A Great Year Travelling In 2019

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It Was A Busy Year Travelling In 2019

Even though we started 2019 with no firm travel plans booked, we very quickly filled the calendar and had a busy year travelling in 2019!

It was the year of travel to the west coast with multiple trips to both California and British Columbia (BC). We did 2 long road trips. There were some crazy adventures. And a great variety of wine tasting experiences.

While we normally don’t travel in the summer, this year we cruised through the Norway Fjords and then up to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. This cruise gave us a good taste test of the UK. And put a much longer return visit on the planning board.

Short trips from our home base in Toronto took us to Ottawa for Canada Day and Boston for the July 4th Independence Day festivities. Winter travels saw us enjoying Montreal, Niagara Falls and included a return trip to Vancouver for the holiday season.

Lets take a look at our year travelling in 2019!

2019 By The Numbers

We visited new and old spots in 2019.  There were over 80 cities/towns and 13 countries visited this year. But on our travels in 2020, we will pass through 100 countries visited!

We travelled by ferry, mountain cog wheel trains, boat, 4×4, helicopter, SUP and underwater.  There were small boats, fast boats, slow boats and large cruise ships.  During our travels we saw temperatures that ranged from -28℃ to 40℃ (-18℉ to 104).  

We flew to the west coast 3 times this year, to the Caribbean and for several smaller trips.  And did one trip to Europe.  Our 3 big road trips put a lot of road mileage on us.  And we continued to cruise this year.  

In total, we travelled about 84,000 km (54,000 miles) this year!!  It was no wonder we finished the year exhausted.  And not really ready for the busy travel year booked for 2020.

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A lot of the year, we did not sleep in our own bed at home. With so many road trips, luxury getaways and three cruises, we left in beds along the full range of accommodations.  And found many things to love and hate about hotels! 

Nights in Hotels =  136
Nights Cruising  =    39

But all of this travel helped us to build loyalty points and status on our year travelling in 2019.

Returning To California

We were quite shocked when we realized that our last visit to California was in 2014. So we planned a 4 week road trip in the early spring. And went back to California for a short cruise at the end of the year.

Our California road trip started with a return to San Diego. And then moved inland to Palm Desert and then to the wine area around Temecula. It was great to add some new California spots on this trip. And to connect with travel friends.

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Our road trip then headed back to the coast. We stopped in Santa Barbara for fresh seafood. And then visited Santa Barbara again for wine tasting on our California cruise. From there we discovered the seaside areas around Pismo Beach and Cambria.

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A road trip back up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) brought back great memories. We stopped and saw the stunning Hearst Castle. And then continued for a return visit to Monterey. We stopped again in Monterey on our California cruise.

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An inland detour to stay in Napa let us meet up with more of our travel friends. And we got the most amazing tailored wine tasting experience.

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Our 4 weeks in California took us back to San Francisco to finish up. And then we returned again on our California cruise. We explored old haunts. And found a few new treasures on our two visits in 2019.

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We were quite excited to visit California twice in 2019. It reminded us how much we loved that area. And it won’t be quite so long until our next visit.

British Columbia From East To West

Our second long road trip was around the province of British Columbia (BC). We started in the east with stays in Kelowna. And then headed to Canada’s desert, Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley. We loved the natural beauty we found everywhere in this great region known for wine.

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When we arrived back at the coast, we headed north of Vancouver along the Sunshine Coast.

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After a ferry ride to Vancouver Island, we spent 10 days and travelled from south to north. The areas around Victoria offered a mix of city and rural draws. A stay on the far west coast in Ucluelet let us enjoy more remote areas. And a final stay north in Comox added more wildlife and natural beauty. We certainly explored Vancouver Island from sea to mountains.

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Our great year travelling in 2019 included a month on the west coast in BC. We visited many new areas. And continued to enjoy Vancouver and the surrounding areas.

A Fall Trip To Utah And Arizona

When we started 2019, we thought we would return to Europe in the fall. But instead we decided to road trip from Utah down through Arizona. We caught the trees just changing colour on day trips from Salt Lake City as we drove the Mt Nebo Loop and travelled through the Wasatch Mountains to Park City.

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A tour of the 5 Utah National Parks brought us one stunning sight after another as we visited Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion. We threw in a few state parks to up the natural beauty.

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We then moved south into Arizona with stops in both Page and Sedona. Red rock landscapes and stunning natural beauty dominated the landscape.

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When we finally hit Phoenix, Scottsdale and then Tucson, cactus of many varieties dominated the views. Although hills and mountains still framed the horizons. We stayed in luxury resorts at the end of this trip. But used these as bases and explored the many things to do in Arizona.

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Road trips were a common theme in our year travelling in 2019. We were not sure we wanted to do another one in the fall. But we were so delighted that we planned our fall trip to Utah and Arizona. We will definitely plan a return visit.  Check out our tips for planning a visit to Utah and Arizona!

Wine Tasting Our Way Through The Year

We had some great winery experiences throughout 2019. We started with ice wine tasting in Niagara on the Lake.

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On our road trip in California, we enjoyed wine tasting in Temecula and then returned to Napa.

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From there we headed to the Okanagan Valley to explore this great Canadian wine region. And tried fruit wines and ciders as we travelled in BC.

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On our road trip through Arizona, we tasted our first Arizona wine in the Verde Valley near Sedona. And went right to the source of the grapes in the Sonoita area.

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We finished our wine tasting experiences with a day trip for wine and cupcakes in the Santa Ynez Valley outside of Santa Barbara.

Lots of wine tasting meant a tasty year travelling in 2019.

Summer North Of The Arctic Circle

If you are winter wimps like us, you plan a trip north of the Arctic Circle for the middle of summer. We expected cool temperatures. And a lot of rain. But instead we got record high temperatures and only once did we wear full rain gear!

We started with a cruise through the Norway Fjords with Oceania Cruises. The charming small towns of Flam, Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Hardstat delighted us. We explored the Geiranger fjord at water level and from the heights. Every day we got yet one more beautiful sight.

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We finished with a day in the charming town to Bergen. A funicular ride took us high for amazing panoramic views.

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After a brief change of cruise ships in Southampton, we headed north. The Faroe Islands charmed us with colour and grass-roofed houses. Weather changed our plans for Greenland. But we still enjoyed a day in a small fishing village.

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The upside of losing a few days in Greenland was that we added those two days to Iceland. We explored the city of Reykjavik. And the saw many of the awesome waterfall, geothermal and volcanic sites of Iceland.

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We headed north of the Arctic Circle travelling in 2019. And it was so much better than we expected.

A Teaser Put The UK On Our Travel Planning Board

On our cruise of the Nordic countries, we enjoyed several stops in the UK. Our first visit to Scotland started in the historic city of Edinburgh. And then we headed to the Orkney Islands.

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We travelled from north to south in Ireland. Our first stop in Northern Ireland was Londonderry. From there we did a day trip and explored the Giant’s Causeway. On our visit to Belfast, we saw a little of the city and then headed out along the Ards Peninsula. On our day in Dublin, we explored on foot this lovely Irish city.

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We finished our cruise of the Nordic countries in the port of Southampton. A small group tour let us explore Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. When we stayed by Hyde Park, we added a few places to our list of things to do in London.

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We got just a small taste test of Scotland, Ireland and England during our year travelling in 2019. But we saw enough to know we want to go back for a much longer trip around the UK.

More Than One Crazy Adventures

There were some crazy adventures in 2019.

We started the year scuba diving in Grand Cayman. And got lots of great underwater pictures. Even if I ruined my iPhone taking it underwater!

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We have been whale watching in many places around the world. But we had the best whale watching ever from Campbell River in BC. The humpback whales put on a such a fun show.

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We climbed rocks on our jeep adventure in Moab, Utah. And explored the Navajo slot canyon in Page, Arizona by speedboat. We messed up a bit on our planning and missed hot air ballooning in Temecula and the Sedona Valley. But a helicopter tour of the Sedona Valley was everything we wanted it to be.

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Adventure was never far away when we went travelling in 2019?

Pampering Luxury Retreats

We started the year with a luxury stay at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. It was the perfect way to be reminded about world class customer service. And the bar was set very high for the year for the things we love about hotels!

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In the dead of winter at home, we escaped to Grand Cayman for a relaxing luxury retreat at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.

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But this was not the only time we enjoyed a pampering getaway as we took advantage of our strategy to build loyalty status. We enjoyed a stay outside of Victoria at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort. It was a great base to explore the Victoria area from.

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While in Victoria, we splurged on Afternoon Tea at the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel.

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We finished our cruise of the Nordic countries with a pampering stay at the Intercontinental Park Lane. It was the perfect way to unwind after a busy cruise with over 30 days at sea.

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At the end of our fall trip to Utah and Arizona, we booked two different luxury resorts. A long weekend at the Hermosa Inn in Scottsdale provided a small boutique experience. And a week at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain outside of Tucson provided a relaxing retreat with lots to see and do.

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On our year travelling in 2019, we stayed in a wide range of hotel properties. Especially during our road trips. But we planned several luxury pampering stays as well.

Winter Weekend Travel

On our winter weekend away in Montreal, we experienced unseasonably cold weather. It was a good thing that Montreal was known for its great food. We had some of the best food of the year on that trip! And we even managed to leave our luxury retreat a few times.

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We visited Niagara Falls many times. But when we stayed with a view over the frozen Niagara Falls, we got the most amazing light show.

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We returned to Vancouver for the holiday season. It was a great visit to see our children. And to take in some holiday cheer.

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When we are at home in the winter, it is always tempting to hibernate from the cold. But this year travelling in 2019, we tried to get our an embrace it.

Travelling For The Holidays

It is always fun to head to Canada’s capital city for Canada Day. Ottawa always puts on a great show. When we returned this year, we got an amazing sweet suite upgrade at the Westin Ottawa with a view right over Parliament Hill. And oh what a show we got!

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From Ottawa we flew to Boston for the July 4th Independence Day festivities. We love to pick historic U.S. cities for this annual celebration. The year before we chose Philadelphia. So Boston was a logical next choice!

From Boston we headed north into New England and were charmed. We loved the very iconic Wentworth By The Sea Resort in Newcastle, New Hampshire. From there we went north into Maine and enjoyed the fresh seafood, beaches and lighthouses. Our 10 day visit to New England was just a taste test. And we know we want to go back to enjoy more.

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Shorter getaways were a fun part of our year travelling in 2019.

An Amazing Year Travelling In 2019

We had an amazing year travelling in 2019. As we entered the year, we planned to try to do shorter trips but more of them. And we certainly did that!

Our travels ranged the gamut from road trips to luxury cruises. We travelled within North America and up north of the Arctic Circle to Greenland. There were a lot of miles put on rental cars on 3 major road trips. We had exciting adventures. And days where we just lounged by the pool.

And like so many years, we finished the year with a long list of places we want to return to. Cruises provided a small taste test of new places. Returns to destinations reminded us why we loved them so much. And we discovered some new places we know we want to see more of.

We already have firm booked plans for 2020. You will soon be able to read all about those plans.

Did you enjoy reading about our exciting year travelling in 2019? If you want to read more, make sure the click the links. Or search on the index. There is so much more detail in the individual blog posts.

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About TravelAtWill 524 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

38 Comments

  1. Interesting, I was in Boston for July 4th too, such a great city. I haven’t tried ice wine. I intended to in Quebec and forgot… this is why I need lists! I have wanted to visit Norway Fjords so quite a while but haven’t made it yet. 80 cities/towns and 13 countries is quite a bit of traveling, especially considering you didn’t have any plans set at the beginning of the year. I want to retire!

  2. And there was me thinking I clocked up the miles but you blew me away :D. I hope to be back in Canada and west coast of the USA soon, there are some of my favourite parts of the world but hopefully ticking off Faroe Islands and Greenland very soon,,,,when the flight prices come down. 😀 I check these at least twice a week. Once they down, I am off! They look amazing parts of to visit.

    • Danik, It is always interesting when we get to the end of the year and tally the numbers. It was a busy year. But we saw so many great spots. Hope you get back to the west coast. And you will not regret visiting the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Linda

  3. That was such an exciting year for you in terms of travel. Lots of places! And you have such wonderful pictures for memories. The tour of the 5 Utah National Parks is the one I crave for the most. The red rock landscapes is just stunning!!!! I hope it happens some day.

  4. Wow, you to so many beautiful places this year! California is on top of my bucket list and I am currently planning a trip to the USA, I hope to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando on their 50th anniversary on 2021, it has been my goal and top travel bucket list since I am a huge Disney fan. Hopefully, I can stop by California too! This year I only traveled to China and Japan. I hope to return to Japan next year during autumn season and also travel more to other cities here in the Philippines for the next year.

    • Fae, It was a wild year travelling. So many great sights. You are going to love Walk Disney World. Another good one to add to your travel list. Japan in the autumn will be great too. Linda

  5. Wow that has been a travel filled year for you guys and I would love to be able to have a year fill me calendar like that. But guess just not yet as still working myself. A whopping 80 cities/towns and 13 countries visited this year and you looking to surpass that in 2020. That is a great achievement I must admit. I have learned a few interesting things from you travels in Canada as this is a less travelled area of mine and one I want to discover more. Hope you ha e a great 2020 and look forward to your experiences

  6. Wow what a wonderful year you had with full of exotic travels. It is great that you traveled 84,000 km (54,000 miles) this year. British Columbia from east to west sounds very tempting to me and hopefully, I will do one day. Also the hot air balloons over the winery in California looks such a beautiful sight. Even Fall trip from Utah to Arizona is beautiful and must do types. Wishing you to conquer new shores in 2020 too.

  7. Wow, looks like you had a fun filled year of adventures! Summer in the Norway Fjords, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland sounds wonderful. I have been to the fjords in Norway once, but I would love to go back. Cruising through them sounds like the perfect way to take in the beauty. I enjoyed taking the funicular in Bergen too. All your luxury stays sound amazing. I don’t get to do many of those. I will have to keep working on my loyalty statuses!

    • Elizabeth, We did have a great year in 2019. Loved the chance to use our loyalty status. Or for free reward stays. Tips on building loyalty and status coming up in new blog post soon. Linda

  8. Whoa! That’s a splendid year indeed! I’m yet to look into my calender and see how I fared in 2019. 13 countries in a year? Wow! That’s impressive! Best wishes on the soon-to-be-crossed 100 countries milestone. -28 deg C to 40 deg C, that’s impressive too! 3 big roadtrips are amazing, the last time I went on one was very long ago… As someone who loved Fall colors, your fall trip of Utah & Arizona looks splendid.

  9. Well you sure got around for people who started the year with no plans! We’ve done that road trip from LA to San Francisco a few times and really enjoyed it but its Iceland and the Faroe Islands that really grabbed by attention in this round up.

  10. Looks like you had a super eventful year! I used to go to school in Kelowna so looking at your photo definitely made me miss it! I did a PCH road trip and visited Iceland last year too plus a fall trip around Utah/Arizona the year before. This brings back such fond memories. I would love to check Faroe Island and Ireland off my list sometime. Here’s to an even more adventurous year to us both!

  11. Wow what an amazing year you had!! It’s so cool that you cruised around Greenland and the fjords in Northern Europe during summertime! And how funny that our paths crossed at a few places. I also went to Arizona and Southern California this year, as well as Dublin. 🙂

  12. You had a busy and eventful year to be sure — fun to look at how many miles you traveled. We managed over 100,000 miles but then we fly internationally a lot. ;-). Here’s to another adventurous travel year ahead and to discovering new places and making new friends.

    • Michael, It is always interesting to see how many miles we travelled. This year we did a lot of our travelling in North America. That will change in 2020. Here is to more great travel for us all in 2020. Linda

  13. Isn’t it so much fun to reflect on the past year and see how far you’ve been? It looks like you had some truly amazing adventures. Whale watching is so much fun, and the shot you’ve shared on this post is seriously amazing. I would love to explore up north more some day, and your travels are definitely inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  14. What a great way to celebrate all your travels this year! I hadn’t thought of celebrating national holidays in either historic towns or capitals but that makes sense. Your adventures make me look forward to what this year will bring!

  15. Wow what an amazing year of travel, am exhausted just reading about it!! I haven’t ever explored California but your pictures make me want to do so. I also did a road trip through Utah and I love this state, there are some amazing parks there. The cruise you did though, I really want to do that. Norway has been at the top of my list for some time but I still haven’t made it there, but seeing the picture in Bergen makes me want to try and make it happen in 2020. Enjoy your travels in 2020 and I look forward to hearing about all your travels.

    • Clare, I hope you get to explore California. We went twice this year and were so glad we did. We were so glad we made it to the Norway fjords and had amazing weather too. Hope you make it soon. Linda

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