When people hear how much I travel, they immediately assume I am “made of money!” NOT! I’m just a regular teacher with a nice National Board stipend. And since we are empty-nesters, we do have more disposable income than when our two sons were at home. But I am a frugal traveler, and of course, I make use of miles. This past year, I have gotten more into hotel points and have seen how points can help with trip expenses to save even more money! We all know that teachers “always have the summers off” – HA! But I do have more vacation time than my engineer husband (who does NOT like to travel, by the way), and I try to take one miles/points trip each summer. So I am not rich in money, but I am very rich in experiences, like a hot air balloon ride in Luxor, early morning walk through Petra, and swimming in the Dead Sea!
One summer, my youngest son and I went to Egypt (before the revolution), Jordan, and Israel…that trip was a dream come true! I sure wish I had known about and used hotel points on that trip, but more on that later.
What do you do when you are a teacher, it’s not even winter yet, it’s before Christmas vacation, and you are on SNOW DAY NUMBER FIVE?! You work on your blog, of course! Thinking of past travels alleviates cabin fever and makes me smile!
One concern I’ve had is traveling alone because my husband doesn’t care for traveling, and he doesn’t have as much vacation time as I do. I’ve gone on one “teacher trip” and it was OK – the accommodations weren’t that great and you had to have a roommate. BUT I have solved that problem and will tell you about it in another post!
I starting collecting airline miles several years ago with a USAA credit card, which accumulated miles based on yearly spend. My first big trip was with my sons to Europe for a month, using my National Board stipend money and some miles. But then I started getting offers for bonus miles when opening different cards. Those various cards through the years have paid for trips to twenty-six countries! Some of those trips were to multiple countries, like the summer of 2008 to Greece, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. That trip took lots of planning!
Some miles paid for the entire trip and some just one way; I remember paying $30 for a one way ticket to Italy using the last of my Continental miles!