2018: A Year in Review

Ah 2018. Another year of travel in the books with a number of firsts along the way. Looking back at the very beginning of 2018, we had no idea the experiences we would have and the new places we would visit. No doubt the year went by fast, however if you take the time to sit back and reflect on what you have accomplished and experienced, it makes the year seem more meaningful and richer than just living day to day. Without further ado, here was our 2018:

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

As an avid avgeek, I use OpenFlights to track all of our flights, which comes in handy when you need to look back at where you’ve been. 2018 was our most travelled yet, as we travelled to new countries, new continents, and marched futher towards our goal of visiting all 50 US states. Both working in finance, we love some great statistics, so here we go:

Miles flown: 124, 261 over 88 separate flights (full disclosure, this does include about 25,000 miles flown for work)

Time flying: 12 days, 4 hours, and 9 minutes

Longest flight: 6,529 mile San Francisco to Auckland, NZ

Shortest flight: 24 miles Stiegler’s Gorge Airstrip to Mtemere Airstrip in Tanzania

Countries visited: 12

New countries visited: 2

US states visited: 27 (+5 Canadian provinces!)

New US states visited: 10 (+4 Canadian provinces!)

 

Kyle’s Favourite Trip

 

For a number of years I had been dreaming of doing a camping trip through the San Juan mountains of Colorado, and completing the famous Alpine Loop, which you can read about here and here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

This past August we made the long trek from Chicago out to Colorado and were able to complete that dream. The high alpine views were spectacular and better than I had imagined.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We also experienced the Great Sand Dunes, which you can read about our scary first night tenting here and Denver (read about our day in Denver here) on that trip and had an absolute blast!

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Bettina’s Favourite Trip

 

Although we were only in Cancun for less than 48 hours, it was the most relaxing trip all year (get my full review here).

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Having heard other people rave about Mexico and the temperature in Chicago still freezing cold in April, I couldn’t wait to spend some time at the beach and enjoy the sun.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Staying at the Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, the trip was everything you could imagine – pristine beaches, warm water, a beautiful pool area, and more guacamole and chips that I could eat.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

Should winter be just as long as last year, we might escape to Mexico for a weekend again!

 

Other Highlights

 

Tanzania

One of our most recent, and most exotic, trips was to Tanzania which was also amazing. Going on safari was a definite highlight and better than we could have imagined! We thought we’d be lucky to see one giraffe far in the distance running away, but instead, we saw hundreds far and wide. You can read about our safari here and here and our exploration of Dar es Salaam here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

New Zealand

Of course, how could we forget our first trip venturing into the Southern Hemisphere! Heading down to New Zealand (for only four days no less), was a trip we will not forget about anytime soon, and is a place that we have pegged to visit again in the near future.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We had a great time exploring the beautiful countryside, which you can read about here, as well as Auckland (read about here), and everything in between (Geothermal Wonderland and Lake Taupo).

 

Eastern Canada Roadtrip

Lastly, we spent the fourth of July on a great American road trip – to Canada – and explored the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

The weather was great, the people were friendly, and we covered a lot of ground, however we are most proud to have eaten seafood and ice cream on each day of the trip! You can read about our trip here, including Prince Edward Island, historic Peggys’ Cove and Lunenburg Nova Scotia, and the impressive Bay of Fundy here.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 

We also thoroughly enjoyed a weekend in Paris, a few days in Bruges, a family get together in Venice and the Dolomites, visiting Montreal, exploring Charleston, and eating our way through New Orleans!

 

The Next Trip in 2019

 

We’re not wasting any time in 2019, starting the year off in Switzerland our first flight will be heading back to Chicago on January 2nd. Shortly after, we will be heading back to Iceland for a weekend in January hoping to catch some Northern Lights. Looking further into the future we hope to round out all 50 US states, so that means trips to hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska, and North Dakota (?), as well as Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah, and New Mexico. We will likely also have a small handful of trips to Europe and hopefully somewhere else warm and sunny! Stay tuned for more adventures on The Next Trip in 2019 and thank you for being here!

 


 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun, Mexico

Believe it or not, but I have never been to Mexico – until now. It has always been on my bucket list but either the timing or the flight prices weren’t quite right. It all changed when Kyle found a great flight option from Chicago to Cancun with Southwest. We couldn’t resist the opportunity of having a mini beach vacation after a busy week at work and booked the trip right away.

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Kyle and I woke up at 3:30 am on Saturday to make our 6 am flight with the promise to be at the beach before noon. We pulled up in front of the Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, only a few hours later (thank you Happy Shuttle Cancun for getting us there), where we were able to check in early and drop our luggage in our room. The hotel room was facing the ocean and we couldn’t have been happier with the views.

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Inpatient and way too excited to hit the beach, we quickly changed and explored the resort grounds.

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

We claimed two sun chairs between the hotel pool and the beach and started to relax, which to Kyle means laying down and enjoying the sun and to me means catching up on my Instagram stories.

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Shortly after we had settled in by the pool, the pool staff came asking for our food and drink orders. Given my love for guacamole, I had to order tortilla chips with lots of guacamole, which I polished off almost all by myself. I wrongly thought that Kyle didn’t want any. (Oops!) So, we had to order another one, though this time was full on nachos with spicy shrimp and lots of cheese!

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Being at the beach really brings out the child in me. We spent the day splashing around the water, sipping on some delicious coconut cocktails, eating more nachos, spending time at the pool bar, and relaxing in the sun.

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

We got up early the next morning to enjoy as much of the beach and the ocean as possible. Our flight only left at 6 pm so we basically had another full day in paradise.

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Shop My Look

 

My beach cover-up shirt is from ASOS and currently on sale for $17!

 

A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

With our batteries fully restored and running out of reading material, we headed back to Chicago. We had a wonderful weekend in Cancun and would do another weekend at the Westin Resort & Spa in a heartbeat.

 

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun - A Mini Vacation in Cancun

 

Would you go to Mexico for a weekend beach vacation? Let us know in the comments!