Some VERY exciting trips coming up

In my quest to hit at least five new countries this year, I’ve planned three really, really exciting trips, and counting. In the past I may have taken some trips for the wrong reasons, letting the quality of an airline and redemption value achievable dictate my travels.

However, I’ve been able to get the best of both worlds here. I have one huge trip planned for spring break, one huge trip planned for May, and one huge trip planned for November (and I’m working on one for July right now). Most exciting is that all my trips are to new countries, and all my longhaul flights are on airlines I’ve yet to review on the blog.

I’d like to share how I planned these and the redemption values I got, since they are pretty spectacular, though I’ve been thinking about the best way to do so. My initial idea was to have a bit of a contest of sorts to see who can guess the trips most closely. Yes, this time around, “contest” actually equates to there being a (small) prize. I’d give some clues, and we’d see who gets closest over the one week guessing period. Then I’d lay out how I planned everything.

I’m leaning towards a different method, though. Instead, I’m thinking I’ll make these “mystery” trips. The first post I’ll publish about any given trip will be in the airline lounge before I’m about to leave on that trip.

Thoughts? I don’t want to cause my three blog readers any sleep loss, so if the latter plan is going to be an issue, please let me know. 😉

And on a related note, I plan on raising the bar on my trip reports. I’ll be getting a new camera next week (stay tuned for that), which will be much more practical for taking high quality pictures in the sky and on the ground. I’ll also make the pictures bigger, so that you don’t need a magnifying glass to figure out whether I’m eating caviar or hot nuts.

Filed Under: Awards, Travel
  1. I’m still scratching my head at how someone who’s a full time student in college is able to travel this much. How much out of pocket do you spend on travel related expenses?

  2. I learn a lot more when you post your trips and how you booked / redemption values vs. a review of the airlines’ product. Your particular strength and value add over, say, Global Traveler or something is that you fly using miles and in somewhat optimized settings. I think if you did a survey of your blog readers, you’d find most are interested in the “how can I do that” vs. a review of a particular trip. Trip reports are a dime a dozen (not that yours aren’t great, and that I don’t look forward to reading them–I do, it’s just that your booking information and strategies could become obsolete by the time you fly, whereas I don’t think BA First Class is going to get all that different.). There are many travel writers and professional reviewers out there; there are not many points experts and redemption experts. Why not play to your competitive advantage?
    (beyond the commercial reasons of your booking company and potential crowding out of opportunities)

  3. Well, I can bet that one of the trips will be on Lufthansa from SFO to FRA to check out their A380 First Class, but without clues I’m at somewhat of a loss for the other 2 trips.

  4. I’m glad to hear that you’re in it for the destination as well as the journey. I love flying new routes, new aircraft, and new airlines as well, and premium cabins (significantly rarer for me than you) are great, but experiencing the world should be more important.

  5. I think the most value your blog offers is how to use miles to interesting destinations and how to get points or miles.
    The travel reports are very well written and interesting for the lounge and on board experience but lack when describing the destination (except for the hotel lounge). I don’t mind since somebody above already posted travel reports are a dime a dozen and a lot of destinations I go to are either for work or family visits and I know those probably much better then you will in a 3 day visit.
    So please let us know how to get good awards. I am sure quite a lot of people were happy to read about the LH 380 awards.

  6. Please just do the trip reports as always and let us know ahead of time where you are going. No gimmicks necessary. Your blog is great without that.

  7. @ Brent – Home base (KTPA) that’s cheap to buy transcons out of, willing to take repeated bumps (which fund multiple future trips), then burn the RDM on the good trips. It’s a great scam if you’ve got the time and based at a low-fare airport.

  8. Based on what you’ve said to date, I’d expect Lan Chile business class and ANA First Class and maybe Air Canada business class also.

    But yeah, don’t do anything too fancy, if you keep the booking/award advice for a particular airline/trip in one post, it makes it easier to refer back to in the future

  9. Just please, no more photos of airplane food or reprints of airline menus. A decent restaurant in the world can offer better food that even the best airline’s first class. More photos highlighting the people, culture and idiosynchrocies of your destinations. Especially with a new better camera.

  10. My votes are for Dubai, Buenos Aires, and India. And I would like an abundance of airplane and hotel media.

  11. I’m saying Dubai, Sth America (most likely somewhere with a PH, BA probably)…and….. I’m stumped for the third! =)

    Look forward to it Lucky!

  12. I agree with many of the previous posts…I enjoy everything that you blog, but especially appreciate knowing about the strategies you use to acquire award seats in premium classes for interesting trips…

  13. I noticed that you often resize your pictures before posting on the trip reports, now that you have a new camera, I hope you would consider posting an unedited version on flickr as well, otherwise whether or not you have a new camera, it shows very little difference to us readers. 🙂

  14. If we’re going the guessing game, then I’ll say Uzbekistan, Ghana and Uruguay.

    And, there is no wrong reason for taking a trip 😉

  15. ” I’ll also make the pictures bigger, so that you don’t need a magnifying glass to figure out whether I’m eating caviar or hot nuts.”

    And while we’re at it why not an infrared camera so we can see the heat of said nuts? 😀 😉

  16. I for one enjoy the trip reports and photos. Last Fall I experienced the CX experience and part of a years worth of anticipation was reviewing your CX trip reports a few time!

  17. Roland: Oddly enough, I visited Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Kosovo in 2010. I’m ashamed to have missed Ghana!

  18. I enjoy the trip reports as is. If I want information on touristy or cultural things at a destination, I’ll check another place. These trip reports are for the travel portion and I enjoy that. It helps me plan my own travel.

  19. I agree with everyone here about the gimmicks. Interested in planning and execution, along with the trip reports.

  20. Hey, if you tell us where you are going, people might give you advice on cool things to see that you wouldn’t know about.

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