• Graffiti in Tel Aviv

My 5 Favorite Travel Memories From 2016

While I look forward to travels in 2017, I can’t help but think about all the great travels I had in 2016 – and there were a lot of them! In 2016 I was in England, Turkey, Latvia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Israel, Morocco, USA, and of course India.

Turkey and Israel were surprise invitations for work (travel blogging) so I was totally stoked to go there and they weren’t on my radar at all which is kind of the most fun part.

Here are 5 travel memories that really stand out from 2016

1) The blue town of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen Travel Tips

Morocco was a dream place when it came to photography, and the all blue town of Chefchaouen was the prettiest place I’ve been. I just got a new camera (will be sharing information on the camera and some photography tips in another post) and had so much fun taking pictures in this town, exploring, shopping, and being on a non-work trip with a friend.

all blue town on Pinterest chefchaouen

Other than reviewing hotels for the blog after the trip, I didn’t do work there and really got to relax. I haven’t had a real vacation so to speak in a while- although I’m sure some would say my life is a vacation to which I wouldn’t really argue. At the same time, when you are on a press trip you really don’t have a minute of downtime and it can get very tiring especially since it’s not always activities you want to do. I only write about the stuff I like when I travel, but there are often many other activities that I did on press trips that don’t get blog coverage.

So, overall 10 days in Morocco just having a girls’ trip was very relaxing. My biggest concerns were how I was going to get 5 sequin baskets back to India!

Read some articles on my time in this perfect blue town:

  1. Chefchaouen Tips
  2. My Bravo article on Chefchaouen
  3. Photos to Inspire You to Visit Chefchaouen

2) Spending time alone in Istanbul

Istanbul was a very last-minute trip for me. I went as a guest of the World Tourism Forum which was a 4-day conference. I decided to extend the trip a week so I could explore after. I hadn’t traveled alone in a while. I was either with other bloggers, friends, or Ben so it was really nice to do solo travel, which is how I always used to travel.

My Little Guide to Istanbul

It’s kind of selfish thing but it’s nice to do what you want when you want. If I want to nap or go to McDonald’s no one is judging me, ha ha. But I actually stay crazy busy. I did so much research before this trip that I had a list a mile long of places I wanted to check out and food I wanted to try. There are a LOT of tourist attractions in Istanbul and they’re all pretty spectacular something I don’t normally say.

My Little Guide to Istanbul

Right before I went there was a terrorist bombing in the main square. A few weeks later when I was there, you could still see the debris and extra police. I thought it was a one-time thing and that it wouldn’t happen again. Unfortunately, after leaving, Istanbul and Turkey, in general, were attacked again and again, with horrible terrorist attacks. The whole country then was in turmoil as a military coup took over. I watched the news there this year with such sadness and can only hope things get better from here in Turkey.

Read some articles on my time exploring Istanbul

  1. My Little Guide to Istanbul
  2. Where to Stay in Istanbul + How to Get Around

3) A trip with Ben in Jordan

Ben and I have traveled in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mexico, and well basically all beach paradise places. So going to Jordan with Ben was totally different!

Essential Tips for Visiting Petra

We rode camels and donkeys, slept in the desert, hiked around Petra, floated in the Dead Sea, explored ancient ruins, and so much more. It was different that my other trips with him and both of our first times to the Middle East.

Camel Rides & Hot Air Balloons in Wadi Rum

Read more about Ben and I’s trip in Jordan

  1. My 5 favorite things to do in Jordan
  2. Your perfect 10 day Jordan itinerary 

4) Actually Traveling around the USA: Vegas, Florida, Nashville

For the last 3 years, I have gone home each summer to Ohio to see family but don’t really have time to go travel around the US (and really don’t want to since I just want to be home).

This time, I got an invite from Visit Florida to spend 8 days with them in Orlando, the Palm Beaches, and Space Coast so I changed my flight ticket to go back sooner. Not surprisingly my favorite memory is Disney when I got to do a VIP tour (OMG BEST THING EVER!)

Disney VIP Tour | Cost, Details & Disney Fast Pass

I also went to Vegas for my BFF’s bachelorette party and hung out in Vegas for a week before. Then, my family including Ben went to Nashville for a long weekend. It’s nice to see the USA and there’s actually a lot I want to do there in California and the West Coast. I’m thinking I might try to do something next year too.

little guide to nashville opryland

A few more articles about my time in the USA

  1. My little guide to Nashville
  2. My week in Vegas
  3. Should you visit Sea World (a bit of a controversial piece)

5) Feeling those Tel Aviv vibes

Tel Aviv was hands down my favorite city I’ve traveled to not just this year, but maybe even ever. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. From the graffiti tours and art scene to the nightlife, surf culture, and of course the food – there was so much I loved about Tel Aviv. I enjoyed Israel in general and cannot recommend it enough as a place for you to visit next year.

20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Israel

One of the coolest things in Tel Aviv was going to the black out restaurant where the food is cooked and served by people who are blind or severely visually impaired. There are only 10 restaurants like this in the world and it’s something very interesting to check out. We met with the people behind Na Laga’at who also put together shows with actors who are blind/deaf to learn more about their company. I highly recommend it and will share about it more in an upcoming post.

Experiences in Tel Aviv

Articles about my time in Israel

  1. 20 photos to inspire you to visit Israel
  2. Article I wrote for Bravo on why I loved Israel & Tel Aviv
  3. 9 experiences you don’t want to miss in Tel Aviv

So, what were your best memories of 2016? Even if they aren’t about travel, I would love to hear about them.


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Tempesst January 2, 2017 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    You had a great year! Israel is on my radar for 2017 and I’m really looking forward to Tel Aviv. My favorite travel memories from the year were a crazy boat party on the Danube in Budapest, falling in love with the Balkans, an amazing & stupidly delicious food tour in Amritsar, and getting to let my party girl side out in Goa after 5 weeks of being in Northern India :)

    • Rachel Jones January 3, 2017 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Ooo you’ll love Tel Aviv it’s awesome. It’s so cool that you had such a good food tour in Amritsar! It makes me want to go back up north just to eat.

  2. Eppie January 3, 2017 at 4:27 am - Reply

    What incredible highlights! I would love to see morocco and am hoping to go to the world conference this year.

  3. Anya Carion January 3, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

    These look absolutely incredible! Sounds like a fantastic year. Cheers to 2017 being just as memory filled :)

    • Rachel Jones January 3, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Anya. I hope you travel to some sweet places next year too!

  4. veena January 4, 2017 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Great memories! [although I have to remind you once again that Memphis is cooler than Nashville :)]
    My top 5 travel memories of 2016 were finally visiting Penang; touring Angkor Wat with one of my best friends; visiting Mussoorie and planning a writer’s retreat; a midnight bicycle tour of Bombay; and a return to Chattanooga, the city where I went to boarding school.
    This year I am looking forward to taking my parents on a trip to the UK in August to revisit the places they lived in the 1970s and to visiting somewhere new in the US — I currently have my sights set on Savannah, so I might try to make that happen in the spring.
    Happy 2017 to you, and I look forward to seeing where this year takes you!

    • Rachel Jones January 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Hahah yes, I need to get my ass to Memphis! My brother and his wife go to Savannah a lot because they like it so much. That would be great.

      • veena January 4, 2017 at 8:04 pm - Reply

        Please come to Memphis! I’ll make sure you get the best ribs ever :)

  5. Samantha January 6, 2017 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Next year I will be traveling for the first time on my own to India for about 11-12 days! How much money should I take??!!Super lost. I was thinking one thousand US dollars. It would include hostels, food, 1 or 2 tours, transportation, and any extra things I might want/need.

    I was thinking of starting of in Delhi, going to Jaipur, then Agra, after that to Varanasi, and finally back to Delhi :)

    Looking forward to hearing from you!


  6. Victoria @The British Berliner January 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    ‘Love this post Rachel. And isn’t it interesting that even though most of us live abroad or in exotic countries, we still consider our best travel memories as those made in our original home countries!

    I know that even though I won’t be moving back to the UK anytime soon, I love travelling to Great Britain, visiting countryside destinations, places of old, friends and family, and where the food is just good old English nosh!

    My best memories of 2016 were in England (yay!), Portugal, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Germany where I currently live as an expat. Oh yeah!

    • Rachel Jones January 9, 2017 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I love some of your best memories were back home, too! I would LOVE to go to the Philippines this year… the islands are calling me!

  7. Megan | Red Around The World January 10, 2017 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I love seeing all the photos from Morocco, Israel, and Istanbul! They are some of my favorites. This sounds like it was a sun year!

  8. Jennifer January 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Wow! The blue buildings are gorgeous! I had no idea there was anything like that in Morocco. I would love to be able to see it someday. My best travel memory of 2016 is… … Myanmar! I was only in Yangon for a few, but the food was delicious, and the golden pagodas were stunning! It was so peaceful as well.

    • Rachel Jones January 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      I cannot believe I’m this close to Myanmar and haven’t been yet! I’ll have to check out your posts on it.

      • Jennifer January 11, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply

        Thanks for replying! I actually just started my blog, and I haven’t completely figured out what I’m doing yet. So I don’t have any post on Myanmar right now. I hope to cover it in the future though.

        • Rachel Jones January 11, 2017 at 2:09 pm - Reply

          Ah okay :) well good luck on your blog and can’t wait to see more posts from you :)

  9. Betsy January 11, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Nice memories!
    My favorite travel memory of the year is definately going to Bundi in the high heat of the summer. My roommate and I met a friend there. I found Bundi to be magical. One evening my friend and I sat by the almost empty lake chatting. She always has good insight. And the three of us went up the the old palace in the hottest part of the day. It was insane. So fun!
    In November I was back in the States and my mom and I traveled to Chattanooga. It is a wonderful little city. I had fun walking all over town with my mom and we had amazing street tacos there.
    I am excited to see what 2017 has in store for me and you!

  10. Mamta January 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Morocco on my list for 2017, thank to you, just added blue town of Chefchaouen.

  11. Freya March 1, 2017 at 3:05 am - Reply

    What a great year you had! More places to add to my list :)

    My highlights were seeing wild orcas, grizzlys and polar bears in Canada – huge bucket list ticks! I also had a blast spending the holidays with my family in the UK (first time in 8 years), followed by skiing in Italy.

    Here’s to 2017, another year of adventures!

  12. Jill Owen April 6, 2017 at 12:34 am - Reply

    2016 was a great travel year for us ! We did a trip to NYC (overnight layover), flew to Turks and Caicos for the week and another overnight layover in Boston to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday! We had 3 other couples with us in a house in T&C. This summer we did a mega trip to Europe. We spent 7 nights touring Budapest, Hungary and various spots in Italy. (Milan, Bologna, Verona and Rome) We then met up with our friends and did a 7 day cruise in the Med. Regretfully we were supposed to go to Istanbul and Ephesus on that cruise but due to a coup we didn’t get to go! (My family had been to Istanbul and Ephesus before! Istanbul is one of my top 5 favorite cities in the world!) We spent two additional nights in Athens to finish the trip. It was a wonderful time! We finished up the year doing a fun 8 night cruise to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. 2017 has started out great with Spring Break in Roatan, Honduras!

    • Rachel Jones April 6, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      I’ve always wanted to go to Turks and Caicos. Your year has been fantastic! Shame about the coup happening at that time, Istanbul is a city worth revisiting.

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