2017 Top Picks: Destinations, Gear & Tech

2017 was the year of travel. This year alone, we packed our backpacks nine times to visit new places around the world including France, Thailand, Vietnam, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Belgium, Montana, Georgia and Canada!

Don’t even get us started on all the trips back to our hometown of Chicago and work trips. We were on the road or in the sky every few weeks and loving every minute. Most of our trips were planned intricately, which provides peace of mind when traveling to unfamiliar ground, but leaves little wiggle room or adventure when you’ve googled every picture of all the sights you plan to see.

When you plan your trips for 2018 - and hoping you’ll have at least one - make sure you leave the agenda a little loose. Find time in your itinerary to idly walk around the city, ask locals for recommendations and be open-minded for a less ‘touristy’ experience. If you haven’t yet decided where to take the plunge for 2018, here are our top travel picks:


Top Travel Destinations:

Paris, France

It would be remiss of me to not put Paris, France on the top of the list. Yes, it’s cliché to love Paris, but who doesn’t? Surrounded by history, architecture, art, crepes, macaroons, cheese and the shimmery lights of the Eiffel Tower …there’s no denying it is a wondrous city! 



There were so many things to experience in Vietnam, from crazy traffic circles, street food, and amazing late night street markets. In just a few days we ate more noodles than you could imagine, explored caves, cruised on Ha Long Bay and met some great people!


Glacier National Park, Montana

You don’t have to go out outside of the US to find some truly magical places. Glacier National Park has everything from gorgeous 360 degree views, wildlife and serenity. This is one of those places you go to escape and disconnect, but take your camera, the pictures are postcard worthy!



Top Travel Gear:

Osprey Backpacks

We’ve preached about these backpacks before, but the love affair is real. The detachable day pack is very convenient as you can leave the main compartment in your Airbnb/hotel and take the day pack out for shopping. It does make you look like a tourist, but it’s the price you pay for convenience.

Packing Cubes

How did we even pack without these in the past? You can take twice as many things with you or bring twice as many back with you - if you think like an avid shopper. It takes a little bit more effort to tuck away neatly, but the bags have a little stretch for when you get lazy.


Top Travel Tech:

Sony Alpha a6000


Now, you don’t need this camera, but it was recommended by two photographer friends and did not disappoint. The iPhone takes amazing photos too, so if you don’t want to lug around a camera, no one will blame you. 

*Our top gear and tech picks are based on what we reached for the most during our last few trips. It may or may not work the same for you.

Our current travel schedule is open, but we doubt that will last. We look often on thriftytraveler.com and google flights for our next adventures. Our goal is to travel to every country, so we aren’t picky, knowing some day we will get to see them all. 

Where are you headed in 2018? What are your must-haves when it comes to gear and tech?