Out and Out’s Travel Goals & Plans for 2018 ✈️

Getting ready to give new life to this here dear blog. 2017 was a doozy; the beginning of 2018 wiped out a lot of my energy. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reading, relaxing, and healing.

It’s been a long ride but I’m finally feeling a bit more “with it” after getting back from Puerto Vallarta last night (!).

travel plans 2018

One magical trip already in the books – what’s next for Out and Out in 2018?

I also haven’t told you about my trip to Denver last month. In fact, the last trip I wrote about was New Orleans from November 2017, so I have some catching up to do!

When I’m not writing here, you can always follow me on Instagram for updates. I think of it as my auxiliary journal and always post pics from every new place I visit!

Travel plans 2018 – in the books

Here are the trips I’ve already taken and booked for 2018.

1. Denver – January 2018

I wrote about the rise of marijuana tourism. And Denver seems to be the epicenter, with its numerous dispensaries and super lax laws and regulations. I went to Denver in June 2017 and wanted to go back for a “pleasure” trip ever since. This was definitely it.

a tall rock formations with a tree in the background

The stunning Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

We drove from Dallas, with stops in Santa Fe and Colorado Springs. Two friends tagged along. We stayed in 2 Hyatt hotels and an MJ-friendly Airbnb right downtown. 🌿

This was an epic trip!

2. Puerto Vallarta – February 2018

I wanted to visit the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta after a glorious stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun in January 2017.

Similar setup here: 3 free nights (with Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt), award flights on American booked with British Airways Avios points (thanks to the 100,000 point offer from late last year), and only $100 out-of-pocket.

The dates worked. Everything fell into place. And I desperately needed to hit the reset button. Basically dashed here like a madman.

I can’t wait to post my review and tons of fooood pics!

3. Tokyo – April 2018

When I went to Japan 2 years ago, I fell in love with Tokyo. And squeezed in a few days in Osaka, too.

This trip is gonna be one solid week in Tokyo: art museums, cherry blossoms, food, and all the sights. I’m actually taking the exact same flight as last year on American but in Business instead of First, and staying again at the Hilton Tokyo. But this time, I added a few nights at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

a city street with many signs and people walking

Yes yes yes get me back to Shinjuku

I’ll see if I can’t switch to Japan Air Lines (JAL) in the 11th hour. But if not, I don’t mind. I just can’t wait to be in Japan again. I’m considering getting a tattoo while I’m there (open to recs)!

4. San Francisco/Portland – April 2018

Later that same month, I’ll spend a few days in San Fran, then fly up to Portland for a couple of daze. Pretty straightforward trip. But a couple of new hotels: the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf and Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront.

I’ll also fly there in Virgin America’s First Class and back in Alaska’s First Class – will be interesting to compare the differences (and similarities!) post-merger.

5. Faroe Islands and Iceland – June 2018

I’ve wanted to see the Midnight Sun along the Arctic Circle at the Summer Equinox (this year June 21st) my whole life.

I’m flying Icelandair’s new Dallas to Reykjavik (Keflavik) route, there in coach (yep, 8 hours in coach) and back in Business Class (booked with Alaska miles).

a group of people lying in grass

Nothing like the pure salt air, so pure near the Arctic Circle

As soon as I arrive, I’ll fly on Air Iceland Connect to the Faroe Islands – another place I’ve always dreamed of visiting. I’ll be there 4 daze, then spend the rest of the time driving around Iceland. Then back to Dallas. I’ll stay in little guesthouses the whole time – no chain hotels in either place.

And OMG, I can’t wait. This trip is going to be pure magic. ✨

6. Orlando – September 2018

I had such a blast at FinCon 2017 here in Dallas, I decided to book early for this year’s version in Orlando! Tickets are $299 and going up on March 10th – so if you’re interested, book soon!

a stand with a display of a yellow and blue sculpture


I got non-stop award flights there and back on American using British Airways Avios points for ~$11 – really lucked out there! And staying at the Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive using Starwood points for absolutely free. Can’t beat that with a stick, although it’ll be a pain to rideshare back and forth every day. Small price to pay, anyway.

Super looking forward to this year’s sessions!

What I wanna squeeze in this year

A few goals o’ mine.

1. Birthday trip to Europe – August 2018

I’m totally open to other places – maybe South America? But I’d love to do something for my birthday in late August/early September. I was thinking Portugal or Sweden? Or maybe Scotland? So torn – open to opportunities for this one!

2. Free trip to Hawaii – November 2018

I realized with my trip back from Iceland using Alaska miles that I could tack on a free one-way for no additional miles, even to Hawaii! So I just might do that. Or at the very least add a trip to somewhere else. That perk is too valuable to waste! I’d figure out how to get back home with other miles.

aerial view of a city

Oahu from above

I have my eye on the Grand Hyatt Kauai (that rhymes!). Open to any time from October to December, really. I just thought early November might have less competition for award flights & stays.

Plus, I’ve been wanting to visit Hawaii again – it’s just such a fantastic place in the world. And Kauai looks so natural and gorgeous.

3. South America or South Africa – December 2018

Two places I’ve been dreaming about for so long: Patagonia and Cape Town. At the end of this year, I’d like to realize one of these, finally.

Both are far-flung and would require serious planning. So I’ll keep this in my back pocket and say a prayer 2018 is the year I can experience one of these places.

I’ve been looking at photos for years and need to see it with my own eyes. Total bucket list items, both of these.

Bottom line

There will be no shortage of material this year with so many trips on the go. I acknowledge this privilege and am incredibly grateful for these opportunities. I’m so excited I might burst.

The tone of each trip will be very different – from cool city vibes to giant metropolis to as far away as you can possibly get. I love exploring within these extremes. And of course paying as little cash as possible. 😉

I’m also loving the idea of getting a small tattoo in a few of these places. Little permanent keepsakes I get to take everywhere and look at all the time. It seems so magical just thinking of these journeys that I’ll always want to remember the experiences. But of course only if it feels right.

I don’t usually plan this far in advance, so that’s new for me, too. Of course things might change or something could pop up. But what’s here is my rough sketch. I can’t wait to fill in all the wondrous, vivid, dripping details when they become reality.

It takes me a while to process my thoughts sometimes. Or find the energy to write everything out. But follow me on Instagram to see where I’m at in real-time. 🌞

Your turn – where are you going in 2018? I’d love to hear what you have planned so I can dream about new places, too!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. We are sharing destinations!
    Love Shinjuku! Akihabara is worth the train ride…
    Hyatt Ziva PV is a destination that has evolved. Believe it or not, I was there at the original opening as the Camino Real in 1967. At that time you could only get there by boat or plane. Then it became Dreams. It needed a full refurbishing, and Hyatt has done a great job. One of the construction workers from the original building eventually became the concierge at Dreams, and the mayor of Puerto Vallarta. He shared the story with us.
    It is slightly more humble, smaller, but, we love it. Only down side is having to take a cab to go into town (a must see!) DO NOT rent a car, as parking in the city is literally impossible.

    • Wow, that’s an amazing story! You met the mayor of PV! Thanks for sharing this perspective – it really adds a lot to know the history.

      And thanks for the tip about Akihabara – will be there in a month! Squeee!

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