Jeanette and I have been traveling weekly for nearly 8 (JA – 9 yrs)
years now. During that time we have amassed a LOT of frequent flier miles. We
have gotten them from BIS (butt in seat), credit cards, and various bonuses. We
have used these miles for trips to France and London, as well as numerous
domestic flights. We have donated some to our armed forces and given many to
friends and family when we could.
Always in the back of our minds though, has been the thought
of going ‘Round the World’ (RTW). I think I stumbled on the Delta RTW desk when
I was reading Flyer Talk
one day; probably while searching for a mileage run to maintain status.
One day last year Jeanette said that her sabbatical was
coming up and that would be a great opportunity to book our RTW trip. The
planning was much more work than we anticipated. Even going into this with a
very laid back attitude of where we would be going and on what dates, it took a
lot of coordination and many hours on the phone.
We both had a very general list of what we would like to
do/see on this trip. Since we were booking with miles we knew we had to be
flexible with dates, flight schedules, and available locations. Once we had a
kind of short list we sat down on a Sunday morning to call Delta. The initial
call lasted about 4 hours. We didn’t walk away with a completely formulated
itinerary, but we had pretty good shell to begin filling in.
The most difficult part of the journey is actually getting
out of the US. We have 4 flights to get us from Kansas City to Berlin. That is
going to be a long day of travel. Once we were on international carriers it
became much easier to find available seating within the point requirement
guidelines. We will be flying on Delta, Air France, Aeroflot, Korean Air, Turkish
Air, and China Southern. I am particularly excited about flying on the 747 and
A380; two of the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
So, once the flights were booked the real work began. We had
to find lodging for 30 days! This was made somewhat easier by the number of
overnight flights we have. I wish we could say that we had a grand plan for
this, but it just happened to work out well this way. Again, because we have
both been travelling for so long we have a few hotel points stored up as well.
We began researching the various cities we are going to be visiting and
determining which hotels are around what we want to see in those cities. We are
staying at Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott properties. We even managed to get a
Conrad for only $135/night which is a tremendous bargain. Those nights are the only ones we are actually
paying for since it didn’t make sense to burn points at that price point.
Jeanette is much more of a book researcher than me; and thanks
to Borders going out of business we were able to get several travel books about
our upcoming destinations.
Once we had all the flights booked and lodging secured we
both had a sense of how real this trip is actually becoming.
So here is the final list of destiantions:
Honolulu (techincally a layover, but since it is 36 hours I am counting it).
That is all it took..several hours on the phone with Delta, reading innumerable websites and chat forums, linking to several RTW people on twitter, buying and scanning several buide books for our destinations, and getting good advice and suggestions from freinds and co-workers.
This is going to be a fantastic trip!!!