet dishes, Sommeliers on the pistes and all at very reasonable prices. I’ll be writing the trip up soon but in the meantime check out the first highlight in my Instagram stories.
Alta Badia, Dolomites, Italy
Moving into 2019
Things are changing and there are exciting times ahead. I’ll be working on my blog full-time from January which means I’ll be writing up a lot of the trips above that remain tucked within the pages of my journals. Working a full-time job meant I was only able to keep the blog ticking over with a lots of late nights and working weekends involved. I can’t wait to spend more time on it next year and have lots of plans and ideas. If there’s anything you’d especially like to see let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
To say I’ve a lot to be grateful for this year would be an understatement. And talking of being grateful, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s read my blog this year, interacted on the Facebook page, commented on Instagram, retweeted a tweet, left a comment, watched a video or interacted in any way. Also thank you to Mr Jones for his unending support. You’ve all been amazing and it means so much. Thank you.
So that was 2018, a year of amazing adventures in some stunning destinations with lots of memories made. Hopefully 2019 will be filled with just as many. We’ve already started planning!
Here’s wishing you a very happy, healthy New Year. What plans do you have for next year?
Suzanne Jones is creator, writer and photographer at The Travelbunny. When she’s not indulging her wanderlust you’ll most likely find her enjoying coastal walks in her home county of East Sussex, UK.
Suzanne co-writes Sussex Bloggers which showcases the best of East & West Sussex.