Greetings, Travel Codex readers! As you’ve likely gathered from Scott’s post on Monday, I’m Sriram, of the Road More Traveled blog, formerly on UPGRD, and now a proud member of Travel Codex. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 2+ years writing for UPGRD, but alas, all great things must come to an end. I’m grateful to Scott for the invitation to join Travel Codex, and look forward to sharing my insights with you. I’ll kick off with my first “official” Travel Codex post tomorrow, but for new readers, I wanted to start off with an introduction about what The Road More Traveled is about, and what is and isn’t changing in the weeks and months ahead.
A Different Kind of Points & Miles Blog
The Road More Traveled isn’t exactly a “traditional” points & miles blog. Some of it is by design, based on my kooky travel preferences, but much is dictated by personal circumstances. Please see my recent Million Mile Secrets interview for more on the background of how my travel and blogging hobby got started, but basically, I found my way to the points & miles game when my former employer started sending me on frequent business trips to India. Eventually, I traded in the hectic life of a public accounting firm for the much more relaxed one of a family office, but it was a double-edged sword of sorts. Though I finally had time to blog, with a new position involving practically zero business travel, I found myself in a no-man’s land of frequent travel. A few personal trips a year meant maybe qualifying for marginal airline and hotel elite status. Think AAdvantage Gold and HHonors Silver. That makes the typical points & miles perks – complimentary premium cabin upgrades, lounge access, suite upgrades, aspirational awards, etc. – difficult to achieve.
That’s not to say impossible. I decided that low-level status really isn’t worth chasing given all the recent devaluations, so I set out as an airline and hotel free agent. Of course, I still enjoy a good premium cabin or suite experience, but for the most part, it’s courtesy of a premium cabin/room fare sale based on which airline provides me the best schedule, and which hotel provides the best location. Meanwhile, I never really understood the credit card game, but with lounge access and flexible currencies providing opportunities for premium redemptions on a variety of airlines – and with bonus points for travel purchases, an easy way to monetize my affinity for road trips and cruises – I’ve dipped my toe into the water. Ultimately, that’s what I hope to convey through this blog. If you’re a “tweener” or infrequent traveler, you can still rack up those points. Or even if you have no interest in the points, driving across the country, hopping on a cruise ship, and staying in boutique hotels is a ton of fun. Especially if you have a mild crazy streak like me…
What’s Not Changing
For the most part, the blog’s content will remain the same. I got away from my intended focus on road trips and cruises last year a little, thanks to a couple of insanely cheap international airfares I had to take advantage of. Due to some personal changes, the focus shifts back to crazy road trips and the occasional cruise. Last year, I started covering selected product launches and milestone flights, such as American’s 787 launch flight and US Airways’ farewell flight. That will continue as opportunities permit, along with trying new airlines where I can. In fact, I’ll be part of an exciting product launch, and a frankly insane long weekend trip to sample three new airlines, which you can read more about tomorrow.
Also not changing: most posts will still go up on Saturdays. This week will be an exception, though. My insane long weekend trip precludes getting a post prepared on time, but regular Saturday posts resume on November 12th.
What IS Changing
The big change is one due to a major change in family circumstances. My wife and I welcomed our first son, Ashok, to the world in August, and he was immediately bestowed the title of Assistant Travel Editor. I must say, he’s by far the most adorable Assistant Travel Editor out there, though admittedly I am biased.
Of course, toting around a Mini-me presents its own set of challenges. My wife and I decided that we’re going to put most air travel on hiatus for a while at least, though we do have our first overnight road trip with him planned for later this month. We plan on gradually acclimating him to longer road trips, and eventually a cruise, and I’ll be sharing our experience with traveling with an infant as we do so. As mentioned earlier, though, I do still plan some new airline product reviews until we start flying as a family, though these will be fewer and farther between.
Also, while I will continue to incorporate food-related posts into larger trip reports, I will be discontinuing the stand-alone restaurant reviews that I periodically composed. I am looking at options of bringing those back in a different medium, so if you enjoyed the food posts, stay tuned.