I’m going to Gainesville!

A few posts ago, I mentioned how I was probably just going to bank all my vacation time until I severe ties with my current job. Well. Life happens and plans change. I’ll be taking two vacation days in January! It’s the perfect time for this sort of event because, at that time, I’ll only have about six more weeks of work left before I make the big lifestyle change.  Nomadic traveler? Web entrepreneur? In-person freelancer utilizing my career skills? Probably some combination of all of the above.

I saw my buddy Gwen tweeting about the event. I saw that it was only $300.  For lodging, food and activities. You’ll remember that $100/day is sort of my target for where I feel like I should be for short term travel in terms of lodging and food, and this fits right in. I’ve actually been wanting to go to an “adult summer camp’ for a while. There’s a few different variants, but what has held me back from going to the summer camp affiliated with my social sports is that it definitely revolves around getting sloshed and making bad decisions.  Something tells me the vibe from the FIRE crowd might be a bit different….but I will find out!

I saw that the event was in Gainesville. Gainesville is an $80 uber ride from Jacksonville. Or you can fly to Gainesville Regional Airport. To get to Gainesville Regional Airport, you have to go through either Atlanta or Charlotte. I’ll actually be doing both… I can knock 2 states off of the list that I haven’t been to, though having a layover in an airport doesn’t really count. Ha.

Living on this coast, it’s not really possible to fly to the east coast to arrive in the afternoon on the same day. I actually will have to take a red eye from LA to Charlotte and then connect onto Gainesville the following morning. I’m not too keen on the red eye flight, but I flew direct to Auckland, New Zealand and back from Sydney, Australia (without a personal video device). This will be no problem. The cost of the ticket? 20,o00 AAdvantage miles and $5 in fees.

Getting home was proving to be a bit trickier. The minimum miles ticket available on the day I needed to come back was 50,000 AAdvantage miles. You’ll recall my lamenting over my inability to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve in my very first blog post. But I absolutely told the rest of my family to go for that card, and some of them listened. The other day my dad was saying, “I don’t think I really have any more travel lined up next year to use this $300 credit before the end of the year.” The flight home from Camp Mustache SE was about $270.  So I said “hey, if you really don’t have anywhere you want to go, there’s a flight I need to book that my miles can’t cover.” But we found something better than the travel credit. My dad had enough Ultimate Rewards points that we could book this ticket through the Chase travel portal. If we booked them through his Chase Ink Plus card, it was going to cost around 23,000 points, but instead I told him to transfer 20k points from his Ink Plus to his Sapphire Reserve, because that card gives you a much better value on redeeming travel. And so my flight home was now only 18,000 Ultimate Rewards points, and I get to earn a few Delta miles for flying on their metal tube as well. And dad can buy some form of $300 travel gift card before the end of the year if there really is no more travel that he would like to book to utilize that “use it or lose it” travel credit. I rarely ask family for points, but very glad to have the luxury of occasionally utilizing them when the only alternative is spending my cash.