What a year 2022 has been for travelling. The world has just opened up after 2 years of lockdowns. We can never imagine going back to those times when flights were barely filled with passengers and hotels were slashing prices worldwide.
On our end, we have been travelling relentlessly to make up for the lost time!
This is a full recap of our travels this year. The purpose of this post is not just for me to reflect our the past year, but also to show that long-term travelling is actually doable and affordable. You don’t have to be earning tens of thousands of dollars a month to do that. Therefore, there’ll be full transparency and some numbers in a later section of the post.
Looking back, 2022 has really been a hell of a ride.
The long story
USA and Mexico
We started the year in México and the USA, having to quarantine ourselves over New Year’s day in our México Airbnb for catching Covid 19. That didn’t exactly mark a very good start to the new year.
After recovering, we spent the next couple weeks of January road-tripping up the US west coast from San Diego to San Francisco with our close friends.
Our next big trip only came a couple of months later in April (JS revisited the US in February for a short work trip), but it was a big one as it was a new continent for both of us. We visited Southern Africa and did a couple of safari game drives!
This was also the first time we took a business-class flight on Singapore Airlines. We were lucky to be able to redeem those flights as Krisflyer has since gone through a devaluation and we were able to snag those redemptions during a Spontaneous Escapes promotion. It was an experience that we could never forget.
Africa is an expensive continent to travel in. A huge bulk of our annual travel expense is contributed by the short inter-African flights. Luckily, we were able to defray some of the costs by redeeming for stays in places like the Protea Johannesburg and the Protea Kruger’s Gate.
At the end of that trip, we immediately caught a connecting flight through Singapore to Maldives to have our long-awaited stay in Conrad Maldives which was originally planned for June 2020.
Right after the Maldives trip in June, JS headed for the US and México again for another work trip which lasted for almost a month!
In July, we decided to go somewhere closer to home, Cambodia and Vietnam, for a quick escape. There were many stories to be told on this trip, from being caught violating traffic rules in Vietnam to staying in the newly launched ultra-lux Regent Phu Quoc.
After being back in Singapore for a month in August, we snagged a couple of cheap flight tickets to the sunny island of Bali in September to visit some friends there.
Due to an ongoing promotion at Hilton, we booked our stay at the famous Hilton Garden Inn Ngurah Rai hotel for only 3,000 points a night!
For our final big trip of the year, we headed to Europe in early October where we spent the remaining days of the year there. We started off in Greece and later headed to many other countries of the continent like Turkey, Italy, Germany and Austria.
M had to head back to Singapore in early December for family festivities, and I decided to stay back for a bit to explore places that I’ve really wanted to visit for a long time. That includes Poland, Spain and Andorra!
And that leads us to the current point in time where I’m sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop in Cordoba, Spain writing this post.
The Year in Numbers
All numbers here are quoted for a single person (JS) in Singapore dollars.
Number of countries visited: 20
Number of flights: 41
Number of different airlines taken: 15
Amount of miles redeemed: 96,250 Krisflyer miles
Money spent on flights: S$4,573 (US$3,383)
This image from the Flighty app summarises the total number of flights I’ve taken, and it’s a lot! A total of 41 flights including transit flights. This might be more flights than I’ve taken in my whole life combined.
It’s also crazy the number of airports I’ve visited. I can’t imagine the number of airport lounges I’ve visited this year. If only Priority Pass had a reliable tracking count.
All the long-haul flights between Singapore and the US also probably contributed to me losing 6.5 days of the year in the air.
Despite taking so many flights, we’ve managed to keep our overall out-of-pocket cost as low as possible by redeeming miles and flying low-cost carriers as much as possible. We also made use of many cost-saving techniques to find cheap air tickets.
We’ve also finally hit the Singapore Krisflyer Gold Elite member status by virtue of an error in the Krisflyer systems. We did not actually achieve the necessary number of elite miles needed to qualify for the status, but they accidentally credited my account with them and decided not to claw it back. Yay to Krisflyer and Singapore Airlines. I highly doubt I’ll be able to fly enough next year to requalify for the status the following year though.
Status: Platinum Elite
Number of nights: 29
Amount of points redeemed: 101,500 + 4 free night awards
Number of nights: 30
Amount of points redeemed: 477,371
Status: Platinum Elite
Number of nights: 2
Amount of points redeemed: 23,000
Number of nights: 90
Boutique Properties (Booking.com / Agoda)
Number of nights: 34
Money spent on accommodations: S$9116.82 (US$6,745)
After tallying up these numbers, it’s safe to say that I’ve officially spent more nights away from my actual home in Singapore in the year.
Throughout all the travels, our accommodation choice varies widely from Airbnbs apartments to chain hotel brands and boutique hotels off OTAs.
After all these experiences, I’ve got to say my favourite is still staying in Airbnbs, as evidenced by the number of nights stayed in them. Many of them that we stayed in offered proper living amenities like a kitchen and larger spaces.
This gave us the chance to prepare our own food and ample space to work from instead of a tiny hotel room.
In terms of chain hotels, we probably spent the most amount of money on Marriott and redeemed the most amount of points in Hilton. We also have statuses with all the main hotel chains which gets us perks like free breakfasts and room upgrades. That’s more money saved while travelling!
Finishing up on this post, it’s really been a crazy year of travels for both of us. We have already started to plan our trips for the next year, starting with South Korea in February.
As far as we can tell, we will probably travel a lot less in 2023 than in 2022 with us having a lot more commitment next year. But who knows, many of our trips this year were also decided at the very last minute!