2016’s travels, in pictures!

-Written by Steph

Thought that last post made us look so miserly? Well, here’s the other side of the coin! As usual, we spent an insane amount on money on travel in 2016 – $8882, to be exact. Yes, almost $9000!!!! In ONE year!

And it was glorious.

First off, our travel really doesn’t fit neatly into yearly slots. That’s because we like to travel in January, but book our winter trips in the late summer or fall the year before. This means we end up with vacation costs being sort of split into chunks, with the costs of the winter vacation kind of straddling two years. Anyway, here’s where our travel budget went in 2016:

Trip 1 – Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia!

We booked the flights, accommodation, and sleeper train in 2015, but still managed to spend $1039 on this trip in 2016. That was for local currency, food, and one really cool tour.

We started our journey with a few days in Taiwan, which we mostly spent exploring the city and checking out night markets, like this one:

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Next, we headed to Singapore, Cel’s home country. It was scorching hot, very beautiful, and had excellent food!

Having just recently watched the Hitman movie filmed here, we had to go check out Gardens by the Bay, and stroll the walkway where Agent 47 had an epic shootout with Syndicate thugs:

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Next stop was Malaysia. We spent a rather unpleasant day in Johor Bahru learning to cope with Malaysian-style bathrooms (i.e. nasty and no toilet paper), before catching a sleeper train to Kuala Lumpur. Our Malaysia activities were heavily outdoors oriented. We did one of the coolest tours we’ve ever done, a private trip way up north into the mountains to the Cameron Highlands. Yay tea plantations!

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We also made it out to the Batu Caves, which were very fun to explore, and packed full of monkeys.

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And as a final note on that trip, I finally got around to snapping a picture of us in full travel gear – this is the last day of the trip, carrying every single thing we bring with us – needless to say, we never end up paying any sort of luggage fees on our flights:

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Trip 2 – Ireland!

We took a lovely summer trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland, for $3267. This included flights, accommodation, currency, and two full day tours.

We stayed in a really lovely part of town, just down the street from this:

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I remembered to take a picture of our apartment this time, which is a very good example of the types of places we pick – usually private studio Airbnb apartments, with basic amenities and a great, walkable location:

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This trip was really all about the tours! Our first one was going up north to Belfast and Northern Ireland. It was pouring rain, but it couldn’t keep us away from the Giant’s Causeway!8

The other tour was another full day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher, which was also very lovely – and we had substantially better weather that time around:

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I, of course, couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to dangle my legs off cliffs like those ones:

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We also got a chance to stop by a cool Irish pub on that tour that actually had a few vegan items on the menu:

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And there were even some bonus cliffs, which our tour guide referred to as the “baby cliffs” compared to the Moher ones. I just can’t get enough of cliffs:

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Other than tours, we spent a lot of time checking out medieval castles, like the one below in Kilkenny:

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And also doing some hiking. We found a nice hike between two coastal villages near Dublin, known as the Cliff Walk. It was about 5km of lovely cliff and beach scenery, and you could take the train back afterwards for very cheap:

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We had a very tasty dessert on our last night in town – handmade strawberry donuts with all sorts of tasty toppings and sauces at a local vegan food stall:

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Trip 3 – Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon!

Final (completed in 2016) trip of the year! This one cost us $1627. We actually booked a hotel package, which is almost unheard of for us. It was a pretty short trip, just an extended long weekend, but we got to do some cool stuff. In the city of Las Vegas itself, we mostly just checked out different areas, and hung out on the Strip:

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The real highlight of that trip was heading out into the desert…

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…en route to the Grand Canyon!

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Trip 4 – Thailand and China!

Well, not really trip 4 – we didn’t actually go on it until 2017. But we paid for most of it, including our flights, sleeper train, and all our apartments! That set us back $2463.

Finally, if you’re following along with a calculator and saying “Wait! That only adds up to $8396! Where did the last $486 go?”,  – it went to a few Greyhound bus tickets and a passport renewal.

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6 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Incoming Assets Retirement Strategy | Incoming Assets

  2. Hi Steph – Could you share insight into how you find your travel deals? We also enjoy traveling but end up spending too much (in the context of our retirement goals). Any websites or other suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • We don’t really find good deals, as evidenced by our outrageously high spending. But I guess we generally do the same stuff we do at home – try to be flexible, cook at least some of our meals, take public transit or walk places, and do a lot of research beforehand so we don’t get ripped off.

  3. Have you thought about looking into credit cards and travel hacking? It would probably cut the cost of your flights and lodging down to almost zero.

    For example, my wife and I are flying to Canada in a week to check out Banff and Jasper national parks. We booked our flights (business class), 8 hotel nights, and a rental car for the week with credit card miles/points. Our total cost for all of that was $112.

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