'I've been to 195 countries. These are my top 5.'

Rachel Davey has quite literally seen the world. 

Alongside her partner, Martina 'Marty' Sebova, Rachel had a dream to visit every single country. In November 2022, the pair — who are behind the travelling blog Very Hungry Nomads — finally completed their goal and became part of a (very) small group of about 300 people or so who have done so.

But while she's visited every corner of the globe, some places hold a special spot in her heart.

Watch: Tips from savvy travellers. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

And while she's certainly seen many things, she says that there are some countries that just tick every box: budget-friendly, rich culture, incredible heritage, wonderful and welcoming locals, and incredible food.

So we asked Rachel to share with us all the places she will love and hold in her heart forevermore. Here are the five countries Rachel will keep going back to.

1. Thailand.

Of all the places she's been, this is the one country Rachel will never stop visiting. "Thailand certainly is an incredible country to go and visit. From the iconic beaches to the lush rainforests — it's a paradise," the travel expert tells Mamamia. 

Marty and Rachel at Kata Beach in Thailand. Image: Supplied.


"Then you have the bustling cities, the friendly locals who always make you feel at home, and the food! The food is just out of this world. It's the kind of place that just draws you back in, time and time again.

"Thailand is a magnet for good times and unforgettable experiences, so I’ve always regarded it as somewhere I'll keep returning to."

Read more: 'How I travel to Thailand and only spend $30 a day.'

2. Mexico.

From the wonderful scenery and epic food, to the rich history and vibrant culture, Mexico is at the top of Rachel's go-to list. The travel expert has been to the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas and adored both — but Oaxaca is special to her.


Rachel in Oaxaca City, Mexico during Day of the Dead Festival. Image: Supplied.

"I absolutely loved the contagious energy Mexico gives off, especially Oaxaca City. The parties never seem to stop, the food is just unreal and the whole atmosphere is buzzing with good vibes," she shares. 

"Seriously, if you haven't been, you're missing out big time. Oaxaca City is the kind of place that'll leave you with memories for a lifetime. It's a must-visit for anyone looking for a taste of that contagious Mexican spirit and Oaxaca City, in particular, is truly an amazing addition to anyone's travel list."


Mexico has some of the best food in the world, says Rachel, so she urges anyone travelling there to "experience the country through your stomach". 

"By eating like a local and finding small family-run restaurants and trying out the local food markets, it can help you experience a culture through your tastebuds while sparing your wallet," she says.

3. Italy.

Whether it's the countryside or the bustling city, Italy is the perfect place to visit, according to Rachel.

"It's a firm favourite with many travellers for a reason — because everywhere you turn there's history and culture," Rachel explains. "But let's not forget about the wine and food! Don't even get me started on the countryside — it's like something out of a postcard. Italy has this way of capturing your heart with its charm and beauty. It's no wonder it's a top pick for travellers everywhere."

Marty and Rachel in Alberobello, Italy. Image: Supplied.


For a country like Italy, Rachel advises to get savvy with the apps.

"Sometimes travel plans can change quickly," she says. "I use the Skyscanner 'month' feature in particular. It can help you identify the days with cheap flights so it's good for little countries like Italy, where you might want to jump from one country in Europe to another without breaking the budget."

4. Oman.

A little Arabian country with mountains and a beautiful coastline, Oman is the ideal place to experience everything from white sandy beaches and pristine rock pools to delicious food and a genuine connection with the locals. 

"If you're into a 4WD experience, Oman is the place for you. This hidden gem is just waiting for you to rev up your engine and hit the off-road trails," Rachel says. "If you're up for some serious off-roading action, Oman is where it's at."

Rachel at the Grand Mosque in Oman. Image: Supplied.


"You can explore this epic country at your own pace, feeling that adrenaline rush with every turn. It's like a whole new level of adventure out there. Oman isn't just a destination, it's an experience that'll leave you craving more."

5. Colombia.

Colombia is easily Rachel's favourite country in South America. The country is not only budget-friendly and safe to travel around, but also filled with so much love, warmth and — you guessed it — good food!

"Colombia has so much to offer. There are these incredible coffee farms that'll wake up your senses like never before," Rachel explains. "Not to mention the landscapes — they're straight-up breathtaking like something out of a movie. Plus, the cities and towns? Total gems, each with its own unique vibe and charm."


Rachel in Cartagena, Colombia. Image: Supplied.

"Colombia's just got this way of pulling you in and making you never want to leave. It's like a never-ending adventure that you won’t want to stop."

Rachel advises tourists to "move like a local" while in Colombia. "Get savvy with how the locals get around," she says. "By using public transport and hopping on local buses and trains, you can ensure more control over your budget."

Feature Image: Supplied.

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