A Look Back At Travel In 2018

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2018 Was A Busy Travel Year

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.

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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.

Viking Cruises Emerald - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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.

Overseas Adventure Travel OAT - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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!

Washington DC Monument - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Cherry Blossoms Washington DC Monument.jpg

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.

Prague From The Petrin Tower - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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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.

China Terra Cotta Warriors Xian - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

China Panda Bears Chengdu - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

China Great Wall of China Badaling - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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

In 2018, we spent a lot of time admiring the architecture of cities like Prague and Budapest. In Shanghai we were amazed at the contrast between new and old.

Prague Architecture - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Parliament Budapest Architecture - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Shanghai Architecture.jpg

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!

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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.

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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.

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China Li River Cruise.jpg

In China and Japan, we saw the beauty of traditional oriental formal gardens. Rockeries, water and greenery created a tranquil oasis on our travels.

China Shanghai Yu Gardens - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Japan Korakuen Gardens - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

Sandals La Toc St Lucia - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Sandals La Toc St Lucia.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

Philadelphia for July 4th Independence Day - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Philadelphia for July 4th Independence Day - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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.

Vancouver for Christmas - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Vancouver for Christmas - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

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!

St Lucia Chocolate Hotel - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

St Lucia Chocolate Hotel - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Geneva Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix Chocolate.jpg

We enjoyed local foods on our spring trip to Central Europe. And when we travelled for 8 weeks in Asia in the fall.

Central Europe Dumplings.jpg

Viking Emerald Chinese Food - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Local and weekend trips let us indulge in food at the local fairs, at food trucks and eat iconic local specialties.

Toronto CNE Food Booths - Look Back At Travel In 2018.jpg

Philadelphia Food Trucks.jpg

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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    • Greg, We did indeed have an amazing travel year in 2018. So far we are still working on 2019 planning. We board Oceania Insignia today for our Cuba cruise. Will send teaser pics! Linda

    • Lesley, It was an amazing 2018. This is the first year that we have no travel booked as we go into 2019. We are waiting to confirm a big trip in April. Once that is confirmed, we can start to fill in 2019. We are trying to travel as much as we can, while we can. So who knows what 2019 will bring! Linda

  1. I thought we traveled a lot this year, but it was only a fraction of what you two did! Loved the mention of Watkins Glen as we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. Good to have your evaluations as well of the customer service you received. Looking forward to where you’ll go next. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    • Ann, It really was a crazy year for travel. So many new spots for us. We have nothing booked yet for 2019. But we have a few things we are trying to finalize. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well. Hope you have a great year exploring this great world! Linda

  2. What a year. I’m so glad you were able to get to Xian and see the warriors. It’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I’m so glad you were able to cruise the Yangtze. That’s definitely a must do for me! I look forward to seeing your travels next year!

    • Marcia, China was a great part of our 2018 travels. Certainly so many things we will remember for a lifetime! I am hoping to get our travel for 2019 settle so we can share it soon! Linda

  3. Such a wonderful year and you had some many great journeys! I am now in Prague and heading to Budapest and Vienna for Christmas so I am excited to see this post. My 2018 is not over yet, but I am looking forward to 2019 as I will be heading to Egypt in a few weeks! @knycx.journeying

    • We did indeed have a great year. You will love Prague, Budapest and Vienna. One year we would like to visit in the winter. You will also love Egypt. Such a fascinating country. Linda

  4. What an amazing year you’ve had of travelling! I love that you managed to tick off so many places off the bucket list, good for you! I also love that you managed to get some luxury in there, love it!

  5. Wow! What an amazing year 2018 has been for you! Would love to try Oceana Cruises since you have so much beautiful things to say about them. 🙂

  6. Absolutely fantastic travel stories and pictures are awesome!! Especially the Terra Cotta Warrior,, lucky you. 2018 will be missed but we look forward to a blessed 2019 already. I am sure you have awesome plans. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  7. Whew! Sounds like you guys chewed off a lot of bucket list! I did the Prague and Budapest trip – Beautiful cities aren’t they? I wish I had as much time as you guys. Maybe our paths will cross someday! Happy trails 🙂

    • Carol, It was indeed a great year for travel. In 2018, we got no sponsored travel. We did all the planning and paid for it all. We made smart choices while we were working and made sure we had the money to semi-retire early and do all we wanted to do. Travel is a priority for us, so we make sure that is where we spend it. Linda

  8. My goodness you accomplished a lot in 2018! I’d never heard of that gorge outside of Toronto, but am keen to check it out. You’ve given me a lot of inspiration for my upcoming travels.

  9. What an active travel year and to soo many fascinating places. I’ve definitely have to put traveling on cruises more for 2019 and not have to repack each time, lol.

  10. What an incredible year for you two! Such diverse destinations, from your amazing Asia trip and that unusual Viking Cruise experience (Great Wall too, OMG!), to your lush Caribbean adventures – everything looks epic. I think the older I get the more I enjoy the luxury side of things too 😉 Have a wonderful 2019!

  11. Such an incredible year! I’m going to check out your post on Prague to Budapest next, because I adore Prague and am dying to visit Budapest. So I’m curious to see how you liked both and everything in between.

    • Kate, It was a great year. There are a ton of posts on Prague to Budapest. I hope they are helpful in your planning. We saw so much in the Czech Republic. Much that many people don’t get to see. I hope you have an amazing time. Will be watching for the posts. Linda

  12. Good to learn that you have had a satisfying travel year and were able to tick off a lot of bucket list items. I wish you a great travels in the year 2019. Happy New Year.

  13. What an incredible year it’s been to say the least! It’s been pretty amazing to follow your journey through 2018, it went by in the blink of any eye. 25 countries is exhausting me just thinking about it!

    • Jim, I am so glad you have enjoyed our travels in 2018. It was indeed amazing to sit back and tabulate all that we did. There were many times through the year when I was exhausted too. But we did plan in stops to just catch our breath. Linda

  14. Wow, you guys are amazing! I don’t really get jealous of other travelers but you definitely got me last year with all the adventures you had! Darcee & I loved hiking around Salzburg and nearby mountains so I love your pics from that area. Also, you definitely had me at Bucket List Adventures. I cant wait to also go to China, there is so much to do in that country. I figure I would minimally have to spilt it up into 3 regions of Bucket List adventures.
    I wish you guys a great 2019!

    • Eric, It was a great year to see so much. I am glad you enjoyed our travels. We loved our time in Austria and Switzerland. Most of those posts are still sitting in “draft”. Because it has been such a busy year. I wish you a great travel year for 2019. Linda

  15. More travel for the 2019! I’d love to see more of your explorations! And I love the photo of you Miss in the bath tub!! So much joys in the face! I admire both of you and praying that my retirement is also as adventurous and as exciting as you both!

    • Kate, We are just planning our 2019 travel year. I hope you have many more bath tub moments! We continue to try to do as much travel as we possibly can. While we are healthy and able to. It is about choices we have made our whole life. Linda

  16. Wow, you’ve done a heap of travelling in 2018. It’s great to hear you’ve ticked so many places off your bucket list. Pandas and Prague are my favourites.

  17. What a great year you guys had. Your each trip is a memory in itself and you surely had ticked off certain places from your bucket list. Your pictures look like beautiful postcards. Wish you lot many adventures and travel in 2019 guys.

    • Suruchi, We were so glad our travels from 2018 ticked off so many things. But each year, so many new things get added. We are still sorting out 2019. But I am sure it will be exciting too! Linda

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