It was am amazing trip. Life-changing for all of us.
One that taught us all so much about the world and about travel and how interconnected we all are.
Funny enough, though, one of my first memories of the trip was boarding the 15-hour flight from NYC to Hong Kong. Walking through the first-class cabin, spacious with with reclining, super-plush, sleep-chamber seats, my daughter looked up and smiled. How cool is this plane, she said.
Then…we kept walking. lol.
Into the massive, every-seat-packed like sardines coach cabin, where we’d stay sandwiched in for the next 15 hours. I’m a reasonably compact guy, but it was pretty tight. Can’t imagine how someone larger than me would’ve dealt. I was with my girls, though, we were on an adventure and we made the best of it, knowing there was lots of magic to come. In that context, no big whup.
We took a lot more flights throughout our travels and that adventure kindled a giant desire to travel a lot more in all of us. And, I have to confess, numerous times I peeked up front and thought how sweet it would be to be chilling there in my own private fully-reclined flying Barkalounger.
So, as I start planning our next big adventure, I’ve been wondering about two questions:
- How much more often would we travel if the flights and hotels cost next to nothing?
- How much farther would we go if we could fly business or first-class, especially on long hauls?
And, here’s the thing, we could have done both on our travels last summer…if I’d just paid attention to what my buddy, Chris Guillebeau, was trying to teach me about travel hacking. But, never having traveled like that, I didn’t pay much attention (sound of hand smacking forehead).
Every flight and hotel could have either cost nothing or rounded pretty darn close. And the long-haul flights could all have been business or first class.
A lot of you guys already know Chris. He writes the ArtOfNonconformity.com blog, came out with a huge-selling book by the same name earlier this year, then promptly launched a 63-stop U.S.-Canada book tour. And he’s now in the later stages of a 5 year quest to visit every country in the world.
Not only has he traveled so much without going poor, he’s actually done a lot of it for next to nothing, including flying business or first-class.
As Chris just shared in a post on his blog last week:
Earning the miles is fun, but using them is even better. Last year I redeemed 400,000 miles for my big trips to Kazakhstan, Belarus, Cameroon, Thailand, the Maldives, and multiple repositioning flights between Europe and the U.S.
Next month I’m flying to the Mideast to begin a Round-the-World trip. I used AA miles to book my Business Class flights on British Airways and Royal Jordanian. Cash price: $4,500. Price with miles: $84 in taxes. On the way I’ll layover in Heathrow at the Sheraton airport hotel. Cash price: $220. Price with Starwood points: free.
Chris, you see, is a professional travel-hacker.
He lives and breaths ways to score more than a million air-miles a year, many without ever setting foot on a plane or even spending a dime, then cashing them in big time (Don’t tell him I told you this, but if I remember correctly, the dude once got a hair-transplant evaluation even though he’s got a great head of hair just because there was a rare crazy deal that gave him 20,000 miles for doing it…pretty sure I didn’t dream that!).
So, now we’re looking at our travel plans for next summer, time to set up our next great adventure. After last summer, my daughter now loves to travel. She’s got skype-pals on the other side of the world. How cool is that? It’s so important to we keep building on our experience of the world outside our relatively cloistered existence.
But, I also wouldn’t mind being able to:
- Fly better than coach,
- Travel more often, and even
- Pay a lot less money to do so.
Which is why I’m so insanely excited about the project Professor Guillebeau is launching today…
The Travel Hacker’s Cartel is a membership program that ferrets out all sorts of insane limited-time air mile deals and sends you alerts that let you amass a mountain of air-miles, often without setting foot on a plane.
I know my plan is to do just that before our summer adventure, so that we can travel like rock stars for pennies on the dollar.
Plus, Chris’ travel hacks should also let us do more when we’re in other countries and have more to give when we’re there.
If you don’t have any real desire to experience the world, totally cool. Until recently, I didn’t either. You’ll probably still want to check out Chris’ blog and book, though. Both are amazing.
But, if you’re like me and traveling, either alone or with family and friends, is something you’d love to do, but would also love to fly farther, in more luxury, spend less, give more and do it all more often…
Head over to check out what Chris is
up to at the Travel Hacking Cartel.
[Disclaimer: Chris is a good friend of mine. Even though he looks exactly like The Dread Pirate Robert from The Princess Bride, I don’t hold it against him…I just wish he wouldn’t always wear the black eye-sash at parties and walk around shouting “as you wiiiissssshhhhh!” (it’s getting old). If you sign up for his gig, I get some kind of commission. I don’t remember what it is, but honestly, the membership fee is so affordable, I don’t really see how I could end up making enough to retire yet, but, hey, I’m not complaining because he is, in fact, the Dread Pirate Robert and has mad sword skills, so I don’t want to piss him off. So, buy, don’t buy, the real reason I’m sharing this is because I trust Chris and if you travel the way I’m starting to, it can make the process a whole lot more fun and save you a bundle. Then again, if you had the power of invisibility, you could sneak onto any flight you wanted, but you’d still have to stand the whole time and peeing could be a real issue, which would kinda suck, oh look, shiny…]
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