Greetings from sunny San Diego! We’re currently packing our bags, ready to begin another adventure that we’re excited to fill you in on.
It’s been a relatively slow start to our sixth year of full-time travel. We’ve only roamed around three countries in 2019.
Although we’ve been exploring many new places throughout Ecuador and Mexico, we haven’t visited a single new-to-us nation this year. Well, that’s all about to change. And so is our pace.
Here we go again! We’re sticking true to the name of this site. Let’s go roaming around the world!
We are setting off for another trip entirely around the world! 🌎
To say that we’re excited is an understatement. It’s been wonderful slowly traveling across Mexico this year. But we’re also ready to resume our worldly roaming!
Actually, this westward trip around the globe technically began back in January of this year, when we departed Florida for Ecuador. Progressing onto Colombia and lingering in Mexico has all been forward momentum on a larger journey around the world!
And after slowing down in Mexico, we’re about to pick up the speed! Our goal is to eventually return to our departure point of Florida. But we’ll be taking perhaps the longest way home possible!
It won’t be our first time doing so. This will become our third trip entirely around the world. Here’s what the first two looked like.
Round-the-World Trip #1: Adventure!
Back in 2015, it was our second year of full-time travel. The theme of that round-the-world trip was: adventure.
We spent months hiking throughout Patagonia, had countless thrills in New Zealand, delved deep into Borneo’s jungles, dove the depths of the Philippines, explored Egypt, and bounced around Balkans.
Round-the-World Trip #2: No Flights!
Our next round-the-world trip spanned 2017-2018. The theme for that trip: Around the World without Flights!
Instead of planes, we relied on public transportation in addition to repositioning cruises to achieve this long-held travel goal. It was awesome experiencing cultures shifting while crossing land borders and voyaging across the world’s oceans on longheld maritime trade routes.
Roaming Around the World Trip: 2019
So where in the world are we heading for our third spin around the globe?
We’re here to fill you in on what we’ve been planning over the past few months. Although, fair warning, we’re still not entirely sure how this trip will end.
This year’s spin around the globe should seem familiar in many ways. We’ll be up to many of our old tricks, using repositioning cruises and even returning to a few favorite places.
Yet the theme we’re going to be honing in on this year is: affordable travel luxury.
It’s always been a sub-theme of our blog. So we’re now building an entire affordable luxury trip around the world.
We want to show how it can be financially possible to travel to exotic far-flung places and still maintain a semblance of comfort. Budget travel around the world can be easy to achieve using tried-and-true strategies of staying in hostel dorms, eating street food, and sticking to countries where costs are lower. But that is not what this trip is about.
Instead, we’ll be venturing into “expensive” countries, using 4-star resorts, and discovering some of the best cuisine. Yet we’ll be doing it all while maintaining a modest budget.
And unlike the last trip around the world, we are indeed using flights! ✈️ Yet sticking to our economical ways, we won’t be spending much more than $150 on any flight segment. We want to show how it’s possible to get around the world without splashing the cash on high transportation costs. There are many affordable routes!
Speaking of routes, so where in the world are we going?
Here’s the Plan:
Cruising to Japan!
Tonight we’re on our way to Vancouver, Canada to spend just a few days roaming around our northern neighbors. Then on this Friday, September 6, we’ll be taking off from Vancouver, Canada, to cross the Pacific Ocean, all the way to Japan!
Back in 2017, we enjoyed taking a northern transpacific voyage so much, we’ve decided to do it all over again.
For us, voyaging across the Pacific is a more economical and more enjoyable way to travel to Asia, compared to a flight.
Instead of an overnight trip slumped over in a coach seat, we’ll be spending a half-a-month slowly making our way to Japan.
It’s a 15-night trip in total that we’ll be taking on the Celebrity Millennium. We’ve cruised on the Millennium before, so we’re happy to be back on this ship and in the familiar comforts of Celebrity’s signature modern luxury ambiance.
So What Does a Luxury Cruise Across the Pacific Cost?
Of course, you know this is one of those repositioning cruise deals we love taking advantage of so much. We truly believe they are among the best deals in travel for long-term travelers who can be flexible with time.
We’ve been watching and tracking this cruise’s price like a hawk. Such activity is a favorite pastime of ours as we hunt down an unfathomable cruise bargain. At its lowest rate, this 15-night itinerary across the Pacific was priced at $449.
Add in the taxes ($160), plus the gratuities we’ll pay once we’re on board ($14.50 per day), and this journey across the Pacific will ultimately total $827 per person. That’s not only for our transportation to Japan, but also our comfy stateroom, fine dining, entertainment, and a few interesting stops along the way!
For an amount that breaks down to $55 per night, we’re pretty happy with this price. So we even splurged a little and upgraded from an interior stateroom to a balcony for just a wee bit more. After the past five months in saving mode while housesitting in Mexico, we decided to treat ourselves!
Taking the Slow Boat to Japan
Ship life aboard the 5-star Millennium is an affordable luxury we thoroughly enjoy.
But really, we get most excited about the actual voyage. This particular itinerary isn’t the most action-packed. Yet it still carries much to look forward to!
It all begins from Vancouver, cruising up the coast of British Columbia and off the scenic waters of Alaska.
We’ll be watching for whales as we make our way to one lone port call in the 49th state.
We’ll eventually stop into 📍 Sitka for a day, which is a new-to-us Alaska port we’re excited to roam around.
Then it’s time to set sail entirely across the Pacific Ocean. We’ll spend a total of eight glorious days at sea, voyaging from one continent to the next. This always provides us a great opportunity to fully unwind, as those many sea days force us to relax. We arrive to our ultimate destination refreshed and ready for experiences on the ground!
Cruising around Japan
In this case, the destination we’re heading to is: Japan! 🇯🇵
Back in 2017, we spent two months roaming around this intriguing country. It’s gone down as one of our favorite countries to travel in. Never have we visited somewhere that feels so exotic, yet so comfortable at the same time.
We love Japan’s deep-rooted culture, the delicious cuisine, and the cute & quirkiness that abounds there. It’s also a naturally beautiful country, from the Japanese Alps to the red Japanese maples that may only just be starting to turn upon our arrival.
We’ll be visiting many more scenic temples, like this one from our last trip.
Ahh, we’re so looking forward to being back in Japan! 🍣
Anyhow, our first stops while aboard the Millennium will be two ports in Hokkaido. That’s Japan’s much lesser-visited North island. Part of the appeal of cruising to Japan is the ability to seamlessly reach these areas.
We’ll be ready to hit the ground when we pull into the intriguing port town of 📍 Otaru. Yet we’ll be anxious to take a side-trip to the city of Sapporo. If you enjoy beer, then you may know why we’re heading in that direction.
We’ll then get a chance to have a redo of visiting 📍 Hakodate. We ported there back in 2017, but our hiking plans were aborted due to rainstorms. At the time, we had joked that it would give us a good reason to come back one day. Two years later, we’ll actually have the chance to do so!
The 15-night transpacific cruise finally culminates in 📍 Yokohama, which acts as a port city to Tokyo.
With budget accommodation prices beyond $100/night, it’s a nice perk that the Millennium has a rare overnight here. The cruise gets into Yokohama a full day before disembarkation. So we’ll get a chance to explore Tokyo and Yokohama, with a final night’s sleep on the ship.
Then it’s off to explore more of Japan!
During our 2017 roam around Japan, we ventured south. So during this trip, we’re heading in the complete opposite direction. We’ll be exclusively exploring the Tohoku region. Our base for this trip will be the city of 📍 Sendai. Yet we are arming ourselves with a regional rail pass to more widely explore the northeastern portion of Japan’s main island.
This is the region that was greatly affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. And the coastal areas are still recovering. But there’s so much more to Tohoku than that devastating blow. Ancient temples abound throughout the volcanic mountains!
But Japan is actually not our ultimate destination during this trip around the world.
We’ll be intensively exploring Japan for a very full week. So then we decided to schedule in a little vacation amidst our travels.
Back to the Thai Islands!
Our trip through Japan is taking us to all new territory. But in 📍 Thailand, we’re returning to old standbys.
We’ll be enjoying some R&R for a week in one of our favorite tropical paradises. Taking a rest here should prove good for the soul, before more intensive travel planned during the next segment. It’ll be nice to momentarily enjoy the warmth of the tropics before heading back north!
Arriving to Thailand coincides with the height of the rainy season. This is great, as hotel prices plummet during this time. But it’s a risky move since we stand the chance of stormy weather. So we’ll see how that all plays out.
Hopefully, we’ll still manage to have a break in the cloud to enjoy scenes like this!
But Thailand is not our ultimate destination.
Actually nowhere in Asia is.
We’re Going Back to Europe!
This trip from Vancouver to Japan to Thailand is actually just our crazy round-about way to get back to Europe! We love traveling through Europe. But in recent years, we’ve spent far too little time there.
This trip, we’re setting off to explore some new-to-us countries that we have been purposely avoiding due to our perception of high costs. The countries in grey are those we’ve missed.
There are a few holes left to be filled in. But there’s only one gaping patch of the map.
Do you see it?
We’re super excited to go roaming around the Baltics!
An inexpensive flight from Thailand will be taking us all the way to📍 Stockholm, Sweden!
We’ll get there by mid-October, just in time for the famously cool weather to start blowing in during shorter nights. And perhaps we’ll catch the leaves change too.
We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to manage the high costs of Scandanavia and remain comfortable. And we’re really excited about some of the countries we’re planning to venture to.
Yes, we’re finally roaming around Russia!
It’s a little tricky to organize with American passports. But if all goes as planned, we will indeed be spending a wee bit of time exploring Russia later this year. Super stoked! Yet we’re further looking forward to dipping our toes into 📍 Finland, 📍 Estonia, and📍 Latvia too!
From there, we arrive at a crossroads.
Where to Next?
The plan for the rest of the year hasn’t been determined yet. But we do have two solid yet diverging ideas.
It breaks down to:
- the easy way, or
- the more adventurous way.
Of course, we’re leaning towards the more ambitious path! But it may simply be more practical to take the easy way.
The Easy Way
If we do take the easy route, we’ll continue to explore parts unknown throughout Europe. Lithuania is on our radar. And we’re thinking about possibly venturing back to Greece and the Balkans. Then, we’ll eventually take one of many November repositioning cruises across the Atlantic, arriving right back to South Florida.
This plan will prove quite economical. It would also allow us to spend the holidays with our family back in the US. Added Europe explorations is another bonus. Taking the easy way out isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
The Adventurous Route
Meanwhile, the more ambitious path will take us on a grand adventure to another five new-to-us countries and several bucket-list destinations. Ultimately, we’ll wind back up in another favorite country.
It’s a place we’ve only traveled to once before. And we’ve been yearning to return ever since the day we departed 1,051 days ago.
I’m really hoping we can pull this off. But it won’t be easy. It’ll definitely inflate costs. It’ll also take us further away from our end goal of Florida. So that will make getting back to the US much more complex while attempting to maintain low transportation costs. But it isn’t impossible. And we’d love to work this out. Yet until it’s a sure thing, we’re just going to keep mum on those potential plans. We’re not pulling the trigger just yet.
Let’s Go Roaming Around the World! 🌎
Either route we turn, it’s still going to be a great spin around the globe. We’re looking forward to diving deep into the beautiful cultures in these countries we’re traveling to. And all while maintaining this theme of affordable luxury.
We’re not only excited for this affordable luxury trip around the world. We’re thrilled to have you virtually joining us for each unexpected step of this grand journey! Thank you for coming along for this ride.
Bon voyage! 🚢