2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent


2016 was yes another incredible year of travelling. I managed to cross of my goal of hitting 25 countries before turning 25 (in fact, I overdelivered, by travelling to 2 additional countries), met some incredible friends during my travels and had quite the wild ride in terms of travelling.

There were some bittersweet and unexpected moments throughout my trip and I loved every moment of it. I would not change or traded any part of that trip for anything else (unless of course, that it’s a chance to travel even more!)

2016-Travel-Review-&-How-Much-I-SpentRead More: 2015 Travel In Review & How Much I Spent.

You must be curious – where did I go throughout the year? How much time do I get off from work? How much did I spend in a year to afford travelling so much?

If you enjoy this post, discover more of my travels on the Life Set Travel Guide!

That’s why I decided to create this 2016 travel review – to answer some questions that I’ve gotten several times. The idea is to give you a bit more exposure to my travel habits, spending and how I get around the limits of paid vacation days.

I talked briefly in my earlier post that travel doesn’t have to be expensive (I also shared my 20 tips to travel Europe on the cheap!) – if you look through the cost breakdown below, you’ll see that I used a combination of booking at the right time, points, and company trips to spend a fraction of my salary on travelling. If you’re wondering why I prefer to live at home (aside from the practicality of being only a 15 minutes drive away from work), I hope it makes a lot more sense now!

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

The 2016 Travel Review

  1. JanuaryCancun, Mexico for 8 days
  2. FebruaryNew York City for 4 days
  3. MayLondon, UK; Cape Town, South Africa for 16 days
  4. JuneCalgary, Canada for 3 days
  5. SeptemberIceland for 4 days
  6. October – Paris, France; Santorini / Athens, Greece; Amsterdam for 7 days
  7. NovemberNew York City for 3 days

Like many, I have 3 weeks of paid vacation time however I was able to add to that significantly by tacking on extra days on the long weekends, and going on work-trips. My Greece and February New York trip were impulse trips – I only bought the tickets because of a sale or I found a ridiculously good price for them. In total I spent 45 days of the year abroad (that’s around 12% of the year!)

2016 Travel Review in Details

Believe it or not, this year was cheaper than last year’s travels – I spent a total of C$5,752 on 7 trips travelling to 12 cities in the process. This is an average of $128/day which means I wasn’t scraping by but had a pretty comfortable budget to enjoy each trip. This year was a lot cheaper as my longest trip was spent in South Africa where the cost of travel is significantly lower. I spent a lot of time in Europe in 2015 which contributed to a much higher cost of travelling. The cost breakdown below is based on how much I paid out of my own pocket – if I were splitting a hotel room or a day trip with someone, you will see that cost broken out to my portion. I also didn’t include the cost of meals or incidentals as it varies significantly and I feel it is more of a general cost. If you want to see a 2015 travel report, let me know in the comment below!

If you are curious about my trips in greater details and want to see a cost breakdown as to how I afford so many trips in a year (This is the second time I’ve travelled 6-7 times in a year!), keep reading on!

January – Cancun, Mexico

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

Visiting Playa delfines in Cancun!

Only a couple of weeks into the new year, I said goodbye to Toronto and hola to Mexico! I flew to Cancun where I basked and enjoyed pina coladas by the pool, eating guac and tacos to my heart’s content. I’ve never been to Mexico before so I was keen about exploring the Mayan culture and discovering all Mexico has to offer.

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

Total Spent for Mexico Trip: $280 for 8 days in Mexico

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my Mexico posts!

February – New York City, USA

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

Times Square, New York

We found an incredible flight deal to New York for the Family Day long weekend so that was the motivation for us to go again. As one of my siblings hasn’t been there, I figured I’d fly there and take her around! I spent a total of four days (Friday until Tuesday) in New York and enjoyed all the delicious food that New York has to offer!

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

Total Spent for New York (Feb) Trip: $513 for 4 days in New York City

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my New York posts!

May – London, UK and Cape Town, South Africa

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

A ferris wheel at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

My big trip of the year happens to be the a 2-week trip to South Africa. It was jam packed with tons of adventures including a safari at the world-famous Kruger National Park, daily surfing lessons and visiting the island where Nelson Mandela spent decades in prison was quite a life-altering trip!

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

  • Transportation: $600 for RT flight on British Airways (I used points to get this rate; originally it was priced at $1016); $140 for transfers between Cape Town to Airport (4x); $50 on Uber; $170 for RT flight between Cape Town to Johannesburg (safari); $20 for tube tickets (London sightseeing)
  • Accommodation Costs: $63 for a hostel bunk bed (4 days) and $390 for a 7-day stay at a luxurious seaview apartment on Airbnb
  • Other Costs: $90 for 4-day surfing classes, $920 for a custom 4-day safari trip (including transportation and food), $50 for a guided hike up Lion’s Head; $40 for Robben Island and District 6 Museum visits; $110 for travel insurance
  • Read More:
    1. 2 Weeks in South Africa | The Details
    2. 5 Free Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa

Total Spent for London / South Africa Trip: $2,643 for 16 days in London/South Africa

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my South Africa posts!

June – Calgary, Canada

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

Hiking the Plain of Six Glaciers in Banff

I took my very first domestic trip to Calgary for work where I spent the weekend at a conference. Since we were flying out on Sunday evening, my coworker and I decided to tack on a day trip to Banff as well which would be something I absolutely regret if I didn’t make time for it. We rented a car, and made the 2-hour drive to Banff and hiked for a bit.

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

Total Spent for Calgary Trip: $103 for 3 days in Calgary

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my Canada posts!

September – Iceland

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

Visiting the Renisfjara beach in Vik, Iceland

Iceland has been the “hot” and “it” destination throughout 2016. Anyone I spoke to talked about their upcoming or recent trip to the Land of Ice and Fire. It was by far the most expensive trip due to the higher cost of living there and it made the experience a little less satisfying (I pride myself for paying as little as possible while still having a great experience). I could have reduced the cost had I not paid for the extra fees on WowAir and the cost of accommodation if I were travelling with someone else.

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

Total Spent for Iceland Trip: $1,005 for 4 days in Iceland.

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my Iceland posts!

October – Paris / Santorini / Athens / Amsterdam

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

Visiting the black sand beach in Santorini

I booked this mini European trip on a whim mostly because I had seen the fare going for C$500-ish and I knew I had enough points to knock it down to around $300. Greece was by far the most disappointing trip I’ve done and it was only after meeting a friend that I’ve felt a lot better about the experience.

I didn’t enjoy or found Santorini to be as exciting as people make it claim to be. Unfortunately, it’s not a place that I would readily recommend to anyone.

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

  • Transportation: $300 round-trip on KLM / Air France (I used points again); $20 for Paris Metro tickets; $15 for bus tickets in Santorini
  • Accommodation Costs: $300 for a budget hotel in Santorini; I stayed / slept at the airport in Paris, Amsterdam and Athens due to my flight time (i.e. doesn’t make sense to pay for one night when I’d be checking in really late / leaving really early)
  • Other Costs: $15 to visit the Parthenon and $7.50 to visit the Acropolis Museum

Total Spent for Paris / Santorini / Athens / Amsterdam Trip: $657.50 for 7 days in Paris / Santorini / Athens / Amsterdam

If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of my Greece posts!

November – New York

2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

My favourite spot in town – Washington Square Park

I went to New York again this year as I had my extended family here and they wanted to visit New York. It was their first time and given the short span of time they have here, my parents asked me to take them around. I’ve become somewhat of this family’s expert in travelling afterall!

Breakdown of Trip Cost:

  • Transportation: $300 (we overpaid for this ticket as it was a last minute trip); $76 for MTA ticket, AirTrain, and shuttle to the airport
  • Accommodation Costs: $250 for a bunk-bed room in Pod51 Hotel (split with my sister)
  • Other Costs: N/A

Total Spent for New York (November) Trip: $550 for 3 days in Manhattan, New York.

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2016 Travel Review & How Much I Spent.

I’m so impressed with your travels Steph. This was a very well thought out and detailed post. I haven’t traveled that much, so seeing your costs and breakdowns are helpful.

You managed to get some amazing deals on flights and accommodations. I’m impressed! I’ll definitely be coming to you with my travel questions. ????

Thank you Melanie – I was hoping that the breakdown show that travel doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s all a matter of deciding where to spend the longest on!!

Do let me know if you have any travel questions – happy to answer any questions you might have!!

Wow what Great rips and tips!

Thanks Lee! Hope you found it helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!

I enjoyed reading this blog post. Its nice to see that you can get away often and not spend a complete fortune ! Iceland looks /sounds pretty cool

Thanks Beth ???? Iceland is one of my favourite destinations – have you been?

Sadly no I havent been to Iceland I havent had the opportunity to travel much, so I love to read about others travels ☺

I love that you share the costs (what you have to pay ???? ), thanks for that!

Thanks ???? I think it will help many to debunk this idea that travel costs a fortune!

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