Well I shall tell you why for two different reasons… but first…
Personally, I feel travelling presents so many great opportunities for kids to learn and for families to bond and create lasting memories. It doesn’t matter if that is a road trip and pitching a tent, or travelling first class around the world, all travel presents the opportunity for personal growth. Sometimes even experiences that seem rubbish at the time, turn into great opportunities to strengthen relationships (e.g. camping in a deluge as a kid one Christmas was crap, but we stuck it out together and I will always remember it….)
So when our first child together was born, I wanted to make it a priority to see as much of the world as possible as a family. So at the ripe old age of 3 months, Tiny Touristo did his first small road trip, and by 6 months he had completed his first trip to Japan. He is now 5 years old and is at his absolute best when adventuring.
Come on, how does this relate to autism though?! Well…just after Touristo turned 3 he was diagnosed with severe autism. Now my attention suddenly changed from prioritising adventures, to prioritising therapy so he can reach his fullest potential. This sort of intensity of therapies was incredibly expensive and draining. There just wasn’t money to do the fun stuff… AT ALL. This is where points and autism link up. Even if your family is at this point where all the other bills are immense, there are still ways to travel and have amazing experiences as a family. By dedicating a little bit of time and energy, there are ways to still travel even when your budget wouldn’t otherwise allow.
The second reason, and this is when a passing hobby turned into a complete obsession… Touristo was now a bit older and the financial stress had decreased to the point where by saving we could go back to taking budget conscious holidays. Now as I said, Touristo is a great traveller except now he is bigger and can reach everything. I was planning a trip to Japan and the idea of him flicking the tray table open and shut for 9.5 hours was stressing me out.
Up until this point his sister, The Princess has secured us the bassinet row so this hadn’t been an issue…but now what to do?!?!?
The answer was so simple. Of course, in a business class pod he would not be able to reach! Business class would make everything so much more easily managed as it also offers a whole lot of other autism friendly features such as faster check-in and priority security. I am a genius!!! Oh wait…that is over $4,000AU return per person….. not even close to happening!!!!! But after much research I found a way to buy points (through Avianca Life Miles) and redeem them for Asiana business class tickets to Japan. It ended up costing about the same as flexible economy but less than premium economy (I will outline the exact amounts and how to do this in a post soon).
So that’s why I am here. I think frequent flyer points can add a little extra something to ALL families. However for me, it was autism that really inspired my obsessive point hacking and I feel could bring enormous value to other families in similar situations. The reason I have smooshed this information all together is because I want to show how possible it is to adventure when autism is in the mix and ways of making it easier to accomplish whether that is point hacks to pay for adventures or practical tips to make it easier as some parts of travelling are not exactly autism friendly without making accomodations.
So I hope any readers of this page can take something useful away. If so, remember to subscribe and check me out on Facebook.