Today is a big day!
There is a blogger event in Universal Studios Orlando – a blogger event that is for the whole family. It will be the first time in 7 years of blogging that the whole family gets to attend a blogger event.
It will be the first time in 7 years of blogging that we get to attend the blogger event of a lifetime.
We have had some fun experiences as bloggers and some fun opportunities, but before we even go, we have a feeling this will be the one that takes the cake, and what a joy and blessing that our kids get to be there to enjoy it too.
One-year ago, I started a family travel blog called MousekeMoms.com with my best friend, Kiz. We both live in different states, but we have been friends since the day I married Alex.
Our husbands were college buddies, Alex being the best man at their wedding (before I was in the picture) and then a few years later, he was in our wedding. At our wedding, it was really the first time I had met his wife Kiz. She had her first baby 5 days before our wedding via c-section, and yet, they were at our wedding in a small town in Idaho a few hours from their home. I didn’t realize at that time what a sacrifice and commitment that was, until I had my own first child, also via emergency c-section. Five days after giving birth, I would not go anywhere (having just been released from the hospital), let alone show up at a wedding.
Over the years, friends have come and gone, but our friendship with this family has continued and gotten stronger. Our kids are close, the wives are close and the husbands are too.
It’s a really beautiful thing.
Both of us love traveling. In fact, if you have read portions of our story, you will find that travel is one of the things that got us into our massive debt-load. Those trips Alex and I took early in our marriage were a contributor to the $100k debt-load. Our book, The 2% Rule To Get Debt Free Fast, shares this and other factors.
When we were attempting to become debt-free, we did a lot of things wrong at first, but we figured out a way to pay off our debts fast, while not sacrificing many of the things we enjoy. It is called our 2% rule and it allowed us to pay off over $90k of debt in three years, while still enjoying travel and a few other niceties. Again, the 2% rule and how we paid off our debts fast are shared in our book.
We loved travelling then, and we still love it today. We just do it smarter now.
One of those smarter ways was to start a travel blog to open up opportunities for discount travel, opportunities for travel events, earn a little money on our travel experiences and get the tax benefits of our travels. (Learn about starting a blog for only $125 HERE)
I am happy to report that one of these opportunities has arisen – the chance to take a $16K VIP trip to Universal Studios Orlando for a very small cost.
This event has a few sponsors, but Universal Studios Orlando is one of the main sponsors. VIP tour and park tickets, the new water park, Blue Man Group, meals, a beautiful resort hotel, and even a night in the Universal Studios park all to ourselves after park closing are included in this exclusive blogger event.
The value of the trip is $2k per person, and we paid $350 per person over the age of three – so for the 8 of us, it is like a $16k trip that we only paid $2,800 for (our 2-year old is free). It really is a travel opportunity of a lifetime and a great reward for the hours put into starting, writing, and sharing via a blog!
We have been packing and preparing for this trip for quite some time. We will be sharing on my travel site more experiences, details, how we announced the trip to the kids (hint: Christmas is involved), how we are preparing for the trip, how we are flying super cheap, and even some fun additional surprises and more fun at MousekeMoms.com.
Our kids are so excited that one of the joys this all brings is seeing their faces, their excitement and their joy as we share in this adventure together as a family.
I will be sharing live Facebook videos on the MousekeMoms Facebook Page and even some on The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page, Instagram photos on MousekeMoms and The Thrifty Couple Instagram pages and posts before, during and after the trip too on MousekeMoms.com.
We will still have many posts nearly daily here on The Thrifty Couple while we are gone, so although we will be going to Florida and visiting the theme parks for the first time (with kids – Alex and I went on a whim 18 years ago, our first year of marriage and with loads of debt to do so). Our kids have never been and Alex and I haven’t been in 18-years.
That brings me to my next fun point – on Monday, August 7, Alex and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary. We will be staying at the Universal Studios Loews Sapphire Falls Resort with our kids, enjoying the day in the amazing-looking pools and reflecting on our 18-year journey thus far. Alex will be sharing more about this day 18-years ago and even about this day last year on Monday, so watch for that special post. 🙂
Even though we will still have some informative, frugal and fun ideas shared through blog posts here on our site while we are out, we did want to share our schedule with you so that you can follow along our journey in Orlando Florida.
You can see the Family Forward 2017 schedule of events and coordinate those with our live Facebook videos and our Instagram photos, but you can also see our family specific schedule and plans on my travel site at MousekeMoms.com. We have a few extra surprises!
With that, we leave on a jet plane tonight at 10:50 pm from the Salt Lake City International Airport – a red-eye that arrives at 5:50 am in Orlando on Saturday. This is the first time our whole family has flown somewhere together, so it’s a big event.
Why the red-eye flight? Because it is saved us $210 per ticket, 8 x $210 = $1680 savings. Basically, our flights became half off! After flying red-eye once, we vowed to never do it again. But a $1600 savings is just, well, massive! The better news is that on the flights, we didn’t have to actually buy all 8, we had some flight credits from voluntarily being bumped (in anticipation of this event that we have known about for 8 months, we almost always try to bump when we can) and some sky miles. So in the end, we only had to buy just a few of the flights….HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!? And because the flight credits were cash value, we got the lowest possible tickets to get twice as many for the cash credits we had.
Now the red-eye flight will likely not be fun at all, but hopefully it will be worth it.
So our journey starts tonight….
But the Universal Studios blogger portion starts on Tuesday. What are we doing Saturday – Monday? MousekeMoms will share it all.
We hope to see you with us on our adventure online!