As I reflect on 2015 I think about all of the unplanned travel. I didn’t plan the prior year with a bucket list as I was unsure what the future held. I didn't say I want to see x amount of countries. My focus at the time was securing a certain career position and to continue to save money. Never the less my friends know I love to travel and I would receive calls to go on certain trips and I couldn't resist.
My year started with a trip to
Iceland using a Groupon booked around Cyber Monday of the previous year. I would have never imagined going to Iceland but within a day we booked our Groupon. I am from the South so I was way out of my element in Iceland. I enjoyed everything about the trip. My only regret is that the whole trip was focus around seeing the Aurora Borealis and the weather prevented it. All and all it was a fun trip and we prided ourselves on booking the trip prior to the Beyonce and Jay-Z pictures hit the internet and Iceland suddenly became everyone’s bucket list item :). I would go back but during the summer for a roadtrip around the country. If during the winter I would like to snow mobile. The food was amazing.
This same trip is cheaper on Groupon now for $799 out of Boston and JFK. They have an even better deal on Travel Zoo starting at $639. If priced individually you could look at a budget carrier like WOW air for $99 one way flights. Read about my Icelandic adventures and tips.
My next trip was to Phuket, Thailand for my birthday. I was approached about 4 months prior to go on this trip. The total flight time including layover was about 21 hours from DC. This was the furthest I have been from home. However I love Thailand and wish I could go back every year. My longest trip on a plane up until this point had been Iceland which is 6 hours from DC. I thought I could sleep on the plane. I always have issues with sleeping on the plane so I brought Nyquil Sleep and planned to go to sleep during Thailand’s night time on the plane. I was not able to sleep and Emirates kept coming by with food. By about the 10th hour I was ready to lay out in the aisle, I could NOT take it anymore! So I did what most people do when they can’t sleep, get on social media. I was excited that the internet only cost $1.00 for the entire flight and it was a good speed. I enjoyed my time and planning and you can read about all of the details.
At Tiger Kingdom with an unbothered Tiger :D
I was not planning to go to Dubai but when I booked my ticket to Phuket, I logged into the Emirates and my ticket had a notification of “Eligible for Dubai Connect.” Upon further research my 23.5 hr layover included a hotel, transportation, visa costs and food covered by the Emirates. Unfortunately I did get to plan as much as most of my research was dedicated to Thailand and putting my milestone birthday together, but I still enjoyed my time. It was just enough to see and I don’t have to go back for a few years. Read the full experience.
Waiting on a water taxi in Old Dubai
A selfie with the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world
At Jumeriah Beach, Sand and Water were HOT!!
Gold Souk (Market)
I LOOOOVE this city, there is so much to do and see. I returned to San Francisco for the 3rd time with my mom. My mom really wanted to go but the flights kept increasing and the hotels have increased since my first visit. I woke up one morning after we gave up on finding a flight deal and saw the flight to SFO decreased so I woke up my mom and we decided to pack and not book until we got to the airport (we are less than 10 mins from airport). We packed carry ons which is unusual for me and booked on my cell phone while standing in the airport. I researched hotels on the plane and booked when I landed. The first hotel was not good, so we left and found a last minute deal on orbitz while in the cab. I was able to bike the Golden Gate bridge for the second time. The first time I was solo, this time my mom challenged herself to join me. I have heard mixed reviews when I ask people if they like San Francisco. Some people my age have mentioned they don’t like the party scene as its non-existent for blacks. However I am ok with that because that’s not my main focus. From the Golden Gate, to Lands End, Coit Tower, Tours, Sausalito and a day trip to Napa. There is tooo much to do. This trip I learned that I need to check out Jackson Square in Oakland next time. I may even check out the annual Eat Drink SF festival (August). I am a true recovering foodaholic lol.
The View from the Top Of Pier 39
The Ferry Building
Old Sutro Baths
I took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for a travel blogger conference. I didn't decide to go until 5 days prior to start. I enjoyed learning about the platform and networking with people I already follow on social media. I put together a road trip for me and my friend a week prior and after the conference I flew back to Atlanta picked up a rental car, slept for two hours and hit the road to Jacksonville, Florida for the GA/Florida game.
I had a chance to meet @willdrinkfortravel @outdoorsydiva @juliaconey @hollydayztravel @thesophislife and @barristourista
Yes, I know I was just in Florida, but it’s actually the same distance to drive from Miami to Jacksonville as Atlanta to Jacksonville. I was excited to attend my first Ga/Florida game even though we got slaughtered but now I can say I saw one of Richt’s last games coaching GA! The city was more fun and pretty than I remember from visiting as a child. It was during my Florida trip I used Uber many times and learned about the surcharges they have during events and that drivers came from all over for the game which led for a a lot of lost Uber drivers who weren't familiar with the city. Not sure if I will use Uber again.
At Neptune Beach/Jacksonville
On the way back we stopped in Savannah which is another city I haven’t visited since a child. I absolutely loved the Doubletree Hotel we stayed in and exploring historic downtown. This trip helped me achieve my fast track to Gold with Hilton Honors. It was so fun, I was happy to put the whole trip together in the end.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
All in all 2015 was a great travel year. People always ask how I do it and I am so thankful to God I don’t have to worry about student loans because I have a mom that pushed me to apply for every scholarship available as well as investing is something I am still learning about. Also I don’t eat out or buy new clothes . I did all that before but I made A LOT of lifestyle changes in 2014. I am not rich by any means but I found a lot of great deals by booking last minute like a week to days before to even booking the hotel after I landed. I spend days before I book crunching numbers in excel before I book. How was your 2015 Travel year?
Need inspiration for 2016? Check out where I want to go this year! *fingers crossed*
Add your travel goal list below!