As anyone who follows my tweets knows, I'm going to be doing the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet promotion. Because I'm flexible, I saved $200 and bought the five day pass for $500, which means that I can't fly on Friday or Sunday. The pass entitles me to fly from September 7th until October 6th for free on all JetBlue flights. This includes all taxes in the US, but not outside the US. I've been thinking about the best way to use this pass, and I'm going to share my strategy with you, in case you bought one as well.
There aren't all that many places in the US I want to go. Within a month or two of the promotion I will have been to NY, Boston, Austin and LA, which covers most of my bases. So I'm mostly seeing this as a ticket to get HUGE discounts on international travel for a month.
There are two types of international travel: the type where you blow through and do the best you can to check somewhere out for future extended visits, and then there are the extended visits. Obviously, these trips will be the former. Here's where I'll be going:
I've never been to South America. I've been to Aruba, right off the coast, and I've been into the jungles of the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, but no farther. So it's time. Taxes for this are $267, which is about 45% of what I'd normally pay to go there from San Francisco. It's the worst deal of all the trips, but I'm excited about Colombia and South America, so I'm doing it.
Jamaica is only about $100 in taxes. I have a friend who is obsessed with Jamaica, so I'm hoping to get some tips from her and check it out. I know it's super touristy, but I really want to climb up that waterfall that all the tourists climb. Hey... I'm into that kind of stuff.
I'm not 100% sure I'm going to go here, mainly because I got robbed last time and I think that soured the experience a bit, but it's a good place to practice some Spanish and I'm already familiar with it so I won't need time to acclimate. I never got a chance to see Tres Ojos, some cool caves, so I'll do that.
I didn't love Costa Rica when I was there, but I was only around for a couple days and did pretty touristy stuff. There's a lot of awesome nature there, though, so I'll go check it out for a bit. Maybe I'll find some couchsurfers to go camping with or something like that.
Saint Lucia and Barbados
I don't know the first thing about either of these countries, but they're the two remaining countries that JetBlue flies to that I've never visited. May as well get them checked off the list and see what they're all about! That's four new countries total that I will hit within the month.
Less and Better Gear
I'm going to use this month as the final test for some new gear I have. Gear post coming afterwards (or maybe during), guaranteed!
Buy All Tickets Up Front
The pass stipulates that I can cancel any ticket as long as I give them three days notice. As soon as I'm allowed to book flights on August 27, I'll book every flight I intend to take, so that I don't get stuck somewhere I don't want to be. If plans change, I'll just cancel the tickets and rebook.
No Round Trips in The US
Round trips in the US are a waste of time and travel days, so I'm going to try to string all of my US cities along. For example, I'll probably go to Las Vegas first, then Seattle, then New York or Boston.
The Skateboard is Coming With Me
JetBlue has free checked baggage, which means that I'm taking my 30 pound electric board with me, at least in the US. I may stash it with a friend in NY when I head out of the country, and come get it later.
I haven't planned my full route yet, but I may try to end up somewhere near SF at the end and buy my own ticket for a week later. Then I could get an extra week, if I'm not totally burnt out. You could also do this in the beginning... buy a cheap one way from Boston to NY, for example, and then start flying from there.
Two reasons: first, I'm going to be spending another $500 or so in taxes on top of the $500 pass, so I want to keep my costs down. Second, short trips are WAY better with a local to show you around. I only spend three days in Haiti and I really got a solid feel for the country. I spent the same in Singapore solo and can barely tell you anything meaningful about it. If you want to host me in one of those countries (I think I'm covered in every US city), let me know!
If you want to meet up, send me an email. If there are a few readers doing this promo, I'll organize something for us somewhere. Let me know in the comments or by email.
I'm in Boston right now visiting family. My family from Texas thinks it's refreshingly cool here. I think it's refreshingly warm.
If you still have the Sprint SERO plan, hang in there -- they're about to allow you to pay $10/mo more and get any of the new devices. If only they'd make an Android world phone!
Well, this is post facto to say the least but I was just browsing some of your old posts and came upon this. I have been following your blog for awhile after picking up the link from http://ourtakeonfreedom.wordpress.com/. I am working on getting into an RV (Class B probably) and setting off on a full-time nomadic adventure. Your blog and a few others have been immensely helpful. (so thanks!)
But here is why I write this rather tardy comment. I did AYCJ 2010 too...a straight 30 days. It was great! And I came the closest I probably ever will to my 15 minutes of fame when I set up an (really it became THE) AYCJ meetup group that ended with almost 500 members. I became the "famous" Lisa G in the AYCJ meetups I attended along the way. It was very cool as there were probably over 100 meetups posted on the calendar for our 30 days of travel. I don't think you were a member but perhaps you did join the group that went to Colombia as I know there were about 30 that signed up and met up there during the 1st or 2nd week (forgot exactly when).
After AYCJ was over, I let the meetup group run for another month so that everyone could post their pics and catch up, etc. Then one of the members set up a facebook group which is still active today. There are 145 members who transferred over from my AYCJ meetup group and still plan trips together, share travel bargains etc. (I'm not sure if this link works http://www.facebook.com/groups/148835305159568/301894869853610/?notif_t=group_activity)
Just thought I'd pass that on to you since it gave me a kind of instant connection to the guy whose blog I have been reading.
We'll be bouncing around for AYCJ as well. A meetup would be cool. Current itinierary: NYC on the 7th, Miami on the 11th, ... wide open ... ending up in LA Oct 4th for a day before flying out to Asia. Ping me if you organize something along the Jetblue route.
Fly into Montego Bay, not Kingston. It will be relatively safer. Make sure to go to Negril and head to Rick's (Cafe? Bar?) for some cliff diving! Also Margaritaville in Mo'Bay has some trampolines out in the ocean that are really cool.
Feel free to email me if you'd like any more specific suggestions, like cheap cheap accomodation.
FYI, Sun Country (based in MSP) is offering a similar deal that ends tonight.
Here are the details:
Are you going to international places only?
I'm still planning my trip, but a meetup would be wicked cool!
what a deal right? I'm unable to partake this year, but I'm hoping Jet Blue will do the same promotion again in the future.
Also, I had no idea that JB flies international, good for you man. Enjoy!
And I can't wait to check out the new gear post. That post, along with T.Ferriss's new book are my 2 most anticipated releases!
Costa Rica - if you really want to see Costa Rica, go to the Osa Peninsula and hike into Corcavado National Park and stay at the ranger station. It's a demanding 8hr hike that weaves through dense jungle and coastal beach. You have to cross two rivers on the way in and timing them for low tide crossings makes you keep the pace up. Otherwise you could be crossing with alligators and hammer head sharks that come up into the mouth of the river. I did the trek with my girlfriend and we didn't see another person the entire 8hrs but did see tonnes of wild life, howler monkeys, wild boar and others that I can't recall the names of right now. At times it looked as though we had reached the end of the earth and my imagine expected dinosaurs to pop out of the jungle and onto the beach at any moment. It was Jurassic Park like. A must see.
If you want more info or to see some of my pics, email me.
Oh hey, I'll be in Boston Thursday - Sunday.
Where are you flying to Columbia from? I've been looking at cheap entry points to South America for an upcoming trip and the cheapest I've found is Logan to Puerto Rico to Caracas.
Also, I'm just starting a blog, partially about travel. I was going to kick it off when I backpack around South America, but I've been wondering whether it would be a good idea to get the Jet Blue pass and hit a bunch of different US cities first. That way I get some content on there before I leave for South America. Any thoughts?
When you travel with someone for a year or two, you pick up their habits. One of Todd's habits that I most admire, and am thankful to have picked, up is the practice of treating strangers like friends. When he goes to a restaurant and the waiter asks him how he is, he tells him what's going on in his life and returns the question in such a way that it obligates a genuine response. When we leave a restaurant, everyone we know gets a hug.
I get nostalgic, mostly for times I wasn't alive for. Like the middle ages. And, more relevantly, like the days before computers and cell phones, when neighbors actually recognized each other, and maybe even talked to each other. Shopkeepers were called shopkeepers, and they knew their customers by name. Their conversations extended beyond a scripted sales pitch for a rip-off extended warranty. I miss these times because I've seen them in movies and read about them in books, not because I've really experienced them.
Simple habits can be profound. One such habit that is more important than ever is to treat strangers like friends. Facebook, cell phones, and other "social" technologies have done to friendship what laminate flooring did for hardwood floors. It made things easier and more accessible, but did so at the cost of substance. In fact, this is happening in pretty much every area of life, something I've realized more fully now that I'm trying to find meat with substance; it's almost impossible. So I try to treat everyone as though they're a real person, just in case they actually are. Unfortunately I can't answer all my email anymore, but when I do I try to write to the person as if they're my friend, rather than use stock replies (which I could do, since a lot of the things people write about are similar). Once in a while I even fill someone in on secret future plans or send them a draft of something. When interacting with random people in everyday life, I make an effort to actually listen to them and to talk about things that they may not have talked about with every person they've interacted with that day.
So Monday marked the start of my work on a new Kickstarter project. I stopped working on game development, and started putting my full effort toward creating a Kickstarter project which I will launch a day or so before the Boston Festival of Indie Games, which I'm showing King Randall's Party at. Yesterday I started out with one of the more important aspects of running a Kickstarter: figuring out your burn rate.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a burn rate is simply the amount of money you use per month in order to sustain yourself at whatever your standard of living is. The burn rate could apply to an entire company or, as is the case here, just to me. The real challenge involved in figuring out your burn rate is taxes. Say you need $20,000 per year in order to survive. Well, you can't just make 20k and be all right, you need to earn some amount that, after you remove taxes, is over 20k. Since taxes vary greatly based on what state you live in, and what kind of deductibles you can apply to your revenue, this can quickly get complicated. Add in Self-Employment tax, which anyone who is part of an LLC, Sole-Proprietorship, or Partnership that makes over $400 in revenues must pay, and things can get out of hand pretty quickly.
So yesterday I spent the day putting together an Excel spreadsheet that does a pretty good job of approximating how much taxes I will pay based on any particular income. When figuring out how much I need in order to finish King Randall's Party, I can test out different incomes until I find one that provides the correct amount of funding to finish the game, and then use that as my Kickstarter goal (factoring in Kickstarter's cut of the funding).
Having finished that yesterday, today I'm working on revamping my feature list for the game so that I can estimate how much time I'll need to finish the game, and how much money I'll need for hiring artists and animators to finish off the games visuals. That's a pretty tough task in itself, but the challenge is mostly about making sure to dig down as deep as I can into the guts of the feature list and listing as much as I can. As with all game development, there will be some features or assets that I either can't think of when creating the list, or their need won't become apparent until further into development, so it's also important to build some buffer into the projects budget.
More updates coming as I get further into the process. Also, here is the latest video of the game!