Real life family travel means making family travel compromises for the benefit of everyone in the family. And that's okay. Here are six compromises we've made as a family in order to continue traveling together.

Fourth Year Reflections

Four years ago I started this tiny little blog to, what else, help my friends and family! Four years later…I remain a tiny blog. I am not exaggerating or being humble. But other than that, tons of other things have changed! Here are my pithy thoughts and observations. (Note: the original intent of this post was to say my observations were pithy but then make DEEP MEANINGFUL AND INSIGHTFUL comments about the state of our game, but I mostly ended up reflecting. In case you don’t want to waste your time.)

Fatherhood changed me – and this blog

On August 26, 2012, my wife was four months pregnant. Now I have two beautiful kids who have changed my perspective in more ways than I can count. Looking back on the past four years, it’s been amazing to see our family grow and to share our love of travel with our kids. When my daughter keeps asking me for her own suitcase for her fourth birthday, I know I’ve at least done something right!

Obviously as the family has grown the blog has as well. I still want to help friends and family, but the blog also gives me a chance to reflect on my travel with my wife and kids. Also, I’m no longer writing about flying first class all the time (or even setting that as a goal). Now I hope to help inspire people with families to travel as well; to let them know that having kids isn’t the end of having fun out in the wide, wide world. I’d like to help other families understand that miles and points remain the means to making the end more achievable. That’s what I write about when I have the time. But of course, with two kids, I don’t have the time.

These guys.
These guys.

Saverocity has become my online miles and points blogging family

When Matt was looking to expand Saverocity, he welcomed me with open arms. He gave me a chance to write for a bigger audience and really helped me integrate with the miles and points community at large. Thanks, Matt, wish I could have repaid you with millions of clicks. What I’ve always appreciated about Matt is he’s always said “Write what you want to write about and forget about all the rest.” I love the freedom that gives and it’s one of the many reasons Matt is the best not-really-my-boss ever.

What I love about Saverocity is that we are a small group of writers who just write what we love. Sometimes that stuff is good, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s utterly pointless. But we write because we want to write and aren’t beholden to anyone. I respect every writer at Saverocity and my only wish is that we all had time to write more.

Meeting actual human beings in person who play this game is a lot of fun – online is cool too!

I’m not the most social person by nature, I do most of my connecting online, but Dia’s FT4RL conferences have been a ton of fun. I talk to Trevor and Joe Cortez twice a month on the podcast but finally got to chance to meet the former in person (he’s tall), Dia’s real life persona is as big and beautiful as her online one, Kenny’s an amazing guy in so many ways, CTP has some of the best advice (and is incredibly helpful), and Nick is as hilarious as he is smart (probably a compliment?). I don’t know if we count Free-quent Flyer as Saverocity but he’s great too. 🙂 When Matt and I finally meet up we will be ready for world domination.

Beyond that, Saverocity readers and forum members are some of the best in the business and it’s been a pleasure to meet so many of you. It’s been great meeting other bloggers in this space as well, like Shawn and Rich my fellow fathers in arms. Many others I’m probably forgetting as it’s past midnight (oh, like Leslie!). Best of all, it’s great to dialogue with people whose spouses and friends think they are as crazy as mine does. I appreciate the chance to get advice, give advice, discuss, and joke with so many of you online. Except for those of you whose partners play the game with you: I’m just super jealous of all of you!

I don’t really think things have gotten tougher

At some point in the last four years I had to ask myself this question: what is the goal? If I look in the mirror, my goal is this: to save money on travel for myself and my family. Like, a lot of money. And if that’s the case, if I’m being honest, this game hasn’t gotten tougher. If my goal was to fly up front all the time, then yeah, things are tougher. I guess?

But I’m taking a last minute trip next weekend “for free” (note: not actually free) when the cash flights are going for $550. Banks have cracked down, opportunities are drying up, but you can still save a ton of money flying your family around the world for the amount of time you’d invest in a casual “hobby”. Champagne actually tastes the same (or better) when your feet are on solid ground and I can buy a bottle with the money I’ve saved if I’m really craving some.

Was this taken in the air or on land?
Was this taken in the air or on land?

Traveling is awesome

I know most people don’t really like or read trip reports, but for me, that’s what this entire game is about. Not the writing or reading trip reports per se, but everything that happens from the moment you step on that plane to the moment you step back inside your house. 100,000 point sign up bonuses are super exciting and fun, but what they enable us to do: that’s where the real magic is.

There is an amazing world out there to see and I just love getting out there to see it.

There's so much wonderful stuff to see out there
There’s so much wonderful stuff to see out there

Things have gotten a bit more mainstream, but I’m not losing sleep over it

Traveling is awesome. If other people want to travel more or for less and get into this game because of it, who am I to begrudge them? I was that guy six years ago.

Do all bloggers have their readers’ best interests in mind? Probably not. And that probably goes for the “good” bloggers, too! Look, none of us are perfect here and we all gotta make our choices. I’ll keep trying to make good ones and hope others are too. Not much I can do beyond that. Griping is fun every once in awhile and I love to do it, but in the end let’s just get to work and help each other out. Or something. World peace!


Thanks to everyone who has read this blog over the years, especially you, mom! It is a pleasure to write and hopefully it has not been too much of a pain to read. I hope to still be writing another four years from now if blogs are still relevant then. Or perhaps especially so if they are no longer relevant! (I don’t think they’ll be actually).

Until then, enjoy your travels everyone and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns hit me up on Twitter @asthejoeflies or e-mail me at – happy trails!

Back to your regularly scheduled programming aka random sporadic posts.



Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

25 thoughts on “Fourth Year Reflections

  1. Congrats on your four year anniversary! I will admit that I have only started reading your blog regularly recently, but I am no stranger to the great folks at Saverocity. With a grandchild on the way, I am suddenly a lot more interested in travel with young kids 😉 !

    As a writer myself, I also appreciate good writing and sadly that is not a common denominator in the blogosphere. It’s a pleasure to read your blog and yes, I like reflecting too.

    I realize that blogging, on top of working a “real” job, being a dad and husband, and all the other demands that come with, as my daughter likes to say, “adulting,” makes for a super busy life. I hope you can continue to make time for it.

    While I am neither drinking champagne nor in the air – I’m toasting you with my coffee cup on solid ground – here’s to your next year!

    1. Thanks Elaine, writing is therapeutic so I’ll always be doing it somewhere 🙂 Appreciate the kind thoughts

  2. If you theory that things havent gotten tougher only has to clear the hurdle that you can still save money on flights and hotels. Then I guess you are correct? But to say the diff from 2012 to 2016 isnt noticeable, dramatic and/or wildly different then I guess you arent really viewing the changes in the same way I do. Just the inflation of hotel pts needed and airline points needed shows how badly the FF world has been whipped.

    1. Maybe I didn’t phrase it well, but my general sentiment is, complaining about it isn’t going to get anywhere and I’m still getting to go all the places I want to go too so I don’t have much to complain about

  3. Congrats on four year Joe! Love reading your blog.
    I actually like trip reports. I think they got a bad rap because of the 30 volume reports stretched across a long time period that some people would write.
    But if it’s a place I’m going to go, especially a flight I’m going to take or hotel I’m thinking of staying at, I really like hearing about another person’s experience.

  4. Long-time reader. Congrats on 4 years! I love this blog. We have a 4 yr old and have been traveling with her, both domestic and international, since she was 9 months old. So I specifically enjoy reading your trip reports with the kiddos. We actually used some of your tips from your trip to Hong Kong when we visited earlier this year. We flew to Hong Kong in coach, though. Fifteen hours from the West Coast. That wasn’t fun. Our kid didn’t sleep a wink. Neither did we. But Hong Kong was SO worth it. Loved it. Also enjoyed reading your recent trip report to the Isle of Skye. Scotland has been on bucket list for a long time. The landscape looks a lot like Western Ireland, where we’ve done week-long hikes (before we had the kid), so we’d love to visit. Keep up the awesome blog posts and thank you!

    1. Thanks for reading, and glad I could be of some service! Western Ireland and Dingle are great too – the week long hikes sound awesome. Bunch of stuff I should have done before kids…

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