Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our Travel Lifestyle Goals--VOTE!

**After you read this post, please go to my poll on the right side of this page and VOTE!**

We have many goals to achieve before we set out for a year of travel with our twins.  The biggies are listed below.  There are tons more like scanning documents and selling our stuff and figuring out what to keep and what goes in storage, but that's for another post, a different list.
I wrote previously about our plans for a year of travel with kids, but now I'll break it down even further.

Here's where we stand with one year to go:

Financial Goals:

Accumulate enough frequent flier miles for us all to fly free roundtrip, NYC-Bangkok -- 100%

  • We focused on American Airline miles so we could fly their partner airline, Cathay Pacific.  Originally the plan was to do a one-way stopover in Hong Kong (one of Cathay's hubs) on the way to Bangkok.  It would break up a really long flight, plus it's a city we would love to visit and we both have friends who live there.  However, the airline has changed the frequent flier policy and stopovers are no longer allowed.  We'll still be stopping in Hong Kong, but only to change flights on our way to Bangkok.
  • The airlines now issue tickets in one way segments.  This means we need 8 tickets--4 one ways to get us there and 4 to get us back.  Currently, we have enough American Airlines miles for 6.75 tickets and enough Delta miles for 2 tickets.  
  • The plan is to keep accumulating AA miles so we can all fly together.  However, IF we had to, we would split up coming home and Kate would fly with one child on AA and I would fly with the other child on Delta.

Earn an adequate amount of Starwood/Marriott/Hyatt/Hilton hotel points to 'cushion' our stay from time to time when we need a break -- 100%

  • We don't really have a set 'goal' for this as all hotel chains have vastly different categories and points needed.  However, we have the most points in Starwood as they have excellent hotels in Asia and require fewer points per stay than the other chains.
  • For now, we have enough points for just a couple of nights each in a Marriott/Hyatt/Hilton.  This should work out well when we hit a new location and just need a day or to of 'recovery' time while we look around for longer-term lodging or an apartment rental.
  • The Starwood points will come in very handy as we have enough so far for a week's true vacation at a fancy resort like this or this or this, and we'll still have plenty leftover for 5 or 6 nights elsewhere along the way when we need a bit of luxury.
  • We will have 'preferred Gold status' for Starwood which means free upgrades, gifts, club room, late check out, etc.  It's a super nice perk to have while traveling.

Reserve savings to sustain us for 6 months upon return (in case it takes awhile to find work) -- 100%

  • I honestly think Kate will have a job lined up before we even return OR she'll discover something in another country along the way OR.....something else.  Nevertheless, it's always good to have the cushion and we don't want to leave without knowing it's there for us when we return.
Save enough money to travel for one year without working -- 65%

  • We started seriously planning for our trip in January 2012--just 8 months ago--and we're already at 65%.  I have no doubts we can reach our goal with 12 more months to save.  But, let's say we felt that itch to leave in 4 or 5 months....and we were at 75% and had found a way to earn money on the road...then we might decide we were OK with not reaching 100% upon departure.  Maybe.

Personal Goals:

Develop a location independent income stream -- 0% - 100%

  • This is something I'm currently researching in terms of my writing and blogging.  I know I can make money doing this.  Now, I just have to do it and do it right.
  • Kate has leads from past employers for project work she can do remotely.  So, for her, perhaps this goal is 100%.

Potty Train the boys (except for nights) -- 100%

  • Currently they are daytime trained.  Yes, I have to 'remind' them and yes, we still have accidents but less and less each day.  
  • If we still have to use diapers at night while we travel I am totally fine with this, especially since we'll be sleeping on mattresses and linens other than our own...

Switch boys to 'real' beds -- 0%

  • Oh my.  I tried to switch them to toddler beds with disastrous results.  They are back in cribs.
  • This one scares me so much I don't even want to try it again and I'm tempted to just want until we're all in a hotel room together and I have no choice.

Go Stroller-Free -- 50%

  • They are good little walkers and can go quite far before getting truly tired.  As long as I keep pushing us to not use the stroller here at home, I'm confident they can build up their stamina to keep up while traveling.  Especially since we're not going to be doing long walks/hikes, etc.  
  • Plus there will always be a bus / motorbike / tuk tuk / songtaew / taxi / boat / skytrain / back of a pick up truck / ferry / donkey cart / elephant / subway -- just around the corner to rescue us!  Did I miss any forms of transport?!

No Naps Needed -- 40%

  • I really don't want them to 'drop' their nap because damn, I love that mid-day break.  But, they have already started doing this themselves.  
  • Ideally we will all have some 'down time' during the heat of the day where we can just relax and recharge.  Even if they don't nap, they can still power through the rest of the day.


Sarah C. said...

Reading about your travel plans with 2 toddlers makes my stomach hurt, but gives my wife itchy feet - she would LOVE that life. Good luck!

Aris said...

Any plans for the Philippines? If so, you missed "jeepney" and "tricycle". It's so cool what you're doing! Planning must be a lot of work but is also lots of fun! Lots of luck! And if you do decide to visit the Philippines, I might be able to help.

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

Sounds like fun. Let me know if you need any help accumulating miles/ points. That's my biggest hobby these days; but maybe you know all the same tricks I do. The Westin Phuket looks badass and it's on my list. We're burning 48k Starpoints later this month on the Westin Maui, which should be pretty sweet, too. If you're coming back to the states on AA, don't forget the Int'l gateway stopover trick!

Glad you guys are hitting the road. I think I saw on your blog once that you followed 6intheworld - I assume you saw that Anne passed away this summer. Terribly sad. But a reminder that we need to get out there while we can!

cat said...

I really admire your tenacity in proceeding with this. Just persist by making the. Ig beds exciting and do it.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Hey! You, my dear, are the Queen of Organising Travel.

Gosh darn, if I was this accomplished, we'd be well gone already.

I'm seriously so impressed and I say go as soon as you can (if it doesn't leave you feeling all freaked out).

The boys will adjust - they are MUCH more resilient than we give them credit for.

And months are like years for toddlers (or so it feels anyway) :)

CoffeeBlue said...

I'm sure you've already thought of these...but there are lots of ways to earn extra hotel/airline points (outside of credit cards, actual travel, etc). E-rewards and e-miles are two of my favorite. Hope you guys have an amazing adventure...and hope you blog all about it!

Strawberry said...

Love the goals and it sounds like you're doing really well conquering them. As far as going crib-free, for traveling, I cannot recommend the Peapod tent enough. It will keep them confined, it will keep them separated, and they fold up for easy, flat storage (Curly can actually carry his himself at this point). It's a little bit of money, but I think totally worth it.

Flashpacker Family said...

I love how onto it you are! If you've achieved all that in eight months I'm sure you can get to 100% by February.

We're working on ditching the portacrib, potty training and not using a stroller too. Our next trip will be so different without these constraints. I never want to lose the afternoon nap though!

Carla said...

I vote for the long term rental-. And long-term does not mean it has to be forever, like months, long-term is now used to refer to a stay of more than 3 days. So, for the money that you would spend in a room in the Hyatt or Hilton hotels, you get a really luxurious apartment rental in Buenos Aires, for instance. Modern buildings in Argentina have pools and even gyms (something hotels do not offer). It is something to think about!