The Hypocrisy Of The “I’m Cultured And You’re Not” Crowd

I’m not in the business of trying to defend myself. I put what I have to say out there. If people like it, great. If people don’t like it, that’s fine too. The world is full of all kinds of people, and what I do know is that tens and tens of thousands of people visit my site everyday, and that number is growing substantially every year, even after writing this blog for seven years.

I write where I can add the most value

I’m often told by people “well you don’t actually travel, you just stay in hotels and fly.” And if that’s someone’s impression, that’s fine. As I’ve explained in the past, the focus of my blog is the journey and not so much the destination.

Why? Because I think I offer one of the best resources out there about the premium cabin travel experience. Admittedly it’s a niche market, but I think I do it very well.

Conversely, no matter how hard I tried, I could never offer as good of a resource about destinations, because there are so many other great resources out there. I only have so many hours in the day to “work,” and I choose to dedicate those to the things where I can add the most value.

But this post isn’t to defend myself, but rather to share some thoughts on the judgy crowd, because I know I’m not the only one accused of “not really traveling.” And I assume if people say it to me, they say it to lots of others as well.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned from travel

I’ve been to well over 50 countries and spend more than half my time outside the US. And I think all of that has really taught me one simple lesson – don’t judge others.

There’s that first time you visit a third world country and your first thought is often “oh my goodness, I feel so bad for them. Everyone should be able to live the way I do.”

But after a while you view things differently, because you no longer look at your way as correct and everyone else’s way as wrong. You start to see the poverty in much of the third world through a different lens. You realize that in many ways they actually have their priorities in order much better than we do – taking care of family and friends.

India
A different, but not necessarily worse, life…

Is life in the first world really the “golden standard” that should be aspired to? Just go to a chain restaurant anywhere in the US where you see a family of four with a teenage daughter texting all of dinner, and a pre-teen son playing his handheld game console. People don’t seem to spend much time together, and overall don’t seem to be very happy. Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves clean water and food, but is someone that makes $500,000 a year in the US really happier than someone that makes $5,000 a year in a developing country?

Which is all a long way to simply explain that I’ve learned the best thing I can do for my sanity is to not judge people. Not just people in other cultures, but friends, family, and even those I don’t really care for. Because it’s outside of my control, and there’s nothing I can do.

If others take a different approach towards travel, that’s fine. You have the crowd that says “well you’re not cultured unless you spend half your trip eating off food carts.” You have the crowd that says “you don’t experience a city unless you visit a dozen museums.” And it’s great if you feel that way for your travel, but to say that applies to others as well defeats the actual purpose of what there is to learn from travel, in my opinion, which is tolerance.

Bangkok
This view can make you happy…

And maybe I’m being a hypocrite here as well. You could argue that I’m judging those that are judging. And maybe that’s wrong. 🙂

But I just think there’s something to be said for letting other people do travel the way that they want to. We’re all responsible for our own happiness, whether we achieve that through spending 14 hours a day in museums, eating our way through a city, or on the other extreme sitting in a hotel club lounge all day (which isn’t me, but I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with that either).

Park-Hyatt-Sydney-49
This view can make you happy as well…

A reader left this comment on a post yesterday, which made me laugh:

Man, I’m with you. When he posted the round-the-worldl trip review with his dad, I was struck by the fact that they spend almost all their time in the air and didn’t spend enough time on the ground in any one place to do anything. I thought: wow, that’s a pretty depressing trip. Flying first and biz class is nice and all, but it’s also like being in a tiny hotel room with a dozen strangers of far too long.

First of all, I’d argue if four days in Dubai, two days in Singapore, two days in Melbourne, and four days in Sydney isn’t enough to see “anything” then you’re not doing it right. 😉

But my dad and I had the time of our f*cking lives on that trip. Like, never in my life have I smiled as much as on the trip I took with my dad. It’s something neither of us will ever forget, and if I’m fortunate enough to be around in 50 years, it’ll still be at the top of my mind.

So if, as you say, that was achieved by not doing “anything” and just sitting in hotels and on planes, then maybe you should give it a try sometime. 😉

Bottom line

We’re all responsible for our own happiness. So judge people if you’d like, but don’t do it under the premise of being more worldly than them, please.

Can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say (yes, even the peanut gallery). 😉

Comments

  1. Just because you only post about a flight you took but not a walk you walked in a city doesn’t make you someone who only flies. Plus, why do people care what your travel habits are? Travel has two objectives: to make you happy, and to make you know more. It’s you who decides what makes you happy and what makes you know more. Whether it’s flying FCL and staying in luxury hotels or visiting 56 museums a day is no one’s business. Whether it’s museums, locals or talking to your flight attendant that makes you know more is no one’s business.

    There is no textbook travelling, it’s a thing to enjoy as one likes to enjoy.

    (Btw, I exclusively fly in Y and visit a gazillion museums in every city. But that’s just my choice)

  2. I chuckle at some of what I read because what’s important to you is different than what’s important to me. Some of it reflects that I’m 30 years older than you and some I’m sure is just our respective interests. But when that happens, I just shake my head and move on. I like your blog for what it is…the premium cabins, hotels and how to get around on points. Just like any other media, some of it interests me and some of it doesn’t. Some posts I don’t read and some posts I read every comment.

    You have a unique voice and a unique job. Keep up the good work.

  3. I think part of the reason most people think you “don’t really travel” is availability bias: they are judging your travel through what you post on your blog and thus can “see”, and they naturally only see the flight & hotel stuff *because that’s your comparative advantage at writing*.

    It’s as if they expect this blog to be a nicely time-proportional account of all your travels. But frankly not many people would be interested in that, even if it granted a more realistic overall picture of your travels. So you’re doing just fine. Keep it up.

  4. Isn’t your entire niche judging others? As a person who does product/service reviews you are constantly judging a product and its delivery.

    When you reflect on how people are judging you and your choices, does it change the way you judge people who you meet with in the service industry and how you review them here?

  5. Bravo! Excellent post. Who’s really to say what’s good/better/best? All one can do is say, “I like this better” but that has absolutely no bearing on what the next guy thinks is more “cultured.” Okay, you had dinner with a local family while I spent all day at the museum. And? Is there only one “right” way to travel? No. Just as there is no one right way to blog. For the record, I appreciate your focus on the journey.

  6. Ben, the internet is a toxic place and (I’m sure you know this) you shouldn’t let yourself be affected by the venom that can be spewed in an anonymous forum like your comments section. Your style of travel is not for me but I still enjoy reading about it. I do wish you wrote more destination oriented content (you had a very nice post once about visiting friends in Sicily, if I recall properly), but what you write about is up to you, not me.

    I will take exception with one thing, however. You say that travel has taught you not to judge people but, in fact, a large part of your blog involves doing exactly that — judging the service personnel you encounter in hotels and on airplanes. Sure, your “job” is flying around and commenting on service but that is definitely judgmental. It’s one of the things I least enjoy about the blog (I’m sure I’m in a distinct minority here).

  7. Ben: You are wise beyond your years…understanding and tolerance IS what it’s all about. Please keep doing the fantastic job that you do and ignore the haters that hate…

  8. Lucky, I think that I’m a daily reader of your blog for almost two years now. What I have to say is that you do a exceptional job, and that’s why thousands of people and I read it on a daily basis, as well as Sven (from svenblogt.de) and Fabio (Brazilian mate from passageirodeprimeira.com) do their job in this extraordinary niche. I can guarantee you that those who judge are the jealous ones… (I confess I’m a little jealous as well, in a good way. who doesn’t want to travel 400k miles a year in premium cabin?! rsrs). Anyway, keep up the good job and a 2015 full of new trip reports! (the best part of your blog)

  9. Lucky,

    Don’t let the idiots and trolls who post in the comments phase you. You honestly do an amazing job getting your points across, in a funny and entertaining way.

    As someone at your age too (I’m 24), you have taught me different tricks and tips to travel for free. I’ve been on 8 different trips across North America with two more vacations in the Caribbean planned, all for almost next to nothing. Thanks to you, I’ve been able to travel and explore, all while still working full-time and going to school part-time for my MBA. With all the money I’ve saved on travel, I’ve also been able to knock out my student loans years before my peers.

    I hope you keep it going and use the comments/opinions of these trolls to fuel you to better enjoy your lifestyle.

  10. @ LarryInNYC — Interesting point. I think there’s a difference between judging what you pay for and judging how people in general live.

    In other words, if you paying money for a service and it sucks, I think it’s perfectly fine to judge that.

    And while no one is paying directly to read this blog, I’m fine with people judging what I write.

    But my issue is with judging peoples’ lives. And like I said in this post, it’s specific to me. I’m talking about the people that in general comment on how others choose to live their lives.

  11. “Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves clean water and food, but is someone that makes $500,000 a year in the US really happier than someone that makes $5,000 a year in a developing country?”

    Everyone deserves more than clean water and food and yes someone making $500,000 is objectively happier, financial security is a powerful thing.

    People without means are being denied the opportunity to experience all the life enriching things available in this world and using their courage to make the best of their situation as an excuse that they should just accept it because we cant fix it instantly is at best an insult to them.

  12. “everyone is just trying to get by the only way they know how.” this has become something of a mantra for me.

    i found that around the time i turned 30 i became a lot less judgmental and more understanding of others. i feel like a lot of commenters on this site who criticize and complain are betraying their youth and naiveté.

    ultimately, your life is yours. as long as others aren’t interfering with your safety and happiness, who cares how they go about theirs? life is too short.

    keep up the awesome travel and do things your way. it’s obviously worked wonders so far.

  13. I agree with the other stuff, this is your blog if people dont like how you spend your miles then they can stop reading.

  14. Lucky, you don’t travel even remotely close to the way I do, but I read your blog specifically because it offers a different way of looking at things and valuable information about redemptions (that I choose to use in my own methods). I have no idea what you do while you’re abroad but I appreciate your tips anyway. Thanks.

  15. @ John — Ah, but the assumption is that someone that makes $500,000 a year is more financially secure than someone that makes $5,000 per year. Based on how people in the first world seem to consistently live beyond their means, that really isn’t the case across the board…

  16. Good for you, Ben. You DO do what you do EXTREMELY well, and you provide very useful information for the airline classes I like to fly, and we stay in very similar hotels – people with good taste, what can I say? Not judging… or I really don’t care.

    And please keep doing it for another 50 years.

  17. Ben, I think the people that make such comments about you not really traveling and only spending time flying and staying in hotels don’t really get the point of your blog. Your blog isn’t a destination review blog. Like you said, there’s plenty of content out there for that. Feel free to to ignore them as you are great at what you do. If they don’t get the point of your blog, that’s their problem.

  18. i have a full time job and i start travel much later than u. my take is that over 50 countries is far too few. people wont critize you if i have done 150. even with a full time job and much shorter travel history, i get 90 already.

  19. As an intermediate level player in this game for 3 years, I have gravitated toward your blogbecause it provides the best mix of entertainment and miles/points tips. There are other better blogs for those who need an introduction to this game (MMS, milevalue). It’s my only “must read” blog. I love it. I hope u keep doing this for many more years.

    As for your travel style, different strokes for different folks.

    Finally I’m looking forward to my emirates F redemption (first one and appears hiding from recent posts like it may be the last one) in April in part thanks to your advice.

  20. I for one very much value your blog as a highly unique perspective on reviewing premium cabin airline experiences. (Hotels too, but even there, you have more competition.) Other than this there is really very little else out there — trip reports on FlyerTalk or Airliners.net is about it, and there you have the “Yelp problem” that you don’t know if any one reviewer is a harsh or generous judge and what their personal taste is. Frankly, though I have been guilty of ribbing you a bit about the credit card referral links before, I would put you in an entirely different category from the vast majority of travel bloggers, most of whom have very little useful content to go alongside their referral links, except perhaps the occasional shorthaul economy trip report (and what good is that, really?).

    So, even though it’s clear you already realize this and intend to do it, I would encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂

  21. Ben, Lucky, Mr. Schlappig…keep following your bliss. As long as your actions harm no one, who cares about others’ opinions? Feed your sense of adventure, deepen your relationships/connections, relish your richness of experiences. You travel because it’s who you are. You write about it because you’re passionate about who you are. You have readers because they “get” you. Not everyone will “get” you. Their loss. Those who do “get” you are who you write for, anyway. Climb higher, baby!

  22. I’ll not comment on your proselytizing, which I think it’s highly oversimplified, but I will say that I appreciate your “just flying around” as the traditional business travel “press” is so completely bought and sold that they have no credibility whatsoever.

    While I’m sure you are radar of the travel vendors you frequent I have no reason (that I know of) to believe you are on the take.

    For that reason alone your blog is worth a rest for anyone in the market for premium travel.

    As for the trolls…I have only sympathy for them. If they don’t like your work they don’t have to read it. I really think they are young men (or possibly women) sulking in their parents’ basement that they have yet to fly on an airplane. Very sad.

  23. i would be impress if u brought your day to Uluru instead of sydney, PNG instead of singapore, and oman instead of dubai.

  24. Love this post and love your blog Lucky! I’ve been reading since 2009 and out of the myriad of travel blogs out there, your blog is my favorite by far and the only one I consistently read on a regular basis. I really don’t think there is a “wrong way” to travel – everyone has different styles and financial resources and the most important thing is getting off your couch and experiencing different countries and cultures. Even traveling within different regions of the US can be eye-opening. There are so many people out there (including some of my immediate family) who have never even left the country and I have always thought they are missing out on so much. Traveling has definitely made me a better person and I am grateful for all of my experiences.

  25. It’s beyond me why keyboard cowards attack the “messenger” with such venom. What kind of person does that? Bored? Disillusioned? Jealous? Failed? Illness? Ignorance????? Why?

    Of course, I’m old-school, and was taught that often it’s better to say nothing at all than to be unkind.

  26. For me, I’m willing to sift through noise for a bit of info that yields a positive expectation. That being said, your blog has less noise that most others. Keep it up.

    My only concern is – What will you tell the IRS is your tax home?

    Cheers

  27. If everyone would travel the way I travel I would hate the crowds. But what about this? Do one trip in economy class on a less than world-class airline to an obscure country, stay in hostels/homestay/simple hotels and write a trip report. Just once, and I am sure most readers would look forward to that trip report.

  28. Great post, and please keep doing what you do the way you do it.

    It’s probably obvious but important to point out something about the trip you took with your dad. This is your job, and you could have extended your stay in any of those cities if you wanted to. We don’t know what your dad does for a living, and two weeks might have been all the time he could be away from his gig.

    That said, I travel the way you do. I flew all the way from JFK to BKK and HKG for two weeks in December, and there were a few days I just laid by the pool. It’s all I wanted to do. So I did.

    I envy your thick skin. I couldn’t do what you do.

  29. Love your blog Ben, so please don’t change a thing. I read a number of other travel focused blogs and even started a small one of my own, but yours is by far my favorite. You constantly show me there is something out there to reach for if you like collecting points and miles. Your posts are insightful and often mixed with humor. I appreciate that, despite how busy you are with everything, you still take the time to respond to readers. From the very beginners to the more advanced. Few people have that and a willingness to let the negative comments slide by. Thanks to you answering a question I posted, I saved on fuel surcharges for my girlfriend’s first ever trip to Europe and I couldn’t be more grateful. Enjoy travel the way you enjoy it because it’s your life. Happy that your pop got to experience a once in a lifetime trip too!

  30. @ Lucky — personally, I like it when you do a short write-up on a particular destination (it can serve as a good starting point for further research) but I don’t understand people who complain about your concentration on the journey part. Just because you write more about that doesn’t mean you stay in the hotel 24×7.

    And, insofar as coverage is concerned, having your own niche is very nice and gives you a unique voice. Being an all-purpose publication would be very difficult and not very useful since there are plenty of other publications that concentrate on other aspects.

  31. You are telling people what you’ve learned based on your travel to 50 countries, most of them developed and spending the majority of the time in western hotels or luxury air cabins.

    Perhaps the people telling you to experience more are telling you because they’ve actually experienced more. Honestly, the best trips of my life thus far have been to less developed countries without direct first class or luxury hotels.

    Why not do what the critics recommend and then compare? Your argument would be a lot stronger if you actually experienced
    The other side of travel.

  32. Way to own your lifestyle decisions, Ben. If there’s any valid reason in being “concerned” for the sake of you traveling via the journey rather than the destination, I think it has to do with the luxury aspect of your experiences.

    Let’s face it, 95% of the experience of first International first, staying in five star hotels, etc – is simply about other people striving to create an expensive experience for a select few who can pony up the $$$, or can finagle the system via miles and points.

    Furthermore, to your point about who’s happier making $500,000 a year or $5,000 a year. My understanding is that your trying to say that the person with $5,000 a year spends more time engaging with family and that a lack of resources prevents them from accessing the first world benefits that end up excluding people from social interaction (iphones, eating at chain restaurants rather than cooking at home).

    But here’s the rub. EVERYTHING about your blog is about experiencing the world from the perspective of someone with a lot of resources (the $500k’er you mention), but without the interest of of engaging in the world in a meaningful way. I don’t think your detractors have an issue with you being cultured or not. It’s the lack of humility and conversation about the rarefied air your breathe.

    Mike

  33. Its always easy for folks to judge. In fact, I’m guilty of it as well at times. But, I’ve found that travel, much like you state, opens one’s eyes to how others live. My wife and I travel quite often in a similar fashion, we’ve done 80 hours in Sydney, 52 hours in Shanghai, 43 hours in Hong Kong, and every time we’ve truly enjoyed it (and many of those trips we met very interesting people in the lounges).

    Keep your course true to yourself.

  34. “letting other people people do travel the way that they want to”

    That’s insane! You must go to museums and live fully like the people of the land do! No F or J, no corprate hotels! The experience is not authetic enough!

    I do admit (and I’m sure we all can agree) that we never see 100% eye to eye on some subjects, but you nailed it on the head with this one. You mention that your blog is more aimed at the journey and not destination and to me, I find that topic more interesting. I think people forget that there are plenty of blogs that cater to their needs if this one doesn’t.

  35. Everyone should travel how they want. Ben’s blog has improved my travel substantially. I take trips I couldn’t afford otherwise and enjoy it more because of the class of service I’m able to book using miles/points.

    In fact, my lifestyle (with young kids) requires short trips so I’m not away too long. If I was in the back of the plane, I’d spend a lot more time recovering from flights and not enjoying my destination. That would undoubtedly shrink the world for me and I’d be forced to focus on much closer destinations.

    Ben helps me get anywhere comfortably and other travel resources help me figure out what to do once I’m there. Keep up the good work Ben.

  36. Also I feel like people don’t really understand that a lot of your trips are essentially business trips in the sense that you are doing them solely to evaluate products. People mistake your trips for “vacations” because you aren’t going to any particular place for a meeting or something, but you still have to make daily posts on this blog and manage your award travel service wherever you are. It’s not like you have tons of time in any one place for sightseeing. I admit that it’s sometimes depressing when you go to a city with amazing food and you proceed to eat almost all of your meals in the hotel restaurants, but I understand why you do it.

  37. Methinks you doth protest too much.

    “But this post isn’t to defend myself”

    Except, it kind of is…

  38. J.J. rousseaux Use to travel by foot throughout France and said that, at his time, people didn’t enjoy traveling anymore and only cared about the destination. But travel was actually How we get there, seeing the scenery changing, the weather etc.

    Keep in mind traveling is not about destination but the way to get there. Sure people misuse the word travel all the time. But this is a travel blog after all 🙂

    I couldn’t agree more Ben’s post but more importantly his enjoyment of travel. Nowadays our ways of travel reflect that need to get to our destination as quickly as possible but I have always enjoy the travel part, since I was a young boy so much. Being on an airplane at night looking outside…

    Anyway JJ Rousseau and I completely understand your love for travel!

  39. I´d like to judge your blog. It seems to be quiet simple to write your reviews, but after reading others reviews I realize how good you are when you can make an intra-europe flight report an entertaining reading, as there is not too much to talk about. And your daily´s 5 to 10 posts aren´t just four lines of information, you always add something other than the press release.
    Obviously, you have fantastic writing skills, but you also take good photos, are generous and polite. My only personal judgment would be: don´t take more selfies wearing your black shirt. It has probably flown more miles than the majority of your readers. 🙂

  40. Great post.

    I’m constantly being judged by friend because i take weekenders overseas and “spend more time on planes then at my destination”. I used to be annoyed, but then I just remind myself that I rather be on a plane than sit at home and bitch about what other people do with their time.

  41. At the end, traveling should open your mind, and helps you to tolerate the different. That said, I’m still impressed with some people who argue to traveled all continents but can’t respect different life styles. Had the unpleasant opportunity to know someone like that once.

    I truly believe that happiness should mean different things to everyone, that’s what makes the world so great. For several times I though “Lucky’s job should be quite lonely”. Right next of “I wish I could have the same job”. In the end, you just “shake it off” 😀

  42. “Like, never in my life have I smiled as much as on the trip I took with my dad. It’s something neither of us will ever forget, and if I’m fortunate enough to be around in 50 years, it’ll still be at the top of my mind.”

    Lucky you are truly lucky to have had such an experience with your Dad. If people don’t like what you do, what you write about, etc., they can find something else to read about on the internet.

  43. I think the effect that flying first class has on travel is completely dependent on whether someone views the flight as an privilege or a right. You can either walk off the plane thinking that you sat up front because you’re better or more deserving than everyone in the back (this includes those that think their “loyalty” is deserving of presidential suites and Dom–and that anything less is an insult) , or you can be truly grateful for the opportunity to rest up and get a nice buzz going before you explore a city. One mindset “ruins” the trip while the other likely enhances it.

    Christian made an interesting recommendation that might be worth considering. I don’t say that because I think it will give you more credibility or because you need to be “broken down,” but I think it would be a nice change of pace from the norm. Keep up the good work!

  44. I don’t care what anyone says. Anyone who says they don’t judge people is lying. We all judge people. It’s human nature and perfectly normal. There’s nothing wrong with it.
    That being said, I totally agree with the overall message of the post. Things that are meaningful to me won’t be necessarily meaningful to someone else, so as I’ve grown “wiser?” I’ve learned not to “judge” others just because they don’t want to go to a museum. And I’d agree that we are probably even a bit sad in the richest country in the world. We value money, status, cars and houses above anything else. And that’s not the sad part. The sad part is that people just don’t realize it. There, I’m judging.

  45. Man, Ben. I so agree with you. I, like you, started traveling at a young age. I, like you and previous commenters here, enjoy mileage running and spending my “weekends” in the air, even if I only get to briefly visit a destination. Yes, I spent the weekend flying to LA and only went to IN-N-Out. But, boy, was it good! And guess what, I’m doing the same thing next “weekend,” only this time I’m routing via MIA. But, if you’re happy staying in the same place doing the same thing every weekend, good on you. I’m not judging. I’ll be sure to send a postcard to you from the other side of the world. 😉

  46. “Always stay in your own movie” – Ken Kesey

    I like to combine both worlds of travel. Riding a motorcycle around Tajikistan or Nepal, staying in homestays or camping, enjoying the local foods and drinks: perfect for me. But sitting in economy for 24 hours or more to get to those places is neither culturally rich nor pleasant. A nice ride in F or J comparing bubbly for almost no money is my choice. Ben’s reviews are the best!

  47. Nice spin.
    The biggest problem with this blog is not that you fly for no reason every day
    (do you ever feel guilty about polluting the planet?),
    it’s the lack of transparency how you potentially pay for it with miles.
    You seem to spend at least 1/2 million miles per week, still pretend to make that much
    per year with cc, a little more with flying. Math just doesn’t make sense.
    Be transparent and stop avoiding this question – you will gain more respect.
    Right now it all looks shady.
    IMO you avoid it because you don’t want to look wealthy enough to pay for your “trips”
    with money when it obviously comes from the credit card links…
    An obvious conflict – “frugal” but paying for first class every week…
    Hard to convince the readers they are able to do the same.

  48. Great post Lucky. I read your blog for hotel and premium cabin reviews, the cultural shit on the ground I can do myself. Keep up the excellent work!

  49. Great thoughts, you’ve certainly carved out a niche for yourself and built it into something real, pursuing a passion that others find interesting, and doing well while also providing something good (whether in the form of actionable advice, or entertaining stories).

    And congratulations on the trip with your dad, what a special time — for the experiences themselves, for the time together, and for the opportunity to continue to share with him a piece of what you do and have become.

    I’d give anything in the world to have that opportunity with my own late father, who passed away when I was a teenager. Cherish that.

    Let me make one point about something you wrote:

    “Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves clean water and food, but is someone that makes $500,000 a year in the US really happier than someone that makes $5,000 a year in a developing country?”

    A bit of a side issue that I’ve pulled aside here, but the real question isn’t whether money makes someone happy. It’s whether the system that allows someone to make $500,000 is the kind of system that lets people meet their potential, pursue their dreams, and provide better-than-subsistence living for people in general and not just the ruling classes.

    You don’t have to like everything that comes with modern capitalism, but we don’t always get to pick and choose except around certain margins the things that it produces.

    There’s no question that it’s the system that allows people to be fed, have clean water and shelter. What’s more, no other system would allow for a world in which you do what you do, and earn a living doing it!

    Even if you conclude $50,000 isn’t materially better than $10,000 for happiness, you don’t want to pick a system that caps people at $10,000.

    Best,
    Gary

  50. Ben
    What a lovely post. I agree — travel is a mega and broad industry and there are different blogs for different aspects. You do what you do, and do it exceedingly well.

    I travel a lot, but I do more than 75% of my travels in Economy class (FYI, that’s the section at the back of the plane, behind business). Yet I entirely enjoy every little piece that you write. Some I learn from, others I use to live vicariously through you.

    But where I have learned the most on is how to maximize mileage through smart, careful, and responsible use of airlines and the credit card offers.
    For that I will be ever grateful.

    Now get that A350 inaugural report written as I’m dying to read it.

    Best wishes.

  51. Great points Lucky. I think most of us “get it.” You’re writing about the air travel experience and the hotel rooms. Amazing how some people don’t realize you might actually leave your hotel room/lounge.

    Great post. Keep up the good work.

    Peace out.

  52. I saw those comments in your last post, I know people who think that way. It’s not “real” unless you’re seeing the country by local bus… by motorcycle… via your private plane. I know people who have done all of these, and who criticize me for commercial airline flying and for sometimes (though not always) staying in nice hotels with hot showers and all that. Gasp!

    Travelers are so judgy. I’m guilty of it myself, though on different topics than this.

    I’m happy to argue my point of view with anyone, but I realize my position for what it is – one person’s opinion, not better or worse than anyone else’s. I do dislike it when people get holier-than-thou about it.

  53. I come here for premium cabin/ airlines reviews and news only. I could care less if lucky doesn’t even leave the airport when he travels abroad. He is really good at what he does and enjoys doing it. respect.

  54. ‘Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves clean water and food, but is someone that makes $500,000 a year in the US really happier than someone that makes $5,000 a year in a developing country’

    Yes. Damn yes!

    Sorry but that is typical white liberal patronizing nonsense. Money may not matter after a certain amount but there is a huge difference between someone who makes 5 k and 500,000 k, The poor in developing countries don’t choose to be poor; they are poor for multiple reasons including historical problems as well as bad governance e.t.c. They would rather be anything except poor.

    Next time when you are in a developing country ask someone poor if they will like to swap places with you.

    No issues with rest of the post.

  55. You’re right, you don’t have to defend yourself for how you travel. But may I suggest that with all these miles you have – get off the beaten path a little! I know this isn’t true, but it does seem like major airports and flying first class through them is all you do. Give us a post on the ground. You used to do this time to time. Get back to it.

    If I had the miles you did I’d be trying to visit every country in the world. The fact you say you’ve only been to 50 makes me cringe a little. But hey that’s my goal and probably not yours so a little projection there.

    I’ve been reading this blog since the beginning (i think as far back as 2004) – read it every morning/evening. I come back mainly for the reviews and will continue despite my above gentle criticism. You do it better than anyone. Don’t change that!

  56. I’d take this post a bit more seriously if I hadn’t already seen you make numerous judgmental comments about other travelers or giddily post videos of distraught travelers having mental breakdowns or his perpetual love of vicious fishbowl television. Ben, you judge people constantly. I don’t mind that, in fact that’s part of the reason many of us come here, but at least be honest about it.

    There are a lot of interesting topics presented in this post followed by some extremely simplistic conclusions. In the end I feel like I just got done reading rich is no better than poor, activism is no better than silence, and that heavily sanitized luxury accommodations have still provided immersive cultural experiences.

    Your particular method of travel is not something I hold against you (well, besides the shockingly massive carbon footprint you’ve helped perpetuate), but I still think you could benefit a lot from seeing how the rest of the world travels. I don’t mean on an economy airfare, I mean on your own two feet or in sitting in a beat-up bus or in the back of a pickup truck or on a tiny moped. I’d like to see what you have to say all this after spending the night where someone living on $5,000 a year could afford to stay.

  57. @ Lucky: Add me to your long list of appreciative readers. You write very well, I almost always enjoy your posts and I’ve found your blog to be immeasurably helpful for travel planning. Not to go too personal on you, but you might want to pick up a copy of “The Four Agreements” sometime. I am most definitely not the pop psychology type but a friend recommended it to me last year and it really made a difference in how I try to look at a lot of things. I immediately thought of the book as it really gets to the core of your post. Keep up the good work; you do an awesome job!

  58. I agree with your point, and I think travel is about creating your own experience. Visiting a country the second time could result in different experiences so why should you constrict yourself to one particular aspect. Sure to some people backpacking and staying in hostels sounds fun, and I would like to experience them myself with the right companion. But if I am bringing my parents for a trip, I doubt they would enjoy is as much as I did. Even walking out in the heat/cold for them might be unbearable, so there is nothing wrong in hanging out at hotel lounges once in a while during your travels.

    Again, who is to say that larger established destinations cannot be as enriching for a travel destination as a small island nation? I could say that for someone born in the Maldives, a visit to NYC is as enriching as it can be. One should not always force their viewpoints on others, and instead they should try to view things from other people’s perspectives.

  59. I’d love to get a glimpse of a destination through your lense every once in a while. I would be curious what you did during your two days in Singapore for instance.

    Maybe just a one off snapshot type post…for those who are curious. Regardless..love the blog!

  60. All this talk about humility and experiencing less-developed parts of the world and engaging in the world in a meaningful way…that’s the lowest form of concern-trolling and it’s bizarre and amusing at the same time. Ben, you should absolutely engage in the world any way you want, and ignore the condescending “we know better” suggestions (as if because they found something life changing, everyone else will find the same experience life changing? Rilly?) left by anonymous people on the internet.

    You’re making a living off a HOBBY, and some people don’t seem to understand that you’re not looking to self-actualize or find nirvana, but that you’re looking to enjoy yourself in the ways you like and pass on tips and anecdotes to others.

    Please keep on doing so.

  61. Lucky, in life.. you can’t be everything to everyone. Be it a restaurant, retail shop, blog or life partner.

    I myself find great value and enjoyment visiting your blog as I feel it best represents my interests. I do read others for a different take on things but you are on top of my bookmarks bar.

  62. I will say that I miss the occasional posts you used to do in your trip reports that talked about actual destinations – not as a replacement for more traditional destination guides, but as a supplement. We readers have gotten to know you and your personality through this blog, so your thoughts on a particular city would be interesting because we have that context. Just as it’s interesting to hear a friend’s perspective on somewhere you’re planning to visit, even though they won’t be as informative or exhaustive as Lonely Planet or whatever.

  63. I’m more on Ben’s side on this topic..how do people spend weeks in a new country? Living with the locals, WTF? Or a week on the beach?

    I’m lucky I found someone who leans more on my travel philosophy, and that’s 3-4 days in a city, tops. Normally it’s 1-2 days. Unless it’s for work, I have never wanted to stay longer than that. SPG’s 5th night free is a wasted benefit for me.

    I think it’s how the world has become more global and somewhat homogenous…I went to Shanghai, and wanted to go to some of the better restaurants, and none of the recommended 5 restaurants were Shanghai-nese food. French, Japanese, Yunnan, or maybe Cantonese. Why go to Shanghai then? When anyone asks, I tell them, 2 days max for Shanghai.

  64. @Ben — Well, since I wrote one of the comments and got your response, I owe you one back.

    First the definition of Hypocrisy. It’s when someone doesn’t practice what they preach. I have actually done the kind of well rounded traveling I advocate, because I’m genuinely interested in exploring all the interesting corners of the world, and I’ve flown in first class and stayed in nice hotels plenty of times. Where’s the hypocrisy? From what I can tell, you’ve only seen one side of it.

    Next, I understand why you limit your writing to the flights/ hotels only. You’re writing this blog to sell an award booking service and some CC link signups, which would be pretty hard to do without making a false impression that all travel is glitz and glamour…and can be done for “free”. REAL travel, the one you don’t do, actually takes a lot of money on TOP of miles and points. There’s a lot of places where only low cost carriers fly and there’s no 5-star hotel with a suite to book with points.

    Also, you and all your fanboys who are calling these criticism bile, venom and ignorant need to learn a little about constructive criticism. You’re a blog writer and you criticize others all the time, get used to it. We’re not here to tell you how you should travel, that’s your choice. We’re merely pointing out that maybe you’re closed-minded and missing out. If anything, this kind of criticism is doing you a favor.

    Finally, what constitutes true travel? No one is saying there’s something wrong with being an aviation geek but please don’t refer to it as travel. Some say to each his own and that’s true, but just like with other parts of culture, there are certain requirements which MOST well traveled people will consider to be the bare minimum to claim that you’ve really done traveling.

    For example:

    You haven’t really visited Japan if you’ve sat in a Park Hyatt in Tokyo for a few days.
    You haven’t really visited Italy if you’ve only been to a 5-star hotel in Rome or Milan, and only seen the Vatican.
    You haven’t really visited France if you’ve only been to Paris in Park Hyatt.
    ….and the list goes on.

    Visiting Dubai and Singapore repeatedly for 2-3 days is as much a cultural experience as going to Cancun every year. You gain no cultural enrichment from being there…no interesting experiences. Ok places to visit once but boring.

    Finally, you think you really travelled to Australia? You claim you had 2-3 days in each city…right. Have you taken your dad to the Blue Mountains? Have you rented a car and driven the scenic coast to the 12 Apostles? If you haven’t, you can’t even rightly claim to have thoroughly visited those two cities.

  65. @rick b – I think you are making some pretty strong (and inaccurate) claims to suggest that someone must visit what you (and others) may consider essential parts of a destination to say they have traveled. For every place that you (or someone else) thinks is an essential part of the travel experience, there are going to be a dozen more places that could offer a variant on the local, cultural experience. If someone chooses to make a trip to these destinations in just a few days (due to time constraints or other), the chances are much higher that they are experiencing part of the city more than a person who lives there. Just ask many NYers who live on Staten Island and have never traveled into Manhattan…
    There are people who visit my hometown and see and do things that I never did when I lived there. So, who has actually experienced my hometown more – the one who has lived there or the one who visited places I have not?
    To sum it up – to each his own.

  66. @Charlie — I do agree to each his own, never said otherwise. But just like someone claiming they’re a fan of literature and has never read Shakespeare would get laughed at. Same with travel. By your definition, driving to the beach and back is enough to call oneself well-traveled.

    YOU are actually making some big assumptions yourself. I’m one of the most mobile travelers out there. I often hit up cities for 3-4 days. I did Kakadu park tour in 4 1/2 days when I was in Australia, etc… The debate is about WHERE you travel, not for HOW LONG. Lucky is not a well-rounded traveler. He has the right to it and I don’t claim he’s a bad person for doing it, just calling it out like it is. Not sure whey he chose to be so defensive about it.

  67. I get to travel business class to go visit my sister, my brother in law and my only nephew in New Zealand and that wouldn’t have happened had I not started reading this blog. I work a regular job in corporate America, I have a house, two car notes, a husband and two children. I never dreamed that I’d be able to fly premium cabins anywhere, but I started educating myself through this blog and your helpful advice. I travel a decent amount, but when I board the plane, I look longingly to the left before promptly being directed toward the back of the plane. Before I took my first trip out to New Zealand, I didn’t think much about the journey or the means of getting somewhere. But sitting in coach for 15 hours opens your eyes! My financial obligations don’t allow me to churn as often as I like and my familial obligations keep me from traveling as often as I used to, but just like you said, I’m living my life and I’m happy. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t care how cultured anyone thinks I am because I have a fulfilling life full of love, laughter and happiness. If people are so concerned about how “cultured” other people are or want to pick apart how you see things, then it’s obvious there’s a painful void they’re trying to fill by paying way too much attention to other people’s lives.

  68. People judge because they are either insecure and/or need to see others thinking and acting like they do. Too many people–dare I say the overwhelming majority of people–are validated when they see others making choices like theirs or acting like them…because it validate their own choices or the way they are, themselves. This is the basis for all prejudice in the world and for all judgment. Of course, people are entitled to judge any way or anything or anyone they want, but that doesn’t mean that we need to celebrate it or reinforce it.

    Your article suggests that either (1) you are defensive about others judging you, or (2) you simply needed fodder for a blog post, or perhaps (3) both. Who care what someone else thinks about how much time YOU are flying or staying in a city or hotel or what you do when you’re there? As long as you enjoyed it (and your father), that’s all that should matter. I honestly believe you believe that, and you’re just using this as a means to discuss a common issue.

    Travel has all sorts of different approaches. I am most amused by the morons who try to distinguish between travelers and tourists–as if there is an easy definition for either. Yet there are plenty of people who like to judge others based on their own standard–as if their standard is somehow more important.

    Everyone has the right to enjoy their lives in the ways that they deem best for them–as long as it doesn’t in any way interfere with the ability of others to do the same.

    Judging someone else’s travel or life or choices is pitiful unless any of those somehow directly impact your ability to live your own life. Judgment says far more about the person doing the judging than it does about anyone else.

  69. Btw, I would strongly agree with the posters who here, and in the past, have wondered how exactly Ben can finance all this travel. There seems to be an endless supply of points, supposedly earned by an endless supply of paid flights, and yet every trip report talks about how almost all of it was done with points.

    Not trying to be a hater, but if you’re going to sell people on a dream, let’s see how it’s really done. Don’t have to post your IRS return, but some insight into your system would be curious.

  70. Don’t change a thing, keep up the good work! You have my dream job, one I would be pursuing if I was 20 years younger. I’m glad you let me tap into your experiences and knowledge while I sit here in the comfort of my home — that is, when I’m not flying up front, thanks partly to the knowledge I’ve gained from reading your blog.

  71. The hypocrites must not have read your Cairo trip report. Didn’t see a first class lounge any where near the dunes.

  72. “I’m not in the business of trying to defend myself. I put what I have to say out there. If people like it, great. If people don’t like it, that’s fine too.”

    So why did you write (another) whole blog post defending yourself?

  73. What a post, Ben. I struggle with this being your best, especially after all of those on your trip with your Dad, but it is certainly one of your best.

    You have chosen to live your life and BE happy doing it. Everyone will define ‘happiness’ differently, but it is a choice, not a tangible thing and not a destination (no pun implied or intended, though can’t escape it). It is THE journey we are all on in life. WELL DONE, and keep going. Don’t look back.

    I appreciate that you take moments like this to be introspective of your impact on others, not just yourself. People don’t do that enough, so I applaud you for doing it. And, it doesn’t matter if you come to a ‘right’ conclusion or not – it’s that you took the time to be considerate and self-aware, especially when others attack you.

    So many others have said it: you’re doing just fine. The haters will always hate, and in order to do so, they judge.

  74. Let’s just start by having a look at the definition of travel (as per the Oxford dictionary): “to make a journey, typically of some length”. Yup I’d say Ben is well travelled..

    As someone who enjoys being a teacher (and the numerous holidays we get), I am not remunerated anywhere near enough to pay for F or J travel myself. Reading your blog has meant that for the past 4 years I’ve either paid close to nothing for my flights or haven’t had to fly Y long haul, with the exception of my grandmothers funeral in the UK because that was last minute. This year I was able to fly AU to the U.S. via Japan in first and AU to Europe in business. I’ve also been to Asia twice this year. All for leisure and what some people would pay for just one of those trips.

    Keep writing how you want to write. I get up everyday and read your posts from overnight because I really do enjoy all your writing and your take on your travel experiences.

    As for those that assume there’s some shady deals going on in the back room that’s paying for Ben’s travels, people question how I afford to do it all the time. The scepticism is breathtaking.

  75. I am so amused I can hardly stand it. I do not understand the reason for your post. Short on topics? i like your blog, read it all the time. The tips and knowledge are great. I would say shut up and tell me how to get a Qantas first class flight with AA points over Christmas!

  76. You couldn’t have put it better Lucky. The vast majority of us appreciate the value you add to our travel experiences. And as someone said above, haters gonna hate.

  77. @Gary Leff how to you respond to these articles about the contribution of air travel to climate change?

    “Just one return flight from London to New York produces a greater carbon footprint than a whole year’s personal allowance needed to keep the climate safe.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/sunday-review/the-biggest-carbon-sin-air-travel.html?_r=0

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/air-travel-and-climate-change/

    https://www.eta.co.uk/environmental-info/air-travels-impact-on-climate-change/

  78. Without your blog i wouldnt have know SO much about hotel airlines loyalty and maximising spend on credit cards.

    Thanks a lot Ben!

  79. @rickB

    You come off like a fascist word policeman. “Don’t call it travel”? Really?

    Thoreau could express the same thoughts without being a hater. You motives are suspect.

    As far as transparency, Ben isn’t running for office. Post your tax return online if you think making statements on the Internet obligates you to disclose private information.

    Since you seem math handicapped, I’ll point out that anyone who runs a successful business can earn millions of points a year from cash flow.

  80. Listen, I’m everything you’re not. I’m older, married, tied to the school calendar, committed to museum-going, a coach flier and someone who merely endures travel besides. I’m not even interested in credit cards. You don’t write for people like me and you never will.

    But so what? I’m a fan anyway and have been for years. Your “La Compagnie” series was as funny and entertaining as anything I’ve seen by anyone, anywhere on any topic, ever. I even learn something here from time to time. You write for yourself as much as anything — all writers do — and the rest of us just kind of tag along. If we don’t like it, trust me, we’ll stop reading.

    You don’t owe your critics, including me, so much as the time of day. People like @Andy and some of those folks on Flyertalk can think you’re a fraud, but they collectively haven’t the sophistication even to know that an argument from ignorance — I don’t understand it; therefore, it’s black magic or fraudulent — isn’t an argument at all.

    You’re not running for office. You don’t have to show us your tax returns. If we want to know about Paris museums, we can read the Blue Guide — in French. (That’s something I do, by the way.) You should keep doing what you like to do the way you like to do it. You are, as you’ve often said, one of the luckiest guys in the world to be able to make a living from doing what you love.

    Just about the only thing you should be worried about at this point is working too hard!

  81. To clarify my above post, I didn’t mean to say that how Lucky does it, and the are successful businesses that don’t have that much cash flow or it isn’t flow that is Amenable to running through a credit card. But I know folks who do.

    Lucky has disclosed that he purchases points fairly. I can attest, as well as many other readers, that the advice given allows for many many free premium airline and hotel awards.

  82. You need to learn NOT to dignify yourself by responding to personal attacks and condescending comments. But you should sometimes write a blog on a specific topic that counter those repeat attacks. When you ignore them, you can actually neutralize, if not eliminate, their frequent and toxic comments and make them feel non-existent or like an outcast. Just do what you are best at and still love your job while entertaining your readers and help them achieve their travel aspirations. My daughter and I felt so out of place when staying at Park Hyatt Sydney. Admittedly, we also felt a 13 hour flight from Sydney to LA in coach was quite challenging. We can engage in educational conversation without resorting to name calling or injecting objectionable condescending, racist or sexist comments that bear no relevance to the discussion. People have different goals for their travel. In my opinion, travel is not to tick off the list of how many countries you have visited but how well you learn from and know about them: their history, geography, religion, lifestyle or life choices, cuisine, etc.. . How do you add a country to the list? Just to transit at the airport? How many hours you spend in a country, if it is less than a day? Is a car drive to sight see, eat and shop sufficient? You immerse yourself in local daily lives by frequenting places where the locals eat, work and live with other locals. Talking to those who work for foreign companies may not reflect reality because they may not conform to or be familiar with local customs and practices. You do not impose your thinking or beliefs on their culture. Living and working overseas provide a much more meaningful and realistic ways to understand foreign cultures than traveling, provided that you work and mingle with the locals. Once you do that, it will shape your perception of the world and enhance your tolerance and acceptance, not necessary agree with, of our differences.

  83. Lucky: This likely struck a nerve with you because people are attacking the authenticity of what you describe as a trip of a lifetime with your Dad. As another counter example, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series and even made my parents watch all of the YouTube videos from the trip. One of the things I enjoy and relate to the most about your blog is your love for your parents and how much you enjoy spending time with and spoiling them. The way you travel is what makes your blog unique and entertaining.

    Don’t feed the trolls. People like ‘rick b’ love making grandiose criticisms about the nature of your travels because they are garnering a reaction. Their objections are based on assumptions about how you spent the undocumented portion of the two week trip with your dad extrapolated from the information that you do choose to share. Their assumptions are certainly incorrect, and you shouldn’t feel any obligation to defend yourself.

  84. Ben, You have amazing writing talent! I love the blog, and it’s a great read. Keep doing EXACTLY what YOU do.

    Ron R
    Miami

  85. A lot of people are very defensive about what they do, and attack others as a way of proving to themselves that they are right.

    I used to be a very active traveler, always looking for the local experience, always eating in the same restaurants as the taxi drivers and shopkeepers, always having a list of what must-be-seen.

    It took me a very long time to realize that I didn’t have to see things, didn’t have to do anything. For some, a “local” experience is the reason they travel, and I can see the benefits. But there are other reasons to travel, and some of them have nothing to do with the destination, and everything to do with the individual. Your travel, and your reporting, is based on a certain set of guidelines: I don’t expect a review of Air Asia X economy from you (though it would be fascinating,) and I don’t expect you to provide a full list of everything you do in every city.

    It took a sick kid on a trip to convince me that I did not have to do anything, that the temples and museums are not always a must-see. We were in the middle of a thirty day trip, and he was just sick enough to not really want to do anything active, but not sick enough to actually need a doctor. Assuming that he was likely to be sicker for a few days, the local experience was dropped, and I booked us into a nice hotel for a few days. We basically did nothing: slept a little later, had breakfast from room service, sat by the pool in the morning, wandered into town to see something with no need for it to make sense or be on the list. Two hours poking around a hardware store? Sure. Wandering around the train station looking at the stores? Sure. Lunch, from a thousand choices, became the first restaurant where he could read the menu and saw something that actually made him hungry. We would return to the hotel in the afternoon, snack in the lounge, and sit watching TV for an hour or two until he fell asleep. It would be easy to view it as “lost time,” but it became the highlight of the trip.

    The rest of that trip happened at about half-speed, no requirement to see anything, and it was the best trip we had ever taken. Different travel for different times.

    I have active trips, local trips, but I am also willing to travel in a very different style. I’ll be in Japan in two weeks, for a few days between business. Fuji? Nope. Kyoto? Nope. I’ll be spending three nights in Fukuoka, poking through hardware stores, wandering the train station, catching up on my sleep, sitting in the lounge with a cup of coffee and a good book. An immersive cultural experience, a chance to “know” Japan? Nope. A chance to actually rest, relax, slow down, do something that no one else would find interesting? Yes.

    I’m far more likely to end up at the Railway Square YHA than the Park Hyatt in Sydney, much more likely to end up on the local train than flying in first class, but that is because those choices work for me, not because I need to travel like a local, not because I only value the “authentic” experience. My days in Fukuoka will not be “authentic,” but they will be right for me.

    You aren’t “traveling.” You’re working. Do what works for you, and ignore the “I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler!” crowd.

  86. Your blog has always been a great source of products reviews and tricks & tips sharing. I definitely learn some good tricks and tips from you.

    Generally I try to read your blog daily if my time permits. I can humbly say I learn something new almost everyday from your blog, even if some days those useful tips or info are embedded within you satirical /sarcastic/jokes or otherwise pun intended (or not) posts.

    One observation I have though is that recently (give or take in the last year and some) some of your writing often come out as either making fun or straight up judgmental. Some of these were all in good fun and some I believe you did mean it. Whether or not that is true, we would never know and frankly I don’t care enough about it. If anything, those blog posts/comments are entertaining at the very least.

    So yes this would mean, as of recent … in the last year anyway, I come to your blog more or less for not just useful tips/tricks or experience you share but also for a mild form of entertainment. The comments section is always entertaining especially on a blog like this very particular one. The trolls are just funny jokes at best. Yet, some commentators totally do add values to your posts. I surely have learned from some commentators.

    Like many other have said already in their comments, the nature of your blog is judging and evaluating the products and services associated with those products (be it the processes or personnel involved). So I do think you do judge others from time to time and that’s totally fine in my standards. It’s not like you are causing harm to anyone intentionally. Well I hope you don’t.

    Just please don’t become one of those people who are too engulfed in your own ego like some other bloggers. For example, I do find Gary Leff (View from The Wing) blog too egoistic and sometimes condescending. He’s always “sustaining” his opinions/thoughts/takes/advices as god-royal brilliantly certified. He surely would defend this but the fact is his writing comes across as self-righteous and often time his replies within the comment section are generally rebuttal of those rebuttal comments. Not all of his posts are like that but often times are. I don’t even read his blog anymore. I don’t learn anything new from his blog that are not already provided here on your blog among a few other good bloggers.

    As for the debate on being “well traveled”, to each their own. As for being “cultured”, that I do think it requires more than just having visited the destination for a few days, a month or for that matter a year (living there for example). Being cultured to me is being able to understand of its coming and manifestation of that destination/country’s root, reason, history, philosophy, language, mantra, objective, politics, socio-economic factors and ways of lives among many other factors. Obviously everyone is going to understand these things differently in different ways. But, for example, if one can’t explain the “real reason” why it’s rude to point your feet at things in Thailand, then that person isn’t cultured about Thailand. Just because you’ve been to Thailand and did try streetcart Phad-Thai or visited the royal palace, it doesn’t mean he/she is cultured about Thailand.

  87. @rick b

    “Have you rented a car and driven the scenic coast to the 12 Apostles? If you haven’t, you can’t even rightly claim to have thoroughly visited those two cities.”

    Given it’s 230 km by road from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles, I don’t understand how anyone would consider driving there as having anything to do with thoroughly visiting Melbourne.

  88. Your blog and posts are so awesome because you share all the good details. Don’t let the haters get to you, keep doing what you do because we all love it!!

  89. Ben

    Your comments re perspectives are wise. Money can certainly enable many things, which can bring about a measure of happiness. However a billionaire could also be intensely lonely. I will admit that I do wish that I had the money to enable me to tour the world, in comfort (you have placed very high expectations in me re travel Ben 🙂 ) for the primary purpose of gaining more first hand perspectives of our world.

    When you boil it all down Ben, through all of the “them” and “us” [insert any religion, nation, ethnicity etc] we are all human beings, all looking to provide a decent life for our families, and all on a journey that ultimately all leads to the same place.

    If we were to focus on what we share, our world would be a far better place for us all.

  90. “To thine own self be true” , means travel any way you please, no one needs to instruct any one else on how to travel or live their life, what is perfect for you may not work for someone else

  91. @UnLuCkY those articles are talking about travel on average, an entire flight, and divided across all passengers evenly.

    @YVR604Flyer I’m really sorry you feel that way, it’s certainly not the way I mean to come across. I tend to take some pretty stark positions on things, and I also don’t write very personally or first-person, so I guess it makes sense that someone might get that from me. It’s not reasonable to say “but you should get to know me” and of course no one things of THEMSELVES that way. But genuinely, never the vibe I mean to give off. So sorry I’ve turned you off, but very glad that you get the content you’re looking for here on Lucky’s blog. I read it too, and I think it’s great!

  92. HI Ben,

    I love reading about your RTW trip reports, travel tips, your opinions on any topic relating to travel or loyalty rewards. Also thoroughly enjoy seeing the “world of hotels, lounges, airports through your rose coloured glasses”. Just stay away from the breakfast buffets of The St. Regis Hotel in DXB. No need for a panic attack of any kind in a foreign country. ;o)

    You are a wealth of information for my travels, and a very funny storyteller all in one. Keep up what you are doing forever!

    LFC in YOW

  93. @Gary Leff, thanks for taking the time to comment here.

    For what it worth, different bloggers (and readers) have different style. Your style is not for me. I did use to read your blog quite routinely and kept very open minded toward your tone and style for a long time. Over the years I gave up on you after I found other bloggers that fit my needs (including Ben’s) and share similar values.

    I used to direct my friends/colleagues to your blog whenever I would introduce someone to this miles and points game. I would get comments back after they have read some of your blog posts. I would ask them how did they like reading the blog and if they have learned anything good. One guy (my boss, a friendly CIO in his 40’s) said “… I couldn’t bare reading, the guy is an entitled @$&#0le”. Another female friend said something along the line of ” … I hope I never become self-entitled like this man”. Now, I wouldn’t call/describe you any of these myself. I don’t think you are. But just to share that in my small community of frequent flyers here in Vancouver and Toronto that I got to know over the years, some of us by random chance have similar opinions about your tone and attitude.

    I don’t know you personally (though was on same SG flight with you once and seen you in action at FTU before). I’m certainly not accusing you that your writing style and opinions give a full reflection of who you are in real life. However as far as your blog goes, humility could add a lot of value. It’s very lacking in your blog.

    I don’t think you choice of words or writing in first or third person have anything to do with it. It’s mostly the way you rationale your points/justifications and your opinions that turn some of us off.

  94. Just catching up on my emails and blogs, but I have to add that I thoroughly enjoy your ideas, help and comments. I am 50 years older than you, but you are much more insightful than I was at your age. Your extensive travel (and hobby) has given you much more knowledge and appreciation for other cultures and people than I had at your age, before I began to have the opportunity to travel all over the world. I also feel you are a very sensitive person (in a good way) which gives you a talent for expression not everyone has. I especially have been impressed by the caring you have for your father and the travel surprises you create for him. In fact, I think you have more fun planning his travel surprises than he has enjoying them. Keep up the great work!

  95. I love your blog and I introduced your blog to my sister who is now a big fan of yours. We enjoy reading your posts. You have the funniest things to say. You can’t please everyone but you surely do a great job entertaining us~

  96. Of all the travel blogs on the Internet, yours is the only one I read on a regular basis. Excellent writing, frequent and relevant posts, and very good dialog between you and your audience. Your insight has also helped me enjoy some “smooth sailing” trips with my wife!

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