At first, I thought of writing a 2016 Travel Wrap. However, our family’s travel lives have changed tremendously between 2014-2016 and I wanted to jot down the highlights from the past couple of years as well.
Prior to 2014, we’d take a trip or two to Hawaii during the year, and that was it. But I got infected with the travel bug in 2014. The kickoff happened with my old job that allowed me to travel multiple times from California’s West Coast to the East Coast. While I’ve gone to NYC a handful of times prior to 2014, that all changed when my job required me to travel and I was able to visit New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
But it was in February or March of 2014 when my travel life changed, not because of my business trips. I started seeing credit card bonus offers from various companies. I applied for credit cards with Hawaiian Airlines, Marriott Rewards, Club Carlson, and United Airlines. I had no idea what I was getting in to, but I thought it made sense to apply for them because I flew those airlines and stayed at those hotels.
My wife, Nancy, also signed up for other credit cards with a sign-up bonus. She applied for a Chase Ink and also a Chase Sapphire Preferred (click here). I wrote about the perks from this card in my last blog entry (How to fly to Hawaii for $11/person). I love, love, love that card. Just the bonus alone could take anyone in the US to Hawaii on two round trip tickets and only pay $11 each or $22 total.
Earning all these points triggered this burning desire to travel out of our comfort zone. We travel to Hawaii at least once a year, but we made a decision that it was time to explore other places. Some of our family trip highlights include:
- Trip to NYC then to Europe (Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Lake Como, Paris) – March/April
- Family Trip to Kauai – July
- London, Budapest, and Prague – Nov/Dec
For a family with four kids, we sure got around. These are the airports we’ve been to.
All in all, including my business trips, according to gcmap.com, between me and my family, we had a combined 83 flight segments between 2014-2016.
So do I have any travel wishlist for 2017? I do. Of course, I do.We’ve been conquering Europe as you can see from our map.
- Cuba is high on my list
- Iceland, yes, please!
- Asia – Tokyo, Seoul, Bali, Manila, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore
- Costa Rica, Belize, Rio
- Europe again? Possibly Greece, Turkey, Croatia
The year 2016 is about to come to a close and we’ve already got 2 major trips lined up (already booked, but not fully planned yet) in the first quarter of 2017. I’ll state it again…no, we did NOT win the lotto. I don’t even play the lotto. It was all because of the miles and points I’ve earned by signing up with various credit cards. I have found my niche…and you can, too.
From my family to yours, we wish you all the best….wishing you safe and lots of travels in 2017 and beyond.