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  • Writer's pictureHolly NeSmith

My top five destinations.

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

Being a travel advisor, I am often on the receiving end of the question, "where's the best place you've ever been?" I genuinely can't choose, because there are so many incredible moments in my travel history that standout. So I have highlighted my current top five destinations based on the incredible scenery, people, food and experiences I personally had while traveling there.


I visited the Amazon Rainforest, Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, Peru in the Spring of 2016. I was prepared to be wowed by Machu Picchu, but I was totally surprised by the Sacred Valley. As a person of faith, we talk about thin places where you can't help but feel the presence of God. For me, the Sacred Valley was one of those places. From the scenery to the people to the food and everything in between - I was in love. And from that moment on, I have always encouraged my clients who plan to visit Machu Picchu to not skimp on their time in the Sacred Valley. Plus, it just makes good logistical sense to acclimate before hitting the higher altitudes of Machu Picchu and Cusco!


I don't know anyone who has been to Italy and not wanted to go back as soon as possible - I'd hop on the plane tomorrow if I could. So far, I've visited Venice, Florence, the Tuscan Countryside, Umbria, Rome, Ischia, Capri, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Matera and Puglia. What is mind boggling is that I've barely scratched the surface. I can't decide if its the carbs, the wine, the variety of landscapes or the attractive people that draw me in more - but it's something in the mix of those things. If you ever get the chance to stay at Il San Pietro di Positano on the Amalfi Coast, I highly recommend ordering the Lemon Pasta at their Beach Club. You will thank me later and then you will curse me because you just can't replicate it at home. Trust me, I've tried.


You don't have to love whiskey to love Scotland, though I love both. We started our trip at Gleneagles, headed up to the Scottish Highlands, spent a night in Inverness then made our way back down to Edinburgh where we ended our trip. Everywhere you look in Scotland is just pure eye candy - then sprinkle in the charming people, surprisingly great food and bearded men in kilts - it had my heart. Best advice when planning your trip to Scotland is don't try to squeeze in another destination if you only have a week because week won't do Scotland justice on its own.


When it comes to India, people seem to have strong reactions. Either you are dying to go or you just don't feel called to visit. I was one of those people who had India in my heart and it truly did not disappoint. The scale of the country is so huge, though, that I have only touched a teeny tiny portion. Nonetheless, I've done what most first time India travelers are itching for - the Golden Triangle. India is a feast for your senses - it can be quite overwhelming. If you are like me and can't wait to go to India, do yourself a favor and plan to be there for at least 14 days. It will allow you to really get a truer sense of the local flavor.


I had a last minute invite to join an educational trip to Portugal in the Fall of 2017. I had no idea what to expect and was totally taken aback by how much there is to see and do in such a small country. Lisbon felt to me like the best European version of San Francisco with the coastal views, easy day trips and top notch restaurants. I always advise folks to spend more than 1-2 nights in this little city before heading out to one of the many other spots that will appeal to a variety of travel personalities. From vineyards, to white sand beaches, hiking and history - Portugal has it all!

Where are your top five travel destinations, visited or anticipated?

I've love to help get you there for the first time or the fiftieth time!



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