2017 was another year with crazy travel and work schedule for my busy family of five. Now that the year is over, I am actually feeling relieved and looking forward to a slower pace in 2018.
Looking back at 2017 travels
We took some big trips and made a lot of wonderful memories, thanks to airline miles and hotel points.
- My first trip to Kyoto with my youngest daughter in Japan Airlines first class and business class. I loved our five-night stay at the St Regis Osaka and will definitely return!
[See: My 6 favorites from 3 days in Kyoto ]
[See: JAL First Class SFO to HND and JAL Business Class HND to SFO Review ]
[See: St. Regis Osaka Review ]
- Two weeks in Hawaii during the summer to celebrate my girls graduation from their schools. We split a week on Maui between Grand Wailea and Westin Nanea Ocean Resorts, following by a week in Kauai near Poipu Beach.
[See: Grand Wailea Maui Review ]
[See: 5 Best Use of Hilton Points ]
[See: Westin Nanea Ocean Villas Maui Review ]
While girls and I have been to all Hawaiian islands, this trip was my husband’s first time to Kauai and he loved it. Kauai is my favorite island and perhaps I can convince my husband to retire there someday.
- A surprise weekend in New York City for my oldest daughter for her 18th birthday, along with tickets to the broadway hit Hamilton on her birthday.
- Two weeks in Florida over Christmas holiday. We spent a week in Orlando area at the Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort, where you can booked a two-bedroom two-bath units with full kitchen and living room for 35,000 IHG points.The resort is huge and very nice, and also very close to DisneyWorld.
[See: 6 Best Use of IHG Points ]
We spent Christmas week at the grandparents who live in Bartow, right between Tampa and Orlando. There is nothing there other than cows and horses. My girls played a lot of Uno and Monopoly with their cousins from New Jersey, one of them even flew back from Japan. It was a great time for everyone.
And there were several trips back and forth visiting my daughter’s college and moving her into the dorm. Yes 2017 was a crazy year and to some extend I am relieved that it is over!
Looking forward to 3 trips in 2018
In May 2017 I planned our family’s summer trip for 2018 to Caribbean.[Read Sorry Hawaii, Aloha Caribbean]. I booked our flights just a week before hurricane Irma came and wiped out the island of St. Martin. With airport closed and resorts damaged, out of safety concerned, I cancelled our trip. I was able to get all my delta miles refunded to my account and retained a travel credit with American Airlines for our return flight. But now, we don’t have a summer trip planned, which is OK since I can’t seem to have my girls on board of anything! (Do you ever have that problem with your teenagers?)
The girls don’t want to go anywhere doesn’t mean I have to stop going places.I have only three trips booked for 2018 and I am really looking forward to each one of them:
- Celebrating Chinese New Year in China in February. This will only be the 2nd time I am able to spend Chinese New Year in China during the past 30 years. Last time it was 2015 and i took my middle daughter so that she could experience her first real Chinese Lunar New Year.
I will be flying Cathay Pacific first class there, and coming back in Singapore Airlines first class from Hong Kong. While I have flown Cathay first class more than a few times, this trip would be my first time flying Singapore Airline. Neithelress to say, I am excited. Not to mention, I will be adding another adorable Cathay soft animals to my collection!
- My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in May. We decided to head back to Vegas since we got married 20 years ago in the Sin City. Being a Mlife Platinum member, I took advantage of the special discount on Black Friday and booked a one-bedroom Fountain View Penthouse Suite at the Vdara for five nights in May. I am looking forward to the view from my bedroom, and hopefully it doesn’t disappoint!
- Over Labor Day weekend I will be heading to New York City with two girlfriends. I booked four nights at the Park Hyatt New York using two free-night award certificates and 60,000 points. This will mark my most luxurious hotel stay ever, as the nightly rate is over $700 per night.
I have those AA travel credit that I need to use by May. I will need to figure out what to do with those credits. I am sure I will be on the look out for deals, especially mistake fares in business class heading anywhere to see if I can put a spontaneous trip to somewhere. But at the meantime, I am happy of what I have planned. What about you? Where are your family heading to in 2018?
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Chinese New Year is amazing in China, although it can also be surreal how Chinese cities close down straight after.
If you’re there long enough (15 days), I recommend seeing a lantern festival in a smaller village. There’s more fire, fireworks and firecrackers, than I’ve ever seen in my life (even on bonfire night in the UK) and some interesting customs.
The smoke can be quite overwhelming, however :).
I will be flying from Singapore with a free stop over in Hong Kong. From there I plan to spend a few days in Kyoto after reading your blog. I will definitely be using your recommendations as a guide. Sounds like a winning plan. Thank you.