Our travel plans for 2016 (so far)

January ~ Canoga Park and Arrowbear Lakes, California

Why we travel...

Why we travel…

For 2016, we decided to travel on the odd months, and stay in So California on even months. We will see how that works out, but that was my starting point for mapping out plans for this year.  The first thing I did was review my wish list destinations, and jotted down the top two on each continent. Then I researched the best time of the year to travel there. With that information in hand, I started filling in my calendar for 2016 and 2017. 

The goal was to get to four or five different continents each year, maximize our travel budget, visit new places we have not seen before, be on the road about 30 days, then home 30 days, switch out our wardrobe (or at least wash it, lol) and then repeat to the next place.

In the midst of my planning, Gate 1 came up with a fabulous travel deal offering 50% off for the companion rate on all of their tours (not including airfare). This lit a fire under me, and pushed me to get some trips booked to take advantage of this savings.

So here is how our 2016 is shaping up:

January ~ We will still be covering the shop for our son and GM for the first 8 days, but on January 9th we will hop on the Ruby Princess right out of Los Angeles (San Pedro harbor) for a 15 day cruise to Hawaii. Four days at sea and then daily stops on the big island (Hawaii), Kauai, Oahu and Maui. Five more days at sea, then a day in Ensenada, Mexico before returning to Los Angeles on January 24th.

Ruby Princess - Los Angeles to Hawaii

Ruby Princess – Los Angeles to Hawaii

February ~ At home

March ~ SouthEast Asia ~ March 2nd we will fly from LAX to Singapore, spend a couple of days getting acclimated and do a little sightseeing on our own. I still need to book a couple of nights in a hotel there both before and after cruise. We will board the Sapphire Princess on March 6th, for the 11 day Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam Grand Adventure cruise.

Sapphire Princess Itinerary March 6th sailing

Sapphire Princess Itinerary March 6th sailing

Embarking in Singapore, our stops will include Ko Samui and Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Singapore; Penang, Langkawi, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; then terminate back in Singapore. We plan on spending two more nights in Singapore after the cruise and then will fly from there to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on March 19th. I have booked two nights at the Chana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel.

We will meet up with our first Gate 1 tour of the year (15 Day Cambodia & Vietnam) in Phnom Penh on March 21st.

Gate 1 - 15 day Cambodia and Vietnam

Gate 1 – 15 day Cambodia and Vietnam

The highlights of this tour (per the Gate 1 web site) include:

  • View the impressive Silver Pagoda on the grounds of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
  • Stand in awe at the architectural masterpiece of  Angkor Temple Complex
  • Ox cart ride in the lush farmlands and visit the National Museum, Siem Reap
  • Ho Chi Minh City Tour includes the Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall and the magnificent Saigon Opera House
  • Old City of Hoi An a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Tour of the Imperial City and  the 19th century Citadel, Hue
  • Sail on Halong Bay, one of the most breathtaking places on the planet
  • Visit the Museum of Ethnology and attend the world-famous Water Puppet Show, Hanoi

April ~ We fly home from Hanoi on April 3rd.

After a three-week rest, we will head to Africa and Europe. I have not booked my flights for this next segment yet, but planning on tackling that job soon. We will probably depart Los Angeles around the 24th or 25th of April. We have two Gate 1 tours booked back to back with a few days in between to allow us some independent exploring and then fly from Morocco to Portugal.

Moroccan Allure (28 April)

Gate 1 Moroccan Allure

Gate 1 Moroccan Allure

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the remarkably preserved Volubilis, once a major African outpost of the Roman Empire
  • Join a Fez family for a dinner of home-cooked fare in their home
  • Meet the women of the Argan Oil Cooperative and see how they extract nutritive oil from this nut
  • Camp in the Sahara under an endless canopy of desert stars
  • Explore Ait Ben Haddou, an ancient desert village on an old caravan route
  • Marvel at the circus atmosphere of Marrakesh’s Djemaa el Fna Square, bustling with acrobats, performers, and snake charmers
  • Stroll the inviting medina in seaside Essaouira, bustling with crafts shops and fish mongers

May ~ The Morocco trip ends on May 12th. That will give us three days to get to Portugal for the start of our next tour:

10 Day Classic Portugal (15 May)

Gate 1 - 10 day Classic Portugal

Gate 1 – 10 day Classic Portugal

Special Features

  • Visit the Stock Exchange, renowned for its exquisite façade and ornate gilded Arabian Hall in Porto
  • Enjoy a Port Wine Tasting in Porto
  • View the Coimbra University Library, a National Monument in Coimbra
  • Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world
  • Tour the Convent of Christ in Tomar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Stop and view the unique Ossuary Chapel in Evora
  • Visit the Jeronimos Monastery built in the late Gothic Manueline style in Lisbon
  • Enter the Church and Monastery of Santa Maria, the first Gothic buildings in Portugal in Alcobaca

This takes us up until the 24th of May. The next part of this trip is still a little up in the air, but what we are aiming for is to meet up with our friends Dick and Karen in Northern Spain. You may remember that Karen was walking the Camino this past May and had to quit early due to injuring her foot (possible stress fracture). She is determined to complete what she started. Depending where she is on her trek when we finish our tour, we would love to cheer her on. Also we have never been to Madrid, so a possible few days there before flying home toward the end of May or early June is an option.

June ~ At home

July ~ We are hoping to take another Uniworld Cruise this summer. I have my eye on one called Legendary Rhine and Moselle, but we would be traveling with some friends who are leaning toward Spain and Portugal. When traveling with others, it takes some coordination, and is sometimes more of a challenge to get things nailed down. This portion of our travels needs to be flexible. It is also possible that the river cruise will get pushed back to September when the airfare to Europe is better.

August ~ At home

September ~ ROAD TRIP! ~ We would love to take the month of September to drive north to see Glacier National Park, continue up into Canada, take in Banff, Lake Louise area, and head west from there to Vancouver and Victoria.  We are still trying to find a small motor home, but if we don’t have one by then, we will just take our car.

Side Note: If the River cruise gets moved, we may end up flip-flopping September and July plans.

October ~ At home until third week and then Ecuador and Galapagos Islands.

On Oct 22nd we fly from LAX via Panama City to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Our final Gate 1 tour of the year is a 15 Day Ecuador with 5 Day Galapagos Cruise (22 Oct). We added two extra nights in Guayaquil before the trip, and three extra nights at the end in Quito.

Gate 1 - 15 day Ecador with 5 day Galapagos Cruise

Gate 1 – 15 day Ecuador with 5 day Galapagos Cruise

Special Features

  • Embark on a journey to the beginning of time in the Galapagos Archipelago of volcanic islands
  • Travel along the coast on a panga while Naturalist-Guides explain the area’s dramatic geology
  • The unique environment encourages sea lions, Sally light-foot crabs, penguins and flightless cormorants
  • Walk in an impressive cactus forest surrounded by land and marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies
  • Snorkel on magnificent white sand beaches with plentiful marine life
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre
  • Visit Colonial Quito and walk through its cobblestone streets
  • Stand at the Middle of the World monument
  • Browse for local goods at the traditional Otavalo Market
  • Stay in the heart of the Amazon

November ~ fly home from Ecuador on the 10th of November, and no other travel plans for the rest of the year.

December ~ At home for the holidays…

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Are you kidding me?!?!?! How could I not be over-the-moon grateful for living my travel dreams.

We hope that you will follow along, comment, and please share if you would like to.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Planning our escape, South America and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Our travel plans for 2016 (so far)

  1. Sounds like a very full year of adventures…(Suzanne)


  2. Mamaloup says:

    This all sounds awesome! Have safe, healthy and happy travels in 2016 🙂


  3. Looks like an exciting year!


  4. Sounds wonderful! By the way, on Saturday I plan to publish a little piece on Portugal. Perhaps that could give you some tips for your upcoming trip in May… (I was there in August last year.) I wish you good luck, a lot of exciting experiences, and look forward to reading about your travels ahead! Greetings from Cecilia Hallstrom


  5. Merrill says:

    My first thought is it would be fun if us Oregonian/Californians could meet up over in SE Asia. We’ll be there between 1/28 – 3/31. I’ve only planned the first 30 days in Chiang Mai, and are considering Cambodia and/or Vietnam before we depart from Bangkok for Japan and South Korea.
    My second thought Is that going back and forth sounds exhausting to me! Travel days and jet lag wipe me out. You ought to try renting an apartment for a month inbetween your trips. It’s so fun to relax at “home” and do your own laundry, find new restaurants – or buy groceries and cook. It’s worked for us, but now we want to stay put in one place even longer – maybe 2-3 months.
    We only have our travels mapped out to May.
    Happy and healthy travels!


    • Merrill, how fun that would be to meet up Cambodia after our cruise and before our Gate 1 tour begins. And yes, there will be an abundance of flying this year. We usually try to factor in a couple of extra days at the start of each trip so that we can recover from jet lag and get acclimated to our new time zone. Thankfully we recoup and adjust pretty quickly. Finding the right travel tempo takes some trial and error along the way. Sometimes simply staying in one place for a few months sounds like heaven. We did enjoy having the last three months in Southern California, but most of that time was “work” related. Enjoy your time in Chiang Mai!


  6. sheilsm says:

    You inspire me! I would LOVE to travel with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karmughil Vannan says:

    OMG! This is phenomenal! Wonderful plans. Jealous of you guys. How do you guys make money for the travel? How much is the estimation for the entire 2016? Seriously would like to know the straight forward answers, please.. 🙂 Money is the only problem we guys are always thinking about! Have a great time guys. Proud of you people. Good Luck and Safe Journeys back home every time. 🙂


    • Thank you for your kind comments and good wishes. Your questions are valid and I can understand the curiosity on how we are able to do all of this. I think a more in-depth answer might be a great subject for an entire blog post, but the short version is: We are happily retired, but worked very hard for many years to set up our retirement income that would allow us this freedom. We also sold our home in 2013 which added to our savings and eliminated a lot of monthly outgo and upkeep expenses. I provided links within this post to each of the cruises or tours that will show the individual cost per trip. We have signed up to receive emails from a few of our favorite travel companies and are able to watch for great deals when they put packages on specials.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You have planned such a wonderful itinerary for 2016! Just wonderful!! Enjoy and safe travels to you both!! 😀


  9. Sarah F. says:

    Those are awesome plans! The cruise itineraries look super cool . I look forward to reading about your journey..All the best!


  10. What a full calendar! So exciting. Safe travels.


  11. Wow, those are seriously impressive plans! Good luck and be safe! It turns out I might be in Galapagos around the same time as you. We haven’t solidified anything yet but we are hoping to be there during that time.


  12. Safe and happy travels!


  13. It sounds like a very interesting and fun-packed holiday plan. Glad you are going to stop at Fatima in Portugal as it is one of the places I really want to visit because that’s where I got my name from as my Mum was deeply devoted to Our Lady. Enjoy! I look forward to reading all about it.


  14. patwdoyle11 says:

    Have you used Gate 1 before or is this a new tour group for you? I am just beginning to think about our 2017 travel (we have family commitment until then that does’t allow a long trip out of town this year) and was wondering your experience with this group. I am not planning 6 trips (!)…maybe 2 for the year. Not quite as adventurous as you guys either….but I will enjoy reading about your experiences!


  15. Lulu says:

    You are living my dream! Thank you for taking us all along to experience your adventures! Safe travels and enjoy every moment!


  16. aliajolean says:

    Sounds like a fantastic adventure! Safe travels to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. wtw3100 says:

    What a great year of travels you have lined up!! So thrilling!! We love Gate 1 Tours also, both for our own travels and our clients. Good solid company and offerings! Nice!
    The Asia trips look great too. We’ve been to a good deal of the places you’ll be visiting. All spectacular. What can I say?! I get excited when I see people who love travel (and actually do it) as much as we do!! Safe journeys!!


  18. wtw3100 says:

    Superb travel year. I’m thrilled just looking at it all, many GREAAT countries, and also tour operators. I really do get so invigorated talking to fellow lovers (and do-ers) of travel!! We’re heading to Morocco this year as well. Can’t wait!

    We love Gate 1 for our own and our clients travels, really solid offerings they have.

    Enjoy every inch of the land you see and cover 😊😊😊

    Safe travels!!


  19. mommermom says:

    Such an exciting itinerary!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Your passion for travel is amazing. I’m reading these places off to Hubs. What adventures you will have.


  21. Well! Green faced with envy! Although actually I can’t talk – we are off to Cape Town in February, the Drakansbergs in March, Mauritius in April, home to the UK in July and hopefully Mozambique in October. And have just returned from Kruger, with Namibia not far behind in December….


  22. balifixblog says:

    Amazing!! What a year you have planned yourselves (& us!). I want to say how lucky you are to get to do this however I’m sure a lot of hard work got you to the point where you can travel like this! So good on you! I can’t wait to come along with you 🙂


  23. wanderlusterin says:

    Thank you for dropping by my blog! Cambodia and Vietnam are absolutely stunning 😊Your 2016 sounds like it’ll be an unforgettable year; we might run into each other come September at glacier national park! I’ll be doing a road trip there as well.


    • I’m getting quite excited about our March travels. Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam are all new destinations for us. Glacier NP has been on my wish list for years. So many have told me it is their favorite (or in the top three) of our National Parks.


  24. Hi Tim and Joanne! You’re coming our way soon. We hope you’ll enjoy Malaysia!


  25. Wow… and you said you were going to slow down. 🙂 Sounds like you have some great adventures lined up. Count me in. I’ve hit the follow button. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Wow! I can’t wait to retire and do this about of travelling!


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