Travel Year in Review 2016 and what’s next 2017

2016 Travel Year in Review

When 2016 began I was really excited for it. I had just finished six months in Africa and even though I had come back to NZ to work I was excited to have a routine and connect with family and friends. This was to be a tranisition year – how could I travel and work at the same time. I find my work fast paced and fulfilling but it is also stressful and I have a need to explore. I’m trying to find that balance between being stuck somewhere with zero travel and travelling for six months straight as that was just too long for me.

And I have to say I failed. I guess I didn’t fail completely because I have now learned that I need to travel more than I did in 2016 but less than I did in 2015. It’s a balance. A delicate one at that so I need to stay more attuned to how I’m feeling and be a bit more spontaneous and just book a one week trip somewhere instead of planning months in advance and then counting down to the trip.

My travel year in review was great along with a few amazing highlights. I visited 7 new countries on three trips – China in March, Tonga in August, Nauru, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Micronesia in December.

To start my travel year in review in March I went on a GAdventures tour to China where we visited Beijing, Xian, Suzhou and Shanghai.

travel year in review
In Tiananmen Square, Beijing outside the Forbidden City

In August I went to Tonga and then flew to the island of Haapai to swim with humpback whales. By far my most exciting and amazing trip of the year. This was a dream come true.

travel year in review
Such an amazing creature. This was a bucketlist item for me!

In December I went to Nauru and Micronesia with a stopover in Kiribati, Marshall and Solomon Islands. Wow this was eye opening. I didn’t know what to expect but each of these islands are amazing and so completely different. So many people have never even heard of these islands let alone visited them.

travel year in review
Less than 200 tourists a year visit Nauru

2017 What’s next?

So what does 2017 hold in store for Travelgal Nicole? Well I’ve already been on too many fligths – flying home from Micronesia took about 18 hours and 6 flights. I arrived home on the 2nd of January and was back to work on the 4th January. I only have 10 weeks until my next trip and I’ll be taking off work for six months. Here are my plans for the rest of the year.





Trinadad and Tobago


September to October
Back to NZ


December is always a busy month for us so I’ll be back in NZ planning out my next year of travel.  What are your travel plans for 2017?


Nicole LaBarge is a travel expert who has been traveling internationally for over 25 years and she has visited over 115 countries all while working a 9-5. She has lived in England, Scotland, Japan and New Zealand. Check out her detailed destination guides and travel product guides.

12 thoughts on “Travel Year in Review 2016 and what’s next 2017

  1. What a great year! Swimming with whales must have been such a highlight! Your 2016 looks amazing! We have all those countries on our list but especially dying to go to Argentina and Columbia.

  2. Your upcoming travels sound amazing!! Swimming with whales is on my bucket list now! 🙂 I’m excited to see all your adventures this year!

  3. Such a fab year and plans for 2017! Whereabouts in the USA are you planning to visit? I’ll look forward to hearing more about South America! We’re hoping to go there within the next few years.

  4. Girl, you are travel inspo at it’s finest! I loved reading about your trip to Tonga to swim with the whales. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures in the coming year!

  5. You have had an amazing year and what it looks like even more amazing year ahead. Good luck with your travels 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh what a year and what a year to come!! I’m having some major wanderlust envy right now. Swimming with whales must have been amazing!

  7. You will love South America! I have spent three weeks in Peru and two weeks in Brazil, and I still feel like I have only scratched the surface on this underrated continent. BTW, why are you visiting Trinidad & Tobago? I find that rather interesting because it gets very few visitors and is one of the most undeveloped Caribbean Islands. Was it cheaper to fly to the United States from there instead of South America?

    1. I’m flying direct from Auckland to Buenos Aires and didn’t check out flights from the States. I like flying Air New Zealand so I just booked those flights. Trinidad is a stopover while flying between countries as they have one of the best routes.

  8. Looks like your visiting some awesome places in 2016! You’re so lucky to be able to travel so many places in 2017! I can relate with also finding a work and travel balance!

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