The Travel Year In Review, A Podcast

The Travel Year In Review, A Podcast


Year End Travel Review
Enterprise, AL The Boll Weevil Statue

Show Notes

Recorded at the home office

  • 2017 the year in review
  • 2018 Travel strategy
  • Plane Drinking.

Travel for the year is done, with possibly a last minute trip to Georgia after Christmas. I try to stay out of airports and off the roads this time of the year.

First up – Each December I harvest my travel data from Trip-It. Data makes me look busy and tells a story

#1 2017 Review

  • 171 nights in hotels, with Hilton still being my favorite. 
  • Flights – 47 – all but two were on Southwest Airlines
  • Rental Cars – 11 rentals, which is 8 fewer than 2016.
  • 59 different cities.
  • Personal Car – Roughly 22,000 miles which is a bit shy of the typical 30,000.


In comparison 2016

    • 164 nights in hotels
    • 43 flights –  16 with Delta and 27 with Southwest. 2016 was the year I moved from Delta to Southwest
    • Rentals Cars – 19 rentals
    • 55 different cities.
    • Personal Car – Roughly 31,000 miles.

A typical travel year.

#2 My 2018 travel strategy

I’ve posted about my fondness for the American Express card in the past. They provide great customer service and benefits like their UBER and the yearly travel credits almost offsets the cards cost. However traveling out of Orlando benefits like Centurion Lounge Access doesn’t do me much good, and the automatic Hilton Gold status is useless since I’m already Hilton Diamond.

So for 2018. it’s time for a change in my plastic partner.

This year I plan to shoot for the Southwest Companion Pass, before we go any further I’m not a financial person, I’m prone to making bad financial decisions, for instance, I’ve placed the last 5 college semesters for two Chateau Relaxo residents on my American Express card, and then there was the time I paid for a new roof the same way.

My retirement plan is a fistful of lottery tickets and a case of beer….. No one’s making an infomercial based on my financial ideas.

If you’ve never heard of the Companion Pass it’s a Southwest reward that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight.

Here’s the Mouse Print….To qualify, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.

In exchange for hitting one of those, you’ll earn a Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.

I’ve only done 100 flights in a single year once, and it was brutal.

I’m dumping my American Express Card for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa card and gathering 110,000 points before July. This will allow my wife to fly for free with me until the end of December 2019.

Here’s the Rapid Rewards pitch –

Their Visa will give you 40,000 points if you spend $1000.00 in the first 3 months of using the card. ***** Side note they often run a 50,000 point sign-up bonus in January****.

Right now I’ve already got 6 flights scheduled for January, so spending $1000 in the first 3 months will be no problem. 40,000 points banked. You also get 2 points for every dollar spent on Southwest travel when using their card….

In 2017 I earned 24,000 southwest points in the first 6 months. My guess is that will be the same this year. That’s 48,000 points.

Between the 40,000 bonus points and 48,00 travel points, I’m at 88,000 points before I’ve booked hotels, rental cars, or paid for summer college tuition. The remaining 22,000 points will be easy.

More financial advice– the rapid rewards Visa is a credit card, and it carries between a 17 and 24% annual percentage rate, and of course its variable based on the prime rate. This financial mumbo-jumbo means that at some point that 24% will increase especially if you tend to carry a balance or miss a payment.

After consistently using an American Express card for the last 25+ years, it’ll be interesting to see if they notice my shift in plastic partners….. It’s doubtful.

#3 Last subject Plane Drinking

If you read my monthly Crazy Travel Roundup there’s no shortage of booze stories. I’m not sure if the mix of a pressurized cabin and alcohol might have a bearing but it seems that the airport is a beacon of booze whack-a-dos.

I enjoy an adult beverage when flying. Just last week Jordi served me a solid bourbon & ginger ale on my flight from Birmingham to Orlando. I asked Jordi to be the bartender at this year’s Chateau Relaxo Christmas Extravaganza.

Recently one of my team members grabbed a plane seat next and the person next to him was already hammered, so much so that he insisted several times on being served a drink before the plane took off. The flight attendant eventually asked “Are you going to be a problem?” to which the passenger replied “yes”. A minute or so later the pilot shows up and asks the hammered passenger to deplane, and he did…. No argument, so fight and no viral video.

The ugly side of Plane Drinking in the airport or on the plane is that it’s expensive, and no you can’t buy a bottle in the duty free shop and drink it on the plane Plus if you’re Plane Drinking early in the day, eventually you’re going to sober up and that can be painful especially if you’re on vacation.

The other issue is that you have to get home from the airport unless you’re getting picked up or using a ride-share service you’ll be renting a car or driving your own…….. Not cool.

That’s it for episode 5, thank you for listening and check out all the blogs over at, from food to health we cover all topics.



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