The year 2015 was quite a year for doing stuff. Just ask (me and) my fellow Expedia Viewfinder bloggers, who have written (and filmed videos!) about epic travel diversions all year long. Our editors recently asked each of us to pick our absolute favorite travel-related activities of 2015. Some of these activities we discovered on our own; others we booked right here on Expedia.com.
Take my pick, for example. My best travel activity in 2015 was a Segway-ride through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco—part of a California road trip I took with my family this past spring. I really was skeptical going into the experience; I had done Segways before and thought they were cool but also dorky. On this trip, however, I was hooked within moments. Tooling around Golden Gate Park was a great way to get comfortable and familiar with this transportation option. I also learned a ton about the park itself.
Check out a video of my Segway adventure below. Meanwhile, here, in no particular order, are selections from the rest of my colleagues—in their own words.
Any scene that involves a rooftop kitchen complete with lemon trees and sweeping views over a city, pasta, and prosecco is pretty much my “spirit” tourist activity. Enter Walks of Italy’s Pasta-Making Class in Rome. Set in a chef’s studio with a bon-vivant host who refilled my flute of bubbly every few minutes, the class taught me the art of al dente with a small group—just enough people to be fun without the production of a big gang. Oh, and did I mention the whole thing took place at sundown as the day’s last light was bathing the Eternal City in an orangey glow? This is one “rooftop experience” I will never forget.
Captain and Clark
Touring a new city by way of motorcycle sidecar is a unique experience that can’t be found many places. We did this in Barcelona, and the sidecar was a great way to get a true 360-degree view of a destination. What’s better is that on the ground in Barcelona, your specific two-hour tour is tailored to you. If there’s anything you want to see or are curious about in the city, your helpful guide will be happy to take you there. Be prepared for many enthusiastic honks, cheers, and waves as the sidecar is a rare sight for tourists and locals alike.
At Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, there is a ride named Expedition Everest that will make you scream with delight. It had been a while since I was on a roller coaster, and this ride brought me right back to childhood as it zipped through the snowcapped peaks of Forbidden Mountain. I found myself at the whim of unexpected twists and turns, treacherous inclines, and precipitous drops. Narrowly missing an “abominable snowman” and practically running off the tracks, this ride is a thrill. The most perplexing moment for me was when we came to a screeching halt as the track seemed to be broken ahead. Soon, however, we were falling backward into more stomach-wrenching fun. To enjoy this and any of the awesome rides at Walt Disney World Resort be sure to get a MagicBand or FastPass+ to skip the lines. The ride plus the pass is an A+ experience all around.
Honolulu is built along Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous stretches of beach in Hawaii, but for beach day perfection on Oahu, drive just about 35 minutes outside of the city and you’ll come upon Waimanalo Bay Beach, just off Kalanianaole Highway. This is as beautiful a beach as I’ve ever seen. The white sand curves around Waimanalo Bay, as turquoise waves crash along the shore. In the distance, Rabbit and Kaohikaipu islands create a postcard-worthy backdrop for your travel photos.
Sidecar in Barcelona
Girl Gone Travel
The Lobster Cruise from Finestkind Scenic Cruises is a wonderful experience for anyone visiting Ogunquit, Maine, but kids especially will enjoy the up close and personal experience and seeing firsthand where lobsters come from and how they are fished. If you go, you might even get to see a pregnant lobster (which of course if caught is tossed right back into the water)! Lobster fishing is a huge part of the area’s economy, and the cruise is a great way to understand and gain a greater appreciation for the culture and learn a bit about local history. The views from the water aren’t too shabby either.
After nearly a decade of near-constant travelling, it’s rare that we’re surprised by a new activity. So imagine our shock when we fell head over heels for something as mundane as a prearranged airport transfer. We’ve long eschewed airport transfers, always opting for public transportation and, when absolutely unavoidable, taxis. Our Expedia-booked airport transfers in Riviera Maya made us see the light. Arriving to find someone waiting for you after a long flight is priceless. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with not having to negotiate the complexities of transportation decisions upon arriving in a new destination. Do yourself a favor; start booking airport transfers in 2016.
Midlife Road Trip
While in Paris, we stayed in the charming neighborhood of Montmartre. With our Expedia Local Expert as a guide, we meandered about the cobblestone streets, following in the footsteps of impressionist legends such as Picasso, Monet, Renoir, and van Gogh. Our passionate guide was extremely entertaining and informative as she regaled us with tales of Montmartre’s storied history and famous residents. This was one activity we’ll remember for a long time.
What were some of your favorite travel activities in 2015 and why?