2016 Travel Recap

It is so hard to believe we are coming to the end of yet another year.  I’m not quite sure where this past year has gone.  One thing is for sure, we have been a very busy duo!  Here at By Land and Sea, we believe it is possible to travel big without quitting our normal 9:00 to 5:00.  This is made possible by careful planning, and by utilizing weekends, holidays, and the occasional work trip to maximize our vacation days.  2016 was a busy year for us – here’s what our travel calendar included:


* Denotes a trip related to work for one of us

By planning trips over weekends and holidays, scheduling flights with evening departures, maximizing flex time and a few scattered work trips, one or both of us was able to travel in 11 out of 12 months this year.  By planning trips around the holiday weekends of President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, I only had to use 11.5 days of vacation time this year!  I’m also fortunate that my employer offers something called “fall and spring break days” which are additional paid days off that I can use within certain timeframes during the year.  I was able to combine these days with our big trips in May and October, saving 24 hours of vacation time.  This is a great perk of my job, and I will always appreciate this additional benefit.

Looking back over the last year, we had some highs and some lows

Favorite experiences

Dog sledding in the Colorado backcountry!  Exploring the Alaskan wilderness! Finally making it to Portland! Getting to see the ever-impressive 2Cellos in concert!  We really had a great year and it’s hard to narrow it down to our top experiences!

Biggest Surprises


A palm tree in Canada!

How much I did not like Seattle

That palm trees grow in Victoria, B.C.

Biggest Score

Receiving major airfare credit in exchange for staying in Denver overnight on the way home from Alaska.  United also paid for our hotel room, meals, and gave us great little overnight kits filled with goodies. 

Biggest mistake

Not booking the original airfare to Key West early enough.  This ended up costing more in airfare than we anticipated, and the lesson learned here is: When flying into small airports, book airfare early because it will only get more expensive as time goes by. However, months of planning this particular trip ended up falling apart when Hurricane Matthew hit.

Biggest challenge

Hurricane Matthew hit during the time we had planned to attend a friend’s wedding in the Florida Keys, followed by a Caribbean cruise.  Our flights were canceled, but the wedding and cruise were still planning to run.  Although we had travel insurance, because the cruise was still scheduled, they would not issue a refund if we were not able to make it across the country due to the canceled flights.  After lots of phone calls and a healthy dose of stress and apprehension, we were able to arrange a modified trip.

Things we tried this year to cut travel costs:

Took airline credit in exchange for our seats on an overbooked flight

Stayed in an interior cabin on a cruise

Transportation and Accommodation

We accomplished all of this year’s travels through countless miles on the road and in the air, two cruises, two small train rides, metro systems, and more.  This year our accommodations ranged from high-end luxury resorts to budget friendly hotels.

2016 was a great year of travel – it’s hard to believe we are at the year’s end!  As you may have seen, we are not traveling over Christmas break this year.  Looking back at the year, it was more than full of new places and adventures and we are so glad we got to experience all of it! 

I will admit that there’s been several times this year that I’ve seen a request for information/blogs on places we’ve visited, but I haven’t actually gotten around to my posts on them yet.  So, a goal for 2017 is the get more of this type of content (both past and present) up on my site and readily available.  In addition to that, I’m planning on doing other updates to By Land and Sea over this Christmas holiday. 

With that in mind, if you’re curious about some of the things mentioned in this post or travels which I have yet to share, keep your eye out for new posts coming in 2017!    Highlights will include:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines vs. Celebrity Cruise Lines
  • Jumping off waterfalls in the Dominican Republic
  • First-timer’s guide to a weekend in Portland
  • All-Inclusive luxury at Excellence Riviera Cancun
  • What it’s like to stay in an interior cruise ship cabin
  • Vegas on a budget
  • Caribbean port of call recommendations
  • And much, much more!

We are looking forward to our busy, exciting 2017 travel year as well!  We will be crossing the globe and two oceans to explore many new places, as well as return to some old favorites both here in the U.S. and abroad!

What are your top travel experiences from the last year?  Was it something good, something bad, or something out of your dreams!?!  Share in the comments below!

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