Interested in travel, travel hacking, etc?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by PlayfulPhoenix, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. PlayfulPhoenix

    PlayfulPhoenix Just another human
    Thread Starter Site Staff Chimera Industries SFFLAB

    SFF is the passion most know me for around here, but another I spend time on is travel. I won't elaborate too much on why travel is important to myself personally – and in any case, I think the reasons for liking or not liking it tend to be quite personal. But I've been fortunate to find ways to do more of it over time, and I'm keen to continue that trend, work permitting.

    What makes it a hobby for me, though, aren't the trips themselves, but the process in which I plan and build them. Once one decides where one wants to go, there are many different permutations of flights, accommodations, and experiences, and that complexity brings with it opportunity to find really good value, or to burn money and make decisions that encumber the experience. As such, trying to balance constraints and schedule things is like solving a logic puzzle, which (for me at least) makes it uniquely fulfilling and fun.

    At a basic level, the 'challenge' of booking travel is about local knowledge, good timing, and finding good deals. For those who are more practiced, taking advantage of miles and points and loyalty programs, or even open secrets like hidden city fares and status matching, begin to play an important role, as well. Finally, for those who are really into this – myself among them – strategies around churning signup bonuses, points arbitrage, manufactured spending, and other schemes become the tools with which folks can afford to travel well beyond their means.

    I've been interested in this enough that those in my immediate social circles see me as the guy who knows too much about award flights and credit cards. I've written articles that performed mathematical analyses comparing credit card products... for fun. And I'm constantly fielding questions around itineraries, or referring folks to the right tools to earn points or make the most of a trip.

    In any case, I bring this up to see if there are folks around here that share similar interests! I've done all sorts of research as I've helped friends and family, and so I figure I might as well extend that to online communities, and perhaps share some notes and experiences.

    So: where's everyone been, lately?
    VegetableStu and Phuncz like this.
  2. bledha

    bledha Airflow Optimizer

    #2 bledha, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    Nerd max level reached. I love it.

    I too share this passion, admittedly less for the financial 'hacking' angle (which I see as a necessary evil but necessary nonetheless) and more for the light travel (SFF travel?!) or the travel on a shoestring paradigms. This has found me traverse continents with next to no money and/or bags while not having to panhandle or sleep on the streets (well, a couple times, for fun)! Strict organization and a desire to see much off the beaten path is required to pull this off - and a bravery to venture outside the gated hotel complexes of some accommodation chains.

    My claim to fame is a a 3 month dual-continent excursion with nothing but $1,500(CAD, which is like $5US, ha) and a 25L bag.

    These days I find myself exploring the Italian coasts and countryside with my wife (who has a PHd in geology, perfect for the area, and also a top-shelf nerd for the details herself) which we fine tune for simplicity and maximum enjoyment. We combine our skills to get the best deals, hotels, benefits, etc. It is a cool husband-wife activity!

    Booking travel can be a fun and massive learning experience, and understanding the data mixed with the cultural mores makes it a really interesting art sometimes!

    This is a cool idea for a thread @PlayfulPhoenix !
  3. Elerek

    Elerek Cable-Tie Ninja

    I'm certainly no travel buff, but I am hopefully going to be planning a trip to Japan for early next year, so a sff travel advice thread would be a pretty cool thing to have here ;)
  4. PlayfulPhoenix

    PlayfulPhoenix Just another human
    Thread Starter Site Staff Chimera Industries SFFLAB

    Hey, you can't state that and then not spill the beans on where you went! ;)

    Yep. I've been thinking about making it more than just a thread...

    I'll be going for a few weeks next spring! BOS -> HKG -> NRT, a week and change in Tokyo with day trips to some of the surrounding areas. Will likely take a bullet train down to Kyoto and close out there.
  5. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator SFF Purist Gold Supporter

    Nice thread !

    You should definitely not play Factorio, the risks are too big that we might never see you again.

    I guess what we could use to start of with is the do's and don'ts of international (flight) travel. I'd like to help but my experience in flight travel is very limited.
  6. el01

    el01 King of Cable Management

    I went to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado over the July 4th holiday, and went to Mueller State Park on the way back to Boulder. Was happy with the relatively cheap trip:) Going to Chengdu China on the 22nd :) Will feast on cheap quality street food and hopefully lug some hardware back ;)
  7. ChainedHope

    ChainedHope Airflow Optimizer

    Ha I could use some tips, I've been making a 4 hour trip to West Michigan for work the last few months (Stay Sunday night to Friday morning in hotels/camps, come back home on the weekend). Its costing me an arm and a leg, but its still cheaper than renting an apartment for the time being.
  8. bledha

    bledha Airflow Optimizer

    This particular adventure took me throughout north Africa and western Europe. Locations where most time was spent included Morocco (Agadir, Marrakesh, Tangier), Spain (Algeciras, Madrid, Barcelona) and France (Paris, primarily). Some further time was spent in London.

    Similar (approx 3 month) excursions I have done in this manner involve one of a detailed eastern European tour by train, including a stay in Wales. Another, a very intense and exploratory journey around the entirety of Ireland and parts of Scotland/England with my brother. These have some remarkable logistics and financial gymnastics involved! With a bit of patience and an adventurous spirit some wonderful thigns can be enabled.

    These were all when my launching pad was central Canada, that has since changed however making further European, African and Asian travel more of an immediate and affordable opportunity. I do miss the days where popping to the lovely American cities was such an easy possibility. Chicago, I miss you most of all.

    Oh? What are your ideas?!
  9. ignsvn

    ignsvn Master of Cramming

    Will be reaching Paris early of October.

    Any Parisian I can contact here, in case I need a little help? Just in case...

    Unfortunately I'm not bringing my MI-6 :)
  10. VegetableStu

    VegetableStu Shrink Way Wielder

    @MarcParis? XD
  11. ignsvn

    ignsvn Master of Cramming

    I should have thought so XD
  12. VegetableStu

    VegetableStu Shrink Way Wielder

    PS: I'm kidding ,_, please don't take that as an obligation marc
  13. MarcParis

    MarcParis Shrink Way Wielder

    Ahaha...well thought..;)
    I used to live in Paris but I moved away from French capital since couples of years now..;)
    But I kept my pseudo as it's easy to say I'm French..;)

    by the way, enjoy your stay in Paris!
    VegetableStu likes this.