Travel Plans For 2018 Are Shaping Up

After going nonstop for five years, particularly in 2016 when we broke all our prior records and spent over 200 days away from home, we desperately needed a break, and so we took one in 2017. We did still travel, but just 10 weeks in total, far less than our normal retirement mode of half the year, and most of it prior to our relocation move in July.

Since then we've focused primarily on getting our home fixed up and settling into our new community, though we did break away for an RVing/backpacking trip with long-time friends, and traveled east several times to see our granddaughter. Other than that, though, we've been here. And you know what? I'm getting the itch again!

So I've spent a good amount of time this week making RV and VRBO reservations (I posted here about what we'd already planned to do in 2018). I also found myself reading emails about travel deals for the first time in a long while, and guess what? I booked one, and we're traveling to Japan in the fall!

Here's an overview of where we're going, and what we'll be doing, from the touring company's website:

  • Tour dazzling Tokyo, a city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology
  • Culinary demonstration led by a professional chef -- learn the art of creating sushi and sashimi
  • Visit the serene Meiji Shrine honoring the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress
  • A day of breathtaking natural scenery as you drive to the National Park of Hakone and Mt. Fuji
  • Board the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train" that takes you to Kanazawa on the Noto Peninsula
  • Travel to the UNESCO site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of gassho-zukuri farmhouses
  • In Kagaonsen, stay at a traditional Ryokan (inn)
  • A walking tour of Takayama’s historic district reveals its traditions dating back to the 9th century
  • Discover enchanting Kyoto, founded in the 7th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
  • Visit Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, residence of Shoguns, and the magnificent gilded Golden Pavilion
  • Experience the cultural heritage of Kyoto at a traditional Tea Ceremony at the Gesshin-in Temple
  • Dinner and traditional Maiko (Geisha) dance performance reflects the core of Japanese culture
  • Travel to the Imperial capital of Nara, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are approximately 195 countries in the world, and Japan will be country #49 for us (click here and scroll down to see what countries we've been to so far). It will also be the only foreign country we're visiting next year, which is fine with me. I had enough cases of jet lag in 2016 to last me a lifetime; something like eight transitions in all. Not to mention getting ill repeatedly due to numerous long, long flights. So one new country in 2018, plus four new states, several long RV trips, and lots and lots of trips back east to see our girl, plus our new girl when she arrives in June (we just found out our daughter's having another girl!) should keep us nice and busy.

Some of my favorite photos from 2016, when we quite literally traveled ourselves silly,
visiting 15 countries and 6 states.

Do you have any travel plans yet for 2018? Where are you going if so???


  1. So far, a rather limited schedule, but a new experience for us: a European river cruise in May. We will be visiting you guys in March and are thinking of a 2-3 week rental in the charming Arizona town of Prescott sometime in July or August. It is about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix and under an hour from Sedona and Flagstaff. One thing we are saving for is a biggie: taking the entire family to Disney World (all four attractions) in Orlando in the spring of 2019 for my daughter's 40th and my 70th birthday.

    1. You will much enjoy your river cruise I am quite confident. It's so darn relaxing, and getting on and off is an absolute breeze compared to big ship cruising. You'll literally watch Europe go by in slow motion while onboard. So excited for you both!

      What a wonderful idea for your combined 40 and 70th birthdays! We're thinking of doing something similar come 2020, which is when pensions, Medicare and Social Security start to roll in and our annual budget sees a nice boost. In our case, we are thinking of taking everyone on a cruise to either Alaska or the Caribbean, depending. We've been to both quite a few times, so we are thinking we can help with the children and leave the big people free to really enjoy themselves. Family is so wonderful, isn't it? :-)

  2. Wonderful travel plans, Tamara, both at home and abroad! It will be so lovely when your second granddaughter arrives. I liked the grouping of some of your favourite photos from 2016. I visited Japan and loved it. It's one of the countries that I'd really like to return to explore more. I started planning my travels for 2018...So far I booked two short family trips to other cities in our province in January and February, and one trip to Chile in March.

    1. I was content to stay put for much of this year, but now that we are relatively settled here with regard to fixing up the house, I found my travel mojo again. It's a wonderful thing to be able to travel, and I'm increasingly aware that we may not be as healthy and mobile going forward as we are now, so this is the time.

      Your trip to Chile will be wonderful I'm sure, and such fun to be able to speak Spanish while you are there, also. And the reward for all that diligent work you've done!

  3. The Japan itinerary is amazing! I'm guessing this is a two week trip? Fall is peak travel season in Japan because of the weather and fall colors, so be prepared for crowds (which may or may not be there). But, everything will be gorgeous and scenery spectacular. I'm thrilled that you will get to visit Shirakawa-go and Takayama - both are very special places. I can't wait to see all of your pictures!

    1. Thanks Laura! Yes, we are in the country for just shy of two weeks. I know this likely feels like a lickity splitz paced trip, but I find I enjoy the rapid pace in countries where I think I'd be challenged to go it alone, and I always appreciate all the information we receive as we go along. I've done many a trip on our own, and that has it's rewards, but also it's own unique stresses. It's always a bit of a trade off, whichever way one decides to proceed I think.

      Normally we'll either start or end on our own, but Tokyo is a very, very expensive city, and we're there four nights to start with our small tour group, so that will likely have to suffice for this time around. We did get great air flights however - nonstop both ways, and at reasonable departure and arrival times, so I'm very pleased.

      We are very, very excited, and I pulled Shogun off of my bookshelf to read the moment we booked!

    2. Tamara: If you like Japan as much as I think you will, and would like to see more, you can come while we're there in 2019, and we'll be your tour guides show you all over Tokyo and the surrounding area. We can also help you do "Tokyo for less," including lodging!

    3. Laura, that is the sweetest offer ever, and we will definitely keep it in mind! We have our eye on a hiking adventure to New Zealand in the early part of 2019, so we'd 'be in the neighborhood' as they say, meaning it's actually somewhat feasible. What fun if we could actually pull it off!

  4. Being the homebody that I am, I find it hard to image being gone from home 200 days out of a year. You are a better woman than I!! This year's travels bordered on too many days away for me and already heading out of town the first week in January.

    I remember my father traveling to Japan and enjoying it very much. Hope your trip is delightful...jet lag and illness free!

    1. If I could beam myself to wherever, rather than having to fly there, I'd probably travel every other week. But since I can't, and jet lag and getting ill is all part of the package, I prefer to make our foreign travel trips longer in duration, but less often in frequency.

      I will say that I am so happy we chose to travel as extensively as we did the first years of our retirement, because our expanding family is definitely altering how often we are willing to be away without seeing our grandchildren. Once they start school a few years down the road, I would imagine our pace will pick up again, but for now, limiting our foreign travels and instead traveling to visit them here in the US holds much greater appeal.

    2. Our grandbabies cast quite a spell on us, don't they? :)


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