The Deal Mommy

Is Sharing Caring When it Comes to Travel Hacking?

sharing is caringLeana had a fun post about how much to tell your kids about “The Hobby”. I actually have the opposite problem with the Deal Kids, especially Deal Girl: she’s a blabbermouth and constantly gets me into awkward situations with all the “My Mom is The Deal Mommy and gets everything free” talk! It’s one reason I make sure to have a family dinner at #FT4RL. It’s the only time the Deal Kids will be in a room with other kids who have flown International First Class and who can knowledgeably compare Hyatt Club Lounges. As I’m sure many of you have learned- travel hacking can be a touchy subject.

One funny thing I’ve noticed over three FT4RLs- two of which have been local: none of my friends (as in IRL friends- I LOVE my Hobby friends! ) have ever bought a ticket. I’m not bringing this up to complain, rather to illustrate a stark divide I’ve noticed between those who have a passion for what we do and those who don’t.

Talking about travel has become uncomfortable in some of my social circles- almost like talking about how much you make or boxers vs. briefs. The part I find frustrating about the awkwardness is that how much we travel is not a result of HOW MUCH we make but of WHAT we do with the income we do have.

I also have to own up to my part of the problem: an inability to shut up if someone does ask “how do you do it?”. At least now I’ve learned to start with “Stop me when your eyes glaze over” or a similar warning, but I imagine some see me as they do a religious zealot asking if they’ve heard the Word. I’ve become an evangelist for The Hobby.

So I’m curious: how do you choose with whom to share your excitement about travel? Do you have “civilian” friends and family who really DO want to know or do their eyes dart furtively for the exits? Is sharing caring? Please share your thoughts in the comments- and share your travel hacking victories, too. This is a safe space.

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network. 


17 thoughts on “Is Sharing Caring When it Comes to Travel Hacking?


    Wow, so I am not the only one?
    I have experienced the same as you, that much of this Hobby, makes most people dizzy. I have recently started realizing not everyone is as passionate about traveling as I am. It’s a hard realization because to be traveling is such a large part of educating our children and ourselves! I too feel like I am being snobbish or dishonest if I don’t share how we manage these wonderful experiences.
    great post!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks, Sharon, and NO you are not alone! Part of my motivation for FT4RL was entirely selfish- I wanted to have a safe space of my own!

  2. Nancy (skywardbd)

    No one in our either our local friend or family social circles want anything to do with this hobby of mine- most think it rather “sketchy” at best and possibly sort of illegal (“You buy thousands of dollars of GIFT CARDS and do WHAT with them???!) Consequently, I’ve learned to keep it to myself and gloss over related details of our travels. Just one of the many reasons I get so excited about our travel hacking gatherings- finally! someone (or many someone’s) to share, congratulate, commiserate, learn and relax with!!!! Always a great time!

  3. Erik

    My kids don’t necessarily understand how we are able to travel the way we do. And it’s a bit comical sometimes when they will ask me a question like, “Daddy, when we go to Paris…since we won’t have the seats that make a bed, can we stay awake on the flight and just go to sleep when we get there?” (Answer: “no, you need to try sleeping because we arrive in the morning and probably won’t be able to check into the hotel until noon. The bed seats are a special treat and we won’t have them on most of our trips.”) I try to keep their expectations level-set. I understand your point about how sharing experiences can sometimes be awkward. Many people in this country don’t travel far inside the US and even less internationally. We know plenty of friends and family who are perfectly happy traveling within a 250 mile radius (or maybe a day’s drive) from their house. Some people go to lake cottages every weekend. Others camp or visit cute little towns that they like for shopping, crafts, or whatever. Really, it’s OK in my book if that’s what makes you happy. But it gets weird when you say something like “We’re going to southeast Asia next year and plan to see Angkor Wat” and the response might be “Why would you want to go there? Who wants to go to SE Asia?” Or when you relate something to a great experience that you had overseas, they perceive it as bragging when you are simply trying to share a moment that comes from your passion for travel. And then sometimes you get “that sounds expensive, how much did you spend?” question and you try to explain The Hobby but after a minute their eyes glaze over or you get that look like you’re some miles/points robber baron. It’s a difficult balance on what to share. It would be fun to attend a FT4RL event one of these days to be around similar families, but I think it would be an easier sell to the rest of my crew if it was a location like Orlando or Tampa/Clearwater. Leana is somewhere near there, perhaps she would be interested in hosting the event sometime in the future. There are hotels or timeshare properties in that area which have nice resort-style pools that can be relatively inexpensive at certain times of the year.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Erik,
      I try to do every other FT4RL remote from DC so the next one will be out of town for sure. Orlando has been on my radar for a while now.

  4. Raine

    I can totally relate with this post. I learned my lesson to start my sentence with “this is not for everyone because it requires”…and most people do not like tedious or complicated. The thought of buying giftcards with a $5.95 fee is ridiculous, but they shell out thousands of dollars just to go to the a beach destination for 3 days. Some friends gets interested but they want to be spoonfed with every detail. I cannot do that since we all have different situations. So now, I just don’t share as much as when I first started.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      OMG, Raine. Don’t get me started on the summer beach weekends! We did a week in Hawaii in a 2 bedroom condo this August, including air for 3, that I KNOW cost less than others were paying for the exact same week in the Outer Banks.

  5. Brian

    This all sounds familiar to me. I do not share anything about travel unless someone presses me. Sometimes if I hear someone talk about a trip, I throw some lingo out there to see if they bite: “Did you use credit card points?” or “Did you get a good deal?” Stuff like that.
    I am even more tight-lipped when it comes to my hobby. I was at the grocery store recently and someone I knew got in line behind me and I found myself sliding the gift cards behind the other stuff. I can only imagine what he was thinking when the cashier says, “How much on these? $500.00 again.” It seems like she said it extra loud, too.
    Like many of you, my kids have no discretion and that can be embarrassing. But they can also be a help by being cute and talking to cashiers and other people as some of these transactions can take a while.
    I feel the benefits are far better than the troubles and awkward situations.

  6. Kate

    I do help a few friends who apply for a credit card now and then. But none of my friends are immersed in this as I am. We live in your area in NOVA and many of my daughters friends are quite wealthy, but still no one else we know travels with the frequency we do, with many of the trips being international. Right now, I am struggling with the fact that I have to tell the new dance team coach that we will be in Dubai over Christmas. And will miss a few practices!!! And I want to know about the summer schedule, but I don’t think I will know for months. It is hard when other people are not trying to plan travel as we are!

  7. Jamie

    Yeah, I don’t share with anyone but my parents. And they’re easy, because their travel is US/Mexico and my mom “gets it” enough to handle stuff on her own once I point her to a great deal.
    I think those of you who help relatives do miles/points travel are approaching sainthood. I’m done after buying tickets uk-us with points for family to visit us. I got a call in the middle of the night, because they didn’t print anything out and someone at the airport in Edinburgh wasn’t going to let them on the plane without proof of return tickets (not a huge surprise). Since I used some of my points and some of my husband’s points and also a mix of air Canada and united, (and perhaps my BIL gave them the wrong return date?) the agent couldn’t find their return tickets in the system. Too stressful for me. And then I (rightly or wrongly) felt like I should be showered with gratitude for all the effort I put into pulling the whole thing off. I’m pretty much done booking travel for people.
    As far as sharing info – I just keep the info about premium cabins to myself. We live in the smallest house on the block in a fairly swanky neighborhood. I’m happy for people to just think we blow all our money on exotic travel. 🙂

  8. Gail

    I am always afraid that people will think I’m showing off if I tell them we went first class or business, so I don’t mention it. And I’m sure folks think we are stinking rich since we travel overseas every year, as well as many stateside trips. Or trips to Hawaii,etc. But if I try to explain there is always (almost always) a disconnect. There are a very few who also travel hack. Nice to know there are others who have the same experiences as I do.

  9. Kathy

    The MOST I’ve gotten anyone to do is sign up for a card to get airline free. I bet after the trip, they cancel the card. Most of my friends don’t even have credit cards, so I’m sure they think I’m giraffe-deep in debt (insert mantra about paying off debt monthly). I don’t talk about the hobby. Nobody gets it. Sometimes not even my hubby and kids – until they ask “how many points did it cost?”

  10. Julianna

    Telling people I’m planning spring break in Hong Kong for 2018 makes their eyes bug out. Although now I have local people ask if I’ll be their travel hacking consultant. Hmmmm. What to charge, what to charge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This