Around the World in 2018: Semi-Retirement Trip Update

The Original Plan

It’s been almost three months since I originally posted about my plan to semi-retire in 2018 and spend the second half of the year traveling through Europe, Africa, and Asia. Whitney and I have spent a lot of time planning the trip out since then. Due to a variety of factors, including: weather, cost, recommendations, and award flights, the itinerary has evolved.

Here was our original plan:

  • 7/17-7/21: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 7/21-7/28: Dublin, Ireland
  • 7/28-8/4: Agadir, Morocco
  • 8/4-8/9: London, England
  • 8/9-9/20: Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 9/20-10/4: Phuket, Thailand
  • 10/4-10/11: Bangkok, Thailand
  • 10/11-10/18: Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • 10/18-11/2: Phnom Phen, Cambodia
  • 11/2-11/9: Krong Kaeb, Cambodia
  • 11/9-11/24: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • 11/24-12/1: Hanoi, Vietnam
  • 12/1-12/15: Hai Phong, Vietnam

The Current Plan

The original plan would have been a total of 6 countries in 5 months. I got a lot of feedback from fellow world travelers after that original post, which led me to start adjusting things. We now have the beginning and end flights for our trip booked and a general outline for the middle, although it isn’t completely booked and still subject to change.

We have now added additional countries and will be going completely around the globe flying East, which should be really awesome. Here’s the first part of our itinerary, which we already have booked from July-August:

  • 7/16-7/21: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 7/21-7/26: Dublin, Ireland
  • 7/26-8/4: Agadir, Morocco
  • 8/4-8/9: London, England
  • 8/9-8/13: Berlin, Germany
  • 8/13-8/17: Munich, Germany

We have this part of the trip completely booked including flights and accommodations, but activities are still TBD. After this we still have some planning and booking to do, but the current rough outline for the middle looks like this:

  • Chiang Mai, Thialand
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ha Long, Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Cambodian Islands
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Phuket, Thialand
  • Krabi, Thialand
  • Bangkok, Thialand

Making a loop around Southeast Asia like this seemed to make more sense once we started researching and talking to others. We are also still learning about what we need to do for Visas to visit each of these countries, but splitting up our time in Thailand seemed to be a smarter choice since we plan to spend about two months there total.

The end of the trip is going to look like this:

  • 12/4-12/11: Bangkok, Thailand
  • 12/11-12/17: Hong Kong, China

By adding Hong Kong in at the end of the trip, we were able to get award flights for cheaper (completely with points), visit a whole new country, and make this a trip completely around the world! The flight from Hong Kong back to Virginia connects through the west coast of the US. Hong Kong is quite a bit more expensive than the other parts of Asia we will be visiting, but we were able to book all but one of our nights there using hotel points to stay for free.

Recap

We have added a few new places to our trip which is going to allow us to see more and make it all the way around the world in 2018! We will be going to a total of 10 countries in 5 months. About 2/5ths of that time will be spent in Thailand.

The beginning and ending flights have been booked and were free with airline/credit card points. The American Express Gold Delta Skymiles Card has been really valuable for us in planning this trip. We both signed up for this card and received 60k miles (50k miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, and an additional 1k miles after spending another $1,000 in the first 6 months, for a total of 60k miles for spending $3,000 in 6 months). We have used these miles to book our USA to Europe and Asia to USA international flights for FREE.

Most of the trip we will be staying at affordable Airbnb’s, but we will be staying 15+ nights (I’m not completely sure how many yet since the middle of the trip hasn’t been booked) at free hotels that we booked with hotel/credit card points. The majority of the free hotel nights we used in the higher cost areas of the trip (UK, Germany, Hong Kong) to keep our total expenses lower. The Chase Hyatt 45,000 point sign up offer (40,000 points plus an extra 5,000 for adding an authorized user) has very helpful for us here. We both got the Chase Hyatt card and have used the points to book many of these free hotel nights, in addition to using some other points and free nights from other cards.

Whitney and I are getting very excited and now only have three months of work left before we embark! Since the middle of the trip hasn’t been booked yet, we would still love feedback and suggestions on the locations I mentioned in Southeast Asia. I’ll update again when we have the whole trip finalized, and that’s when I’ll also write a post about our total costs for travel and lodging. Thanks for reading about our trip and following along!


 

*Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, I included some links above for the Delta Skymiles Card, Airbnb, and Chase Hyatt Card. If you use the links above, I will receive a referral bonus for you signing up. If you are interested in signing up for any of these in order to take advantage of travel rewards, and you have found my content helpful, I would appreciate you using my links! Using a referral link doesn’t take away from you receiving the same rewards as if you went directly through the website. Thanks in advance for anyone who uses my referral links!

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