Where Team TPG Spent Their Summer Vacations
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Here at The Points Guy, we’ve got travel on the brain, whether we’re planning a relaxing beach getaway to Cape Cod, spending a long weekend in Nashville or cashing in points and miles to go on a dream trip around the world. From the beaches of the Marshall Islands to the middle of the Australian Outback, here’s where TPG’s editors, writers and staff went on vacation this summer.
1. Egypt, Jordan, Botswana and Malawi
I just got back from an amazing trip to Jordan, Egypt, Botswana and Malawi. My Dad and I started the first part of the trip in Cairo — which was empty and safe by the way! — where we got a chance to see the Sphinx and pyramids up close and stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. Check out the Facebook Live video, below:
Sunset on the Nile chat! Let’s talk about my first trip to Egypt ?? ✈
Posted by The Points Guy on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Next up was Jordan, where we explored Amman, Petra and Wadi Rum, which was unbelievably magical and spiritual. I had heard about it through friends, but for some reason it gets overshadowed by Petra, which is also amazing, but in a different way. Jordan must be on your travel to-do list — it’s safe, clean, has amazing food and is home to so much history it can be hard to comprehend. Then, it was time to visit the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We went fishing and saw elephants at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, then spent a few nights at the Belmond Sabute Elephant Lodge. During a game drive in Chobe National Park, we got really close to giraffes, leopards and lions!
After all that time in the wild, we needed to unwind and headed to Kaya Mawa Lodge on Likoma Island, a tiny island in Lake Malawi with insane beaches, friendly locals and a chill vibe like I’ve never experienced. Definitely go to Jordan and Malawi if you get the chance. I highly recommend it.” — Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
2. Rome and Morocco
“In July, I went to see U2 play in Rome with my closest friends from high school, exactly 30 years after we’d seen them play in Modena, Italy, in what was then the first rock show for most of us. On this tour, U2 played the entire Joshua Tree album — we just were not going to miss it, even if it meant upending busy schedules. We got an Airbnb in the heart of Rome and all met there for a long weekend. I snagged a last-minute coach flight on Alitalia from JFK for 35,000 miles and proceeded to have a blast with my oldest friends and the music that used to be the soundtrack to our lives. I used to live in Rome as a young reporter with my first serious job, and I got married there, so going back to a city both so beautiful and so full of poignant memories would have been fantastic even without the music.
For extra AvGeek points, I flew back to NYC the long way — via Casablanca (pictured below) and Rabat in Morocco, Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam — to collect my first flight on the Embraer 190, the last on the Airbus A340-500 before it’s retired and a bunch of Skymiles on KLM to keep up my Delta status for the year. I got home to Brooklyn jet lagged beyond words, but really, really happy.” — Alberto Riva, Managing Editor
3. Edinburgh and London
“I snagged a super-cheap flight to Edinburgh on Norwegian Air and that evolved into my summer vacation. Frankly, this city was not on my top bucket list, but it ended up thrilling my wife and me for many reasons. We loved how walkable the Edinburgh is, the fact that there are gorgeous views almost everywhere, that the people were universally friendly and that it never felt like we were in tourist hell. London, by comparison, was just a big, loud, crowded city — I lived here once a long time ago and it seemed more charming back then. I’d recommend a visit to the Scottish Highlands for anyone who likes the great outdoors, but use a guide or else the history and relevance may be lost on you. It will add a whole new dimension when watching Braveheart.” — James Cury, VP, Editorial
4. Sydney and the Australian Outback
“I went to Australia for the first time last November and spent two weeks visiting friends in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne after seeing a Deal Alert from JFK to SYD. A few months later, our team came across yet another epic fare sale so I went back in late-May, this time for a camping road trip and to visit Uluru in the heart of the Outback.
That time we went #camping with the #kangaroos at #WombeyanCaves, halfway between Sydney & Canberra. What an incredible place, and $15 per person per night for a sweet campsite with bathrooms/showers and epic hikes. #Australia #howstheserenity #travel #video @australia @visitnsw
A post shared by Kaeli Conforti (@kaelitravels) on
In what was quite possibly the greatest four days of my life, I went on Mulgas Adventures’ Rock to Rock Tour, where we spent our days hiking, taking in the beautiful scenery at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and nearby Watarrka National Park (King’s Canyon) and learning about the history and culture of Australia’s indigenous people. Each night, we cooked dinner as a group and camped out in authentic Aussie swags — glorified sleeping bags with a small mattress built in — under bajillions of stars. There’s nothing like being unplugged in the absolute middle of nowhere, singing around the campfire with 20 of your new best friends, looking up at the Milky Way and falling asleep to the sound of wild dingoes howling in the distance. Heaven.” — Kaeli Conforti, Senior Editor
Always thinking of you, Oz, a place that always keeps me humbled yet at the same time, makes me feel invincible. I climbed up on top of our @mulgasadventures caravan truck thing to get this shot, egged on by a guy from Canada who was helping us do it a few at a time (sorry Mom!) #tbt #throwback #australia #uluru #sunset #oz #outback #bucketlist #ntaustralia #nofilter @ausoutbacknt @australia #seeaustralia
A post shared by Kaeli Conforti (@kaelitravels) on
“I landed on Ireland for 4th of July weekend since the weather is cool and tourists typically focus on other European destinations. We drove around the country, staying at small cottages we found on Airbnb and making sure to avoid popular tour bus stops along the way.” — Zach Honig, Editor-at-Large
— Zach Honig (@ZachHonig) June 30, 2017
6. Cape Cod
“My best friends and I have visited Cape Cod every summer for the past eight years, so it’s become quite the tradition. This year was no different and we trekked from across the country to Wellfleet — and our favorite spot, Cahoon Hollow Beach — for a long weekend. Instead of driving, I opted to fly with Cape Air from Boston (BOS) to Provincetown (PVC) and got the best seat on the nine-passenger Cessna 402.” — Emily McNutt, Associate Editor
A post shared by Emily McNutt (@mcnutt_mcnutt_mcnutt) on
7. São Paulo, Brazil, and Park City, Utah
“I found a cheap fare from New York to São Paulo, so I said, why not? and got to explore the positively enormous city — the largest in the Americas and 12th largest in the world. I ate a ton of açai, drank plenty of caipirinhas and tried out a local specialty, the mortadella sandwich. It’s such an underrated urban destination that deserves more attention from travelers!
A post shared by Nick Ellis (@nellis_ellis) on
A few weeks later, I spent 4th of July weekend in Park City, Utah, at my friend’s house. I’d never been ‘Out West,’ so was eager to get my fill of high altitude, hiking and all that fresh, mountain air. Winter is high season without a doubt, but there’s still plenty to do there in the summer — and it’s a whole lot cheaper, too.” — Nick Ellis, Assistant Editor
A post shared by Nick Ellis (@nellis_ellis) on
8. Lebanon and Jordan
“I redeemed a whole lot of American miles to fly Royal Jordanian in business class from New York to Beirut via Amman — and, unfortunately, in economy on the way back — and explored Lebanon with two buddies from college. The people were friendly, the politics were fierce, the history was rich and the food was delicious.
A post shared by Brendan Dorsey (@brendandorsey1) on
It’s an incredibly diverse country that’s been hit by endless conflict and crisis — and has seemingly held itself together with what feels like twine. Anthony Bourdain’s take on Beirut describes it best:
“A place where bikinis and hijabs appeared to coexist seamlessly — where all the evils, all the problems of the world could be easily found, right next to and among all the best things about being human and being alive.”
We then flew to Jordan and spent a couple of days there, enjoying the ancient ruins of Petra and spending our last day at a resort on the Dead Sea.
A post shared by Brendan Dorsey (@brendandorsey1) on
9. South Africa, Japan, Oceania and Mongolia
“My wife Katie and I gave up our apartment and hit the road in late-June to become TPG’s de facto nomadic writers. Before United’s stopover devaluation, we booked a series of flights for 75,000 miles total that took us to Cape Town for seven nights; Japan for over a month; island hopping through Oceania to Guam, Saipan and the Marshall Islands; and finally ending in Mongolia, where we’ve been for the last 10 days, cruising through the Gobi Desert on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. Each stop along the way has been memorable for one reason or another, but Japan’s incredible food, excellent transportation network and orderly culture has me already longing to go back.” — JT Genter, Points and Miles Writer
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) August 18, 2017
10. Austin, Texas
“I went to Austin with two of my closest friends. We’re all huge foodies so this was basically heaven on earth for us. I had one of the best burgers of my life, and we waited outside for BBQ for two hours — in the Texas heat, thank you very much — but it was so worth it. The tacos were obviously top-notch, too. You basically had to roll me off the plane by the time we got home. I’d recommend going to La Barbecue, Uchi, Torchy’s Tacos and Perla’s.” — Samantha Rosen, Social Media Editor
A post shared by Samantha Rosen (@samantha_rosen) on
11. Los Angeles
“I’d been to LA a few times, but never as a full-fledged adult. One of my friends from college recently moved to upscale, laid back Manhattan Beach, so this provided an excellent opportunity to visit for the week. I waited too long to book and ended up paying cash for a round-trip on Virgin America, but it was my first time on the airline and I was pleased — hooray for mood lighting! Aside from some cloudy days — June gloom is real — LA was great, the beaches (and people) were gorgeous and we ate burritos recklessly. Since coming back to the Big Apple, I’ve taken several weekend trips to Atlantic Beach near the Rockaways and finally had a chance to swim in the ocean!” — Wallace Cotton, Community Manager
A post shared by Wallace (@thefabricofourlives) on
12. Accra, Ghana — and Europe
“I traveled to Accra, Ghana, for our annual PeaceJam conference with Nobel Laureate Betty Williams — 500 children participated this year! Shortly after leaving Accra, I traveled around Europe with my family, visiting Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Rome.” — Becca Denenberg, Marketing and Events Manager
A post shared by Becca Denenberg (@beccaden) on
“As part of my quest to visit all 50 states, I jumped on a cheap August ticket to Alaska during a Delta fare sale earlier this year. I spent five days hiking and biking around Chugach State Park, tucking away pounds of local seafood and exploring the frontier bars, bingo halls and other quirks of Anchorage nightlife. Aside from a phenomenal Airbnb experience — complete with an adorable puppy, pictured below — my travel expenses were covered by points and travel credits through my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. That leaves plenty of room in my budget to celebrate when I hit state #50, North Dakota, later this year.” — Peter Rothbart, Points and Miles Contributor
A post shared by Chewie H. Pupnstuff (@wookiepuppy) on
“Because of work schedules and upcoming vacations, we decided to take advantage of Summer Fridays and go on a bunch of weekend trips. At the top of my list would have to be Nashville — my boyfriend and I have visited several times and it’s one of our favorite places to go for a quick trip. Plus, I have a feeling it will remain one of our favorite places since we just got engaged there this summer and will be getting married there next year!” — Kate O’Brien, Director of Marketing and Compliance
15. A New York City Staycation
“The point of vacation is to feel like you’re not at home, but when travel is limited, like it was for me this summer, a staycation is in order. Where to for this New Yorker then? The shores of Brooklyn. Coney Island definitely transported me and every part of it — from Totonno’s pizza and the rides at Luna Park to the frozen custard (which was invented there!) and Nathan’s hot dogs — lends the feeling of being on a seaside sabbatical. Sure, you can see Manhattan from the boardwalk, but one ride on the Wonder Wheel and it feels far, far away.” — Cindy Augustine, Freelance Editor
A post shared by C I N D Y ?? (@cindyaugustine) on
“Traveling is all about experiencing new things. This summer, we decided to visit Lyon, Berlin and Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia, and our points and miles allowed us to experience these places in style.” — Adam Kotkin, Chief of Staff
Where did you go this summer? Tell us about your adventures below.
Featured image by JT Genter.
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