Can you believe that 2021 is already drawing to a close? The team of travel experts here at TravelAwaits spent the year exploring new destinations, reliving fond memories of bygone trips, and providing travel inspiration and expertise to our readers. To celebrate another exciting year of wanderlust and jet-setting, we wanted to take a look back at the articles that you, our readers, resonated the most with in the past year. As a special treat, let’s start with the most popular article of the year so you don’t have to scroll to the bottom to find it…
1. European Towns That Are Better In The Winter Than The Summer
Topping the list this year was travel expert Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey’s piece on European towns that are better to visit in the winter than the summer. While amazing any time of year, these seven cities exude additional ambiance and charm during the colder months. From snow-covered buildings to going the extra mile — rather kilometer in this instance — around the holidays, you can’t go wrong booking your winter flight to any of these great cities. Which will you be adding to your travel list in 2022?
2. Enchanting Places Where Cars Aren’t Allowed
Travelers often yearn to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and for good reason. The constant car cacophony is enough to drive anyone mad. Travel expert Inka Piegsa Quischotte stepped in to share these 11 enchanting places around the world where cars aren’t allowed. Spanning four continents, Inka shares her favorite places where you are more likely to be run over by a donkey than a Mustang.
3. Luxury Train Line Now Operating On One Of The Most Beautiful Routes In The U.S.
Rounding out the coveted top three, travel news writer Jim Fulcher connected with readers when he shared this timely tidbit of transit news. A popular Canadian-based train line announced its foray into the United States with an exciting new line. Read more of Jim’s piece to learn which luxury Canadian train line is now operating on one of the most beautiful routes in the U.S.!
4. Where I Decided To Retire After Moving 33 Times During My Life
When I first read Peggy Cleveland’s story about retirement after moving 33 times, I was excited to know that I wasn’t the only regular re-locator (24 for me which seems paltry in comparison). But what really piqued my interest was where she landed and what drew her there after so many moves. I have to say that I fully support her reasoning and definitely desire to travel to this region in the near future at the very least. See where she decided to retire after moving 33 times during her life.
5. The Friendliest Small Towns In The U.S.
The inaugural year for our Best Of Travel Awards was 2021, and our readers excitedly voted to recognize their favorite destinations from around the globe. One of the tightest races by far was for the title of friendliest small town in the U.S., so it was not surprising to see Laura Ray’s piece showcasing the winners intriguing so many of our readers. Learn more about all 15 of the friendliest small towns in the U.S. and see if your hometown made the list!
6. This Florida Town May Be The Most Magical Place To Spend The Holidays
Florida is not necessarily an idyllic destination to spend the holidays in the traditional sense. After all, Bing Crosby isn’t the only one that dreams of a white Christmas each year. However, Greg Robertson helped create a case for why St. Augustine shouldn’t be ignored this time of the year despite its lack of snow. Learn why this Florida town may be the most magical place to spend the holidays.
7. Why Costa Rica Is The Best Place To Retire Internationally
Why is Costa Rica the best place to retire internationally? Erika Ebsworth-Goold shares eight reasons that set Costa Rica apart from other regions with beautiful beaches and ocean views. Medical care in this unassuming Central American country tops the list of reasons why expats prefer it over other more well-known nations when they are choosing where to roost in their golden years. If you are pondering retirement abroad, make sure to read the whole article to see what else sets Costa Rica apart!
8. Delta Flight Crew Finds Letter Left In Cockpit Calling It A Pandemic Time Capsule
The year 2021 was a year where the entire world collectively held its breath in anticipation for what a new year might bring. After all, hindsight proved that 2020 was not the year that anyone had truly hoped for. Air travel came to a screeching halt, and planes found themselves parked indefinitely. Upon bringing one such plane out of storage, a Delta flight crew discovered a note left by the last person to pilot it: 435 days prior. Read the full pandemic time capsule as the crew dubbed it.
9. Friendliest Small Towns To Visit In Canada
Canada is regularly named one of the friendliest countries in the world. In fact, the internet is teeming with memes showcasing, and yes, poking fun at, this moniker. But where are the most friendly towns in the most friendly country? Canadian native and travel expert Vanessa Chiasson shares 19 towns that she believes outshine the rest. From Quebec to Nunavut, British Columbia to Newfoundland, enjoy her picks for the friendliest small towns in all of Canada.
10. Beautiful Castles You Can Actually Visit In The Midwest
Castles are intriguing. Ramparts, portcullises, moats, and drawbridges just scratch the surface of these architectural achievements that stand the test of time. And yet, for most a trip to Europe, the motherland of castles is not in the cards. But don’t ye fret, for Midwestern travel expert Tim Trudell has shared this list of nine beautiful castles you can actually visit in the Midwestern U.S. to keep your knightly dreams alive. Have fun storming the castle!
11. Spectacular Fall Foliage Train Rides In The U.S.
Nothing is more beautiful than watching the leaves transition from lively green to even more vivacious shades of orange and red. While road trips are an exciting way to enjoy these colorful hues, being the driver does tend to detract from the experience as your eyes must stay trained on the road. If this has been your experience in the past, consider one of these spectacular fall foliage train rides in the U.S. in 2022 so you don’t miss a thing.
12. Opportunities To Make Extra Income In Retirement
Retirement isn’t cheap, and despite the best-laid plans, earning a little extra is rarely a bad thing for most retirees. Louisa Rogers, expat and travel expert, jumped at the chance to share her expertise in this area with our readers earlier this year. Consider all eight of Louisa’s opportunities to make extra income in retirement.
13. Reasons Panama Is Popular With Retirees Looking To Live Internationally
Proximity to the U.S. and favorable climate are two of the primary reasons that expats find themselves migrating to Panama from the U.S., but they are not the only factors. In fact, Cindy Barks shares nine reasons Panama is popular with retirees looking to live internationally. Discover for yourself why this country has far more to offer than a shortcut around South America for ships.
14. Quaint European Towns That Feel Like A Hallmark Christmas Movie
Is your household one where the TV remains permanently dialed into the Hallmark Channel around the holidays (or maybe even year round)? If so, then you should jump at the chance to explore these seven quaint European towns that will make you feel like you stepped onto the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie. From fairytale-like facades to cobbled streets and artisan shops, even the Hallmark-averse traveler will find themselves at home in these charming towns across Europe.
15. Flight Attendants Reveal 13 Things You Should Always Pack In Your Carry-On
Who better to provide expert knowledge on the subject of must-haves for air travel than those who make a living out of traveling by plane. Our team worked with a group of flight attendants who revealed 13 things you should always pack in your carry-on. The most surprising entry on the list? A tennis ball. Make sure to take a look at the rest of the article to learn why, and enjoy the rest of the list so you can board your next flight as prepared as possible.
16. The World’s 7 Most Luxurious Train Rides
Travel by rail may no longer be the fastest or most efficient mode of travel, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and a place for it. For many train lines, the journey is immensely more important than the destination itself. So for your next trip, set aside some additional time and experience the pampering that can come with the world’s seven most luxurious train rides.
17. Dr. Beach Announces His 2021 Best Beaches List
Our readers were ready to lather up the (coral-friendly) sunscreen and shake the sand off their favorite beach chair back in May when Dr. Beach announced his picks for the best beaches of 2021. For 30 years, this coastal ecologist has shared his take on the factors that make a beach truly remarkable. In fact, he rates each beach in 50 unique areas, from sand softness to safety records before arriving at his selections. Don’t wait for his 2022 list to start planning your next beach trip; take a look at his 2021 picks today!
18. Beautiful Vintage Train Rides In The U.S.
Our readers were certainly on board with train content this year, with four rail articles ranking in the top 25. And again, with many more efficient travel options to choo choo chose from, railroads have had to work to make themselves stand out from the competition. Nostalgia was just the ticket to save many of these lines, as you can see with these 11 beautiful vintage train rides in the U.S..
19. How To Visit Crystal Mill, One Of Colorado’s Most Photographed Sites
It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and after seeing the photograph above, I can see why. Familiar, yet mysterious, photographers drive 90+ miles and then hike nearly 10 roundtrip for their shot of this iconic mill. To learn the backstory of this mysterious attraction — as well as how to visit Crystal Mill — read more about one of Colorado’s most photographed sites.
20. California’s 3 Least Visited National Parks Are Absolutely Breathtaking
With nine to its name, California has more national parks than any other state. Parks such as Yosemite, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree are household names for many, drawing millions of visitors across their borders each year. However, for a more intimate — and just as breathtaking — experience, you might consider one of these options instead. Consider visiting one of California’s three least visited national parks in 2022 and enjoy views that few others experience.
21. Rookie Travel Mistakes Made By Experienced Travelers
Even the most seasoned travelers make mistakes when abroad, as Sue Davies and Regina Ang can attest. Despite traveling regularly for over three decades, and visiting all seven continents, even these experienced travelers have fallen victim to some pretty “rookie” travel mistakes. Learn from their missteps as you prepare for your next journey, and hopefully, you will avoid the same pitfalls.
22. The Historic Canadian Town You Need To Visit This Fall
Cornwall, Ontario, is one border town that you should schedule a few days to enjoy rather than simply pass through while traveling from the U.S. to Canada. And while it is an excellent destination year round, this is one historic Canadian town you need to visit in the fall. Fall foliage and an enthralling pumpkin festival known as “Pumpkinferno” are just two reasons that make a fall trip a must.
23. Unique Small Towns To Visit In Scotland
Scotland is a mesmerizing country, steeped in enough history and lore to fill several libraries, so it is no surprise that it tops many bucket lists. What better place to discover Scottish charm than in the quaint towns where the intersection of past and present can be seen most readily. UK resident and travel expert Samantha Priestly shares seven unique small towns to visit in Scotland during your next journey to the British Isles.
24. Must-Visit Quaint Towns In Upstate New York
You may be surprised that New York has more to offer than towering skyscrapers and packed public transit. In fact, once you leave the Big Apple, the state becomes far less noisy and far more open. Travel expert Sage Scott shared 13 must-visit quaint towns in Upstate New York that you should consider.
25. Pennsylvania’s Unique Dining Experience 43-Feet Underground
TravelAwaits‘ go-to writer for all things Pennsylvania is native Robin O’Neal Smith. So when she chose to write about her unique dining experience 43-feet underground, we were intrigued. Clearly, our readers were, too, with it rounding out our list of the 25 most popular articles in 2021. Head on down, and see what all of the hubbub is about!
All of 2021 was a travel year to remember. Our team of writers excitedly made up for time not spent traveling the previous year. We hope you will continue to be inspired through their journeys as you make plans for 2022 and beyond. Don’t put off your bucket list trip for too long because you never know what curve balls life will throw at you next: Stay safe and happy travels!