Never thought that I will be using this sentence here. But time pass by lightning fast in the past 12 months. Before we realise anything, we are already at the end of the year, the last week of December. Here we are, heading into 2022. Another year of unknown but with a hint of clarity ahead. I am currently travelling in Spain. YES IN SPAIN! Me being alive and let us hope that I am breathing in the air of gorgeous Jamon and not COVID particles. It is surreal to be able to travel after the past 20 months or so that we had. Kind of a restart, a reboot of mindset, stepping on board a plane, travelling freely, that is something that I will never take for granted or lightly from now on. This is especially true after the disappointment we had. I have a ton of experience and reviews to share of my current trip and will definitely do so in the coming weeks and months. For now, as usual, I would like to do a review of Seeing The World In Steps 2021 and share how the last 12 months have been with respect to travelling. Let me start by recapping some of the highlights throughout 2021 before sharing my plans for the year ahead.
King of Staycation
Being the king of staycations is a title that I will give myself or rather, a title that I bought. I shall not go deep into the amount of money I spent on staycations in Singapore since that is rather much covered in my previous post. Continuing on the momentum I had since the second half of 2020. I had more stays in Singapore hotels in Singapore than the rest of the world combined. As of now, I went for a total of 36 staycations, some of them more than 1 night and some hotels, more than once! Seeing The World In Steps most popular hotel goes to Shangri-la Singapore with a total of 4 stays! Well COVID!
I can even say that I staycay until I “上电视”! (Got interviewed for doing staycations)
Vaccinated Travel Lane – The Corona Way
The other major event of 2021 would definitely be the Vaccinated Travel Lane that Singapore started a couple months ago. A twist from the voodoo of Air Travel Bubble ??? HAHA. We started of with Germany before expanding to many other countries. It is safe to say that travelling quarantine once again is largely possible going ahead but with a lot of hassle. I would count myself lucky to be able to embark on this after my disappointments with the Hong Kong ATB where it got cancelled not only once, but twice! It certainly takes more planning since I no longer have that flexibility when it comes to travelling anymore. Combining the constantly changing government regulations, entry rules and VTL tickets availability with juggling both a full-time job and grad studies. That’s one big cluster mess and headache. Being able to head off to Europe for 45 days during this period. I shall count my blessings.
Media Stay & Press Mention
Activity wise, 2021 is full of Hotel Reviews! I am thankful to have received 3 Media Stays during the year which has allowed me to review more properties. 2 in Singapore and 1 in Italy. The abundance of Hotel Reviews is still self-sponsored. Coming to acceptance that I might not be able to travel like how I do so in the past. Staycations might be a constant feature going ahead. Well, the golden years are over! I have 2 upcoming Staycations planned for in Singapore and will also be checking out the new Hilton Singapore!
Blame it on COVID or Luck but Seeing The World In Steps did get a lot more exposure during the year and I was featured by Mediacorp Channel 8, Channel News Asia, TODAY! Heck, I even went on The Wall Street Journal! Which I would take as a personal achievement! You can check them out here. My little diary is doing better and better and stats have increased almost 300% year on year.
Let me cover my two main hotel status, Hilton & Global Hotel Alliance! Hilton Honors continues to be my primary go-to chain and hotel loyalty program. Maintaining my Diamond status is a must achieve. They do treat me pretty well. For the current trip, up to date, I have got 5 suites upgrade out of 8 stays. I do have to say Hilton has done a great job during this pandemic with their policies. They have come up with the best pandemic policies and status extensions among their peers and still have generous promotions throughout the year. I barely stayed this year but with my status already valid till March 2023. I am intending to purely focus on staying with them to clock enough nights to extend till March 2024.
With all my nights being brought over and from this current trip. I should have 37 nights on the belt. That means that I will require another 5 nights. They have done a reduction of requirements for clocking status in 2022. You only require 42 nights to retain your status for the upcoming year. Global Hotel Alliance went thru a series of devaluations recently and gone are the amazing days of earning valuable Local Experience where I could easily extract over 300 SGD for a single one. They are moving on to a spending-based system for attaining status. I will still be a GHA Black or Titanium member till Dec 2022 which might still be useful if I choose to stay with them. It was never my intention to requalify in 2022 as well originally since I can never be able to clock 60 nights on Hilton and 30 nights on GHA in “usual” times. That’s almost 25% of a year in hotels.
Heading into this decade, I gave myself a goal, to visit 32 new countries by 2030 and so far I only added 3! At the end of my current trip, I should have been to 31 Countries and 113 Cities. That is 29 more to go in 8 years! Can’t wait to embark on more journeys with you and Seeing The World In Steps! I have recently reached the 100 Cities milestone! It took me 26 years and 6 months to hit 100 Cities. Let’s see how long it will take me to reach 200!
Travel Plans for 2022
Plans for overseas travel for the year ahead are still a work in progress. As of now, I am currently still holding on to my tickets to Istanbul, Bali and Japan. If all goes well, I am certainly planning to finally head to Japan during the second half of the year and if possible doing some short trips over the next few months as well. My next trip will definitely be after April. Restrictions look like they are here to stay at the very least for 2022 and there will definitely be some slight inconvenience during travelling. I am also trying to get to Hong Kong, some sort of revenge travelling after the burst HK ATB.
With that, I wish that everything will be back to normal once again soon and please give me a holla if we ever bump into each other in Singapore or overseas. Stay safe everyone! We will defeat this pandemic and soon enough get back to Seeing The World In Steps! STAY POSITIVE WHILE TESTING NEGATIVE AND GETTING VACCINATED!