On the Road Again: Next Stop, South Pacific
Greetings from Auckland, New Zealand, where I’m in transit to the South Pacific island of Samoa – via Vancouver on one side and Nuku’alofa, Tonga on the other.
(If you’re coming from North America, it takes a while to get settled in this part of the world.)
I’ve been to New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Hawaii before, but this is effectively my first trip to the inner South Pacific. On the way home next week I hope to visit Fiji as well.
Travel Planning ($7,000 Ticket for $1,096, 10 Days Notice)
I booked this trip just 10 days ago with U.S. Airways miles. The cost of the ticket was 110,000 miles and $211 in taxes, which included two free stopovers in Auckland. I’ve never actually flown with U.S. Airways, so I didn’t have the miles to begin with — instead, I purchased them through an end-of-year bonus offer for $875. All told, I picked up the Business Class Air New Zealand award for exactly $1096.
Not bad for a ticket that would otherwise have cost $7,000+ if purchased from Air New Zealand itself, or even $1,700 for the Economy ticket I’d more likely pay for. Save at least $600 and avoid sitting in the back of the plane for a 15-hour flight — I like that.
Not counting the Fiji portion, which I’ll be doing as a side trip, the itinerary is as follows:
Note that if you’re coming to New Zealand (or Australia) on a Frequent Flyer award, you can effectively get a free flight to your choice of islands. You can also book it as an open-jaw — where you fly into one city and out of another, like I did here with Tonga (TBU) and Samoa (APW).
This part of the world is expensive to get to when paying for flights, but easy with awards as long as you have some flexibility on travel dates. The trip between Tonga and Samoa is especially interesting because the two countries are relatively close together, but divided by the international dateline. The flight from Tonga leaves at 9pm on a Tuesday, then arrives 90 minutes later at 1030pm… on a Monday.
Then on the flight back to Auckland, it leaves at 3pm Friday before arriving three hours later… on Saturday. You can be sure I carefully checked and rechecked my reservations and onward flights for this trip, because it would be just like me to screw that up.
3 Days Down, 362 to Go
I wanted to get 2010 off to a good start, so I left on New Year’s Day to head down to the other side of the world. This year my trip planning is getting more complex: I’ve got to make it to 20 new countries, and I’ve got to stay in the U.S. and Canada after September to promote my book. We’re also doubling readership here, ramping up the store, writing a second book for 2011, and so on.
It’s going to be intense, so I don’t want to waste any time. Three days of the only 2010 in history have already vanished! (And then there’s that whole dateline thing, which always confuses me.)
Perhaps your goals are different than mine. But whatever you need to do, better to get a head start now while everyone else is still making resolutions.
Cash out your miles and fly to the South Pacific!
Finally get started on that business idea you’ve always had!
Or whatever… you know what to do.
How is your 2010 going so far?
You can follow me on Twitter here
You can join AONC on Facebook here
Auckland at Night by SK
You and I started today very differently. You are purpose driven and today I turned into a sulker not quite sure what to do. Ha. So unlike me but that is what happens when I schedule a week to begin slowly, I start out slowly. So now I am changing that thanks for the kick in the butt this morning. Off to maximize my life.
So far I am super pumped about 2010 and all the energy around new beginnings. Thanks so much, Chris, for being such an inspiration! In 2010 I am releasing a new CD, a new book, launching my blog further, and quadrupling my income — those are my goals. I am also committed to continuing my non-conformity and pressing forward with my art and entrepreneurship! Your blog and newsletter have been really motivational, and here I come!
Nice view Chris, looks like you stayed in the Hyatt.
Just discovered your site yesterday and liking it a lot. Keep up the good work and enjoy the warmth (weather and smiles) of Fiji, Samoa & Tonga. Bula Bula!!
Hi, Chris. What a fantastic trip! I can’t wait to hear more about it. We just had an all-day planning session on January 1 at a local hotel to review last year and make plans for this year. We used your annual review process, and it worked great! We leave on October 1 for our trip around the world, so all the hard budgeting and downsizing work of the past is finally seeing a payoff. In addition to the trip, my husband is going to finish his Spanish lessons (speaking it very well already), and I’m going to run a half-marathon before we go (my first).
Here’s to a great year for all of us!
Have you heard of the Tribe Wanted guys out in Fiji? You might find it an interesting visit!
Thanks for this post, Chris! I haven’t felt like 2010 has begun for me because I’ve been letting myself get bogged down by obligations that have dragged into the new year. Your words have reminded me that now is here and that I have to stop making excuses. I plan to make 2010 a great year!
Chris, great to hear from you. Totally jealous that you’re in the South Pacific. Wish I was. I’m really glad I signed up for your emails because they are a constant reminder of how I need to do more with my life. Thanks for being there.
Things are going well so far. One goal is to meet Seth Godin and head to New York for the first time ever (Yup I’m a New York virgin.)
Going to accomplish both next Friday when I attend his live book launch and then his 2 hour Q and A afterward. Pretty excited about that.
That will be my official launch into 2010.
Have a great trip my friend.
It’s truly inspiring to see how good planning and motivation get you to your destination. Both are weaknesses of mine. Thanks for writing and thanks for the travel tip, too.
So excited you’re in my homeland right now. I can’t believe the incredible deal you got to fly to New Zealand onwards. Never knew that about the island hopping extension – thanks for the super tip.
When I do eventually get back home for the Rugby World Cup in 2011 I’ll be sure to get a great deal.
Keep rocking into the New Year.
You’re off to an awesome start! Thanks again for sharing and keeping us inspired. I always wanted to cross the International date line – that must have been different.
Sounds like you are having a fantastic start to 2010. Your posts have re-inspired me to finally create a digital product of my own, which will be available on my website soon. Thanks for your writings during 2009, I’m looking forward to reading your emails over this year.
my 2010 is off to a more productive start after discovering your blog.
thanks for the inspiration!
So far it has started off great! Just launched my new website, will be heading to Hawaii in two weeks, and then to Japan and Malaysia the first week in February. Hopefully my first digital product will be available towards the end of the year with a follow on book later next year. Here’s to the new decade being the best one yet!
Love the energy! This blog is so inspiring.
Thanks so much, Chris. I’m so excited about my plans for this year, and your advice and example are a big part of that.
I was surprised seeing you were in Auckland in your email from yesterday. I’d be interested in catching up at the airport on your return trip – have you thought about catching up with your Kiwi readers while you are in transit? Anyhow, thanks for the link to the Aweber video – you are the equivalent of Miss Manners of blogging – your good manners and respectful, helpful attitude keep me engaged – so much so I am working on being more mindful of who I am talking with – You are the Gentleman blogger and I’m learning from you!
Yes sir, I’m going to do a small Auckland meetup on the evening of the 12th – would love to see you then. I’m still sorting out the details, but will post something soon.
Wow – I’m exhausted just reading about what you plan to do this year! Good for you. I’m working on trying to get my own location independent writing career down to 20 hours per week while maintaining (and even increasing) my income.
That will leave me more free time to enjoy my travels and get away from my computer more and see the world that I’m out here to see.
Sounds like you hit the ground running for 2010! (or flying….)
That’s funny you mention the International Date line… I was just debating with someone the other day as to where it was, and how it works. Good to know a professional traveler, such as yourself, if hopping over it, and still confused by it!
Enjoy yourself down under, and I look forward to reading about your up coming South Pacific adventures!
This is some awesome stuff, Chris – I hope I’m able to do this someday. My 2010 is going well so far, so I hope it stays that way for the rest of the year.
You’re quite the inspiring man. Keep it up.
Wow, talk about a busy 2010!! So far, mine’s been lovely, but not so exciting I suppose. 🙂 I’ve completed four days of my 365-day photo project, which is a blast so far. I’m even planning a possible trip for my husband and I in March. Just a tiny one, but it’s been a while for us to go somewhere different!
Thanks for the inspiration Chris! I spent today writing content for my first paid course via my website… yup, good to get the jump start.
Enjoy what sounds like some pretty spectacular travel!
Happy new year and happy travels Chris. Any plans for visiting Australia soon? You’re so close at the moment, yet so far away. Would love to catch up anytime you’re in Melbourne.
Have a great time in Samoa, Chris.
You know, I think you should start a photo blog. It would be great to see some of your photos from all around the world 🙂
Gotta second Karen’s request for more photos.
BTW, just got back from an amazing trip to Taiwan using frequent flier miles. Thanks so much, Chris. 😀
Sounds like you inspired a lot of people with your early start on travel. How are the people in Samoa coping after the big wave?
I watched the 6 short interviews with Aweber. I enjoyed your insight. Own your website concept and don’t worry about others doing a similar thing.
I remember the personal note you sent me. My reaction was to write back to ask if it was really you and not an autoresponse.
Your reminder to think about who you are writing for every e-mail. Why are they reading my blog or e-mail?
Thanks for the start of a new and exciting year. This is the year I will finally make some money and get a family business started with my three sons. We all need our own income that we control.
Glad you’ve got off to (quite literally) a flying start. I’m a bit worried though by your choice of words; “this year I’ve got to make it to 20 new countries”. You make it sound like a chore!
Your goals are exciting and rewarding and not a chore!
Although I’m sure aspects (flight delays) make it seem like one sometimes.
Good luck and all the best for 2010.
You certainly have kicked the year off to a flying start. My first resolution to kick in is getting up at 6 in the morning, instead of 7. That gives me a whole hour to work on business stuff before heading out to the 9-5 – an extra 5 hours a week. Pretty good while still in the transition mode of full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur. Am loving it so far – feel very time-rich and optimistic about the year ahead and future in general.
Would be interesting flying Tonga to Samoa overnight on Jan 1st. You could celebrate New Year’s Day twice! Oh boy, the hangover!
Keep up the good work.
Happy New Year & thanks for a new awesome post!
This year I started writing down things I did that have positive impact in my life, daily. It feels great to focus on them. So far it’s giving me energy to do more, and am on a good start to the new year.
Hope your trip goes well, and I am looking forward to reading more about it.
The South Pacific is my favorite place in the world. I spent 6 weeks in New Zealand and Samoa this last Feb/March and it was awesome, paddleboarding in the clear, wam waters along the reef.
I hope Samoa will still be a good place to visit after the Tsunami. I stayed at an intimate, wonderful resort called Coconuts, which I hear was demolished.
Happy Travels, Live well, and continue encouraging the rest of us to explore this wonderful land we live in!
Congrats on such a great start and thank you for asking about me 🙂
It is funny, but exactly during the New Years I decided that I am going to travel the American Discovery Trail starting on July 28th, 2012.
I know it’s not a goal for this year, but I am still excited about traveling across the United States. I have never really hiked before, but I know I can do it and when I am done with it, it will become an outstanding experience to build on.
Keep up the great work!
I can’t believe we just missed you in Auckland! How ironic you arrived the day after we left…
I’m tracking through my memories of walking down that street in your picture, heading to buy groceries at Foodtown. I will miss Auckland! Hope to meet you in Bangkok.
I have always been interested in Tonga, but not sure why. I suppose I will get there eventually. Until then I am off for Japan at the end of the month, which I love. I liked Auckland, but preferred the South Island.
Happy new year Chris, Great start to the new year. You are an inspiration. One of my goal for 2010 was to reconnect with my best friend in high school. Lost contact over the year and then 2 years ago we reconnected for a short while because of tragedy. 2 days ago we met again on facebook and are promising to keep in touch on a regular basis. I’m also working on a startup business on the web for 2010. Thanks again for the great posts. Again South Pacific.
Next time you’re in NZ it’d be great to organise one of your meet ups. I’m sad to have been in the same city as you without realising it.
Have a great time in the islands. Be sure to try some kava!
Ah, the South Pacific sounds amazing right now! I’ve flown Air NZ twice – once to NZ and once to Sydney – and it’s by far the best economy class I’ve ever been in.
Peter – you can also have 2 new years eve’s by flying Auckland to Honolulu on Jan 1, which I did a few years ago.
Global Traveler – International datelines are great for that reason. I always feel good knowing that NZ is one of the first places to welcome the new year.
The question is, were you energetic enough to enjoy two new years parties or did all the flying wear you out 😛
Your comments are welcome! Please be nice and use your real name.
If you have a website, include it in the website field (not in the text of the comment).
Want to see your photo in the comments? Visit Gravatar.com to get one.