2018 Year in Travel

In 2018, I visited Australia and New Zealand, each for the first time. Other than that, my travel was largely similar in nature and quantity to 2017 – frequent routine business trips, with a few weekend vacations thrown in.

Hotels

I stayed in hotels a record 124 nights this year. Business travel was down slightly, but my three-week Australia and New Zealand vacation added a lot of personal hotel nights.

Flights

I ended up flying 109 flights this year, totaling 87,306 miles (140,505 km).

My 2018 flights worldwide
My 2018 flights within the United States

Maps generated by Paul Bogard using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

New Airports

I visited eight airports for the first time this year:

  • #79 – SYD (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)
  • #80 – PER (Perth, Western Australia, Australia)
  • #81 – MEL (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
  • #82 – CHC (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • #83 – DUD (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • #84 – AKL (Auckland, New Zealand)
  • #85 – LBB (Lubbock, Texas, United States)
  • #86 – PVD (Providence, Rhode Island, United States)

With 86 airports visited to date, I have only 14 to go to reach my goal of visiting 100 airports.

New Airlines

I flew on two airlines for the first time this year:

New Aircraft

I flew on three aircraft families for the first time this year; all three were from my Australia and New Zealand vacation.

Airbus A380
Boeing 787
ATR 72

Aircraft illustrations created by Norebbo

Superlatives

My longest flight was 8,580 miles (13,808 km) from Dallas to Sydney. This 17–hour flight was the longest I’ve ever been on. I also flew my second-longest flight ever this year: 6,516 miles (10,486 km) from Auckland to Los Angeles.

My shortest flight was 139 miles (223 km) from Dallas to Lawton.

Map generated by Paul Bogard using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

Driving

I drove approximately 22,587 miles (36,350 km) this year – 11,616 miles (18,694 km) in my own car, and 10,971 miles (17,656 km) in rental cars.

2018 US driving (rental cars in red, my car in blue)
2018 Australia and New Zealand driving

Map tiles by CartoDB, under CC BY 3.0. map data © OpenStreetMap contributors under ODbL

Frequent Traveler Status

This year, I maintained Platinum status with American Airlines and Diamond status with Hilton. I did not earn any other status this year.

2017 Year in Travel

Flights

With 113 total flights, this was a record flying year for me – the first year I’ve ever exceeded 100 flights. My work flights alone this year exceeded my total flights last year.

2017-flights

Hotels

My hotel nights were pretty consistent with the prior three years; I ended the year with 109 total nights.

2017-hotels

New Airports

I only visited five new airports this year, which puts me at a total of 78 airports visited so far.

New Airports 2017

Jacksonville, NC (OAJ) • Destin/Fort Walton Beach (VPS)

Bakersfield (BFL) • Tampa (TPA) • Peoria (PIA)

Peoria wasn’t a planned visit – we ended up diverting there and deplaning due to weather in Chicago.

Elite Status

I maintained American Platinum and Hilton Diamond this year, and earned Silver status for both United and Marriott.

EOY Status

So, for the first time, I have legitimate Marriott status – my previous Marriott Gold was a reward for having Gold status on United.

Trivia

2015 Year in Travel

2015 was a relatively strong year for me for business travel, with the first and last thirds of the year being particularly busy. Due to that, my total flights and hotel nights just edged above 2014’s numbers, for another record year.

2015 Flights

2015map

I had 89 flights this year – 79 for work and 12 personal.

2015-flights

I didn’t take as many personal flights this year, but travel for my job more than made up for the difference.

2015 Hotel Nights

That’s not to say that I didn’t do a lot of personal travel, but a lot of those personal trips were by car. I came out with 30 personal hotel nights and 79 business nights, for a total of 109 nights.

2015-hotels

2015-portfolio

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

I ended the year with 60 total airports visited, and am well on my way to my goal of visiting 100 airports.

Elite Status

2015-status

My flights were much more spread out among airlines this year, so I ended up getting the lowest tier status on two airlines (Gold on American Airlines and Silver on United) rather than last year’s mid-tier status on one airline. For hotels, I was easily able to pick up the 60 nights required for Diamond status with Hilton, and I even managed to pick up enough Marriott nights to get Silver. (Last year, my United Gold status gave me Marriott Gold status as well, even though I barely stayed with them.)

Trivia

2015-10-23 13.17.33

2014 Year in Travel

2014 has been a record travel year.

2014 Flights

2014 Flight Map

I have flown on 86 flights this year, which has been my best year yet.

2014-flight

In particular, the last four months of the year have had me traveling about three weeks a month; I’m on a high stakes program at work, and it’s been a particularly busy travel time for that program.

2014 Hotel Nights

2014-hotel

Hotel nights are up this year, too. From 2011 through 2013, I was doing a respectable amount of travel, but the phase of my program combined with budget cuts (and the 2013 federal furloughs and shutdown) had a serious effect on the number of nights I spent on the road. However, I moved to a higher priority program in mid-2013, so while our budget still isn’t great, the priority of the program and the acquisition phase we’re in means that mission-critical travel has climbed back up. In addition, I’ve had far more personal hotel nights this year than usual, an effect of taking a good number of weekend trips when I got the chance, plus a true vacation in the summer.

These stays ended up being:

  • 97 nights in Hilton brands
  • 2 nights in Marriott brands (a stay at the Gaylord Opryland)
  • 1 night in Wyndham brands (American Airlines put me up at a Baymont at the Charlotte airport)
  • 6 nights in a VRBO vacation home in Flagstaff I rented with some friends this summer
  • 1 night in military base lodging

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

This put me at 54 total airports visited out of my 100 airport goal. I’m over halfway there!

Elite Status

End of Year Status 2014

I was able to reclaim Hilton HHonors Diamond this year – in fact, I hit the 60 nights required for Diamond in September, and ended the year with 96 elite-qualifying nights. In addition, I was able to hit United MileagePlus Gold for the first time (in fact, it’s the first time I’ve hit the second tier on any airline’s program).

Of Note

I had six unexpected overnight stays this year:

2013 Year in Travel

The end of 2013 is here, which seems like a perfect time to summarize my flight activity over the last year.

2013 Flights

I flew on 64 flights this year, which is down from last year’s record 77.

2013-flight

Last year’s numbers were high due to a particularly busy July and August 2012, which were alone responsible for a third of that year’s travel. I didn’t end up having quite that busy of a travel season this year, so my number of flights dropped, but they were still higher than most years.

New Airports

I visited 11 airports for the first time this year:

I’d actually diverted to GRK before for a DFW thunderstorm, but we didn’t get off the plane, so I didn’t get to count it then. Otherwise, I was able to pick up a few hubs I hadn’t been to before, and the rest were new destinations.

New Airlines

I flew on three airlines for the first time:

Elite Status

Chart of loyalty programs and earned elite status by year

I had hoped to maintain at least American Airlines AAdvantage Gold and United Mileage Plus Silver this year, but I only ended up having two trips on American, so I’m back down to nothing there. I did maintain Silver on United, and Gold with Hilton HHonors.

Superlatives