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After our trip to South Africa over the Christmas period last year, I was predicting that our travels during 2018 would be more sedate. I wasn’t planning on taking on any huge distances and looking to explore closer to home. Most of that came to fruition, however, the beauty of being a travel blogger is that travel plans can change overnight and within an instant, a few destinations that weren’t in the running suddenly featured in our plans.

So while my adventures were anything but sedate, I would say that 2018 ended up being a real mixture of lots of different types of breaks. As a family, I got to explore several destinations throughout the UK as well as in Europe. Meanwhile, I was fortunate enough to have several trips on my own. No mean feat when I have two young children – so I have my husband and my parents to thank for that.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Looking for holiday inspiration?

It always brings me huge joy to be able to look back at everywhere we’ve travelled to – and is a timely reminder of how lucky I am. It also makes for a great list of inspiring destinations for any families looking for holiday inspiration both here and in the UK. So if you’re stuck on where to go on holiday this year, here are some amazing travel experiences.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Volterra, Italy

Who could refuse an offer to spend a long weekend in a stunning villa in the beautiful hills of Tuscany in Italy? Not me. The weather may not have been so dry but the warm hospitality of the Giovanni family at La Villa Capanne as well as the opportunity to explore the historical cities of Siena and Florence with an awesome bunch of travel bloggers meant 2018 for off to a flying start! I will never tire of Italy and its delicious cuisine – the gelato is a firm favourite of mine that’s for sure!

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

The Jurassic Coast, Dorset, UK

It may have been cheap and cheerful staying in a holiday park but as a family, we had the best fun exploring Dorset and the Jurassic Coast – a UNESCO World Heritage site. From walks on the beach, fossil hunting, ice cream and breathtaking landscapes this will not be the first or last time we’ll be holidaying in Dorset.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Having been with the family several years previously, I was pleased to discover that the brand new hotel I would be staying in, The Royal Hideaway Corrales Beach, is in a beautiful spot near the small fishing village of La Caleta, which has several pretty tavernas and restaurants and fabulous views out to sea. It was a relaxing adult-only week, and while I missed the children terribly, I also got to finally visit Mount Teide and make my way to the viewing deck of this phenomenal natural volcano and drive around this beautiful national park. It was such a treat to enjoy the spa and read a few books in the winter sunshine, too.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Zakynthos, Greece

When I received an email telling me I had a won a competition to become Simpson Travel‘s blog ambassador for 2018 as well as a £5000 holiday to a destination of my choice, I was obviously elated. After much deliberation from their huge portfolio, we settled on Periyali Villas in Zakynthos. It was a great combination of having our own self-catering villa as well as being on a resort. The location in Vasilikos is idyllic and we never tired of seeing the sparkling azure seas. Highlights included watching baby turtles hatching on the beach as well as discovering some wonderful family-friendly tavernas.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

County Durham, UK

Before we spent a week exploring Durham in the northeast of England, many people told us what a beautiful region it is. And they weren’t wrong. From the coast to the north Pennines, we really got to see much of what Durham has to offer families. We were so lucky with the weather too, and it was a fun half term filled with many outdoor adventures from stargazing to walking with alpacas. A truly wonderful stay for the whole family.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Las Vegas, USA

I genuinely don’t think I could ever tire of going to Las Vegas, although my bank balance might have other ideas. Our second time in Sin City to celebrate my friend’s fortieth birthday, saw us venture to completely different places and do different activities including zip-wiring down Freemont and landing in the Grand Canyon via helicopter. It’s one of those weird and wonderful places – totally over the top, a huge assault on the senses, massively over-priced but also the best weekend I’ve had with my husband and friends in a long time.

My Travel Monkey's Best Travel Experiences of 2018

Bristol, UK

The last time I was in Bristol was back in my heady university days, so I was really excited to return with the whole family and see how much it has changed. We stayed in an aesthetically pleasing new development on the banks of the River Avon and was able to stroll pretty much everywhere in the centre of the city – which is a vibrant, eclectic mix of old and new. We particularly loved the hive of activity at the waterfront and around the harbour. And with so much to see and do,  it was just such a shame we didn’t have long enough, but there’s always next time…

So thank you for following our adventures and I am looking forward to sharing our new travel experiences with you all. Happy new year!