2022: My Travel Year in Review

With the New Year just hours away, it’s time for a review of my travel year of 2022 and a look at some of the highlights and cool statistics.

2022 Travels

It’s turning out to be a little New Year’s tradition to review my travel year, which I did for 2021 and 2020.

So it only feels right to continue this and to review my travel year of 2022 as well.

Just like the previous years I managed to have some great trips in 2022, although it was a rather unusual travel year in some aspects.

london blackfriars station
View from London Blackfriars station over the River Thames. ©Paliparan

Flight logbook

Let’s start off this 2022 travel year review by taking a look at the flights I took, which are all mapped on the image below.

I keep a record of all my flights on myFlightradar24, a handy website which was previously known as Flightdiary.

The orange lines on the flight map are the routes I have flown once last year (one-way) while the red lines are routes I have flown twice (either two one-ways or a return flight).

2022 flight map travel year review
The flights I took in 2022. ©Flightradar24/Paliparan

Flight statistics

In 2022, I took 26 flights in total for both leisure and work.

This number is down 41% from the 44 flights I took in 2021 and a whopping 64% down from the 72 flights in 2019.

The reason behind this big decline will become clear later!

The 26 flights of the year 2022 – all of them international ones – added up to a total distance flown of 43,687 kilometres (27,146 miles) and equated 73 hours and 10 minutes of flying time.

Of these 26 flights, 9 were in business class and 17 in economy class.

Fortunately I was spared a middle seat as I managed to get a window seat on 23 flights while ending up with an aisle seat on 3 flights.

While in 2021 Air France was my top airline with 8 flights followed by Wizz Air in second place with 6 flights, it was the other way around this year as I only managed 4 flights with the French flag carrier while I took 8 Wizz flights.

The Airbus A321 was the top aircraft of 2022 with 10 flights in total, followed by 6 flights on an Airbus A320.

Sadly, I didn’t manage to try out a new plane type this year.

low-cost airlines bergamo
A lot of flights in 2022 were on low-cost airlines. ©Paliparan

Airports and airlines

The travel year of 2022 did however feature some airports and airlines I haven’t used before.

The year 2022 marked my first ever flights with British Airways, Iberia and Royal Air Maroc.

As a Star Alliance and SkyTeam loyalist, I had just never really used airlines in the oneworld alliance before apart from Qatar Airways.

However, with my Star Alliance and SkyTeam elite status being secured for 2023, I had the opportunity to try out some new airlines outside of these two airline groups.

Besides, as I managed to get a Qatar Airways status match, I was able to enjoy all the perks of oneworld Sapphire status throughout the year of 2022.

Sure, I knew it would be impossible for me to maintain oneworld Sapphire status for 2023 (it’s hard enough already to requalify for elite status with two alliances at the same time, let alone with three!) but it was a great excuse to fly with a couple of new airlines through hub airports I normally avoid.

In total, I visited 22 different airports in 2022 (ten less than in 2021).

Of those 22 airports, I’ve visited 8 for the first time ever. These new airports are London Heathrow (LHR), Venice Marco Polo (VCE), Bari (BRI), Birmingham (BHX), Casablanca (CMN), Seville (SVQ), Amman (AMM) and Aqaba (AQJ).

british airways iberia madrid barajas airport 2022 travel
I flew with both British Airways and Iberia for the first time ever in 2022. ©Paliparan
london heathrow cathay pacific lounge
Enjoying some noodles, dim sum and champagne in London Heathrow’s Cathay Pacific Lounge. ©Paliparan

Flying highlight

Arguably the biggest flying highlight of 2022 was my flight in Qsuites, Qatar Airways’ excellent business class product.

Thanks to the aforementioned status match, I received some complimentary Qcredits which I could use to upgrade a Qatar Airways flight.

I managed to find a relatively cheap economy ticket from Casablanca to Bucharest via Doha, which I could upgrade in its entirety to business class with the Qcredits.

Normally such business class flights are way above my budget, although it again turned out that there are alternative ways to fly in luxury with the smart use of frequent flyer miles and points.

I certainly enjoyed my 13 hours of flying in Qatar Airways business class!

qatar airways business class qsuites positive feedback compliment
Qsuites business class on a Qatar Airways Boeing 777. ©Paliparan
qatar airways work wine travel
Good wine and food in Qatar Airways’ excellent Qsuites business class. ©Paliparan

Trains instead of planes

During 2022, I avoided planes as much as I could, taking the train instead for most of my travels.

This is not because I turned into some kind of Greta Thunberg – I still love to fly and I firmly belief that the benefits of (affordable) air transport outweigh all of the cited environmental concerns.

However, as I already wrote in last year’s travel review of 2021, I simply think the all-round travel experience is often better on the train.

It’s such a relaxing experience to watch the scenery from the train window while you eat and drink something in the dining car or open the blinds of your own sleeper compartment in the morning, waking up to an entirely different view than the night before.

While flying is often just about getting you from A to B, taking the train is a trip on its own as you can savour the journey and take in the changing landscapes and geography.

night riviera train london paddington 2022 year review
The Night Riviera sleeper train to Cornwall at London Paddington station. ©Paliparan

Ukraine by train

My train travel year of 2022 started with an epic trip to Ukraine, covering 5,200 kilometres (3,230 miles) – roughly the same distance from London to Novosibirsk (Siberia, Russia) or London to Lagos (Nigeria).

One of the trains I took was the Rakhiv to Mariupol night train, which back then was Ukraine’s longest train ride.

Needless to say, my visit to Mariupol turned out to be rather unique experience..

rakhiv mariupol train ukraine
Ukrainian trains at the railway station of Rakhiv. ©Paliparan
ukraine carpathians train trip report
Crossing the Carpathians on a train between Lviv and Mukachevo. ©Paliparan
azovstal mariupol beach
At the beach in Mariupol, with the Azovstal iron and steelworks being visible in the background. ©Paliparan

Interrail sale

In the spring of 2022, I bought a 3-month Interrail pass for 50% off during an amazing sale, so naturally I had to get maximum value out of the rail pass.

Although I didn’t travel 3 months continuously (I also have to work after all!) I did manage to make quite a few trips using the Interrail pass during the summer.

Between mid-June and mid-September, I used the Interrail pass for a trip to Switzerland and Northern Italy as well as for some fun travels through England, visiting Cornwall and Yorkshire.

I also embarked on two cross-continental train trips.

Instead of flying from my home country of Romania to my native Netherlands, I used the train this year.

Even more epic was my trip from Romania to Scotland and back again without flying.

Those two trips were also a fun experiment to find out whether trains can be a reasonable alternative to flights on such long distances (unfortunately there still are a lot of practical downsides).

swiss train dining car
A yummy Thai green curry on board a Swiss train in the Alps. ©Paliparan

Train highlights

So let’s have a look at the train travel highlights of 2022.

As I took so many trains last year, I didn’t take the effort to map all of them or to calculate the total mileage as this would cost me a full day of work.

In total I took 18 sleeper trains during 2022, bringing my lifetime total to 86 night train rides in total.

I did a lot of UK train travel in 2022, which turned out to be a big highlight as I loved both the daytime trains as well as my experience on board the two night trains in the country (the Night Riviera and Caledonian Sleeper).

It was also great fun to travel on some scenic trains in Switzerland, with the Bernina Express being the best of the bunch.

caledonian sleeper train travel uk
A bed on the Caledonian Sleeper train. ©Paliparan
landwasser viaduct switzerland interrail black friday sale discount
The Bernina Express is crossing the famous Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland. ©Paliparan


Although I visited lots of new destinations during 2022 and revisited many old favourites, I only managed to visit one new country.

This country was Morocco, and although I only visited Casablanca (not exactly known as the touristic highlight of the country) I did tremendously enjoy my visit to the city and really want to come back to see more.

With Morocco being ticked off the list, I have now visited 80 countries in total (or 83 countries when you include some territories/countries which are not universally recognised).

casablanca morocco travel year 2022
Casablanca, Morocco. ©Paliparan

Travel highlights

Besides the earlier mentioned trips, there were a few other travel moments in 2022 which are worth mentioning.

I really enjoyed seeing more of Switzerland, one of the few European countries in which I haven’t travelled a lot before given how expensive it is.

Thanks to cheap low-cost flights from Bucharest to Aqaba and Amman, I had the opportunity to revisit Jordan, which was as fabulous as I remembered it was.

In the UK, I embarked on several epic pub crawls, hiked in the Yorkshire Dales and enjoyed the sights of the Scottish Highlands in glorious sunny weather.

Of course, I also managed to make multiple (short) trips in my home country of Romania.

I was perhaps most impressed by my visit to the wonderful Székelyföld (Szeklerland), a part of Transylvania predominantly inhabited by the ethnic Hungarian Székely people.

In Romania, I also enjoyed my visit to the beautiful Danube Delta with its unique avifauna and culture.

During this trip also I also adopted a stray kitten whom I found completely abandoned, making that outing quite special for an entirely different reason as well!

Apart from the more active holidays there was also plenty of time to relax, enjoying some Aperol Spritz at the Italian lakes, eating tapas in Andalusia, binging beer in Germany and tasting some fine whiskies in Scotland.

aperol spritz italy lake como
Enjoying an Aperol Spritz at the shores of Lake Como. ©Paliparan
Alp Grüm Palü Glacier Switzerland
Alp Grüm in the Swiss Canton of Grisons, with the Palü Glacier being visible in the background ©Paliparan
spiez switzerland travel 2022 review
Spiez, Switzerland. ©Paliparan
petra jordan
Petra as seen from above. ©Paliparan
whernside hike yorkshire dales travel 2022
Hiking up to Whernside, the highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales. ©Paliparan
scottish highlands
The Scottish Highlands basking in the sunlight. ©Paliparan
whisky tasting Cragganmore
Whisky tasting at Cragganmore. ©Paliparan
koen canstatter volksfest germany 2022 review
Yours truly enjoying a Maß (litre glass) of beer at the Canstatter Volksfest in Germany. ©Paliparan
venice night travel moments 2022 review
Venice at night. ©Paliparan
sanzieni fortified church
The Hungarian fortified church at Sânzieni (Kézdiszentlélek) in the Székelyföld. ©Paliparan
cows romania countryside 2022 review
Cows in the Romanian countryside. ©Paliparan
pelicans danube delta
Pelicans in the Danube Delta. ©Paliparan
koen kitty 2022 review
Yours truly with Kitty, a stray kitten from the Danube Delta whom I decided to adopt. ©Paliparan

What will 2023 bring?

The travel year of 2022 turned out to be highly eventful and fun – and I do hope I can look forward to a similar number of great adventures in 2023.

Of course, this is always dependant on external circumstances, so I mostly hope 2023 will be a year of health and peace, having the means and opportunities to embark on trips in the next year as well.

Although I plan to make some epic train trips in 2023 as well, it will likely not be as many as I did in 2022 given the high costs and there probably not being a 50% Interrail sale next year to help me out.

As I want to requalify for my Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles gold status (Star Alliance) and Air France/KLM Flying Blue platinum status (SkyTeam) in 2023, there will probably be an uptick in flights after three consecutive years of flying less.

My first trip for 2023 is already booked for January – and with 5 flights and well over 4,000 kilometres of train travel it will hopefully be another epic journey.

Apart from this, I have a lot of vague travel plans and ideas in my head (who doesn’t..?!) but nothing else decided and booked yet.

Let’s wait and see what more the travel year of 2023 will bring – so stay tuned!

Avatar photo


Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.