2016 has been a great year for both of us, travel, and personal wise. Now that 2016 is coming to a close, it’s good to look back on it in the hopes of guiding us on what we should aim for in 2017! You know, along the lines of what could have done better, and what good looks like.
A Look Back on 2016
Travel has been great for us this year – we have been to a couple of places, both as weekend wanderers and those that take a full week! It’s great how we have achieved this, given that more than 3 years ago, I’ll be happy to actually get to travel on the weekends!
2016 in Travel:
You can also look back at our *planned* 2016 destinations here. However, this year, we have been to the following destinations (a more complete list – some have links to articles we’ve written, while some are still to be worked on):
- Orlando, Florida (January 2016)
- New York City (January 2016)
- Montego Bay, Jamaica (February 2016)
- Dallas, Texas (March 2016)
- Memphis, Tennessee (April 2016)
- Oxford, Mississippi (April 2016)
- Miami, Florida (May 2016)
- Williston & Gainesville, FL (June 2016)
- Frankfurt, Germany (June 2016)
- Lyon, France (June 2016)
- Chamonix, France (June 2016)
- Geneva, Switzerland (June 2016)
- Vienna, Austria (June 2016)
- Bratislava, Slovakia (June 2016)
- Prievidza/Bojnice/Martin, Slovakia (June 2016)
- Brno, Czech Republic (June 2016)
- West Palm Beach, Florida (July 2016)
- Asheville, North Carolina (July 2016)
- Richmond, Virginia (August 2016)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 2016)
- Key West, Florida (September 2016)
- Chicago, Illinois (October 2016)
What good looks like:
Travel hacking definitely lowered our expenses, with the use of airline miles and hotel points, we managed to get free hotels in a few of those places we’ve been to, and some of them are a bit pricey (and no, we don’t have sponsors.. yet!)
We’ve also used various promotions to our advantage to earn more points. Oh, and utilizing AirBnB definitely helped with our travel budget. We probably spent more, but we also travelled more this 2016. We’ll continue doing these promotions all the while earning a bit more money for our travels through our small reselling business, and earning more points!
Also, we went on more low-cost carriers this year, and so far they’ve been great! We’re definitely going to utilize them more for weekend getaways. That plus Groupons for various entrances and experiences. You’ll never know what you’re going to get!
Going to concentrate more on Ultimate Rewards points from Chase, and utilizing various promos to get at least a 2cent return for every $1 spent!
What could have gone better?
It definitely would have been better if we were full time travelers, but alas, we can’t do that (yet). So we’re going to amp up our points earning and burning! We also found out how to do more reselling stuff much later in the year (October), so we lost a few months, but better late than never! We’re still going to utilize the reselling techniques to get more free points and cash back in 2017!
As always with this hobby of points and miles, there are certain things that can change any minute, so our philosophy will be to milk whatever we can while it lasts!
Other 2016 Achievements
- Bought an investment property (which we’ll move into in the next 5 years – so technically not a “deal”, we locked in to a place we’ll use eventually)
- Got married (read here, here, here, and see photos here)
- Enjoyed our city – Jacksonville, FL by watching more Alhambra (dinner & show theatre) mainly Beauty & the Beast, Big River, The Wiz, Blithe Spirit, Smokey Joe’s Café, Sister Act & Annie Get Your Gun.
- Enjoyed most of Sarasota/Tampa, and the surrounding areas whenever we are visiting Peter’s parents
- Celebrating one year with our little fur-baby, Rosie
- Becoming a year older (and wiser).
- Learning more things from the Chicago Seminars, which eventually became an additional small business for us.
- Fully launched the blog – with consistent posting schedules about travel, personal finance, or books every Thursday, and occasionally on Mondays.
- Became a Superhost on AirBnB, which helped pay for our other house’s mortgage, and helped us to save more for another property.
What Could Have Gone Better:
We wish we researched more about investment properties before buying the one we currently have. While it is cash flow positive, we got too emotionally attached to the house and didn’t run the numbers as well as we think we should have. However, the house is in an excellent community, and we look forward to moving to it when the time is right (i.e. when we have little one). We are now focusing more on cash flow properties in an area where we don’t really want to live in (oh dear, wish us luck).
We also should learn how to better market this blog and do social media management. So far we don’t have the readership that we would like, and don’t think that our voice is being heard apart from our family & friends (not that there’s a problem with that). We’ll try to keep on a posting schedule and going to more events and conferences, and become more active in the communities so we can essentially network and meet more people!
2016 in Books
While we travelled a lot during 2016 (at least once a month on average), the latter part of the year enabled me to read more, so if you can see my 2016 Goodreads review, you’ll see that I’ve caught up during the latter part of the year.
Sometimes it’s good to just sit down and chill out, even after a year of constantly moving and doing stuff around the house. Also, it’s good to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, because well, sometimes your brain just needs to turn off every now and again to give it time to become more creative and leave space to learn and grow.
What Could Have Gone Better
I wish I read more non-fiction books that will help us grow our business instead of more fiction books. However, I realized that sometimes those non-fiction books are there so I won’t go crazy and will give me a chance to detach from the real world. (Most of the book reviews are actually mine anyway, and Peter – well, while he does read a number of books, he is not one who will create a review about it).
So there. More books read = more information, so I guess I’ll up the ante and try to put more books to read in my 2017 reading challenge!
2016 was a great year
We’re trying to show you that we are doing all these things without actually leaving our jobs and maintaining our cubicle dweller life. Of course we eventually want a life where we are free to leave it, but it will come once we have reached our goal of Financial Independence. When that happens, I can’t wait to write that blog post to take you through our journey too!
Hopefully you’ll continue following our journeys with us throughout 2017 (and beyond) – happy near year to everybody!