12 Trips in 12 Months: My Year of Adventure

12 Trips in 12 Months: My Year of Adventure

It’s official–I’m 29. I had the most amazing birthday in Athens, Greece, and that helps cushion the blow. But the reality remains that I have one precious year left in my twenties. While I’m excited about all that’s to come, I want to make sure I send this decade out in style.

I was at home planning my Greece trip when it occurred to me–why not attempt 12 trips in 12 months, as a sort of bucket list for my twenties? I can manage a budget, and not to toot my own horn but I’ve gotten pretty good at finding cheap flights. Within the past year I accomplished 6 trips, snagging fares such as $120 roundtrip to Denver, $150 roundtrip to Puerto Rico and $400 roundtrip to London. “I can do this,” I thought.

And just like that the booking frenzy began. It’s a slight miracle given my salary and expenses. I was barely able to afford groceries before I got my bright idea, but it’s amazing what you can find when sufficiently motivated. With a little reprioritizing and a lot of patience, I am making moves and having experiences I never thought possible. I had an opera dedicated to me in Florence. I held a sea urchin and swam with sea turtles in Aruba. My only regret is that this idea didn’t occur to me sooner!

Instead of ruining my credit or depleting my bank account, so far this mission has actually done the opposite. I just recently passed the 700 barrier on my credit report, a number I never thought I’d see. Taking out more credit gave me breathing room to make payments on time and not have to immediately put a charge on my credit card after making a payment towards the balance. I’ll provide more details as to my financial progress later, but suffice it to say that playing the credit game can pay off.

In hopes of infecting you with some of my wanderlust, and simultaneously keeping me accountable for this lofty travel goal, I’m sharing my itinerary for the year. The 12 trips I have planned so far are as follows:

January: Athens and Meteora, Greece; Milan, Italy

February: Florence, Italy; Pisa, Italy

March: Oranjestad, Aruba

April: Zion National Park, Utah; Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada

May: Santorini and Antiparos, Greece

June: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

July: Paris, France; Provence region, South of France

August: Toronto, Canada; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Vieques, Puerto Rico

September: Reykjavik, Iceland

October: Quito and Banos, Ecuador

November: Marrakesh, Morrocco

December: Thailand and Cambodia!

TripsI’m so excited for the opportunities these trips hold for me and hope to be able to report back as the year goes on with pictures, stories and solo travel tips. In the meantime, check out my first destination–Meteora, Greece! Pictured above, it is one of the most serene and naturally beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

Until next time, safe travels!

7 Comments

  1. Maceo
    April 10, 2017 / 6:27 am

    Where do you stay on your trips?

    • April 10, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Usually at a hotel or AirBnB, depending on the location and what deals I can get. Since my trips are 3-4 days on average I budget about $250 total for lodging. Just wrote a post about finding cheap accommodations here!

  2. Angelica
    April 30, 2017 / 4:51 pm

    Wow this is a great idea! Just curious.. I’m assuming that you don’t work remotely. How many vacation days do you get and how long are each of your trips? Good luck 🙂

    • May 2, 2017 / 12:34 am

      Thank you Angelica! I get 4 hours of vacation leave a pay period and 3 hours of sick leave. Technically it’s 10 vacation days a year but it sort of replenishes as it goes, as well as all federal holidays. Benefits of being in the public sector versus private! I aim for at least 3 full days in each location not including travel. Sometimes it’s 2, sometimes it’s 4, depending on how far I’m going 🙂 For Asia at the end of the year I’m taking New Year’s week off so it’ll be 11!

      • Angelica
        May 6, 2017 / 4:36 pm

        That’s awesome! I’m so excited for you 🙂

  3. Marcela
    May 12, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Hi Jen! I recently came across your blog. I also live in Fort Lauderdale (orginally from Miami) and actively travel while holding down a 9-5 job. Combining all my paid time off plus holidays I can manage 4-5 trips a year. Your 12 trip challenge sounds insane, exhausting… and AMAZING! But I’m wondering, when you take long-haul flights and only have 2-4 days to enjoy, do you find this worthwhile? I have a hard time wrapping my head around this concept. You really are a weekend warrior!

    • May 13, 2017 / 2:31 pm

      Hi Marcela! So glad you found me and that you enjoy the blog. Thank you! I agree with all those adjectives haha. It’s tough fitting so much in during a short time but cities with a lot to do in a small area, like Amsterdam or Florence, make it well worth your time! 4-5 trips of a slightly longer duration sounds a lot more sane though, hopefully you’ve found some good flight deals from the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area!

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