2017: Year in Review


This year at Three Star Traveler, we're changing up our annual review. As a family, we traveled fewer places, but spent longer there and I traveled more for work than ever before. Let's talk about the best places we ate, stayed, visited, and new this year, income generated. 

To keep things shorter and sweeter this year, I'm trying a simple list instead of detailed explanations why each place made the list. Less is more, right?

Best Food


  • Luke, New Orleans, USA
  • Stone Grill at JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix, AZ
  • Bristol Seafood Grill, Kansas City, KS


  • Crepes-A-GoGo, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Cookie Time, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Mrs. Ferg's Gelato, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Jellyfish, Brisbane, Australia
Crepes-A-GoGo, Wellington, NZ

Crepes-A-GoGo, Wellington, NZ

Mom and Dad with a stack of Moreton Bay Bugs

Mom and Dad with a stack of Moreton Bay Bugs

Best Hotels


  • JW Marriott Desert Ridge Phoenix
  • Westin Itasca/Chicago


  • Mercure Resort Queenstown
  • Novotel Auckland Airport
  • Novotel Rotorua
  • JW Marriott Sydney Harbour
  • Pullman King George Brisbane

Best Attractions

  • Hobbiton
  • Blue Spring
  • Te Puia
  • Weta Workshop 
  • Queenstown (seriously, all of it)
Overlooking Arrowtown, NZ

Overlooking Arrowtown, NZ

New Zealand is truly wonderful. You need to read Why Travel to New Zealand

  • The Kangaroo Sanctuary
  • Australia's Outback
  • Sydney Harbour
Australia's Outback

Australia's Outback

New This Year:


2017 brought video creation to Three Star Traveler. After purchasing my first GoPro early in the year, I signed up for a video editing mentorship with Jared Polin and Todd Wolfe through FroKnowsPhoto.com and hit the ground running. Follow my YouTube channel and check out the Video Page for all the good stuff. 


I never fancied myself a "freelancer" but this year, I made the jump into freelance content writing by partnering with a friend on the Outer Banks. He's starting a great website to help businesses attract clients and I write OBX centered posts. Look for more to come in 2018 with that!!

Income Generated

  • YouTube: $0
  • Freelancing: $1,287


June really saw the first noticeable uptick in page views on the website. We have viewers all over the world including the USA, Finland (Hi Amie!), Russia, Canada, and Australia. With the launch of the YouTube Channel, we've seen more views from around the world. Most of the audience is male and the most popular video is the GoPro Review video (unsurprising). The second most popular video is the Extended Vacation Packing (very surprising) followed closely by the Auckland SkyJump video. 

Paula, Art, Matt, and Megan jump off the Auckland SkyTower

After putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), 2017 was a wonderful year. Be on the look out for the 2018 Roadmap post where I'll share what you can expect from TST in the next twelve months.