If you’ve been following me at all on any of my social networks you know that I’ve done quite a bit of traveling this year in between working full time and being a full time graduate student. What you may not know is by the end of the year I will have traveled to 8 new countries, and 7 of those were purchased at a fraction of the normal price. Since it’s the end of the year I thought it’d be nice to do a nice recap of my 2016 travel and demonstrate that traveling doesn’t HAVE to be expensive.
In December 2015, Norwegian airlines introduced non-stop service from JFK and BWI to Martinique and Guadeloupe with fares as low as $59 each way. I went to Guadeloupe in late January (almost didn’t make it due to in-climate weather in the DC area), and paid around $220 RT which included paying for checked luggage. I generally believe international flights for under $300 are phenomenal fares, but considering these are countries that to my knowledge were not previously accessible from the United States, it was all the more clutch.
It absolutely goes without saying that my trip to Guatemala & Panama was by far the best financially speaking. I booked my trip to Guatemala for a whopping $125 RT including taxes and fees. Yes, you read that right. $125. The plus/minus about this fare was that it wasn’t a straight flight from DC, there was a layover in Panama. I say this is a minus because unless I’m going somewhere really far, I generally hate layovers. However in this instance I saw it as a plus because the layover times ranged from anywhere from about 4 to 7 hours which was enough time to leave the airport and see a little of Panama (the layover made this a 2 for 1 deal).
BIM. Barbados was the one trip of my 2016 travel that I didn’t book with a travel deal or a glitch fare and that’s because I was going to Barbados specifically for Crop Over and despite watching the fares for a few months and purchasing a few months in advance, the flight was still about $550 RT. It was my only planned international destination of 2016, but there will be more on this in another post.
I like to take a birthday trip annually and this year I booked a flight deal to San Jose, Costa Rica for $288 RT. It was definitely a great price but considering that I flew to San Jose and traveled over a holiday weekend, I didn’t think the trip was worth it in hindsight. To give a bit of context, there isn’t a ton to do or see in San Jose and traveling to other areas can take a few hours one way. You can read more about this trip and why I feel that way, here.
Although the $125 Guatemala/Panama glitch deal was the by far my cheapest trip, South Africa was arguably the best bang for my buck at $390 RT. Let me also mention that ticket included baggage (x2), meals (several per flight), movies, and dranks (beer and wine). My sister likes to joke that we were pretty much paid to go to South Africa because just the flight from DC to Accra alone was worth more than $390. I’m inclined to agree with her. With this and the overall experience of the trip in mind, South Africa is easily one of the most memorable trips of my 2016 travel.
As I mentioned above, Norwegian introduced some really low fares to both Martinique and Guadeloupe last December. When one of these low fares came back around I decided to take advantage so that I could visit nearby Martinique in November. This time around the ticket was just a few dollars more at about $235 RT.
I actually haven’t been yet but I already know that Cuba is going to be the BEST trip not only from my 2016 travels, but of my LIFETIME. You might be wondering how I could say that when I haven’t been there yet and I also haven’t lived my whole life yet (knock on wood), but Cuba is the one place I’ve wanted to go ALL my life. I’ve had an obsession with Cuba for as long as I can remember. So much so that some of my Latino friends from undergrad gave me a name for my Cuban persona, lol. When many airlines began offering service to Cuba, I immediately booked from Baltimore for $304 RT. There are plenty of cheaper fares from BWI and other cities, as low as $59 dollars each way.
My 2016 Travel Summary
I’m sure this all sounds great but sometimes seeing is believing. I ran all of the numbers the total for all the flights from my 2016 travel came out to $2,112 for round trip flights to 8 countries. For some $2,112 might sound like a lot of money on top of daily life. But when you look at the cost per flight of about $301, it’s a steal. I am no travel expert but averaging $301 to get to and from an international location, including another continent, isn’t bad. I’m just saying.
When I think of a list of things that cost as much or more than $301 a few things come to mind:
- My car note
- Many domestic US flights
- Bundles for a full sew in
- Any Apple device
- Kanye’s Bag of Air
Average price per flight was $301, so Tamika is the Winner! Congratulations, I will be contacting you via email.
My most expensive flight was Barbados at about $550. Nobody guessed it though 🙁
Thank you to everyone who participated!!
What was your best budget friendly flight of 2016? Comment down below!