I have a lot of crazy ideas. Like deciding I could interest enough of you in a travel conference. Well, three FT4RLs later here we are! In the same vein I thought a twitter party might be fun and last night we had one. It was fun enough for me (and I hope for others) that I think we’ll make it a monthly or possibly every two weeks kind of event.
If you’d like to keep up with FT4RL goings-on, the best way is to follow me (@thedealmommy) on Twitter or just keep an eye on the blog. YES, there will be a #4, most likely in early March or late April. Possible locations include Austin, Nashville, Orlando… Much will depend on local events in each city as prices vary widely when, for instance, the SEC tournament or SXSW is in town. Deal Girl gets her tonsils out next week (meaning of course my life screeches for a halt for a bit) but I’ll try to nail this down by the end of November. Alumni of the first 3, as always, get first dibs on tickets. This one sold out so my guess is the next one will also- but more quickly as we have more alumni now!
Another easy way to follow along on Twitter is to subscribe to the FT4RL list. It contains anyone who tweets using the #FT4RL hashtag.
Prefer Pinterest? We also have a group board for Family Travel for Real Life. I’d love more pinners so if you’d like to pin just drop me a note and I’ll add you.
The best part of a Twitter party is that ideas flow fast and furious- I know I could barely keep up. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the gems that guests threw out. (My notes are in italics.)If you have any to add, please share in the comments.
Question 1: What’s your dream family travel destination? Have you been yet, and if not, why?
- @Fullvanfun: Our dream destination was to drive around the US w/ our all of our kids & 10000 mi later, we did it this summer! (WAY too much car time for me, but what a trip!)
- @tripswithtykes: : Peru. Machu Picchu. Haven’t gone yet b/c I’m not hiking it with a toddler! (A fave of more than one. At FT4RL a guest reporting doing the Inca trail 7 months pregnant. Wow!)
- @brandiparsley: Kids- Disney, they’ve been many times. They just don’t like to think outside the mouse. Hubby- China, Japan. Me- Spain! (I have both grownup and family lists that differ, too.)
- @fpc552: Looking forward to NZ/Aus, but a bit challenging with Miles/Points (This was a popular answer. Kenny from Miles4More shared a post with Oz/Nz Redemption ideas.
Question 2: What’s your go-to tip for beginners collecting miles/points? What did you wish someone told you when you started?
- @pointswithacrew: Chase the deal, not the destination! (I prefer “experience” to “deal”, but similar principle)
- @infrequentmiler: (Expired miles are sad. Don’t let your miles be sad. Miles4More again to the rescue with a points tracking spreadsheet! )
- @thepointsjock: Research and understand the credit score equation to boost your credit card earnings potential. (And Don’t start collecting miles if you have credit card debt.)
- @bachfancy: I wish I had started the # style of @kennybsat long weekends from day 1. He is an inspiration. (Ditto.)
- @kathylittle2: Research but DO something. Wish I’d started much sooner! (Less talk, more do.)
- @aprilfreeburn: Shopping online thru airline portals is a fast, easy, uncomplicated way to accumulate miles buying what you’d buy anyway. (AKA don’t miss the low-hanging fruit.)
- @brandiparsley: Go slow, and don’t be afraid to ask for help! ( Forums can be scary, but nice people (like us!) are out here.)
Question 3: What off-the-radar destination really worked for your family vacation? What made it special? Share with us!
- @tripswithtykes: Chattanooga, TN. Pouring rain whole time but everything awesome w little kids. Sometimes simple family fun wins the day.
- @fullvanfun: Cumberland Falls State Park, KY & the moonbow – one of the only things in the world you cannot take a picture of. (She had me at “moonbow”)
- @thepointsjock: Guam – the poor man’s Hawaii and the Hyatt Guam has an awesome pool area and water slides.
- @kennybsat: Roatan. We went without kids last year and loved it so much we’re headed back in March with them! Rare return trip. Sooo relaxed! (and no chain hotels!)
- @tips4familytrip: Had a great time in Philly this spring and my kids begging to go back to please touch museum. (Franklin Institute and Delaware kids museum were mentioned as well.)
- @bachfancy: Nova Scotia CA in the Fall. Awesome hikes, all sorts of cool natural oddities like Bay of Fundy (Eastern Canada got a lot of mentions, such as Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario and L’Anse St-Jean in the Saguenay region of Quebec.)
- @toptravelista: Mackinac Island in MI
- @yvonnejasinski: Flaming Gorge Utah (this one got a bunch of support)
- @aprilfreeburn: Olivine Pools in Maui aren’t known as kid-friendly, but fam loved it.
- @skywardbd: Our grandkids love the Baltimore aquarium, submarine, wharf area downtown. (I’d also give a shout out to Baltimore- just stay in the tourist areas.)
- My own contributions: Osaka, Belfast, Naples
Question 4: It’s time to get your brag on! What has been your best miles/points redemption? Where did you go and what did you do?
- @toptravelista: booked 10rt UA tickets to Europe in July 2014. All on the same plane. (We’re not worthy!)
- @Tripsforfamilytrip: 10 yr anniversary in Hawaii for 8 days. Spent $900 total for the week and stayed at grand wailiea on Maui. Points put to good use. (you bet!)
- @tripswitytykes: Best one was 1st one. Nothing fancy in grand scheme of things (biz class to Europe on UA) but it felt like big deal bc IT WORKED. (That first crush…)
- @thepointsjock: ATL-FRA-BKK-DPS-SIN-HND all in First for 120k UA miles with stops in Frankfurt, Bali, and Singapore (Wow.)
- @brandiparsley: Hyatt in Dewey Beach over Labor Day weekend!
- @kennybsat: Bali and Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific and AA business class! (me too, but Tokyo instead of Bali)
- @infrequentmiler: Flying my family of 5 together ORD-LIH for 175,000 MR (5 tickets to Hawaii- nice!)
I had planned to stop at 4 questions, but enough folks stuck around that I asked #5: What’s been your biggest challenge trying to make miles/points work?
- @jeffthewanderer: Definitely finding available flights. I’ve learned to let them take me where they want to. No need to control. (Mantra: Just get over the pond. Another way Jeff mentioned to get over this is to split the team- Amazing Race style!)
- @bachfancy: Finding 5 seats is always hard but finding a time we all can go is even harder now as kids get older. (The “no flights on my dates, no time on dates available ” dance. I know it well.)
- @tipsforfamilytrip: Biggest challenge is I have 5 kids. Making deals work for 7 is HARD. (Yes, but it can be done. @pointswithacrew is an example.)
One more note before I close this post. Something happened at this twitter party (and at the FT4RL 3 conference) that makes me really happy: we had a bunch of folks who had never done a twitter party (or a travel conference) before and reported enjoying the experience. Forgive me for going mushy here, but this is important for newbies to hear:
Friendly people who will help you get where you want to go are out here. You just have to know where to look and not be afraid to ask.
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