With restrictions easing and vaccines in arms, travel made a return for many in 2022. For me, travel in 2022 got me out of Canada for the first time in two years. Although I was able to finally proceed with my crazy trip initially set for April 2020, it was a scaled-back version. Still, I got to visit several new countries, had some incredible experiences, and made excellent use of my Aeroplan points.
Let’s look back at the year travel returned along with my ambitious plans for 2023.
2022 Travel – A Return to Normal?
Although my Africa trip was once again pushed back, 2022 travel for me included one helluva trip. Over a month I travelled through three continents and nine countries with flights in business class or better.
It. Was. Great.
Mexico and Panama City
My month-long trip started with catching a friend’s wedding in Cancun, Mexico. From there I made my way to Panama City for the first time. I had always wanted to check out the canal and was able to do just that on a long layover.
One country I have been trying to get to for several years now is Georgia. In 2022, I was finally able to make it there, although it was pretty close to being cancelled thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The close proximity and Georgia’s own struggles with an invading Russia put this trip at risk. In the end, I pressed on and met up with my brother in Tbilisi. I was so glad I did.
Not only is Tbilisi an amazing city with excellent food and plenty to see, it also gave us a chance to have some real conversations with folks fleeing war and hear the horror stories of locals dealing with Russia’s invasion in 2008.
I still have plenty of content to share from my time in Tbilisi and hope to finally get to that in January and February. Till then, here is my quick piece on the safety of travelling to Georgia.
After a week in Georgia, my brother and I made the short hop to Baku in neighbouring Azerbaijan. This Caspian Sea capital is a surprising mix of modern glass towers and a well-maintained old city. We only spent two nights there but was more than enough to see the city and nearby highlights. This included a visit to the bubbling mud volcanos, ancient hieroglyphics, and taking in the cafe culture.
Like Georgia, my time in Baku is backlogged. I hope to share more photos and stories in the next couple of months.
Another location that I have wanted to visit for years is Antalya. I had such a great time in Istanbul and Cappadocia a few years back and have wanted to explore more of the country ever since. In 2022 I was able to check out the Mediterranean city. I explored the old town, took in its many waterfalls, and roamed its ancient ruins.
24 Hours in Bahrain
A bit of a bonus stop on my way to Oman, Bahrain proved to be an interesting destination. On a long layover, I was able to cover the country, tip to tip. I was even able to drive to the border of Saudi Arabia over the giant causeway that connects the two countries.
In the end, Bahrain is another wealthy middle east country with minimal cultural experiences to enjoy. Still, it was interesting to hang out with a local for the day, especially during Ramadan.
Another carry-over from my trip plans from 2020, Muscat has long appealed to me for its natural beauty. Unlike neighbouring Dubai or Doha, Muscat is surrounded by mountains and has minimal tall towers. It also has Wadi Shab which was on my bucket list.
This leisurely hike and swim through a canyon did not disappoint and was a highlight of all my 2022 travels.
Other than that, Muscat was a bit mundane. This was largely due to the fact that I was visiting during Ramadan. Still, I was able to enjoy some of the city highlights along with some comforts from home.
Pacific Coast Road Trip
Another first in a few years was crossing the USA border. I hadn’t been to the states since narrowly avoiding covid lockdowns in March 2020 while visiting Vegas.
This road trip took me down the Pacific coast and back through Oregon’s interior. Along the way I experienced four seasons which made for an interesting trip. One day I was driving on the beach in Long Beach, the next I was golfing in terential rain at Bandon Dunes. All of it was great and on my to-do list for upcoming posts.
I also bought a drone for the trip and super excited to get use out of it in 2023!
Maximizing Aeroplan Points
On my trip through eastern Europe and the Middle East, I made excellent use of my Aeroplan points. I flew on serval new-to-me business class products including Turkish Airlines 787 and Etihad’s new A350-1000. I also flew 1st Class for the first time and it was a trip. Caviar and champaign at 40,000 feet really is a thing and I loved it.
I also got to experience a few more Air Canada products including their Maple Leaf lounge in London. This, along with the flight home had little bits of Canada that made my return that much more welcoming.
Another highlight from home is the Air Canada Cafe at Toronto Pearson. With the lounges overflowing these days, I found this cafe a nice option.
Along the way I have continued to help book Aeroplan trips for others and have shared details on how I booked my 9 country trip in business class. I also shared a post on how to maximize value from Aeroplan credit cards to help others travel better.
READ MORE: My Aeroplan Credit Card Strategy
2023 Travel Plans – Africa 🤞
I really hope this is the last time I am saying this but next year I am returning to Africa! This trip has been in the works for three years and, knock on wood, is looking to finally happen come March. Can’t. Wait.
Once again, this trip will include a ride on Rovos Rail, the most luxurious train in the world, a visit to Victoria Falls, and a return to the Masia Mara for a safari. After all of that, a much-anticipated return to Cape Town, one of my absolute favourite places.
I am planning a full breakdown post of the trip along with how I booked the flights using Aeroplan. Stay tuned for that!
Cross Canada 2.0
In 2020 and 2021, my travel was restricted to Canada. I had a couple of incredible trips across this massive country including an unforgettable road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. I joked that seeing Perce took a pandemic but have since realized that it shouldn’t. Canada is amazing and I should see more of it.
With that in mind, I am planning a few road trips that I’m pretty excited about. One is a trip up to the Yukon or my home in the NWT. Although I have done these trips before, I have not done it in an electric vehicle. I am in the early stages of planning this but it will be challenging, which is partially why I want to do it.
Next, I am looking to make my way all the way to Newfoundland by EV. In 2020 I was only able to go as far as Quebec due to travel restrictions so look to correct that in 2022.
Last, I have long put off learning French so in 2022 I am looking at spending time in Qubec to immerse myself. I am still early days on the logistics but think this is very doable and looking forward to it.
Where will 2023 Take You?
As noted last year, a big takeaway from my 2021 travel was to travel when it is OK to do so. As we have all learned these past few years, situations can change quickly. This can be due to pandemic, political, or personal health-related changes. So, again, travel when you can because things crop up and situations change.
I hope all is well on your end, wherever that may be! Here’s to a great year of travel ahead!
What say you?
Thoughts on My 2022 Travel? Where did you Go?
Let’s hear it!