It’s almost 2018 and that means it’s time for a slew of end of the year reflections and best lists. Last year, I did a post recapping my 2016 travel, dubbed “My Glitch Year,” and since you really liked it, I figured I should do it again. While 2017 wasn’t blessed with nearly as many glitch deals as 2016, I was still able to snag some great travel deals. With my 2017 travel now complete, I’ve visited 12 (should’ve been 13 but who’s counting) countries this year, 9 of which were new to me.
If you don’t already know, I live in the D.C. metropolitan area. When your president won the election back in November 2016, I vowed that under no circumstances would I be home during inauguration weekend. You know, in the name of protecting my peace or whatever. I had no idea where I’d go, but promised to book the first cheap fare I saw for $274 round trip. Even though I went for the first time that month (November 2016) it was a great time so I didn’t mind going back. It turned into the first big group trip I planned completely and I made some great friends as a result.
Trinidad & Tobago
It’s no secret that I’m a carnival junkie so I won’t bore you with a fluffy tale on why I went to Trinidad & Tobago in February. Planning for Trinidad Carnival is definitely an art, especially if you want to spend a lot on flights and lodging but I promise I’ll get into that on another post. I got my flight to Trinidad on Caribbean Airlines from Miami for $253 roundtrip and purchased a roundtrip ticket to Florida from Maryland on Southwest for about another $100.
RELATED: 2016 Travel- A Glitch
Somehow I managed to squeeze in a trip to Ireland for St. Patty’s Day, which was only about three weeks after returning from Trinidad. Crazy, I know but it was so worth it. I snagged a flight deal from Dulles to Ireland about nine months prior for about $430 round-trip after a friend of mine booked.
One thing I didn’t know before this trip is that Ireland is actually split into two different countries: Ireland and Northern Ireland. One uses the pound and the other uses the euro for monetary currency. So yes, it totally counts as another country! Going to Northern Ireland was as simple as splitting a rental car between 5-6 people and doing a road trip. This ‘trip’ was fairly inexpensive after the split at about 35 bucks per person including gas.
I’ve been very vocal about the fact that Cuba has always been the one place I’ve wanted to go all of my life. So much so that when I went to book my first trip there, I also booked a second…at the same damn time. I went for the first time over NYE 2017 and I booked my second time in Cuba for Memorial Day Weekend 2017 as a graduation gift to myself for $304 round-trip from Baltimore. This time around, I joined a trip planned by Black Travelista, and it was epic!
RELATED: NYE 2017 in Cuba
I am a self-proclaimed beach and island chaser. There’s nothing to me like beautiful, clear blue or green waters. It’s legit nature’s picker upper in my opinion. With the Philippines having upwards of 7 thousand such islands, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see some of the best beaches in the world when I spotted a glitch fare for $210 dollars round trip from JFK. That’s right, I said $210 round trip. My flight to the Philippines was by far the best deal I snagged in 2017 financially.
Every year I try to go somewhere for my birthday and this year it was Mexico. I decided to join Dear Black Traveler x Sophistiratchet’s group trip to Cancun for Labor Day. I would always joke that it’s funny how I’ve been to all of these far-off places but had never been to Mexico and it’s right in my backyard. Why? Because I think the flight times and prices are more often than not ridiculous. For that reason, I ended up booking my flight to Cancun with rewards points and my return flight with Southwest for about $300.
I booked a flight from New York to Barcelona on TAP Portugal that had a long layover in Lisbon, Portugal for $186 one way. Technically, Spain should have been country #2 on this little tour of Europe but of course, drama ensued and it was country #1 instead. In short, Barcelona was EVERYTHING that people have been saying it was, and I cannot wait to return. I must return! It’s a beautiful city with so much to do and see. If you haven’t been, definitely add it to your list.
My flight to Spain was a springboard to take a tour of Europe since I was already there and traveling between countries is often easy and inexpensive. From Barcelona, I booked a flight on Vueling to Milan, Italy for about $70 one way. This leg of my trip was an epic fail so I don’t have much to show for it. Details in another post.
After a day in Milan, I took a flight to Amsterdam on Vueling for about $70 one way. Unfortunately, this was yet another unwelcome snag in the trip and my flight left a few hours late. That pretty much ruined things for my short visit, but it was nice to be able to actually leave the airport this time and experience the train. It was blistering cold!
After a night in Amsterdam, I took a bus to Brussels for $11 one way. I booked most of my arrangements at the last minute so this was definitely the cheapest way to get there and it was actually a nice and scenic ride. I really had no expectations for Brussels and kinda only decided to go because it’s in between the Netherlands and France but boy am I glad I went! I’m not sure if it’s the time of year but I found Brussels to be magical! Again, I didn’t get to see anything I actually wanted to see so I ended up just wandering around but I discovered so many nice things and tasty food! Brussels is definitely a place I’d like to return to–so I can actually do the things I wanted to do!
The last stop on my little tour of Europe was Paris and also the city I returned to the States from. From Brussels, I took the train directly into Paris for about $45. If you’re traveling through Europe I would highly recommend taking the train at least one. It’s a very scenic and cozy ride–even better if you’re traveling with friends to sit and chat with. I’ve always been a bit uninterested in Paris, feeling that it’s overrated. After visiting, I mostly still feel that way, but I didn’t hate it. Paris reminds me a lot of New York City with less congestion. I did most of my exploration in Paris at night and I think that’s where the city’s magic lies.
The Wrap Up
Time to wrap this post and the year up with the final tally and breakdown. After running all the numbers, the final total for the flights/buses/trains for all of my trips in 2017 is roughly $2,525. To clarify, this total only reflects transportation to the various countries, not transportation throughout the duration of my stay. As I mentioned earlier, I traveled to a total of 12 countries in 2017. So after dividing the total by 12, my average round-trip cost per trip was $210.42. This bests my 2016 average by almost $90 bucks!
What was your best budget trip of 2017? Let me know in the comments and Happy New Year!! Cheers to 2018!
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