Angie Away Jacksonville, Florida Blogger

Angie Away’s 2016 Travel Year in Review

You know how every year I say I’m going to travel a bit less and work a bit less?

Looking back on 2016 travel, I can’t help but laugh at myself.

Like I can ever turn down fun projects, exciting destinations and the chance to find new stories to tell!

Should I even bother with such promises in 2017? I know what I want to do. I know that I’m looking for balance — something even harder to find now that I’m a married homeowner slash blogger slash publicist slash future best-selling author. How come what I want doesn’t match up with what I end up doing every year, which is ultimately saying yes more than I should, cramming as many experiences as possible into 365 days and sliding into the new year looking like Doc from Back to the Future?

Even if I were able to keep myself on track and maintain that elusive “balance,” my best intentions go out the window when life’s little curve balls show up. It’s no secret that 2016 has been a roller coaster of a year, not just for me personally, but for just about everyone I know. Health scares, freak accidents, psychotic stalkers… and that’s just what I dealt with. Some of my friends and family have been through far worse.

All that said, I know there are a whole bunch of us ready to close the book on 2016! I’ll touch on some big changes and updates in Reflections from the Road post coming on January 1.

For now, let’s look back on this year’s travels, stats and misadventures! 

2016 Travel By the Numbers

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Flights taken: 27

Flights canceled or not taken: 6

Miles flown in 2016: 31,918

Airports visited: 20

{JAX, JFK, HNL, LIH, PHX, DFW, MIA, CAN, LGW, MCO, MSP, YVR, YYC, YYZ, PHL, BWI, ALB, BOS, ATL, ECP}

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Cruise ships: 1, the Fathom Adonia

Train adventures: 1, the Rocky Mountaineer

Hotel nights: 59

Helicopter ride: 1

Car ferries: 1

Vehicles rented: 3

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Continents explored: 2 | North America, Europe

Countries visited: 4 | UK, Canada, Mexico, Cuba

States visited: 6 | FL, NY, GA, MN, MA, HI

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Relaunched website: 1

New posts on AngieAway.com: 35

TV Appearances on The Today Show & The Chat: 5

Articles written for Travelocity’s Inspire Blog: 14

Speech on Press Trip Behavior at TBEX Minneapolis: 1

Gift guides published (Holiday | Shark Lovers): 2

Reflections from the Road (Vol. 25 | Vol. 26 | Vol. 27 | Vol. 28): 4

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Pokemon Caught: 70

Tea with a countess in a castle: 1

Near death experiences: 1

Creepy online stalkers conquered: 1

Stories published/broadcast about our disastrous wedding at Bahama Beach Club: 12

Angie in the Hospital

Days in the hospital: 3

Appendectomy: 1

Bulging neck discs: 3

Hurricane: 1

Pounds gained: I’ll tell you how many once I lose them all!

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Your follows and shares mean I get to keep living this dream a bit longer, so thank you for every single like this year!

Social media growth on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest has been slow-going in 2016, but Instagram and Snapchat are really cooking. I’m interested to see how that continues in 2017 and where the blog industry goes next. Much more ruminations and predictions to come on that front.

Twitter: 14,400 | Facebook: 4,141 | Pinterest: 3,000 | Instagram: 64,000

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Favorite New Destination: Cuba

Cuba was such an enigma to me! I feel very blessed that I was able to visit on the inaugural sailing of the Fathom ship Adonia. It’s a complicated destination and not exactly easy to visit or navigate on your own, but the challenges were worth it to be able to step foot in one of the places I’ve always longed to go.

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Downton Abbey Highclere Castle Vintage Garden Party

Best Costumed Adventure: Great Britain

This was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken as The Jet Sisters. We promenaded all over Bath for the Jane Austen Festival, learned Regency dances at a country ball, ate the fanciest meal at The Gainsborough, took the waters at Thermae Bath Spa and sipped on Austen-inspired craft cocktails at the cutest little gin bar. The next day, we woke up, stuffed our costumes in a bag and time-traveled to Highclere Castle: 1912 for a vintage garden party and tea with the Countess of Carnarvon.

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Most Visited Destination: Orlando

When I was little, Orlando seemed so far away. The rare three-hour drive to Mickey’s house felt like eternity for wee little me. Now, it takes me two hours to zip down to O-town, usually for work. Pro tip: work is always more fun at a theme park!

This year, I partnered with Universal Orlando Resort on all sorts of fun projects. My favorite part was filming a segment with Tamron Hall & her nieces for The Today Show. I also rode the newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, I ate at the newest restaurant, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, stayed in the newest hotel, Sapphire Falls, and I brought a handful of bloggers to the parks to show off what I love most about the destination. I also spent lots of time goofing around with my little sister at Rising Star Karaoke in CityWalk.

My Orlando adventures weren’t limited to Universal though! I explored the J.W. Marriott for a fun Instagram campaign, attended my sister’s graduation from the University of Central Florida, wandered around Lake Eola and enjoyed the spoils of many an IKEA trip. Next year is shaping up to have lots of Orlando in it, and I couldn’t be happier.
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Home Sweet Home: Adventures around Florida

The benefit of living in Florida is that I’m always technically in a vacation destination, and never more than a quick car ride from a fun adventure. This year, in addition to all the time I spent in Orlando, I explored Panama City Beach with Jade & Kristin, went scalloping in Steinhatchee and laughed my head off at a Flight of the Conchords concert in St. Augustine.

In my own hometown of Jacksonville, I spent a good deal of time eating at all the delicious restaurants in town then relaxing and pampering myself at our top spas.

We cavorted often at Everbank Field, attending the Florida-Georgia game and hanging with Tim Tebow and friends during the SEC Nation broadcast. I was shocked how much I enjoyed Monster Jam and the final Jacksonville Jaguars home game. Those poolside cabanas in the stadium are something else!

We also did grown-up things like buying a truck, a house and a washer/dryer. Not as exciting as a monster truck show, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Visit Florida, indeed.

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Best Girlfriend Getaway: Martha’s Vineyard

I look forward to my annual getaway with these two as much as anything else. There are so many wonderful aspects to freelancing, but sometimes it can be a solitary existence. Hanging with Alex in Wanderland and Camels and Chocolate (doesn’t everyone call their friends by their blog names?) is a breath of fresh air because they know the struggles of making a way in this bizarre little industry and can understand when I need to vent for 1-8 hours straight.

This year we met up for a girls’ weekend on Martha’s Vineyard and it was perfect. We did yoga, ate lots of amazing food, napped and just caught up on life and work. Now taking suggestions for our 2017 trip!

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Best Group Trip: Mexico

I don’t take many group trips these days, but I made an exception to attend the Travelocity Gnational Gnomads Summit in Cancun. It was fun to catch up with old friends and meet lots of bloggers I’ve known online for ages, but never IRL. What a fun bunch and a group I’m excited to get to know better in 2017!

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Most Romantic Destination: Kauai

Hurricane Matthew almost kept us from our trip to Kauai, but we were able to postpone by a few weeks and still make it happen. In addition to showing Rick all my favorite spots on the island, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa threw us a beautiful, simple vow renewal and treated us to a romantic dinner on the beach afterward. With all that transpired with our ill-fated destination wedding in The Bahamas, it was such a blessing to have this moment to refocus and start over on an island that has meant so much to me over the years. It was the next best thing to getting married in Hawaii in the first place!

I have heaps of stories to tell about our visit, so keep an eye out, especially if you’re planning a trip in 2017!

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Best Road Trip: Savannah

Rick and I worked with Enterprise on a romantic coastal Georgia road trip to celebrate our anniversary in October. I loved our quick trip to Savannah so much, I went back again just a couple of weeks ago to explore the city more with Hotel Indigo. I imagine there will be much more of this Spanish moss-draped beauty in my future. Hope you like verandahs and mint juleps and fried green tomatoes, y’all!

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Best Wilderness Escape: Jasper, Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer offered me a chance to help my Mom check off something on her bucket list: a train trip through Canada! We started in Vancouver and made our way up to Kamloops and then Jasper, where we stayed a few days to hike and explore. Canada is just one of those destinations that keeps on giving! We loved every minute and consider ourselves real poutine aficionados now.

Fingers crossed for a return trip next year. Cold air in July never gets old for this Florida girl.

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Would it be ok with you guys if I took the rest of the year off to sleep, do a juice fast and try not to think about the fact that I’m planning to write 250,000+ words in 2017?

Do me a favor and leave me a comment with your favorite/best 2016 travel memory. That would be a fabulous way to kick off 2017 =)

Did you “like” this post? It only takes one click to tell a friend all about it via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+ and I’ve made it SO EASY with all the little buttons at the end of this post. Sharing helps me stay on the road and to continue telling stories, so thank you for your help in keeping Angie… away!

COME AWAY WITH ME!
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  • December 28, 2016

    OMG, TWELVE stories about the BBC? Craig had no idea what was coming to him when he decided to mess with Angie Away, lol! Good for you.

    How about we up our girlfriend getaway weeks/weekends from four in 2016 to, I don’t know, eight in 2017? 😉

  • December 29, 2016
    Jamie Kralicek

    You know I love your writing, so thank you for continuing to keep us updated. You know Aunti J doesn’t get to travel to such wonderful and exotic places that YOU frequent – but – I must say (even tho your experience in the Bahamas was tragic) I loved the weather and the company. This past October brought me and my side of the family to St. Pete, and this was wonderful too. Having lots of family together was truly blessed. So, continue with your travels and God Bless Yu.

  • December 30, 2016
    Kim

    Can I take a direct flight out of 2016 or do I have to do a layover in Cleveland?

    My best friend and I went to Alaska for her birthday in July. It was her first trip there and we took an amazing cruise. We did a float plane trip on a 90 degree (what?!) day in Juneau over the ice fields and had balcony birthday breakfast while sailing through Glacier Bay. We bookended the trip with a few days in Seattle and it was just one of those vacations that was perfect from start to finish, minus one broken suitcase. SO excited to do some travel planning for 2017!!!!!!

    Happy & Healthy New Year!!

    • January 03, 2017

      Ooooh that Alaska trip sounds amazing! I’ve only been once but have been plotting my return ever since…

      Happy 2017!

  • January 02, 2017

    I was at a girl’s night dinner this week in Thailand and we were talking about destination weddings and I started to say, “Well my friend Angie had this nightmare…” and everyone cut me off like yeah duh we have read every word about it. Ha! So rest assured your story has been spread faaaar and wide. Take that, Bahama Beach Club!

    In other news, so thrilled to have been a part of your year!

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