Travel Tips & News

12 months, 12 unforgettable moments: our 2023 highlights

As we come towards the end of the year, we thought it would be fun to look back at our 2023 highlights on social media. What was our hottest post? What went viral? Where do people want to travel to most? We put these questions to our social media team who shared the results.

Here are 12 unforgettable moments from the past 12 months – our very special 2023 highlights.

The Trafalgar Unlocked Awards launch!

Our past guests went absolutely wild when we announced the launch of our inaugural Trafalgar Unlocked Awards competition. Anyone who had taken a Trafalgar tour with us in the past was invited to submit their favorite memory for the chance to win a dream trip to the Balkans.

We received more than 10,000 entries, and after our jury sifted through every single one (yes, they went through every. single. entry.) we chose our winners. They joined us on the trip of a lifetime through Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro with Travel Director Tod at the helm.

All we can say now is keep your eyes peeled for 2024…

TAKE THE TRIP: Balkan Delight

A romantic surprise proposal

Paris is, after all, the City of Love, so we can’t be too surprised that one of our guests used a moment in front of the Eiffel Tower to propose to his girlfriend. Our Travel Director Emile was in on the surprise and helped to organise – and film – the reaction.

We love love – and so do our Instagram followers it seems. This post was one of our most popular this year with over 100,000 views on Instagram. 

Why not get married on tour! 

The feeling on our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards tour in June was electric. At every moment the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement. Perhaps our winners Craig and Graham got swept up in this feeling. So much so that they threw away grand plans for the ‘wedding of the century’ back in Australia and decided to get spontaneously married while on the road.

Travel Director Tod worked miracles to help the pair source suits and rings in time, and fellow winner Ashlinn studied an online course overnight to be their celebrant. The unreal location? A stunning vineyard that every Trafalgar guest visits as a Be My Guest experience. 

Craig and Graham, who got engaged on their Trafalgar tour last summer, have no regrets trading their extravagant planned nuptials for this spontaneous, intimate ceremony – which was planned in under 12 hours.

“I am at my happiest when exploring the world with Graham and sharing memories that we will cherish for a lifetime,” Craig said. “Traveling through scenic locations, experiencing the cultures, and tasting the local flavors is intoxicatingly romantic, so the Croatian wedding was a fitting conclusion to our Parisian engagement and set a magical tone to the exciting new chapter of our lives as loving husbands.”

READ THEIR STORY: “We got married at a surprise wedding on our Trafalgar tour”

Bagpipes and fanfare at the Edinburgh Tattoo

Not many travelers realize, but every Trafalgar tour that passes by Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo includes tickets! Since 1950 this global spectacle has taken place on the doorstep of the imposing Edinburgh Castle each August, with military bands from more than 40 nations having performed at the show.

The theme changes each year, but you can always expect loud pipes and drums, energetic Highland Dancers, and daredevil feats from skilled motorcyclists or intricate marching formations. From the top of Castle Rock the sound of bagpipes, drums, and cheering echos throughout the city, along with the roar of military jets and nightly fireworks. Safe to say it’s one big party – want to join in 2024?

TAKE THE TRIP: Best of Scotland

Our global team celebrates 2024

We had a bit of fun with our team members from across the globe. With the release of our 2024 brochure, we put the call out to our office staff fom USA, Australia, Switzerland and the UK, and asked them to join this fun collaborative video.

While this was a fun way to share our brand-new brochure, the post went a little viral with nearly 92,000 people tuning in to view our Reel on Instagram. So, where will 2024 take you?

Discovering Italy’s wine windows

Ever heard of Italy’s wine windows? In Florence, small openings – or wine windows – have been used for more than four centuries. Originally the windows popped up as a way to sell wine without paying taxes for opening a full shop, and they’re now an iconic part of Florentine culture.

Our Travel Director Letizia captured her guest Rebecca ordering a glass of wine at one of Florence’s 180 “buchette del vino” (wine windows). 

Curiously, Florence’s wine windows were used as a safe way to sell wine during the epidemic of 1630-1633, but then mostly fell into disuse. Babae was the first to reopen in 2019, and since then – due to pandemic restrictions – these small windows have experienced a renaissance.

Have you ever ordered a glass in this unique way?

TAKE THE TRIP:  Great Italian Cities

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

If we could turn back the clock and have a heart-to-heart with our 18-year-old selves, what would we tell them? We posed this question to the intrepid souls of our Travel Directors. We wanted to find out what wisdom or advice they’d impart on their younger selves.

Time spent exploring the world is like its own classroom. Travel heals, and travel teaches us lessons. Those awkward family holidays are now cherished memories. We found out how travel has shaped the essence of our Travel Directors.

Meet the family of Travel Directors from Ireland

Have you been lucky enough to tour the world with Bernard, Sally or Shane? A love of travel runs deep in the Creegan family with mum, dad and son all working as Travel Directors for Trafalgar. 

Collectively they share more than four decades of touring experience, so we asked them to share their favorite memories, how Bernard and Sally met, and any hiccups from on the road.

We love it when multi-generational families travel with on tour, and we have out own multi-generational guides to match!

Our first-ever Trafalgar Unlocked Awards film

While we love sharing the videos that our guests, guides and Travel Directors capture while on the road, there’s something special about having a film crew along to capture the magic in high definition.

Our professional videographers were there to film joy of our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards trip across the Balkans. So we had it edited into a proper eight-minute mini movie – which we premiered on Facebook

TAKE THE TRIP: Balkan Delight

Did you know traveling with your friends can help you live longer? 

We love #science, especially when those studies relate to travel! Travel and new experiences can help your body release oxytocin – also known as one of the happy hormones – as does spending time with your friends. 

Oxytocin helps lower stress levels – and can even lower blood pressure. One study showed that people with close friendships are less likely to catch the common cold, and have a faster healing time than those who struggle with loneliness.

So yes, your annual trip with your bestie might actually be making you healthier – and it definitely leads to incredible memories and some great photographs.

Better yet, one study found 77% of Americans have made lifelong friendships while traveling! So if you need a bestie for your bucket-list trips, just join solo and find like-minded friends on the road.

Solo traveler Candy shares her top tips

From Egypt to Iceland, Candy’s traveled to more than 50 countries around the world. And visited 35 of those with Trafalgar! This avid solo traveler, who hails from the Philippines, has been joining us on tour since 2013.

Why does she choose to travel solo? 

“It’s all about me and myself, without worrying about a companion or anybody else. Time is controlled by me and I can enjoy myself gallivanting in many places and taking photos without waiting for anyone else.”

RELATED BLOG: “I love history and Trafalgar makes it happen” – Candy’s Balkans travel diary

Guests Mita and Sribash share the secret to 35 years of marriage

“We’ve been married for 35 years, and some people [on this tour] are not even 35 years old,” Sribash said while being interviewed on our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards tour of the Balkans.

The two lovebirds manage to keep the flame alive through the joy of shared experiences. Traveling together is just one of their many joint passions in life. 

“She has always been me in difficult times, in happy times, and I hope she can stay with me.”

Those are our 12 top 2023 highlights from social media. Share your favorite in the comments below…

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