A Look Back at My 2019 Travels

January 6, 2020








Luxury Travel Advisor & Founder of Passport To Friday. Follow along on my travels and let me help you plan your dream trip or honeymoon!

I'm Chelsea.

2019 was a very defining year for me with an abundance of big life changes and events. I am excited to ride the momentum into 2020, but also ready for a bit of normalcy and for things to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. My body has grown accustomed to not sleeping and spending more time in planes than not, but I am ready for that to change. Here are some of the big moments:

  • Moved to NYC – Arguably my biggest change; bittersweet leaving the city I love so much, Austin.
  • Partnered with Full-Time Travel – A big reason for my move! I am excited to announce more about and for everything to come with this partnership.
  • Switched host travel agencies – This was hard for my because I love and appreciate my previous agency, but excited for what’s ahead with my new agency Embark.
  • Nominated for Most Innovative Advisor at Virtuoso Travel Week – I was completely shocked by this and honored to be in company of some of the greatest in our industry. Also so happy my friend Blaire won Rising Star!
  • …and also achieved Ritz-Carlton STARS Celestial Club! – This means I was one of the top sellers of Marriott International Luxury Brands in the USA, and was another great way to celebrate my hard work.
  • Got robbed – A not-so-fun event, but my apartment was broken into via a crowbar to the door (in a building with 24/7 concierge and fob access to every floor nonetheless), but I am thankful that only material things were taken.
  • Reestablished a balanced life – 2018 was the year of work for me, and while I saw that hard work come to fruition in 2019, my goal for 2019 was “balance” for a reason. I reestablished a healthy social life (okay, maybe a bit too much of a social life again) , started dating again, reconnected with and made new friends, and truly created a community in both my personal and professional life. This has been one of the most rewarding aspects of 2019 for me.

On the travel front, I went to 18 countries and traveled 188 days, which is a huge decline from the 250+ I used to do each year! In 2020, I expect to stay around this number or possibly a bit less (maybe make a goal of 150 days?)

Because I love nostalgia, take a look at my 2016 recap and 2017 recap (I started my 2018 recap last year and never finished, oops!)

As I have said in each of these posts, “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 {2020} holds, I always love to look back at my travels for the year. So here they are for {2019}!”


Cartagena, Colombia

Rang in the near year in Cartagena – one of my new favorite places, and what a fun place to kick off 2020!


My first time to Africa was in 2019, and this will go down as the best trip in my life so far. I went with Singita to check out their different luxury lodges/camps in the Serengeti, and I will forever be so grateful for this trip.


From Tanzania we flew to Rwanda to experience Singita’s new property, Singita Kwitonda Lodge and went GORILLA TREKKING! Definitely the best experience of 2019!

St. Barth’s

St. Barth’s has been high on my list for awhile now, and with the rejuvenation of the destinations and reopening of the hotels, it was the perfect time to check it out.

St. Tropez, France

Oh St. Tropez how I love you so. I am already so excited that I now live in NYC with direct flights to Nice because I will be returning here often!

Forte Dei Marmi, Italy

Spent a night in Forte Dei Marmi on the Italian coast (right below Cinque Terre) and loved this luxe beach town!

St. Kitts

Went on a trip to Park Hyatt St. Kitts with a great travel advisor crew. This is a hidden gem!


Turned 27 on a trip to Belize with Muy’Ono Resorts with a couple of my favorite Austin bloggers + Whitney!

Puerto Rico

Celebrated being awarded Ritz-Carlton STARS Celestial Club (being a top seller of Marriott International Luxury Brands!) in Puerto Rico at the St. Regis Bahia Beach, then a couple of nights at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. This was a huge honor and such a fun trip with some of our favorite hoteliers and colleagues!

Montreal, Canada

From Puerto Rico I flew to Montreal to attend Four Seasons’ ILLUME as one of their “rising star”/”new generation of travel” members. It was an incredible few days connecting with and learning from Four Seasons General Managers from around the world and the Global Sales team. The Four Seasons Montreal is also STUNNING! And yes, that is me with Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp!


Attended my sweet friends Kyle & Ansley’s wedding in this darling little town outside of Atlanta!


Florence & Tuscany, Italy

Returning to Florence is always a treat for me as I studied abroad there in 2013, but this was an extra special trip (that felt very full circle!) returning to attend DUCO Travel Summit. It was a great few weeks meeting with and experiencing all things travel in Italy!

Positano & Capri, Italy

Basically went on a honeymoon with my best friend to check out all of the great properties and experiences along the Amalfi Coast and Capri!

You can see Kayla’s recap of our trip here!

Rome, Italy
Always have to spend a few days in Rome when in Italy 🙂

Adare & Dublin, Ireland
Celebrates Natalie & Brandon’s wedding at the beautiful Adare Manor. Destination weddings were a theme of my 2019, and not mad about it!
London, England
Went to London twice! Although I did not move to London in 2019 (that was my initial goal before settling on NYC), I love that I am now a very quick and cheap flight away from one of my favorite cities.
Paris, France

Ohhhh Paris, how I love you so! While this year’s trip started off with an Uber car accident, I had the best time with Whitney & Mollie on a proper Paris girls’ trip.

Provence / South of France
Saw our sweet friend Caitlin get married to the love of her life Oliver in the most fun wedding in Provence! Then headed around the South of France with Whitney on a road trip (thank you for being the best driver!)
Costa Rica
Fun mother/daughter trip in Costa Rica staying at Origins Lodge, Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, and Andaz Peninsula Papagayo!
St Maarten

Quick one night stay in St. Maarten at Belmond La Samanna before heading to St. Barth’s – I have only ever been here on a cruise ship before!

Dominican Republic

Went with incentive travel clients on their Presidents Club Trip at Casa Del Campo, then had some post-trip R&R with my mama at Eden Roc Cap Cana!

Cannes, France
Attended one of my favorite travel conferences, ILTM Cannes with my new Full-Time Travel team and Embark Beyond!
Maui & Kauai

Joined my parents on their annual Kauai trip, and also added some Maui time in there!

Big Island, Hawaii

Our annual trip with the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau took me to the Big Island of Hawaii where we went around exploring the island – from Black Sand Beach, to night swimming with manta rays, to visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, to snorkeling and so much more!

Las Vegas, NV for Virtuoso Travel Week

This year’s Virtuoso Travel Week was particularly exciting as I was nominated for the Most Innovative Advisor Award! Other highlights during my week in Sin City were meeting & shopping with Sarah Jessica Parker, attending the Janet Jackson concert, and of course catching up with all of my favorite travel partners and colleagues.

Dallas, Texas
Came here a couple of times for work & play!
Check out my hotel spotlight on the Adolphus Hotel here.
Costa Mesa, CA

Spent a few days eating and drinking my way through Costa Mesa!

Check out my blog post on Costa Mesa here.

Orange County & LA, CA
Attended the McDonald’s wedding in Dana Point and stayed at Monarch Beach Resort, then spent a couple of nights in LA!

NYC (Many Times!)

Came to NYC many times this year before eventually moving here!

Check out Kayla’s blog post about our February Girls’ Trip here.

And… in honor of leaving Austin, Texas

A little collection of some of my favorite ATX memories of this year 🙂


Safe travels y’all!

Chelsea Rose Martin


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Hi, I'm Chelsea Martin, Luxury Travel Advisor & Founder of Passport To Friday. I've been planning bespoke luxury vacations and honeymoons for almost a decade now. I can't wait to help you plan the trip of a lifetime! 

A true Cancer, hotel-slipper-obsessed gal whose IG Explore page is full of dogs.



California bred, NYC based, always en route
Follow along on my adventures!