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Have you ever thought about a round the world trip? Or maybe a quasi-round the world trip? It sounds expensive, right? But it doesn’t have to be if you know the right travel tricks. A quasi-round the world trip of 19-days would have cost over $33,200. But I paid a fraction of that price. Find out how you can too!
- A Quasi-round the World Trip
- Packing Tips
- Travel Insurance
- Trip Cost
- Lufthansa First Class from Los Angeles to Frankfurt
- Park Hyatt Zurich
- Sri Lankan Airlines Business Class Flight from Paris to Tokyo
- Sri Lanka
- American Airlines Business Class From Paris to San Diego
- Here’s How You Can Do It Too
- How to Earn United Airlines Miles
- How to Earn Hyatt Points
- How to Earn American Airlines Miles
- American Express Starwood Cards
A Quasi-round the World Trip
Last June, I took my longest solo trip: a quasi-round the world 19-day trip. I visited Switzerland, Mallorca, France, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Germany. This luxury trip would have cost over $33,200. But thanks to airfare sales and using miles and points, it was nowhere close to that price. Keep reading to find out how you can do it too.
I wasn’t completely solo because a friend joined me in France, Sir Lanka, and Japan. But I was solo in the sense that I traveled without my family. And was the longest trip I’ve taken without my family.
My friend, Steve, found a great Business Class Fare from Paris to Tokyo via Columbo. It’s cheap to travel in Europe, so I added Mallorca, Germany, and Switzerland. Steve’s a great travel buddy. We’ve traveled to Iguazu Falls and Madrid along with another friend, Sagy. But Sagy couldn’t go on this trip.
How do you pack for a 19-day trip in a carry-on bag? By planning in advance. I’ll write a post about how to pack, but for now, here are some recommendations:
- Comfortable walking shoes that can be dressy or casual
- Light-weight undergarments
- Breathable (wicking material) shirts
- Non-wrinkle clothing like this dress or shirt
- Skorts (shorts for guys)
- Packing cubes (keeps your undergarments from getting tossed around)
- Woolite packets (washing clothes means you can pack less)
- Extra memory cards
- External hard drive
You should buy travel insurance when you travel, even if you’re using miles and points. Because there’s always some component of your trip that isn’t refundable. It’s saved my travel companions thousands of dollars. The small amount you’ll pay will save you a lot of money and stress. I purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy for all my trips.
Here’s a breakdown of what of my trip cost.
Lufthansa First Class from Los Angeles to Frankfurt
My original flight was in Business Class on Air Tahiti from Los Angeles to Paris. Because of the Air France strike, flights to and from Paris were getting canceled.
I grabbed a Business Class flight on Lufthansa to Zurich. The cost was 70,000 United Miles and $40 plus a $ 75 last-minute booking fee.
Three days before my flight, ExpertFlyer alerted me that a First Class seat was available. For 41,000 more miles, I flew First Class from Los Angeles to Frankfurt. The cost for this $14,000 flight? Only 110,000 United Airlines miles and $114.80.
When flying First Class on Lufthansa, you have access to the Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX. Definitely a not to miss experience!
Pro-tip: The First Class lounge doesn’t have showers. So you have to go to the Star Alliance Business Class lounge to shower.
Los Angeles International Airport is about a two-hour drive from San Diego. There are lots of ways to get to LAX from San Diego. Because the flight didn’t leave until the evening, I took Amtrak.
It cost the same amount of miles flying from Los Angeles to Zurich that it does to fly to Frankfurt. So Zurich was my end destination. Besides, there’s a Park Hyatt there. 🙂
While in Frankfurt I visited the Business Class and First Class lounges. What can I say, I’m a lounge addict.
Park Hyatt Zurich
You used to be able to requalify for Hyatt Diamond elite status with 25 stays. Because a separate night counted as a stay I would bounce Hyatt hotels each night. Flying into Zurich gave me a chance to earn another hotel credit and stay at the Park Hyatt Zurich. Update: Hyatt Diamond is now called Hyatt Globalist. You can qualify for Hyatt Globalist when you stay 60 nights a year at Hyatt hotels.
I used 30,000 Hyatt points for a standard room. But got upgraded to a Junior Suite for free! And no, I didn’t tell them I was coming nor say it was a special occasion.
The Park Hyatt Mallorca had recently opened. And how often do you get a chance to be one the first guests? If you’re like me, that’s never. Yeah, not on the red carpet invite list either. 🙂
So I flew coach on Lufthansa from Zurich to Mallorca and stayed at the Park Hyatt Mallorca for two nights. My flight cost $145.65.
I paid $145.65 for a coach ticket from Mallorca to Paris. I stayed at the Hotel du Louve for 2 nights using Points + Cash. And booked a night at the Hyatt Paris Etolie for cheap, $182.81.
Sri Lankan Airlines Business Class Flight from Paris to Tokyo
Sri Lankan offered a cheap Business Class flight from Paris to Tokyo via Colombo for $1,107.04 including tax. Paying cash meant I earned EQM (Elite Qualifying Miles) with American Airlines. Plus a ton of RDM (ReDeemable Miles) for free flights.
They use the Salon Premium Icare lounge at Charles de Galle so we hung at there before our flight.
The flight included a free stop in Colombo both ways. Even better, it included a free room at the Airport Garden Hotel Colombo on both stopovers!
Despite the short layover, we did a tour of Columbo. I just wish we had more to explore more of Sri Lanka.
We visited the Serendib Lounge at Colombo Airport before the flight to Tokyo. It’s a pretty basic lounge but does have a 1 room spa and a shower. But the air conditioning wasn’t working during our visit. I’ll write up a review later.
The first night in Tokyo I stayed at the Andaz Tokyo in a Park View King room using Points + Cash. The cost was $211.32 with tax and 12,500 Hyatt points.
I paid cash and used a Diamond Suite upgrade for a night at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Because the cash rate was cheaper than the value of booking a Points + Cash rate. The total cost after taxes and drinks at the bar was $599.
My last night in Tokyo was at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in a Diplomat Suite using Points + Cash and a Diamond Suite upgrade. It cost $214.14 and 12,500 Hyatt points.
Before the flight to Paris, we visited the Cathay Pacific and the JAL Sakura Lounges in Narita. There’s also an American Airlines Admirals Club. If you aren’t EXP or flying in First or Business Class, you can get in free with the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Paris – Charles de Galle because I was flying to Hamburg the next day. They offered a super cheap rate of $101.38.
My roundtrip coach ticket from Paris to Hamburg on Air France cost $148.94.
In Hamburg, I alternated nights at the Reichshof Hamburg and the Park Hyatt Hamburg. For a regular room at the Reichshof Hamburg, I paid $192.18.
A Deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Hamburg cost $210.62.
When I went back to the Reichshof Hamburg, they gave me a suite with kitchenette. This was a cool room and I would definitely stay here again! My cost was $188.42.
Even though I had a very early flight, I stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris. I used 30,000 Hyatt points for a Park Deluxe room.
American Airlines Business Class From Paris to San Diego
I booked a 1-way flight from Paris to San Diego on American Airlines. My original flight was in Business Class from Paris to New York and in coach from New York to San Diego.
The day before I left, ExpertFlyer showed a seat in Business Class from Paris to Los Angeles via London. And a seat from Los Angeles to San Diego.
Not only would I fly in Business Class the entire way, I’d also get home three hours earlier! Win-win! So I called the EXP desk and switched my ticket. My flight cost $215.96 and 50,000 miles.
I visited both the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge and Admirals Club in the Charles de Galle Airport.
Pro-tip: You pay higher airline taxes flying out of London. So it’s not worth using miles for a coach flight. But can be worth it when you’re flying Business or First Class.
Here’s How You Can Do It Too
The quickest way to get miles and points is through credit card sign-up bonuses.
How to Earn United Airlines Miles
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
You can earn up to 60,000 United Airlines miles; you earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and an additional 20,000 miles when you spend another $8,000 in the first 6 months of getting the United MileagePlus Explorer card.
How to Earn Hyatt Points
After spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of getting the Hyatt card, you can earn 60,000 points.
Pro-tip: You earn 2 elite qualifying nights with every $5,000 you spend.
Chase Sapphire Cards
You can earn up to 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
And another 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to participating airlines and hotels like United Airlines and Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. So you can redeem your 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points for 50,000 airline miles or 50,000 hotel points.
Chase Ink Preferred
You can earn up to 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of getting the Chase Ink Preferred.
How to Earn American Airlines Miles
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard earns you 50,000 American Airlines miles when you spend $2,500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
You can earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of getting the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Pro-tip: The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard includes free membership to the Admirals Club.
American Express Starwood Cards
After completing the minimum spending and earning the sign-up bonus on both cards, you’ll have 60,000 Starwood points.
Starwood points transfer to many airlines like American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. And you get a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer points in 20,000 increments.
When you can transfer 60,000 Starwood points to American Airlines you get 75,000 American Airlines miles.
Pro-tip: Starwood points transfer to United Airlines at a 2:1 ratio. So you shouldn’t transfer Starwood points to United.
Last summer I took a 19-day trip and visited six countries: Switzerland, Mallorca, France, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Germany. It was the longest trip I’ve taken without my family. I had a blast and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Flying First Class on Lufthansa was an incredible experience. I didn’t have enough time in Mallorca so I’m planning a return visit. And believe it or not, this was my first visit to France. Yep!
Sri Lanka wasn’t on my bucket list but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see a little bit of the country. I haven’t been to Japan in over 40 years so it was interesting to see the changes. And I need to return to Hamburg.
The retail cost of this trip: $33, 200.78. But I didn’t pay anywhere near that. Instead, I used miles and points earned from credit cards like the United MileagePlus Explorer, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Preferred, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, and American Express Starwood personal and business cards.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about this trip.
Where was your longest trip?
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Read Other Helpful Posts:
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- Park Hyatt Mallorca Review: How to Get There
- Review: False Damage Claim and Why You Should Not Rent From Sixt Mallorca
- How to Get to LAX From San Diego on the Cheap
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