We entered 2018 with several big trips planned. These big trips added new travel brand experiences and ticked off so many bucket list items. Between the big trips, we used every opportunity we could find to take smaller trips. When it was cold in Toronto, we headed to warm spots. Great stays at luxury brands let us be pampered and gave us a break from busy travel days. It was quite interesting to stop and take a look back at travel in 2018.
The statistics for our travel in 2018 were quite staggering:
>50,000 miles (80,000km) travelled – by plane, boat, train and car
43 hotel or cruise ship stays (for 185 nights)
57 different cities and 25 countries which takes our total country list to about 90
Come with us for a look back at travel in 2018!
Several New Brands This Year
We have historically cruised with Oceania Cruises. We started the year with Oceania when we cruised in the southern Caribbean and visited the ABC Islands. But this year we tried new cruise brands too. Our trip to Japan in the fall included a cruise with Windstar Cruises. But before we committed to travel with this new brand, we took a Caribbean cruise with Windstar. Our first experience was great and we were happy to finalize our fall Japan trip with Windstar.
In the fall, we booked a first trip with Viking Cruises to visit China This was a very atypical Viking experience. We spent 6 days as we cruised the Yangtze River. But for the rest of the 17 days, we toured mainland China with Viking. We definitely had a wonderful and broad trip to China with Viking. But it may not have given us a typical Viking experience.
On our spring trip from Prague to Budapest, we tried a new tour company. Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) provided us with a small group land tour. We saw so many of smaller towns and local adventures than we would have on a river cruise. It was a great first experience with OAT.
On our trip to Asia, we stayed in a number of great hotels. Many were part of the Marriott or the IHG Rewards Program. We certainly enjoyed great stays that recognized our loyalty status. But we did get to try out a number of new hotel brands on our 8 weeks in Asia.
During our week in Shanghai, we had a new but awesome customer service experience at the Four Seasons Shanghai. On our visit to Guilin, we got a taste of resort life at the Shangri-La Guilin. When we stayed at the Wyndham Grand Xian, it was the perfect base to explore the night lights of Xian and visit the Terra Cotta Warriors.
On a look back at travel in 2018, we found many new brand experiences.
So Many Bucket List Things Got Ticked Off
Every year we tick off a number of bucket list items. This year was no exception.
We started our spring off with a long weekend visit to Washington DC. We wanted to see the cherry blossoms for so many years. So this was the perfect time to visit. We had a great fall visit to Japan this year. But that visit just put Japan for cherry blossoms on the list too!
In the late spring, we enjoyed a trip from Prague to Budapest. This was such a fascinating trip to see several countries that were on our travel wish list.
There were so many iconic bucket list stops during our 4 weeks in China. But topping the list was the chance to see the massive field of Terra Cotta Warriors, to ooh and ahh over the dozens of panda bears in Chengdu and finally to walk the Great Wall of China.
There were so many iconic bucket list stops to remember when we look back at travel in 2018.
There Was So Much Natural Beauty Everywhere
But we also spent large amounts of time in 2018 outdoors as we enjoyed the natural beauty we found everywhere. We walked the path of the Sound of Music in Austria and then travelled in the Alps in Switzerland. There were stunning mountain vistas. However, our visit was just a brief taste test. And we definintely need to return to see more. Maybe even visit in the winter!
On a summer road trip, we visited the Watkins Glen Gorge. A series of waterfalls tumbled down along the gorge. We were happy to find that this was an easy weekend trip from Toronto.
In China, we cruised along the Yangtze River. The Three Gorges and Goddess Stream were magnificent spots for views. When we arrived in Guilin and cruised the Li River, we found the same great natural beauty.
In China and Japan, we saw the beauty of traditional oriental formal gardens. Rockeries, water and greenery created a tranquil oasis on our travels.
It was great to find on a look back at travel in 2018 that we had some quiet and peaceful moments.
We Searched Out Hot Spots Throughout The Year
Living in Canada, we are always searching for escapes to warmer weather. The year had barely started before we were off on our first trip south to cruise the ABC Islands. We delayed our return to reality with a 10 day stay in St Lucia at the end of our cruise.
Not content with just one escape south, we took a second Caribbean cruise. It was a great chance to add even more Caribbean destinations to our list.
As the year drew to a close, we headed south again. A few days in Miami let us thaw out. And then we headed for a cruise around Cuba.
When we took a look back at travel in 2018, we were not surprised to find we travelled south several times.
Luxury Travel Gave Us Some Great Breaks
You do know that we love to splurge and be pampered when we travel. Travelling with Oceania Cruises always reminded us of what great customer service is all about. It was great to start our year with them as we cruised the southern Caribbean. Our stay at Sandals in St. Lucia extended our time in the south with another luxury travel experience.
On our spring visit to Geneva, we learned the difference that first class service makes. Our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix Geneva exceeded all expectations. It was the perfect way to finish off a great 6 week trip in Central Europe.
We did really well this year at maximizing our reward loyalty. As a result, we often got the most amazing sweet suite upgrades and amenities when we stayed hotels where we had hight loyalty status. Our travels in China in 2018 reinforced that the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and St Regis provide that extra special focus on customer service excellence.
On a look back at travel in 2018, we certainly recognized that we like to travel with a little luxury!
Many Holidays Were Spent Away From Home
In 2018, we were away for many of the holidays. We were in Central Europe for Easter and in China for Thanksgiving. Both David’s and my birthday were celebrated in the hot Caribbean. A trip south could not have been a better holiday gift.
For the U.S. Independence Day long weekend, we took a 5 day break and headed south to Philadelphia. A planned stop in the Finger Lake Region let us explore Watkins Glen. It was great to celebrate the 4th of July in a city with so much history.
For the Christmas holiday season, we headed out west to Vancouver. This gave us a chance to see family. And to enjoy the festivities in the city.
On a look back at travel in 2018, we were surprised to recall how many holidays were spent away from home.
We Ate And Drank Our Way Through 2018
We were away for about 6 months of the year in 2018. So it is fair to say that we ate out – a lot – in 2018! And we had lots of opportunities to try different food experiences.
It should not be surprising to hear that many of our food experiences centred around chocolate. We did a chocolate tour in St Lucia. And got chocolate treats at virtually every luxury hotel we stayed at!
Local and weekend trips let us indulge in food at the local fairs, at food trucks and eat iconic local specialties.
We ate and drank so well in 2018. So when we looked back at travel in 2018, we know why dieting between trips was such a necessity.
It Was Fascinating To Take A Look Back At Travel In 2018
On a look back at travel in 2018, it was amazing to think about how far and wide we ventured. But we left the year with so many great memories.
But being semi-retired meant that we occasionally did need to work! This summer both David and I took contracts in the summer that kept us in Toronto. But we did manage to enjoy being in the city. The annual CNE Fair was a lot of fun. And the Chinese Lantern Festival prepared us for the colour and fun we found when we later went to China.
As busy as we were in 2018, we are a bit surprised to look forward and see no booked trips for 2019. We have a lot of things up in the air. And we are sure to have lots of adventures in 2019. They will be surprises for you as they get firmed up!
Did you enjoy our look back at travel in 2018? What was your favourite adventure we took?
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