2018 Travel Year in Review

I was reflecting back on all the traveling I did last year, so I thought I’d write a post about it. This is just a summary. Feel free to click on links to read more about each adventure.


I had been to Asia before; Darlene had not. I wanted to take her to Thailand and Cambodia; she wanted to go to Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. We compromised.

In January we flew into Bangkok and spent a day touring Bangkok.

We then took a day trip to Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Our trip to the temples in Ayutthaya was my favorite experience in Thailand.

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Next we were off to Siem Reap, Cambodia. As opposed to when I went alone and did a crazy all day overland border crossing, this time we flew and were in Siem Reap in an hour.

The main reason people go to Siem Reap is to see Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

But I learned that the Angkor Archaeologic Complex is so much more than Angkor Wat. There are hundreds of temples in addition to Angkor Wat. My favorite were Bayon and Ta Prohm.

Bayon: Cambodia
Ta Prohm: Cambodia

Siem Reap is very affordable. We stayed at a nice hotel, that included breakfast and free airport pickup, for $25. We hired a tuk-tuk driver to take us to the temples all morning for $15 each day, and we ate in local restaurants for about $3.

Dinner in Siem Reap

Now that the adventures were over, we took a flight to Hong Kong and visited Hong Kong Disneyland. The park was the least crowded Disney Park we have ever been to, which means we didn’t spend a lot of time waiting in lines, and got to see everything in a single day.

We also spent a day exploring near the Hong Kong waterfront and spent the night in one of the smallest rooms I have been in (but it was cheap – 538 Hong Kong dollars for two nights, about $70; most hotels in Hong Kong were very expensive).

Jas Guest House, Hong Kong

Our final stop was Tokyo. Though we didn’t spend much time exploring the city of Tokyo, Darlene did get to go to Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland

and Tokyo Disney Sea, so she was happy.

Tokyo Disney Sea
Tokyo Disney Sea

Spring Break in Southern France

Avignon, France

After scoring some ridicuously cheap $449 round trip tickets on American Airlines to Marseilles, we spent almost a week in Southern France, visiting Avignon, Nimes and Carcassonne.

Nimes, France

I wrote in more detail about this trip in another post.


In May, I went to Ecuador because I found a flight to Quito for only $349. I didn’t stay in Quito but spent my time in Banos, Ecuador, where I did some really cool things.

I biked from Banos to Puyo and saw some beautiful waterfalls along the way.

Pailon del Diablo, Ecuador

I climbed to Casa del Arbol and took a ride on the swing of death.

Casa del Arbol tree swing

I did an overnight Amazon Jungle Tour, and spent the night in a hut with no water, no toilets and no electricity. They didn’t even have wi-fi (eye roll).

Our sleeping accommodations on our Jungle Tour

And the entire trip was very cheap, costing only $554 per person, including airfare.

Summer Adventure

We again found some cheap flights in June; this time on Norwegian Airlines. We flew from Orlando to Paris for $229 per person.

Alsace France

We then took the Ouigo train to Strasbourg (for a lot less than SCNF, the French National Railway).

Le Petite France, Strasbourg

We then ventured to Colmar and used it as a base for travel around Alsace.

Colmar, France

From Colmar we took a day trip to Eguisheim.

Eguisheim, France

If you like embarrassing stories, feel free to read about my incident in Eguisheim.

We also did a day trip to both Riquewihr and Ribeauville.

Riquewihr, France
Ribeauville, France

I really liked the Alsace region of France. I love the colorful half-timbered houses.


I know it’s an odd combination, but we wanted to add Norway to our trip so took another flight on Norwegian Airwaysp;olllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww3szax to, of all places, Norway. We flew from Paris to Bergen for $92 each.

We started our journey with a couple days in Bergen.

Bergen, Norway

We then took a ferry to Stavanger. It was cheaper than the train and way more enjoyable.

Ferry to Stavanger Norway

We spent a couple days in Stavanger.

Stavanger, Norway

We took an overnight train to Olso and then an overnight ferry to Copenhagen. We just wanted to do an overnight train for the experience (plus it was cheaper than a night in a hotel in Norway), and the overnight ferry was our “poor man’s cruise” for €88 for the cabin for two people. Again that was cheaper than a hotel room, plus we got transportation and we had a mini cruise as the “ferry” was much nicer than we expected.

We flew back home from Copenhagen for $294, making our flights $615 for three segments for our trip to France and Norway.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Walt Disney World

We finished the year at Walt Disney World at the Polynesian Resort in a Disney Vacation Club studio the week before Christmas. Darlene is a Disney Park fanatic.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort

We can stay there cheaper than at the regular resort and the rooms are nicer (they even have two bathrooms).

It’s a great time of year to go because everything is decked out for Christmas.

Walt Disney World at Christmas

2018 Travel Year in Review

In writing this post and looking back on the year, I feel blessed to have done all these amazing trips. We have adopted an attitude of experiences instead of things and we feel we have spent our money on experiences we will never forget.

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