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June/July Trip Summary

June 17, 2017

Without a doubt, I am the WORST BLOGGER EVER. My life is insanely busy, and I've spent the past week simply trying to get prepared to leave the country for three weeks. I think longingly about retirement...perhaps then I'll have the time to fully pursue all my side hustles.

 

Speaking of side hustles, gift card re-selling has been awesome. I've tracked my progress since January, and I'm on target to make close to $4k profit January - June, plus all the points, miles, cashback, etc. I truly enjoy pursuing these deals and working with bulk buyers. The challenge is to find enough stacking opportunities to make the purchase worthwhile - I've learned a lot about cash back portals, discounted gift cards, and credit card category bonuses. This is something I will definitely continue to pursue once we return home.

 

Our crazy Russia/Baltic Capitols/Amsterdam trip starts tomorrow. This trip is without a doubt more complicated than any I've planned before, and I'm nervous about all the pieces falling into place. If it works like I think it will, we'll have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. OKAAAAAAY, even with a hiccup or two it will still be amazing. At this point I just need to relax and enjoy.

 

I booked the long flights over and back using Etihad miles to fly on Brussels Airlines. Take a look at my original blog post to find out how I made this work:

 

 Our Craziest Flight Redemption Yet

 

Our intra-Europe travel consists of planes, trains, and a few automobiles. Mostly planes. If you take a look at the trip summary you'll see that we spent $7,111 on this trip, which is WAY more than we would normally spend. The impetus for that expense was partly nostalgia - I've been so lucky to travel with our church choir on every European jaunt since they began touring in 2000, and since this is the last one with our current director I didn't want to miss the opportunity. The other cost factor is simply Scandinavia itself. Nothing is cheap in that part of the world! We also spent $400 to acquire Russian visas, and another $720 to hire a private tour company in Saint Petersburg. All money well spent, but it does add a layer of expense you don't normally see on my trip summaries. (I won't even begin to discuss the cost to witness Scarlet Sails from a boat on the Neva...again, once-in-a-lifetime!)

 

Edited on June 19 with corrected grand total

 

So there you have it - retail value is $40,260  if paid in cash at time of booking. We managed it for $7,111 and 451,652 loyalty points. In the travel hacking community, that's not a great result. But for our purposes I'm 100% grateful for the opportunity to spend this time with dear friends exploring a part of the world I may not have the chance to visit again. And now for my usual disclaimer: I INTEND to blog while we're on the trip, but if you've followed me even casually you know how that goes. Happy Travelin'.

 

 

 

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