Before I prattle on about my 2018 travels, I thought I’d use this blog post as a quick plug for the amazing work of the Cambodian Children’s Fund. There are many ways you can get involved, from a one-off donation to the monthly sponsorship of a child. If you happen to be visiting Phnom Penh (as my parents did in December), you could even check out their ‘Items for donation’ page and bring some bits and bobs. Although we didn’t make it to Cambodia this year, it’s very much on my list for 2019 as I’d love to spend some time with the child we sponsor. You can read more about my previous experience in Phnom Penh and with the CCF here.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen so much of the world in 2018. We visited Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, UK, Vietnam, Maldives and the USA. No plans yet for 2019 as we appear to have spent most of our money!
You can read about all my adventures in detail on Jetlag & Mayhem. Here are my highlights of 2018 (as asked to myself, by myself)….
Favourite destination of 2018?
In October we spent two weeks roadtripping through Arizona. I have yet to write this trip up but I think Arizona is now my favourite US state. The scenery (particularly Sedona) was breathtaking and the food delicious. In one day we drove from snow near the Grand Canyon to the sunshine cactus-lined roads of Tucson.
Favourite hotel of 2018?
Cempedak! This luxury gem is located on a private island in Indonesia, accessible from Singapore. What makes it so special and relaxing is that it’s adults only… I’m looking forward to checking out its sister (and child friendly property) Nikoi.
I’d heard so much about Tasmania’s MONA (Museum of Old And New Art) and it didn’t disappoint. The kids loved the rooms, which were bursting with creativity – far more interesting than your average gallery. Located in Hobart, we visited MONA as part of a week-long Tasmania roadtrip, a beautiful corner of the world.
I spent the year familiarising myself with Singapore’s vibrant hawker scene. However as I live in Singapore, its probably cheating to pick some hawker food (although you must have the dosa from Lau Pa Sat). Instead, my vote goes to either dukkah eggs at the Gorges Cafe in Kalbarri or the squid ink pasta at Cempedak.
Without doubt, scooting around on the back of a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh, exploring the city’s foodie hotspots. Looking back, I occasionally think, was I mad to do this with Jetlag & Mayhem? But we all had the most incredible 4 hours and I felt in very safe hands with XO Tours.
Best Kids Club?
You can’t beat the Kids Club at Club Med Bintan in Indonesia. We tested out with 4 kids ranging from 2 to 9 and they loved it. So much so, they all cried when we left. The morning circus skills class and the pirate treasure hunt was the highlight.
Tasmania served up some great coffee but my favourite so far is actually in Phuket. You’ll find relative newcomer, Phuket Coffee Lab, in Surin.
Best natural wonder?
We all loved hiking around Sedona in Arizona but the Grand Canyon really took my breath away.
The Maldives! We stayed at Kurumba, one of the oldest resorts in the Maldives. It was the first time Jetlag & Mayhem had been to the Maldives and experienced turquoise sea with powder sand. Perfection.. we can’t wait to return!
Best family friendly activity?
Surprisingly, dancing the afternoon away on Nashville’s Honky Tonk Highway! I thought the fun of Nashville might be a bit risque for Jetlag & Mayhem at ages 9 and 6. However if you head out before 6pm, many of the bars welcome kids and you can even do a line dancing lesson at the Wild Horse Saloon. Of course you will probably be conned into buying an expensive pair of cowboy boots for the kids but it is Nashville after all!
We experienced some horrendous delays this year – an overnight stay on an airport chair in Ho Chi Minh (thanks Singapore Airlines) and even a blown engine on British Airways. We had broken inflight entertainment on Qantas with very little apology, so they’re out the running so I guess that leaves me with Virgin. Who kindly flew us from London to Atlanta, after our British Airways leg was messed up.
Best travel product of 2018?
The kids would probably say their Zinc Flyte Scooter. Mine is a bit random but it’s a linen spray that came in an airline toiletries kit. It’s useful to spray in hotels/rentals where the bedding smells a bit musty or there’s an odd smell emanating from under the bed. Is now an imperative ‘must-pack’ along with my eye-mask and ear plugs.
Top travel tip for 2018
Always buy travel insurance. Prior to 2018 we rarely claimed on it but this year, due to flight delays, it certainly came good.
Hope you all have some wonderful trips planned for 2019. For now, I will be living vicariously through you all!