OK, here’s a slightly off topic (since I’ve mostly been covering my travels lately) post about the question that I’m asked most often. I’ve inferred it throughout my posts and in general most that have been reading my blog for a while could probably figure it out, but I’ll spell out the answer in one post.
The question is along the lines of “how do you find the time/resources to fly 200,000 miles a year as a student?”
The answer is pretty simple.
Several years ago I got an email from the chief auditor of the Nigerian National Bank. As it turned out a well off government official had passed away, and it was determined that I was the next of kin. After doing some paperwork and simple wire transfers I was awarded a lump sum of $17,350,000.00 (seventeen million three hundred and fifty thousand dollars). It was that easy. Ever since I’ve been traveling whenever I have time, because with $17mil+, how can I afford not to?
OK, maybe that’s not the whole truth. Fine, maybe that couldn’t be further from the truth and is just an email sitting in my blog inbox right now. Would be nice if it was true, but the reality is a bit different.
The truth is that I wasn’t born into money and am far from rich. A majority of my travel is self funded, although I think most would be surprised by how little I spend. I’ll avoid going into exact figures, but ultimately my mileage runs make my “real” trips cheaper. So basically the amount I fly (and thereby spend) in order to earn enough miles for a premium cabin international award is substantially less than I’d pay for a coach ticket on the same route.
I’m very creative. On this past trip, for example, we stayed at several five star hotels, none of which were fully paid for (in $$$). I would NEVER pay a premium airfare to sit up front (I just don’t think it’s worth it), and I’d never actually pay full price for a very nice five star hotel (unless it’s ridiculously cheap, as is the case in many parts of the world).
My mileage runs are also partially funded by my parents, but there’s something in it for them. Most of our relatives live in Germany, so we visit them frequently. Ultimately I’ll use my miles to get my family first and business class award tickets, and they’re paying less for my mileage runs (those that they actually pay for) than they’d pay for a simple, cheap coach ticket to Europe. It really is that straightforward, and works out for both of us.
As to how I find the time to fly that much, that’s more of a toughie which I can’t really give a good answer to. I guess I just find the time somehow. I still go to school fulltime, work, and have a semi-social life (as much as one can have anyway doing as much traveling as I do). Much of my travel is on weekends and holidays, so I never miss class for my hobby.
Somehow it all works out in the end, and I’m pretty damn happy with it.
If anyone would like clarification or has more questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I’m all for openness and sharing my experiences, or else I wouldn’t have started a blog.