One of the best things about collecting miles and points or even saving money to spend on travel, is being able to treat friends and family to a travel experience. I’ve a big fan of valuing experiences over things, and being able to give the gift of travel is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
I’ve said again and again that everyone seems to be of the mindset that, “Travel is too expensive.”And to some extent it can be. That’s why surprising someone with a vacation that’s low cost or even free, is one of the best presents you can give. Imagine talking with someone who mentions they really wish they could take a vacation and then handing them tickets and saying, “You ARE taking a vacation. We’re leaving soon!”
This week I’m tremendously excited to head south for a Caribbean cruise and even more excited that I’m taking my long time best friend with me as a present for his birthday.
It’s an 8 day cruise out of Port Canaveral, Florida. My friend’s birthday was last week, and I’d been working on this surprise with his parents for a couple of months. We had all the documents sent to his parents and they got his passport and filled out his cruising account without him knowing.
Only a few days prior he was saying how he wished he could head out on a vacation t but things just weren’t coming together. So imagine his surprise when I handed him an envelope with our cruise reservations with the headline in large black print, “Paid in Full!”
I’ve gone on a half dozen cruises in my life and a few of them with my friend and his family. My friend is recently engaged so that will obviously change the dynamic of his travel plans with a wife and possible children. So this was a great way to celebrate his birthday and relive old times. I think he was incredibly surprised and still asks me every day or so, “Wait so is this a prank?”
I’ve written here and again here about my “Free Cruise Challenge” in which I set a goal of getting a completely free cruise experience, everything from the ship itself to airfare to the port, a hotel the night before, and even gifts bought with cash on the islands. But funny enough this won’t be the free cruise. I’ve confirmed another cruise with friends in February and I’m planning on making that one part of my, “Free Cruise Challenge.”
I could have made this one the free cruise, but there were some parts of my strategy that I wanted a few more months to straighten out. I recently opened up a chase bank account and am still waiting for my $400 cash bonus to come through. I also have done TON of traveling recently and still have a ton of posts to make to the Barclay Arrival Travel Forums to pick up more Arrival Points.
I’m currently engaging in a year of traveling around the world, so I’ve saved up money specifically to cover expenses that travel points do not. I’m picking up the cost of the cruise and a flight back home (we’re driving down) for my friend. Going on a cruise with my friend is one of the best ways I can imagine to spend the money I’ve saved. The surprised look itself when he opened the envelope was worth every bit of savings.