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How I Flew 220,000 Miles Last Year (without really trying)

Travel writer - Photo editing in the Maldives

A Year within the Lifetime of a Journey Author

The world is small, however extremely numerous. There’s all the time one thing superb happening someplace. So dwelling lower than two hours from Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX) is a bit harmful for me. I’m all the time tempted to go off with no less than considered one of my youngsters and see one thing new.

When I added up my miles flown final yr, I was stunned to see that I was over 200,000. I don’t monitor mileage as I go, and I don’t notably take note of flight distances or occasions. Whether or not I’m heading east or west, I get on a aircraft, watch some films, go to sleep, after which get up someplace enjoyable. And I’m not a street warrior. I’m at house greater than I’m touring. I even minimize a couple of journeys brief final yr to return residence sooner, eliminating Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro, together with a number of different locations, with the press of a mouse.

Photograph modifying within the Maldives

I ought to notice that my youngsters go to a traditional faculty. In 2018 my 10-year-old and 12-year-old missed simply two days for journey – once we have been getting back from the Galapagos. My Eight-year-old missed 13 days, since she took her one-on-one journey through the faculty yr, and joined me on a few campaigns. However her academics all the time gave her work to take together with her, so she was by no means behind when she returned. Most of my campaigns, and all of our household journey, fell over faculty breaks. All of my solo private journey (both going to see household or heading to conferences/occasions) was through the faculty yr.

So how did I get to 220,000 miles?

One on One Journeys

Beginning on the age of 4, every of my youngsters will get to decide on anyplace on the planet for a one on one journey with me yearly. This yr my 12-year-old opted out. My Eight-year-old selected Japan – we flew into Tokyo and out of Kyoto/Osaka. My 10-year-old selected to go all over the world, with stops in Copenhagen, Greenland, the Seychelles, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai and Singapore. Each have been nice journeys.

Complete days = 28

Complete miles flown = 43,255

Tokyo with kids - Cotton candy!

Japan with my Eight-year-old

Seychelles with kids - Reading on Grand Anse

The Seychelles on our around-the-world journey

The World Cup

My son loves soccer, and needed to see a World Cup recreation in individual. I had by no means been to Russia or seen a males’s World Cup recreation (I caught the Ladies’s World Cup in Montreal), so it sounded nice to me. We flew to St. Petersburg, Russia for a number of days and attended the Sweden-Switzerland second spherical recreation. Enjoyable journey. And we stopped in Stockholm for an evening on the again for an incredible meal with a pal.

Complete days = 6

Complete miles flown = 11,868

Travel Writer - In St. Petersburg, Russia at the World Cup

In St. Petersburg, Russia on the World Cup

Brazil and the Amazon

My son acquired to go to Russia on a bonus journey, so I took my Eight-year-old to Brazil! We met up with pals in Manaus and explored the Amazon Rainforest for every week. In all probability my favourite child journey ever. And it doesn’t really belong in another class right here, so it will get its personal!

Complete days = 9

Complete miles flown = 9,488

Amazon Rain Forest with Kids - Sunset from the front of the Jacaré Açu

On the Rio Negro in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

Household Journey

My 12-year-old daughter not solely opted out of her annual one-on-one journey, she additionally voted to not journey as a household as a lot as in previous years. And we obliged. We nonetheless made it to 5 nations (Ecuador/Galapagos, Belgium, Italy, the Maldives and Singapore), however we caught near house for a lot of the summer time and for Christmas, and solely headed to NYC for a number of days for spring break.

Complete days = 39

Complete miles flown = 48,812

Mashpi Lodge - Sunset at Ecuador's Mashpi Lodge

Sundown at Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge

Travel Writer - In Bruges, Belgium in August

In Bruges, Belgium in August

Travel Writer - Florence is an annual stop. Last year I made it there three times.

Florence is an annual cease. Last yr I acquired there 3 times.

Maldives with kids - The coconut husk Christmas tree at Six Senses Laaamu

Six Senses Laamu within the Maldives, proper earlier than Christmas

Travel Writer - In Singapore

In Singapore

Journey to See Household

We began the yr in Colorado with my household. I additionally took two solo journeys to Colorado, and one to Rome/Vienna, to see household. A spotlight was attending my niece’s baptism on the Vatican.

Complete days = 14

Complete miles flown = 19,621

smart travel spending - The view from the rooftop of our hotel in Rome - right in the middle of everywhere that we want to go.

The view from the rooftop of our lodge in Rome

Travel Writer - At our family baptism, in a Vatican chapel

At our household baptism, in a Vatican chapel

Journey with Youngsters for Journey Campaigns

In all probability my favourite class! I love that I’ve been capable of craft a profession the place locations fly me in with a minimum of certainly one of my youngsters to advertise them. This yr, along with Greenland (included within the RTW stats above), we had campaigns in Oahu, Jackson Gap (Wyoming), Wisconsin, Houston, and Trentino (Italy), and a pair in Florida, together with a Caribbean cruise.

Complete days = 36

Complete miles flown = 34,160

Affordable Hawaii: Swinging at Kualoa's Secret Beach

In Hawaii with IHG Inns

Jackson Hole with Kids: At the summit of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

On the summit of Jackson Gap Mountain Resort

Houston with Kids - Playing on the USS Texas

Enjoying on the united statesTexas as a part of our Houston marketing campaign

Milwaukee with kids - The table setup overlooking the farm

At a farm dinner in Wisconsin

Travel Writer - My kids love my Universal Orlando campaigns!

My youngsters love my Common Orlando campaigns!

Val di Fassa - Hiking above Campitello di Fassa

Mountaineering above Campitello di Fassa in Trentino, Italy

Celebrity Edge - Walking around the Celebrity Edge

Strolling across the Movie star Edge

Journey Occasions and Conferences

I went to quite a bit fewer conferences and occasions this yr than prior to now. I love attending them, however I hate being away from my household, so increasingly I decline invites and keep at house. Nonetheless I made it to ITB in Berlin, I hiked throughout Tuscany, I frolicked with racehorses on the seashore in Barbados at dawn, I went wine tasting in upstate New York, and I attended The Factors Man’s journey awards ceremony in New York Metropolis. Oh and I received to play at Common Orlando a few occasions, and I frolicked with the Travelocity Roaming Gnome in Mexico.

Complete days = 41

Complete miles flown = 53,688

Universal Orlando 2018 - The Voodoo Doughnut Ribbon Cutting

The grand opening of Voodoo Doughnut at Common Orlando

How to fly a lot - Sunrise in San Gimignano, Italy, partway through our 90km hike on the Via Francigena

Dawn in San Gimignano, Italy, partway by way of our 90km hike on the By way of Francigena

Travel Writer - In Barbados for a travel conference.

In Barbados for a journey convention

Travel Writer - All dressed up at The Points Guy awards in NYC in December

All dressed up at The Factors Man awards in NYC in December

Cabo with kids - Sailing past the Land's End arch at sunset with the Roaming Gnome

Crusing previous the Land’s Finish arch in Los Cabos, Mexico with the Roaming Gnome

Frequent Flier Miles, Loyalty and Value

I haven’t added up prices, however all of this flying value rather a lot lower than you in all probability assume. My fast ideas on tips on how to fly for much less:

When attainable I’m loyal to United and Star Alliance. I had over 150,000 qualifying miles on United final yr, and was barely over the $12,000 spending requirement – a variety of which was paid for by shoppers. Because of this I have 1k standing, which will get me 11 miles for each greenback paid and eight worldwide improve certificates a yr. It additionally provides me entry to a separate stock of tickets obtainable for frequent flier miles, and good flexibility to vary award tickets with no penalty.

My backup is American and the Oneworld alliance. I’m mid-tier Platinum on American, so I get fewer miles for each greenback spent, and fewer upgrades. However the miles nonetheless add up.

Travel Writer - In Copenhagen this summer. We arrvied on Lufthansa (Star Alliance) and departed on Qatar Airways (Oneworld).

In Copenhagen this summer time. We arrvied on Lufthansa (Star Alliance) and departed on Qatar Airways (Oneworld).

I get miles for flying clearly, however most of my miles come from bank card spending and bonuses. I redeemed over 500,000 miles this yr free of charge flights – primarily to Europe, but in addition for issues like a helicopter experience within the Seychelles.

Around the world - Arriving in the Seychelles. We would definitely splurge on the helicopter again!

The perfect flight of the yr – a helicopter journey with Zil Air from the Mahé airport to Six Senses Zil Pasyon within the Seychelles.

This yr I wrote a number of posts for Capital One on saving for journey, saving when touring, and maximizing miles. If you wish to fly extra for much less, there are some ideas in these that ought to aid you:

However all of this flying sucks, proper?

I get this query/assertion rather a lot. The straightforward fact is that I don’t assume a lot about it. I don’t love flying and I don’t hate flying. The extra I journey, the better it will get. I know the place to park, I keep away from lengthy check-in and safety strains due to airline standing and International Entry and TSA PreCheck, and I get lounge entry often. Airplanes are merely a strategy to get me/us to our locations in order that we will see the world. And in comparison with the problem of touring 100 years in the past, I don’t take without any consideration in any respect how superb it’s that I can hop right into a metallic tube and a day later be midway around the globe. I use my time within the air to sleep, learn, write, and compensate for films.

Greenland with kids - Boarding in Kangerlussuaq

Boarding our Air Greenland flight to Nuuk

I truly had remarkably few points final yr. In 112 flights I don’t assume my baggage was delayed as soon as (I examine luggage nearly all of the time). I had one missed connection in Newark due to a delayed inbound flight. Our flight from San Francisco to Tokyo was delayed seven hours due to a baggage rely concern. Our flight from LA to Honolulu rotated mid-flight due to a medical emergency. We needed to divert in Greenland for 24 hours due to climate, resulting in an sudden however enjoyable alternative to see a unique a part of the island. And I needed to run via Munich’s huge airport a number of occasions to catch flights. However in any other case no points.

Favourite Airways

United and American are one of the best airways for us given the place they fly. There are not any points with flights 95% of the time, and when there are, the airways sometimes give us vouchers in the direction of future flights. They annoy me although as a result of they do nothing for teenagers aside from perhaps permitting them to board first (if the youngsters are beneath two). We flew loads of airways this yr, together with Swiss Air, Austrian, Qatar Airways, Silk Air, Air Greenland, Air Dolomiti, Maldivian, Etihad, Singapore, ANA, Lufthansa and SAS. A few of these airways serve youngsters their meals first. Most give out journey packs, and even backpacks, to youngsters with toys and video games. And a few airways, like Emirates, even have separate frequent flier packages only for youngsters. I’d love for the US-based airways to catch on. It’s nonetheless potential to make youngsters excited to fly, and to develop model loyalty early on!

Travel writer - In Vienna, Austria - an unexpected overnight when I changed my Rome return at the last minute

In Vienna, Austria – an sudden in a single day when I modified my Austrian Air return from Rome on the final minute

I liked this yr, nevertheless it was additionally just a bit bit an excessive amount of time on airplanes. I’m hoping for nearer to 150,000 miles in 2019 – nonetheless sufficient to get to some new locations and have enjoyable adventures, however I’d wish to be house extra.

How about you? What was your favourite journey final yr? The place are you excited to go this yr?

 

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