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You know that good ol’ saying, “everything happens for a reason”? That statement could not have held more truth this year, and I am eternally thankful for both the good and the bad experiences that led me to where I am now. I am so incredibly lucky to be living my passion every day by planning clients dream trips and creating priceless memories for them, as well as having the privilege to travel the world and create some of my own.

As a quote from last year’s 2016 travel roundup post, this stands true for the 2018 year to come: “Every year I am so excited for what’s in store in the next, because each year seems to get better and better! While I am thrilled to see what {2018} holds, I always love to look back at my travels for the year. So here they are for {2017}!”


Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como has always been a dream of mine, so crossing this one off the bucket list was extra special this year. It was a dream girls trip with one of my best gal friends Caitlin of @augustaleighphoto, and I am already plotting ways to move there for a few months (but really).

See: Hotel Spotlight: Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy & @augustaleighphoto‘s 3 Days in Lake Como

Lisbon, Portugal

#GirlsTrip 2017 didn’t stop in Lake Como but continued to Portugal where we met up with Whitney of @blonde_atlas. This was my first time to Portugal! We fell in love with the tiled walls, Portugese egg tarts, and the gorgeous sunny weather!

See: @augustaleighphoto‘s 8 Day Travel Guide to Lisbon, Madeira & Porto

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira was such a surprise in the best way possible. We really did not know what to expect from this small Portugese island, but I think we can all collectively say we were blown away by the landscapes, culture, people, and the beautiful Belmond Reid’s Palace. Perfect girls trip!

See: Travel Guide: Madeira, Portugal

 Porto, Portugal

Girls trip continued onto Porto which has been on my list for awhile now (any other Port wine lovers out there?) We may have drank our weight in Port wine and had such an enjoyable time exploring this walkable town.

See: @augustaleighphoto‘s 8 Day Travel Guide to Lisbon, Madeira & Porto

Ireland (outside of Dublin)

I think if I had to pick my favorite trip of the year, this would be it. To be honest, I didn’t think I would love Ireland this much, and now I am the biggest advocate for Ireland and want to send everyone there! I went on a trip with Crafted Ireland which is by far one of the best companies I have worked with, and they gave us so many unforgettable experiences on this trip! I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but blog posts on this trip are to come this month!

Also, watch our trip video here!

Southwest Germany

WINTER. WONDERLAND. My trip to Southwest Germany this December was an absolute White Christmas dream come true, and it was such a memorable experience to stroll the Christmas markets, drink glühwein, eat gingerbread, and frolick in the snow in the Black Forest. I think this is a trip that should be on everyone’s bucket list!


I actually technically went to Switzerland three times this year. When I was staying in Lake Como, the General Manager of Le Sereno, Samy, found out that I had never been to Switzerland so drove me and Caitlin across the border to a mall and back. The second time was when I was on the Southwest Germany trip and we went across the border into Switzerland to see Napoleon’s house and then to the Zurich airport the next day. The third time was just a few days later when I stayed two nights in Geneva. I am actually going back to Switzerland in June 2018, so I am excited to properly explore!

Milan, Italy

Even though I lived in Florence for nearly 5 months, I somehow never made it to Milano. Well this year I did! Just for a quick night but stayed at the beautiful Principe de Savoia and (window) shopped till I dropped!

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride needs to be on everyone’s list. This small Colorado town has the character of a European mountain town, the slopes to rival the best in Colorado, and stunning hikes & sweeping views resembling those of (dare I say) Switzerland. Now if only I could afford a house here…

See: Travel Guide: Telluride, Colorado at Element 52

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Another destination I was pleasantly surprised by, Riviera Nayarit is another place I am wanting to send all of my clients to. I grew up going to Puerto Vallarta, but never knew the world of Riviera Nayarit existed just right outside the city. The hotels are luxurious and beyond superb, the destination feels extremely safe, and the landscape is lush and different from anywhere I have experienced in Mexico. I already cannot wait to go back this year!

See: Travel Guide: Best Hotels in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Y’all, this is the new Napa although I don’t want to let the secret out. Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, Mexico produces some of the best wines I have ever had (yes, even compared to those I have had in Italy, France, etc), and they are small batch and harder to find which makes visiting the destination even more special. I get WAY too excited when I see a Valle de Guadalupe wine on a wine list in a restaurant in the states (Austinites – ATX Cocina has a couple options, San Diegans – I love going to Romesco Mexiterranean in Little Italy). This destination isn’t the easiest to navigate on your own, but Baja Test Kitchen offers weekend group tours leaving from the border or private group tours where they will pick you up either in Mexico or in the States. Contact me for more info!

See: Weekend Wine Getaway in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Costa Rica (twice)

Ahhh, Costa Rica. I had always dreamed of going here and came twice this year! Once for a work trip in Guanacaste, the other for a trip at Nayara Springs – a honeymooners paradise!

Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mayakoba is its own hidden oasis in Riviera Maya. We headed to Andaz Mayakoba just a couple weeks after it opened which was such a s treat. There are four different hotels in Mayakoba, and something for everyone!

See: A Perfect Day at the New Andaz Mayakoba in Mexico


Quick day trip to Belize while working on a chartered cruise ship for an incentive group. We only got to go to Belize City, so I am itching to go back to Belize and properly explore!

Sage Hill Inn in Hill Country, Texas

Took a short 30 minute drive from downtown Austin to this Hill Country oasis known for its dining (breakfast and dinner is included, and believe it is amazing), beautiful sunsets, spa, and relaxation!

See: Weekend Getaway to Sage Hill Inn & Spa in Hill Country, Texas



Any trip to my favorite city in the entire world (I studied abroad here in college!) is special, but this trip with Janine Cifelli Representation & Lungarno Collection allowed me to see my favorite city in a whole new light.


On the same trip with Janine Cifelli Representation, we stayed at Monteverdi in Tuscany which is drop-dead-gorgeous and a very special place. They are currently going through renovations (big, beautiful things to come) and will re-open in May. We also explored Montepulciano, Montalcino, and drank our fair share of Brunello. I cannot get over how wonderful the hospitality was here.

Rome (twice)

One goal I had this year was to get to know Rome better. It’s funny – even though I lived in Florence for nearly five months, I only spent about two days in Rome. I went twice this year and explored the cities, toured a large handful of hotels, and fully embraced “when in Rome”.

Paris, France

Paris has quickly become one of my favorite cities in the world over the past year. Romance exudes everywhere, yet it is ironic because it is one of my favorite cities to explore solo or with girlfriends. One thing I love about Paris, is how walkable it is. I can spend an entire day just roaming the city at a leisurely pace and never get bored! I came to Paris this year in October to go on U by Uniworld‘s inaugural sailing which is a river cruise for millennials. I am excited for these sailings to start in 2018! 


I grew up going to Kauai every summer with my parents but hadn’t been with them in 4 years. It was such fun to go back to my favorite spots and discover new ones with my favorite people!

See: Travel Guide: Poipu, Kauai in Hawaii


2017 is the year that I re-fell in love with Cabo. I grew up going there and always “enjoyed it”, but this February/March I spent 3 weeks there and now have a whole new appreciation for it. The hotels are amazing, and there are even more to come over the next couple years!

See: 24 Hours at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort in Cabo, Mexico & Hotel Spotlight: One&Only Palmilla in Cabo, Mexico


I took a solo trip to NYC over Labor Day Weekend and spent the weekend walking over 10 miles per day, eating Pressed Juicery Freeze every night, meeting up with old friends, checking out hotels & having meetings with travel partners, and going to as many rooftops as possible.

Miami, Florida

Quick stop at the prettiest Faena Miami Beach Hotel for some beach & spa time after docking from the cruise!

See: A Weekend in South Beach Miami

Fredericksburg, Texas

My favorite getaway just over an hour away from Austin, my mother and I spent a couple days in Fredericksburg wine tasting, shopping and eating our way through the adorable German town!

See: Weekend Getaway Guide to Texas Wine Country

Cannes, France

Attended my favorite conference ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) for the second year in a row in this beautiful destination. Always a great time catching up with industry friends from around the world and learning about new hotels and travel products!

Dublin, Ireland

The only other time I have been to Dublin was for St. Paddy’s day back in college, so actually getting to experience Dublin in a new light was a real treat. We even got to go to the Gaelic All Ireland Football Final (their version of the Superbowl) which was an INCREDIBLE experience. Thank you Crafted Ireland yet again!


Went to Jamaica for the SITE Texas Technology Summit – one of my favorite events each year!

San Diego, California (5 times, including 3 best friend’s weddings!)

Home sweet home. Always a joy to go home and this year was even sweeter with THREE bestie’s weddings (hi Heather, Carol, Kelsey). Also did a couple staycations at the brand new Pendry, US Grant, Pier South Resort and Fairmont Grand Del Mar.

See: Hotel Opening: Perfect Day at The Pendry in San Diego, California

Laguna Niguel, California

I worked a short meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and loved the hotel so much that I gifted my parents a stay there for Christmas!

La Quinta/Palm Desert, California

I worked another meeting at La Quinta Resort directly after Laguna Niguel, where we had a massive heat way at the end of October. When the work was done, you best believe we were by the pool with with margs in hand.

Las Vegas

I attend Virtuoso Travel Week every year in August in Las Vegas, but I also worked a meeting here in June this year. I experienced my first Vegas pool party and first real Vegas clubbing (sad for a 25 year old girl who used to only live a 5 hour drive away!)

Dallas, Texas

Because my host travel agency Strong Travel Services is based in Dallas, I went up there a few times for trainings, meetings & more. I stayed at The Joule on one of my trips which I absolutely loved. The restaurants, speakeasy bar, luxury department store across the street, and pool suspending over the busy street below are just a few things that make this Dallas stunner so incredible.

See: 24 Hours at The Joule Hotel in Dallas, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Just a quick 1.5 hour drive from Austin, I spent a week working in San Antonio for a meeting that I work every year. After the work was done, we hit the Riverwalk and Pearl district for margs and great food!

Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

I went back to Terranea to work another meeting this year, this time over my birthday. It is always a treat to go back to this cliffside California hotel, and this time going in July made for even more perfect weather!

Lake Austin Spa Resort

Lake Austin Spa is my favorite escape in Austin and truly my happy place. It is amazing to me that so close to the hustle & bustle of downtown Austin is this lakeside retreat! This trip was with Young Travel Professionals and was filled with boat rides, stand up paddle boarding, a hip hop dance class, spa treatments, stargazing, craft cocktails from the garden, and healthy meals!


Safe travels y’all!

Chelsea Rose Martin