Family Travel for Real Life, or FT4RL, is coming back! I wasn’t able to make it to the first one but it went so well that Dia decided right away to organize a second one. The conference is for families of all ages and sizes who want to learn more about traveling more, traveling better or traveling for less. Or all three!
In my very first blog post, I labelled air travel as a luxury. Outside the developed world, the kind of travel we do is just not a possibility. Heck, outside the U.S. much of the miles and points travel hacking game we play isn’t possible. Regardless, I think we owe it to our kids to share and explore traditions, cultures, food, landscapes and wildlife they couldn’t see at home. And to do so as much as reasonably possible, which of course involves flying if you can. To quote Dia’s original post on the first FT4RL
Travel with kids is not only possible, but necessary. By sharing the world with our children, we expand both their minds and our own, creating a lifetime’s worth of wonder that can come no other way.
This time, I’ll be presenting at the conference! I’m looking forward to that, but far more than any of the formal presentations, I can’t wait to share with and learn from other families around the breakfast table, over or after dinner, during breaks in the schedule, when ever. See, it’s not so much the presenters who make a DO (get-together) great, but rather every person there.
But please don’t take my word for it. I personally guarantee that if you come to Charlotte, attend FT4RL 2 and spend at least one evening with the attendees at the Hyatt House, you will leave with great new ideas on how to travel more (if you want to), further (if you want to), have more fun as family when you travel, and last but certainly not least, travel while spending less! If you attend and feel that the conference fails to deliver these things, I will refund the price you paid for the conference ticket(s) you purchased for your family. It may take a month or so to process any refund because I’d have to ‘earn’ the money with some sort of cashback card or program 😀
I make no guarantee that my own presentation will be anything special. Feel free to use that time to check emails and stuff because I’m sure most of the rest of the other presenters will be better. Officially I’ll be talking about travel off the beaten path, National Parks and using miles and points to make ‘road’ trips work anywhere. But I’ll be touching on some earning, burning and MS opportunities as well.
It looks like Bonnie and the boys might be able to make it again! During their time in Charlotte for the Milemadness DO at the same venue, they enjoyed a half day at Discovery Place, the children’s/science museum maybe a half mile away. Another place kids might like within an easy walk is the NASCAR Hall of Fame just down the street. Charlotte resident PFDigest put together a list of things to do in Charlotte here or you can check out the New York Times article 36 Hours in Charlotte for more ideas. Here’s a link to the Google Maps page with the hotel and transit station, and the Children’s Museum and NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Last year we landed in Charlotte after midnight, which made us too late for the last bus from the airport to downtown. The taxi was a flat rate $25 for the 15 minute ride. There were plenty of minivan taxis around. The express bus (it does make a few stops, choose route #5 for the schedule) worked great for getting back to the airport at $2 per person. It goes directly from the CLT airport terminal to the bus station across the street and one block down from the Hyatt House.
The pool at the Hyatt House looks nice enough but it’s small and outdoors so it’ll likely be pretty cold in March. Not that my kids would care, they’d gladly jump in for a few minutes!
I can’t stress enough the value of spending time with other families there – If you show up only for the scheduled sessions you will miss out!
The conference is just 2 weeks away, but if you have a question or concern you’d like me to address, or a topic that deserves more attention, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or by email. And if you need help finding the best or least expensive award seats to Charlotte by all means let me know.
Disclosure: I also guarantee that if you buy stuff you don’t need and wouldn’t otherwise buy, just for the rewards, you will spend more than those rewards are worth. And I guarantee that carrying a balance on a credit card will cost more than you can earn in rewards. Please don’t let the allure of ‘free’ suck you into stupid behavior!
P.S. If you already know everything, you won’t learn anything. And if that’s the case, you’re welcome to take my place in the speaker lineup!
Break a leg Kenny. I’m sure your presentation will be spectacular.