We’ll admit, 2016 has had its ups and downs, but we at Jetsetter feel pretty #blessed looking back on our travels. From far-flung adventures in the Sahara Desert to stateside escapes in San Francisco, here are our favorite trips of the year.
I took a long vacation in Italy with my husband and twin 7-year-old sons. We spent a couple of days in Florence and stayed at Portrait Firenze overlooking the Arno, then hit the beach in the lower Maremma and explored the Tuscan towns of Bolgheri, Populonia, Volterra and Saturnia. The boys loved every minute especially the twice daily trips for gelato.
— Clara Sedlak, Executive Editor
Marrakech has always been on my list of top places to visit. I finally made it there this year, and it did not disappoint! I loved the exotic fusion of cultures and the chaotic markets (where we scored killer deals). Some highlights: sipping mint tea at Amanjena, and spending a day at the Beldi Country Club, relaxing in the hammam and lounging poolside near the rose garden. It was also inspiring to drive along the outskirts of the city with the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. The palette is so unique — a mix of pale peach, pink, honey and sage green that blend into the olive groves, Berber villages, earth and sunset.
— April Ellis, Senior Photo Editor
It’s still hard to believe I’ve explored three continents this year—including Africa and Europe—but I’d be remiss not to say that my favorite trip was the one “closest” to home. Honeymooning in Hawaii is every bit as magical as they say it will be. My husband and I spent two glorious weeks crisscrossing Maui and Kauai, where we lounged on Wailea Beach, hiked the Nā Pali Coast, saw the sun rise from the summit of Haleakalā National Park, chowed down on poke until our bellies nearly burst, and stayed at some seriously fabulous hotels including the prestigious St. Regis Princeville, where I witnessed one of the most stunning sunsets of my life.
— Lindsey Olander, Editor
This year has been a whirlwind of travel. But my four-day eatathon through Mexico City takes the cake (literally). I stayed at the gorgeous St. Regis and spent the time stuffing my face with turkey tortas and tacos on a street food tour, smoked oysters and tableside guac at Fonda Mayora, mounds of mole at La Merced market, and flavors I couldn’t even comprehend during an insane six-course tasting menu at the award-winning Pujol. It’s safe to say I came home heavier—and happier—than before.
— Chelsea Bengier, Editorial Assistant
My favorite trip this year was my solo road trip through Portugal’s Alentejo region. I started in Lisbon and drove through the countryside to the cities of Montemor-o-Novo, Evora and Estremoz, stopping to explore Moorish castles, pastoral villages and vast vineyards. I especially enjoyed touring the whitewashed village of Monsaraz with a lovely British couple I befriended while staying at Monte da Fornalha — a gorgeous, 200-year-old guesthouse set amidst lemon trees and olive groves.
— Siobhan Reid, Writer
Hands down, the best vacation I took this year was a three-day road trip through the Moroccan countryside. Starting in Marrakech, we drove through the High Atlas Mountains, past the oases of the Draa Valley and the winding roads along Dades Gorge, before finally arriving at the dunes of Erg Chebbi on the edge of the Sahara, where a line of camels carried us across the sand as the sun set over the desert. When we arrived at our camp, we were welcomed with mint tea, a delicious Moroccan dinner, traditional Berber music, and the most incredible starry skies I’ve ever seen.
— Gretchen Moosbrugger, Photo Editor
I didn’t go on any far-flung adventures this year, but I did cover a lot of local ground, making weekend romps around the East Coast. My favorite of the bunch was a four-day trip driving from one end of Long Island to the other (and back). Four days may not seem like a lot, but we ran the LI gamut, trekking from the nautical village of Port Jefferson, to the nearly car-less National Seashore of Fire Island, to Ina Garten’s East Hampton hood, and Montauk’s best-at-sunset yacht club. The highlight of it all was definitely staying at Oheka Castle, an elegant Gatsby-style Gold Coast mansion where Taylor Swift happened to film her "Blank Space" music video.
— Chelsea Stuart, Editorial Intern
In November, I went on a short jaunt to San Francisco with my boyfriend. We biked more than 30 miles, stopping to see the Painted Ladies and Palace of Fine Arts, before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and cruising down toward Sausalito (then back up again… ow). After exploring the city, we picked up camping equipment and set out for Redwood National Park to hike beneath the towering trees. Coincidentally, it was also the night of the super moon, which lit up the entire forest in a soft, ethereal glow. I only had four days, but I got enough action in to call it the best trip I’ve taken this year!
— Lauren Dishinger, Associate Photo Editor
One of my best trips was a long weekend up to Kent, a shockingly relaxed town in Connecticut’s pretentious Litchfield County, to shoot a custom motorcycle shop. I spent the weekend in the rolling countryside, eating good food (a must-try was the namesake burger and fries at Kingsley Tavern paired with one of their exceptional cocktails), visiting Kent Falls, and of course: taking some badass pictures of bikes.
— Rebecca Enis, Photo Intern