NEW: 27 Best Christmas gift ideas for travel lovers | NEW: My best suitcase packing tips

Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Highlights

2014 In Review: How Many Countries Did We Travel To?

2014 turned out a lot different than our initial plan, but it was an exciting year visiting places we never imagined we’d see. In the end our stats looked like this:

26 countries visited – 13 of those new

19 flights

9 international cross-border train trips

3 road trips (Australia, Bulgaria & Wales)

33,000+ photos taken

Over 70,000 kms covered!

So what exactly did we do from 1st January to 31st December 2014? 

 

JANUARY – MARCH 2014
 

Australia

We started our year trying to sell off loads of our belongings in Perth, Australia. We also took the time to catch up on work, school and attend my brother’s wedding. As well as entertain friends we had made around the world who could finally come visit us in our hometown.

Highlight: Road trip Margaret River – WA’s wine region

 

APRIL - JUNE 2014
 

Malaysia

Just a short break in Kuala Lumpur on the way to Malta. We are big fans of KL and it was nice to spend a few days in Asia before heading for a big year in Europe.

Highlight: Mouth-watering food tour


Turkey

Layover in Istanbul. They have a great business lounge here perfect for those long connections.

 

Malta

A small island south of Italy. It’s heritage and culture are major draw-cards, as well as it’s ancient treasures. We spent 5 nights in this beautiful Mediterranean paradise and highly recommend it.

Highlight: Mia (5yrs) abseiled 5 stories down a sheer cliff 


Greece

A few nights in Athens was hardly worth mentioning until we left for the Cycladic islands – Kythnos, Sifnos, Milos, Ios and Paros where I left a little piece of my heart.

Highlight: Every meal was a highlight (as of 2014 Greek became my favourite cuisine, with Mexican a close runner up)

 

JULY – SEPTEMBER 2014
 

Bulgaria

When deciding what was next after Greece, Bulgaria was the quickest and cheapest flight out of there so we thought why not? We didn’t go to Bulgaria for the culture, but more for a vacation. We ended up in Sunny Beach for 5 weeks writing, swimming and sleeping before road tripping the rest of the country.

Highlight: Hiking to the top of a snow-capped mountain in Panichishte


Poland

Only one week in Poznan was not enough. A family-friendly European city that’s clean and loads of fun. So glad we had a quick stop here.

Highlight: Making lollypops at BonBon Cafe (voted by Mia)


Hungary

Budapest was everything we imagined it to be – historic, architecturally stunning and packed with delicious food.

Highlight: Cruising on the Danube River at sunset

 

United Kingdom

We had picked up a house sitting assignment in London and it was perfect. A great opportunity to rest and take the kids to some of the attractions we hadn’t visited yet.

Highlight: Harry Potter Studio Tour and Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Park


Italy

During our house sit in London I met up with my sister who was on a round-the-world trip. We hopped on a plane together to visit the eternal city of Rome. My third time and I’m still just as in love with it.

Highlight: Visiting the Colosseum

 

Netherlands

From London we took a train under the Channel and over to Amsterdam. My mother is Dutch so the highlight of this trip was the authentic food that I grew up with. Oh, how I had missed it.

Highlight: Yummy Dutch food and Plaswijckpark


Belgium

After our trip in the Netherlands we had another house sitting opportunity in Belgium for 1 month. We did not do much, but looked after the animals and worked. It ended up being a huge gig with over 17 animals and took more time than we thought.

Highlight: Daytrip to Ghent


Finland

During our stay in Belgium Josh took a quick photography trip to Finland. Other than the stunning photography moments, Josh could also not stop talking about the food.

Highlight: Paddling a kayak on a freshwater lake and then drinking straight from the lake (the water was so clean!)

 

France

While we were house sitting in Belgium we took a daytrip to visit friends in France. What an exciting thing to do!

Highlight: Leaving France – lol!


Luxembourg

After a month of relaxation under our belts we decided to catch fewer planes and opted for a rail journey through Europe. Our first stop was only a few hours away and absolutely gorgeous. One of the most under-rated countries in Europe.

Highlight: Glamping in Kautenbach

 

Germany

After Luxembourg we caught a train to Stuttgart in Germany, which was a complete surprise. Fast cars, wonderful parks and delicious food made this 3-day stop loads of fun.

Highlight: Mercedes and Porsche car museums


Switzerland

We visited Lenzerheide and Davos in eastern Switzerland. Since it was summer season they were much quieter, but also so incredibly gorgeous. A mixture of warm weather and snow on the mountains. Switzerland really is magical.

Highlight: Riding lenzibikes (giant off-road scooters) down the mountain in Lenzerheide

 

Austria

Vienna may have been a let down for us, but Salzburg was a winner. A picturesque city steeped in history and the setting of one of our favourite movies – The Sound of Music.

Highlight: The Sound Of Music Tour and cable car up Untesburg mountain

 

OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2014
 

Croatia

After such a quick trip through Europe it was time for another rest and to catch up on some work. We chose an apartment in Split to settle. The kids went to a local school for the month and we also took the opportunity to take short trips to the island of Brac and the city of Dubrovnik.

Highlight: Game Of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik and swimming in the crystal clear Sea at Zlatni Rat (rated as the best beach in Croatia)

 

Italy

While I made my way to set up home in Split, Josh took another quick solo photography press trip to Milan, Italy. He fell in love with the place and was determined to bring me next time. It also happened to be fashion week, and much to my disappointment, his male modelling career didn’t take off. Oh well, back to blogging.

Highlight: Climbing the roof of the Duomo in Milan and visiting the workshop of a master violin maker

 

Bosnia

Little did we know a visit from Split to Dubrovnik would have us passing through Bosnia.

Highlight: Lunch (that’s about all we had time for)


Serbia & Macedonia

We took an overnight train for the experience and left Croatia for Greece with 2 stops in Serbia and Macedonia.

Highlight: Getting off the train


Greece

Back in Greece for a travel blogging conference. I took a quick side trip to Crete and Josh to Thessaloniki while we set up base in Athens for 10 days.

Highlight: Admiring the ancient ruins of Thessaloniki (oh, and the food too!)

 

United Kingdom

We always end up coming back to London, it’s like a magnet! This time we came back for the World Travel Market before hiring a car for 6 weeks and undertaking an epic road trip around Wales.

Highlight: Everything about Wales, but specifically sunset at Aberystwyth

 

Sri Lanka

While we were in Wales I was accepted for a 1-week press trip to Sri Lanka. So I left my family and went touring around Sri Lanka. It was a trip I will never forget and can’t wait to bring my family to see.

Highlight: Hanging out of a fast-moving train


Finland

After our road trip around Wales we took a quick flight to Helsinki and then onward to Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus. Lapland was magical. We went snowmobiling searching for Northern Lights, husky sledding, reindeer rides and we met the REAL Santa.

Highlight: Husky sledding through an enchanted frozen forest

 

Germany

A quick layover in Berlin on the way to Romania.

 

Romania

It was pretty close to Christmas by the time we arrived in Romania. We were meeting our friends for Christmas together in snowy Brasov. It was everything we imagined it to be. The last few nights in Bucharest, however, left us more than ready to say goodbye to chilly Europe.

Highlight: Walking through Bran Castle in Transylvania and visiting the Bear Sanctuary

 

Qatar

Qatar was just a layover on our flight from Romania to Bali, Indonesia. Great airport though.

 

Indonesia

Finally back in Bali, Indonesia just in time for the New Year. We set up a base in Ubud close to our friends and spent two months catching up on work, relaxation and healing our bodies from an indulgent and fast-paced year in Europe.

Highlight: Catching Dengue Fever


Phew!

 

January - December 2014


Australia > Malaysia > Malta > Greece > Bulgaria > Poland > Hungary > United Kingdom > Italy > Netherlands > Belgium > Finland > Luxembourg > Germany > Switzerland > Austria > Croatia > Italy > Greece > United Kingdom > Sri Lanka > Finland > Romania > Indonesia

And there you have it. 2014 wrapped up in a neat little summary. In hindsight it looks like a whirlwind of a year - we crammed so much in. 1 month after arriving in Bali we are still catching our breath. Let’s hope 2015 is a little easier going for us. Then again, that’s what I said at the end of 2013 so who knows what will happen!?

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Bethaney Davies on
Busy lady!!! What are your plans for 2015?
Posted by Katie on
What a great year of travel! I look forward to hearing your plans for 2015 :)
Posted by Doug on
wow. That is about how many I have visited in a lifetime, but it is not over yet.
Europe is a great place to rack up a lot of countries in a short time. Russia, Canada, China, and the USA require a few more miles to travel from boarder to boarder. Give them a try while you still have the energy. Maybe a year each.
Posted by Savi of Bruised Passports on
Whoa Erin - you guys sure get around ;-) Glad you made the best use of your time in Europe. You must explore Malaysia (beyond KL) when you get a chance - the food in other parts of the country is mind-numbingly scrumptious :-)
Write a comment...

Please do note include links in your comments - they will be deleted.

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)
Find more posts by tag:

Reader FAQs:

Question: How do you get reliable 4G Internet access when travelling overseas?

Answer: We use Tep Wireless. Read our review for more details...

More FAQs...

38-airplane2x.png

Get The Latest Blog Posts

There are a number of convenient ways to get the latest blog posts and news from Travel With Bender.

Get €25 cashback with your next Booking.com reservation. Simply click this link and after your stay the funds will be applied to your credit card.

Find out how to make money by listing your place on Airbnb. How much is your place is worth?

Tip: try Dropbox (for free) for securely accessing your documents & images from any device while travelling.


Need fast 4G Internet access while you travel?

We use Tep Wireless. Save 15% with our code: tepbender
Find out more... Our full review...

tep_wireless_sidebar_3-comp.jpg


D99863E5DE8011AFB46603ADADF38D9BB08B57AA122349C10FFE237BB4610A33