Jan 112015

A year ago I had 42 countries to go, and that’s down to 25 now. I figured it was a good time to see how those plans did or did not come together, and what’s changed in the meantime. Down to just under 20 months until the target date of Iceland for Labour Day 2016 (early September.)

March: long weekend in Jamaica (155) – as planned! I think I had enough rum punch to last a lifetime!

late-April: week in Ecuador and Bolivia (156-157) – great trip, the Uyuni salt flats were stunning.

July: long dive weekend in St Kitts and Nevis (158) – fantastic diving trip

August: wasn’t planned at the start of the year, but I did a crazy milage run of DC to Andorra…via Hawaii in both directions! I’d planned to save Andorra for another time, but it was just too tempting! (159)

October: 8 south pacific countries (167)  – fantastic trip, and going into it I knew something was bound to go wrong…and it did. Despite two attempts I couldn’t make it to Tuvalu. Did manage Timor Leste, Nauru, PNG, Kiribati, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Samoa, however.

November:  wasn’t planned early in the year, and my Middle East plans at the beginning of the year were “Probably two trips, since I have Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Who’s to say how I’ll get Syria.” Well, I had an amazing trip to Israel and Palestine over Thanksgiving then came back to DC for 48 hours before flying off to Beirut. Syria’s also out of the way, and that’s a story I’ll detail another time *wink* so that makes 171 down and 25 to go!

New Years 2014/2015: 6 countries of East Africa + Saudi, Eritrea, Yemen. Hope is to arrange a Saudi transit visa between Eritrea and Yemen (175) – unfortunately this didn’t happen. The good news it’s been re-planned now, and I should be at 179 with 17 to go in under a month.

For 2016, I’m planning to group those 17:

Belize: Dive trip planned with a buddy who returns from Afghanistan in Spring 2015.

Cuba: Havana Marathon in November.

Chad and Central African Republic: Planning to hit these around Labour Day with Ian. I guess we figure we didn’t get in enough trouble in Palestine so we’re going to have another crack at it!

Algeria/Mali/Mauritania: No plans on dates, but at some point in the year I’m sure I’ll get the itch to do this. Can probably be done in a week.

Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia: Ebola-permitting planning this next New Years. That’ll bring me into 2016 with just five countries to go!  Three should be knocked off in an epic Tuvalu-Mongolia-Turkmenistan round-the-world coinciding with the Nadaam Festival in Mongolia, leaving just the Bahamas to go before Iceland in September!

So, other than country collecting, what did 2014 look like? A couple of trips to Hawaii and Chicago as usual. Vegas, Minnesota and North Carolina, but it was a very light year for domestic travel. Planning to do a bit more domestic in 2015 while I save up money (and leave time!) in order to plan the big assault on the remaining countries in late-2015/early-2016.

Last year I didn’t get around to doing a year in review until mid-March, so I’m already a bit ahead of last year!

In 2014, I logged a total of 142,377 miles in the air, which was my fifth highest total ever. In comparison:

2013: 171,863
2012: 139,197
2011: 134,823
2010: 106,046
2009: 136,612
2008: 147,092
2007: 153,691
2006: 161,596
2005: 128,713
2004: 105,301

When I wrote my 2013 year in review last March, I projected I’d end 2014 somewhere in the 130-140,000 range  so I was actually pretty close.  The year’s travel map:


I also really like this view, which shows all the nonstop flights I took from DC:


For those 142,377 miles I took 108 total flights for an average length of 1,328 miles. This is just one flight shy of 2013, but many miles short. My shortest flight was only 9 miles from Molokai, Hawaii to Kalaupapa, Hawaii (MKK-LUP) and back in a Piper PA-31 Chieftan where I got to ride in the co-pilot seat. It was also my shortest flight ever! The longest flight of the year goes to Washington Dulles to Tokyo at 6,753 miles in ANA first class. If you have to take a long flight might as well do it in style!

As far as aircraft go:

Airbus: 27 total – much less Airbus than 2013 when I flew 47 Airbus flights.
A319: 8
A320: 10
A321: 5
A330: 3
A340: 0
A380: 1

Boeing: 48 total  – similar to 2013
737: 26
747: 2
757: 2
767: 10
777: 8
787: 0
MD90: 0

Canadair CRJ – 3 total

DeHavilland – 6 total
Dash-6: 2
Dash-8: 4

Embraer – 11 total
E145: 2
E170: 1
E175: 7
E190: 1

Something new this year was lots of smaller planes – 7 total flights:

Piper Chieftan: 3
Cessna: 2
Saab: 2

For these 108 flights, 43 were in economy – more than twice as many as the year before!, 44 were in domestic first/business, 5 were in international first, and 16 were in international business class. Quite a step down in premium travel this year!

For the true first class flights, two were on United, with one each on Asiana, ANA, and Emirates. No Lufthansa first this year…I need to work on changing that!

On the country front, I managed to visit 38 countries, of which 22 were new to me, bringing my total to 171 countries visited.

I also flew a total of 38 airlines in 2014 of which 18 were new:

Air New Zealand (NZ), Air North (TL), Air Solomons (IE), Amaszonas (Z8), Asiana (OZ), Avianca (AV), Fiji Airlines (FJ),  Makani Kai, Mokulele (MW), Nauru Airlines (ON), Polynesian (PH), Qantas (QF), RwandAir (WB), Seaborne (BB), Sriwijaya (SJ), TAAG Angola (DN), Vueling (VY)

2013 also saw visits to 66 unique airports – 34 of which were new to me:

APW (Apia, Samoa), BCN (Barcelona, Spain), BEY (Beirut, Lebanon), BNE (Brisbane, Australia), CAB (Cabinda, Angola), CNS (Cairns, Australia), CUN (Cancun, Mexico), DIL (Dili, East Timor), DPS (Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia), DRW (Darwin, Australia), FGI (Fagaleii, Samoa), HIR (Honiara, Solomon Islands), INU (Nauru), LAD (Luanda, Angola), LPB (La Paz, Bolivia), LUP (Kalaupapa, Hawaii), MBJ (Montego Bay, Jamaica), MDE (Medellin, Colombia), MEL (Melbourne, Australia), MKK (Molokai, Hawaii), NAN (Nadi, Fiji), OGG (Maui, Hawaii), POM (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea), PPG (Pago Pago, American Samoa), RAI (Praia, Cape Verde), SKB (St Kitts), SON (Santo Pekoa, Vanuatu), SUV (Suva, Fiji), TBU (Tonga), TLV (Tel Aviv, Israel), TMS (Sao Tome e Principe), TRW (Tarawa, Kiribati), UIO (Quito, Ecuador), UYU (Uyuni, Bolivia)

So…how was your 2014?

Mar 172014

Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s mid-March and this is a bit late, but better late than never!  It’s already been a very busy travel year in 2014, both actual travel as well has planning out the whole year ahead of time due to:

1)  United devaluing miles
2)  Planning my remaining 42 countries to visit to ensure I meet my target of Labour Day 2016
3)  The hardship of using up all those $10 tickets to Hawaii I scored  😉

Anyways, on to the year in review!

In 2013, I logged a total of 171,863 miles in the air, which was actually my highest total ever!  In comparison:

2013: 171,863
2012: 139,197
2011: 134,823
2010: 106,046
2009: 136,612
2008: 147,092
2007: 153,691
2006: 161,596
2005: 128,713
2004: 105,301

My last year below 100,000 miles flown was in 2002, when I logged “only” 69,592.  So far I have around 110,000 booked already for 2014, so with a few more random trips added in I’m sure I’ll be in the 130-140,000 range by the end of the year.  The year’s travel map:


For those 171,863 miles I took a total of 109 flights for an average length of 1,577 miles. My shortest flight was only 72 miles from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to Douala, Cameroon and the longest was 6,512 each way from Houston to Lagos, Nigeria.

As far as aircraft go:

Airbus: 47 total
A319: 15
A320: 13
A321: 5
A330: 8
A340: 2
A380: 4
Boeing: 43 total
737: 21
747: 6
757: 1
767: 6
777: 3
787: 5
MD90: 1
Canadair: 3 total
CRJ: 3
DeHavilland: 3 total
Dash: 3
Embraer: 14 total
E145: 4
E170: 5
E175: 1
E190: 3
E195: 1

For these 109 flights, 20 were in economy (of which 6 were economy plus), 56 were in domestic first/business, 10 were in international first, and 24 were in international business class.

For the true first class flights, 9 were on Lufthansa and the other 1 was on the Thai A380.

On the country front, I managed to visit 34 countries, of which 19 were new to me, bringing my total to 149 countries visited:

Benin, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Kazkhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Uzbekistan.

I also flew a total of 25 airlines in 2013, of which 7 were new: Air Astana, Air Burkina, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Air Serbia, ASKY, TunisAir, and Uzbekistan Airways. This brings me to 125 total airlines flown.

2013 also saw visits to 53 unique airports (23 of which were new: Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Almaty, Astana, Belgrade, Bishkek, Cotonou, Cuzco, Douala, Dushanbe, Lagos, Libreville, Lima, Lomé, Malabo, Moscow Domodedovo, Moscow Vnukovo, Niamey, Ouagadougu, Podgorica, San Jose CA, Sarajevo, Tunis), which is my second highest ever after 69 airports in 2012.

So, dear readers, how did your 2013 look? How did it compare to past years?