Mileage Run

If You Like It, You Can Go Back

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Many of my friends think I’m crazy for the way I travel. Ok, probably most of them.  I prioritize taking advantage of a good deal and visiting a place I’m interested in over catchingup on sleep during the weekends and having extended time at the destination.

I’ve flown all the way on the Alitalia mistake fare for 2 nights in Cyprus, taken advantage of United’s Tware fare to Australia to make 1K in 2010, spending one night in Sydney twice, and accidentally booked tickets for the $98 biz class fare from Los Angeles to Taiwan, that had me there 6AM-4PM instead of overnight because I forgot about the international date line.
A quick trip to Yehliu Geothermal Park in Taiwan
 
View from the Intercontinental Sydney Club Lounge

In an ideal world, I would spend a week or more at each location. But I work long hours for a non-profit, I need to visit relatives & friends, and frankly, I will never see all the places I want to see if I wait for huge chunks of time.

My travel philosophy has been heavily influenced my travel mentor, and his key point, which I heartily embrace, is “If you like it, you can go back.” Once I adopted that view point, it changed everything. I don’t need to do or see everything in a new location. Pick out the highlights, don’t exhaust myself, and then see if it’sworth coming back for.  

So now I don’t feel guilty popping out to the West Coast on a cheap fare just to grab an In-N-Out burger and catch up with some friends or see the Getty. (One day I will make it to the Hollywood walk and Catalina Island!) When traveling abroad, I either schedule a full day of site-seeing and crash early, or take it easy during the day and enjoy a fancy dinner. Gone are the days of trying to get up at 6AM and do things nonstop until I’m falling asleep in my food at 10PM.

I think if more people who want to travel adopted this idea, they’d be less daunted by the idea of a weekend trip several time zones away.

The other part of my travel philosophy is that my body isn’t going handle red-eyes and 10+ hours in international coach much longer and I should do as much as I can now.

My mileage run philosophy, however, is much wimpier than most seasoned travelers. I do not like trips where I never leave the airport. I infinitely prefer flights where I can get out and see my destination, even if it’s only for a few hours. I will happily pay more or travel fewer segments if it gets time to see the area.

Last summer was my first and so far, only, never-leave-the-airport mileage run. I took advantage of United’s routing rules from EWR-SEA. I flew from Newark to Honolulu (in a tiny Continental seat) to DC to Denver to Seattle. Sitting outside the gate, staring at Diamond Head, and breathing in the airport terminal bus fumes during the brief layover was pure torture and didn’t do my relationship with my traveling companion any favors. In contrast, even with only 3 hours in Jamaica, getting some time on the beach with Jeanne and a fruity drink felt like a vacation!

Torture from the Terminal
I apparently didn’t learn my lesson though, because Jeanne and I are slated to do a CLT-EWR-HNL-PHX-IAD-CLT mileage run again in early summer. We’ll see if I ever do another one…

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

6 Comments

  1. Ian

    March 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I also like your travel style. They key is to make it work for you!

    PS- I was trying to find some decent fares (around CPM <5) a very similar mileage run on *A but couldn't find much…..ideas?

  2. Keri

    March 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    @Ian –I wish I could find a more regular source for good mileage runs. I usually stalk fares to the West Coast, Hawaii, and Alaska. For instance, last year United had several $450 fares to Anchorage in the fall.

    I also keep an eye on these milepoint and flyertalk threads (which you may already know about):

    http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/mileage-runs-mattress-runs-travel-hacking.6

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mileage-run-deals-372/

  3. Ian

    March 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks Keri, yes I am aware of the FT and MP threads 🙂

  4. Rob

    March 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Fun blog; looks you’re a penalty boxer from the CLT-PHX run? 🙂

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