Talk Wealth to Me

#018: Travel Hack Tips from a Frugal Traveler with Sunny Burns

September 12, 2019 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback, Sunny Burns Season 1 Episode 18
Talk Wealth to Me
#018: Travel Hack Tips from a Frugal Traveler with Sunny Burns
Show Notes Transcript

When's the last time you went on vacation? Has it been too long to even remember?!

We get it - traveling is hard for a multitude of reasons. The biggest: The expense.

The average vacation costs about $1,145 per person. And when you're on a tighter budget, perhaps you're paying off credit card debt or student loans, or maybe you're working hard to build up your 401(k) and emergency savings accounts, it can seem like travel is no longer within your financial reach.

Joining us on the show is Sunny Burns, founder of FamVestor.com. Sunny shares how he used credit card hacks to travel:

  • roundtrip to Japan with his wife for $30
  • on a 5-day cruise from Puerto Rico to New Jersey for $250 per person
  • As well as a three-week backpacking trip through five different European nations with a six-month-old for less than $2,400!

So what exactly is credit card hacking?
Credit card hacking is utilizing credit cards and especially credit cards with high bonuses to gain lots of miles very quickly and then using those miles to get free flights.
 
How can you get started on travel hacking?
Check out our full conversation with Sunny Burns, then head over to Sunny's website to learn more about how his family uses credit card hacks to travel the world: famvestor.com/travel

About the Show
Comments, questions or suggestions for the show? Email us at [email protected]

To learn more about DebtWave Credit Counseling, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Support the show (https://www.sdflc.org/help-sdflc/donate/)
Intro:

W elcome to Talk Wealth to Me, a safe space podcast where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance.

Felipe Arevalo:

The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting, legal, tax, or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me. This is the podcast where we talk everything financial, personal and otherwise. Today we've got an incredible guest for you. Uh , we talked about travel and we talked about traveling on a budget. You're not gonna want to miss this because Mr. Sunny Burns , very young man, very , uh, Gosh. Astute young man , uh , with a young family, has traveled Europe , uh , on nickels. Uh, he has done a cruise for about $250. A person. He is an expert. I would call him an expert in , in credit card hacking. We learn all this and more in today's podcast.

Katie Utterback:

Thank you so much for joining us on the show today. We have sunny burns . Sunny is a full time mechanical engineer for the Department of Defense. He's happily married with two amazing little boys. He's also the founder of famvestor.com where he writes about financial independence and creating strong families. And Sunny , we have you on the show today because you actually shared with us that you've saved $10,000 in free flights in three years. You've also backpacked Europe with your six month old traveling to five different countries in three weeks for less than $2,400. And you happened to go on a five day cruise from Puerto Rico to New Jersey spending about $250 per person.

Sunny Burns:

Okay. Yeah. So yeah, I, a lot of people feel, I feel like once they become parents that kinda their traveling life is over at that point. But you know, my wife and I, we really love traveling. Um, so we never wanted it to end. So from the get go when he was like two months old, we would, we took like a camping trip to um, Assateague Island where the wild horses roam. So we just started camping with them at two months old , um, in the beach. And from there we just kept going hiking and taking them on long walks. And he was a great traveler, you know, inside the home. He was rambunctious. He was crazy , um, and wild. But I felt like once we got outdoors, he loved looking at nature and the constant changing environment. And when we took that six months , uh, when we took that three week backpacking trip through Europe, he was great. We were a little uncertain. The , you know, taking this six month old out into , uh , out into Europe, a foreign country where it's unknown, we don't have family to help us. Oh, how well it was going to go. You know, is he gonna Freak out every day? But no, he was perfectly content. I just had a hiking backpack with me. My wife had a small, like camelback carrying out water and then a mounted backpack. So he just are a mounted front carrier, the Ergo baby carrier. And so he was just mounted as six months old looking forward. And he was perfectly content as we traveled, you know, going from England to France, to Switzerland, to Germany to Austria and just and loved every minute of it. And we had an awesome time.

Chase Peckham:

So I think let's start there. How did you do that so incredibly inexpensively ? I mean obviously your , you said you came with basically the backpacks on your back and the child on your front. So where did you stay? How did you do this? I mean, how did you get around for $2,400?

Sunny Burns:

Right? So yeah, we didn't check any bags, so it was literally just carry on and I think we took like 20 diapers with us and I only had one pair of pants. My wife only had one pair of pants. We had a bunch of underwear, a bunch of socks. But really we tried to keep it as minimalist as possible , uh, just to kind of really get into the real spirit of backpacking. And we only paid for one night's lodging. Actually in England we stayed at an Airbnb and everywhere else was a kind of friends we had coordinated with ahead of time somewhere . Friends of friends and my , um, my mother-in-law grew up in Austria, so she has some contacts in Europe that we stayed with as well. Uh, so we were just staying with families along the way overnight . Uh , we would use their sink to wash any clothes that got soiled during the day and dry , uh , hang it to dry and , and it would be dry by morning. So we had very minimalistic clothing and was able to get away with just one backpack doing that. And that's how we saved on housing and lodging costs as well. Just staying with family, friends of family and any contacts we could kind of make.

Katie Utterback:

And maybe you could help us out too. When you were younger, did you travel a lot and if you did, is this um, minimalist traveling kind of how you would see the world or did you have a different kind of travel experience background?

Sunny Burns:

Ah , I mean my parents were definitely like, we wouldn't carry like suitcases and suitcases going to different places. Like we didn't move the whole house with us. Uh, I wouldn't say they're extreme, you know, they'd have more than one pair of pants. Uh, I guess we, you know, it was an October, it was a little cooler. We knew we kind of get away with , uh, some things and uh, yeah, we just, we were thinking about it, you know, are we gonna pack a stroller? Are we going to pack a car seat? Are we going to do all these things? And then when we did , we started thinking about them like, this trip is going to be a nightmare if we do all that, the drag, all these things from place to place to place to place. Um, so I guess that's why we really started looking, I mean it was just like googling how do you travel minimalistically? And it was really just , you know, by those wool clothes, those synthetics and uh, carry around a laundry soap with you that you can use in the sink and dry over night

Chase Peckham:

being parents . There's a few of us here that , that have children. And how did you get around in motor vehicles and all that kind of stuff? Because, I mean, minimalist aside, speaking from experience on just traveling to see family back east when they were little, that that age, I remember trying to put the car seats in, you know, we'd, we'd have to buy a crib that we would put in my brother in law's house. You're right. I mean I can't imagine what it was like to, to be so freeing of just getting around with just your kid on your front. That's, that's pretty awesome.

Sunny Burns:

Yeah. So you definitely do have to make some sacrifices and you know, we weren't carrying around like a pack and play crib or anything like that with us. So a lot of the time, you know, he's six months old, so he was just nursing at the time so we didn't have to carry around formula. It was purely nursing. And so that kind of made it , uh , optimal for us to travel at that time. Uh, also the car seat, so we were going to do just trains throughout Europe. They have a great train system, but it was 2015, so was at a time of the Syrian refugee is kind of all over the train system and we didn't really feel comfortable doing that with a six month old. So we opted after France to actually rent a car and we just found a car seat off Craig's a , they're like European craigslist, bought it for like 20 or 30 bucks and popped it into the , um, the rental car, which we used . So we picked up that in France and we dropped it off in Austria and I returned home from Austria . But uh, yeah,

Chase Peckham:

that's great. I mean that, that's, that's really cool that, that's really, really smart. Um, so you had enough family and friends out there that you were able to stay at their houses and the different parts of Europe that you were in?

Sunny Burns:

Yeah. Um, yeah, we just use what , you know, connections we had and it just happened to, you know, add one in every single country. We had some like friends from , uh, locally here in New Jersey that have moved out to Europe actually. Wow. So it just happened to work at [inaudible] . I guess that also instigated the trip a little bit too to meet those friends again.

Chase Peckham:

That's great. So you planned your trip kind of where those those spots were?

Sunny Burns:

Yes. Yes.

Chase Peckham:

That's brilliant. Yeah .

Katie Utterback:

And sometimes I think too, people think about like if I'm not staying at a Boutique Hotel in the middle of Paris, I'm not getting the full experience. Did you run into anything like that, sunny ? Did you feel like you were missing out on any sort of cultural experience or did you have the opposite in fact, did you feel like you got actually a more authentic experience?

Sunny Burns:

Yeah, I , I definitely think the authentic experience, that's always kind of what we target. We try to stay away from any tourist traps and I feel like when you are staying with families who are, you know, immersed in the local, they are locals, they can really guide you and show you kind of the true essence of what it means to be in that particular area or that country. And so we got so much tips, you know, don't there, don't go there. You do this and it'd be really worth your time. So it was great doing that. Great. You know, actually eating home cooked meals from that country, from, you know, the parents or the people we were staying with. And uh, yeah, I just thought it was, it was great. And you know, we did still, it hit up some of the main tourist attractions. Like we went to the Eiffel Tower and we did all those, those are those things as well. But I think we also got to experience , uh , things that most tourists don't just by getting the local scoop from the people we stayed with.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah, I was going to say, you have like local tour guides everywhere you went, which is really cool.

Sunny Burns:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

Did you have , uh , it , was it your first time or your wife's first time to Europe?

Sunny Burns:

Um , it was my first time. My wife had gone maybe 10 years earlier cause like I said, my , uh, my wife's mom is from Austria, so they had visited her relatives maybe 10 years earlier.

Chase Peckham:

Okay. So the, well, I mean it's kind of like saying, you know, oh I've been to California once. Well that doesn't really mean anything since it's so huge. There's so many different places to visit and so many things to see. So kind of moving on, you guys love to travel. So you do do the luxury, no , I don't want to say luxurious, but the the more relaxed kind of thing . So a cruise , um, how did you find a cruise for 200? Around $250 per person?

Sunny Burns:

Yeah, no, so I use this, so I had Mo , both of us had never been on a cruise in our lives and we were like, hey, you know, everyone's talking about cruises sounds like a good idea. And I was trying to think like, how do I make it economical? And I ran into this website called CruiseSheet.com and it's basically kind of like a search engine, you know like kayak.com you use that to find like flights. It's kind of the same thing for cruises. And what I did was I set up an automated email alert . So weekly it would email me any cruises, you know, the cheapest cruises that are leaving from my closest port of call. For me, I live in the New York City area. So that was like Newark, New Jersey leaving from are actually Bayonne, New Jersey. So any cruises that left from Bayonne, New Jersey, cause I want the tr , uh , minimize any travel costs so I don't have to take a flight to the , uh, cruise cruise port so I could just do a 10 minute drive. So after like six months of getting these email alerts , one popped up where it was a like cruise redirection. Um, so they were like discontinuing this cruise line from Puerto Rico to wherever else that used to go to and redirecting it from Puerto Rico to a New York City station. And because of that, it was a one way trip, which is inconvenient to a lot of people and they reduced the cost significantly. And I saw that reduced costs of, you know, $250 per person. That's after taxes and all the port fees. Um , and so I saw that and I was like, oh, let's go. And so we did have still have to pay for a ticket to Puerto Rico, but we actually used the credit card miles or airline miles to buy those tickets and go to Puerto Rico. We spent a week there, airbnb the whole way and had a great time in laws Came with us. So it was me and my wife, two kids. My uh, are there two grandparents and we had a great time in Puerto Rico and then we cruise for five days back all for, you know, like $50 a night, unlimited food and lodging. And it was a , it was a great time.

Felipe Arevalo:

That's awesome. You said it only took about six months to finally get deal, which is not that long.

Sunny Burns:

Yeah. And you know, it's just a weekly email you get. And I just felt this through it for one minute. Anything good? No. Okay. Move on. And then in six months that deal popped up and I'm like, oh, let's go for this.

Katie Utterback:

Oh . So when you're looking for that great of a deal, how flexible do you have to be with your time? Like do you just have to be willing to just go to Puerto Rico next week?

Sunny Burns:

No, it was, I think there was at least four months notice, you know, of when it would be going. I don't remember exactly the timeframe, but it wasn't like a last minute trip or anything like that.

Katie Utterback:

Okay. So you have, there could be a moment where you'd have more planning, but maybe we could talk a little bit too about travel hacking and what exactly that means or what, what's involved in that?

Sunny Burns:

Okay, so travel hacking, something we got into right when we got married, you know, we were , I'm my mom's Japanese, so I was, I wanted to take my wife to Japan cause I'd grown up sometimes going to Japan. That was like the one luxury my parents would splurge on was visiting my mom's relatives in Japan. But anyway, I wanted to take my wife there. So I was, I was trying to figure out a good economical way to do that. And I discovered, you know, travel hacking. So we signed up for this , uh , one, one credit card, the United's , uh, explore chase United explorer card. So it uses United Airlines and by signing, so, so credit card hacking is utilizing credit cards and especially credit cards with high bonuses to gain lots of miles very quickly and then using those miles to get free flights. So this particular card, United as a chase, United explorer card granted us 50,000 smiles upon signing up and spending $3,000 within the first three months on normal credit card purchases. And, and we both signed up. So me first and then we spent that $3,000. I got my points and then she signed up, we spent her $3,000, got her points and uh , we had a little bit of points on United anyway and we booked actually using a cost 65,000 points or miles to book a round trip ticket to Europe at the time. Uh , sorry, not Europe, Japan, so 65,000 miles each to go to a Japan round trip. So we actually booked that and I think we only paid like $13 in fees. So we paid $15 essentially each to go to Japan round trip. Um, and that's how we started credit card hacking. Since that point we opened up like 22 credit cards and kind of got crazy with credit card hacking and have gone all over the place.

Katie Utterback:

So let me just ask you, when you , when you're in that first 90 days and you're trying to get to that $3,000 limit or minimum, are you just putting purchases on your card that you know you can pay off or how does that work?

Sunny Burns:

Right. So yes, definitely. We paid off our cards in full at the end of every month. You know, there's no reason to, you know, the best like a cash back reward card, you can get like 2% cash back. There's no reason to pay interest fees like at 18% interest fee only to try to get that 2% cash back reward and you're paying like 18% in interest, right? If you're not going to be financially responsible enough to pay down your credit card at the end of each month, there's no reason to go with this. You know, just pay cash for everything. Only if you're financially responsible enough to pay down your credit cards would I recommend this method.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. And that's where we are . We teach all the time to people when they're trying to build their credit and all . Also use those credit cards as, as tools like you are doing. And I'm glad to hear that there's somebody out there that is really using this to the nth degree. Uh , when it comes to I, and I, forgive me, I haven't heard the word credit card hacking before and I've been in the credit card business for what, 10 years now. Um, but that's impressive. But it is in the best way to build your credit is using credit cards and using that , um, that vehicle to, to build it. But you've got to be able to use it for things that what you would normally pay cash for that you would normally pay off every month individually and killing two birds with one stone essentially.

Sunny Burns:

Right. So one thing , um, I don't want to hijack the conversation, but , uh , it was a little difficult sometimes , uh , spending the , uh, the monthly limit, but you know, that was about a thousand dollars a month for a couple. We could do it. Uh , then that's why we would take turns like I would open up the card and then, you know, I'd get an additional card for her to use and me to use. We'd both be spending towards it. We'd reached that $3000 cap, then we'd open up her card and get her bonus and work on that for the next three months. Uh , both of US spending towards it. And it got a little easier. Once we opened a , a , we started like an Amazon fulfillment business where we were buying product. So we started buying product with the credit cards . So it became so easy to just buy the product or the credit cards and make those limits.

Chase Peckham:

Right. And I think that that's great. I was going to shed light on that. That's that I was going to ask you, how many credit cards between your wife do you use on a consistent basis that wouldn't, you wouldn't consider being part of your credit card hacking,

Sunny Burns:

right. We, we only, we only use two credit cards , uh, at any given point, like two active cards at any given point.

Chase Peckham:

Okay. So that, that's really smart because that's just a small part of your credit scores . People get too freaked out about the little things that they do. Uh , when it comes to don't close that account cause you're gonna ruin your car , you're not going to ruin your credit. It , it, there's so many factors that go into it. As long as you're paying your bills on time, you're keeping your balances low. For the most part, you're going to, you're going to have, you're going to be in that tier one area.

Sunny Burns:

I would recommend though for everyone, like if you're, if you're kind of new and you're like maybe 18 years old, I would definitely open up a credit card without an annual fee and keep that credit card open. Cause that's like the start of your credit history and just make sure it's no annual fee cause you want to keep that open for the rest of your life essentially. So yeah. So, so as long as you have that, you know, primary each credit line from that start and you don't cancel that and you cancel those other ones, it's not really gonna affect them so much.

Felipe Arevalo:

So I had a question. When you go ahead and you cancel your credit cards after you get the 50,000 points or before the other . Yes. Do you have to use your points before canceling the card?

Sunny Burns:

No. So for the majority of credit cards, I think almost all, all that I know of, no you do not. Majority of credit card or airlines will allow you to keep those miles for it. Actually it doesn't, it's not really associated with the credit card. It goes onto a regular like United Airlines or American Airlines, a frequent flyer mile account. And with any of those accounts you have 18 months to use those points are or some kind of activity has to go on in the, in in that account within 18 months. So activity could be anything, it could be taking a flight or it could be as simple as going onto the rewards center and buying a pencil for 5,000 points or 1,000 points and just resetting. So I have like alerts on my uh , phone app on my calendar app that say, Hey, your points are going to expire in 18 months, so you gotta have some sort of activity . So I'll just hop on there and like I bought like portable batteries before. Just something to reset that activity and keep those points alive for another 18 months.

Chase Peckham:

That's brilliant. It's good info. Yeah. Yeah, that's really, really smart.

Felipe Arevalo:

So that doesn't, that means you don't have to open up a card and travel the next 11 months. You can open up a card and take your time and collect points from multiple areas and kind of group them all together.

Chase Peckham:

and you've got a rechargeable battery pack that you , you know , never would have bought it probably on your own.

Felipe Arevalo:

I have one they're very useful.

Sunny Burns:

So also one thing I do also want to mention, I don't want to go too far into this, but um, when you are closing these cards, a lot of times they have , the phone rep will be like, okay, maybe you don't want to close your cards , maybe you just want to downgrade and get rid of the annual fee. We always opt to close it completely to cancel it because um , at least with most credit card companies with after two years of not having the card, they'll let you reopen it again and get the bonus again. So we've actually had like the United Explorer Card three times and gotten that 50,000 bonus three times over the course of the last six years. And so, so I always opt not to downgrade for the no annual fee card and just say cancel and then open it again in two years. I think chase, it's especially has kind of cracked down on this a little bit, but I'm not sure the specifics, but a lot of other credit cards you can do that with still

Chase Peckham:

Did you just learn this by trial and error?

Speaker 6:

Oh, a re you asking me?

Chase Peckham:

yeah. Did you , yeah. Did you learn this just by trial and error or is this something that you were researching?

Sunny Burns:

This is definitely something I researched. There's a lot of 'em forums. You just search, travel hacking and Google. So many things will pop up including my own blog. But yeah, there's a lot of resources out there.

Chase Peckham:

Go ahead. Why don't you, right now let's , uh, tell people about your blog.

Sunny Burns:

Okay. Yeah. If you have over to famvestor .com/travel hacking, that's like family investor, f a M v e s t o r.com/travel hacking. I have a whole post. It's pretty much just a case study of all our trips in the last like eight or so years where we essentially, you know, we've taken one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 flights a equal including some first-class flights that we essentially got for free using miles , uh , totaling to about $10,000. We saved, cause we were kinda trying to see what the market rates for these free flights where we saved about $10,000 using this method. And I go step by step all the cards we used , um, what a good promotion looks like and what some of our flights have been. So, you know, feel free to check that out if you're so inclined.

Chase Peckham:

I applaud you for what you do because you know, in this day and age, and this is a whole other podcast I think, but in this day and age we are so , um, sensitive to our children and the creature comforts that they must have. And realistically kids are so adaptable and they will just go anywhere that you take them. They don't know any different. So they'll, they will turn out the way you want them to turn out. So I have to applaud you and your wife and you know what, they're going to be very carefree and he's is , I'm sorry, is your daughter or son?

Sunny Burns:

Sons. I have a four year old and two year old boys .

Chase Peckham:

So you have two year old boys that they're going to be adaptable and they're going to be such free spirits because of the way you brought them up to just be able to go do anything that the I I applaud you guys. I really do.

Sunny Burns:

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, we really want them to be resilient, you know, able to take whatever life throws at them. And I really love this quote, I forget who said it, but like it goes like a little bit of inconvenience can cause so much happiness and I really, really believe that.

Chase Peckham:

Absolutely. Without question that it's amazing how much you know, by what they see and what they experienced through life. And you as well as a parent are going to be so much more rich and prepared for life because you have seen and dealt with so many different opportunities. Um , teaching your kids how to, how to handle money , um , teaching your kids how to , um, adapt in situations that could be uncomfortable or something like that is, is really impressive and it's going to go a long way in becoming the adults that they're going to eventually become. Yeah . Very impressive. Well, we can't thank you enough for being here today. Uh, shedding some light on how you guys do stuff and go again, please tell us about your , uh , where people can find you.

Sunny Burns:

Yeah. A FamVestor.com , You know, I've so many articles on that's really geared towards families to kind of just lead better lives, developed passive income streams, and just lead a wholesome active fulfilled lives.

Chase Peckham:

I gotta ask you real one, one last thing before you go. The passive income, I know you say you put it towards the credit cards in the business now, do you basically just keep putting that money that you guys make back into that business or do you put it away somewhere else or does it become part of your actual, the way you guys live day to day?

Sunny Burns:

So the Amazon business really isn't so much a, isn't so profitable. So we just kind of put it right back in. Really. Most of our passive income comes from our rental properties. So like I mentioned earlier, we live in that four family home home . We live in one unit, the other three tenants in the other three units pay for our rent and we live mortgage free. Um, and you know, we have another rental property that's providing us with some income.

Chase Peckham:

At what age did you, now how do, we just had a podcast about this last week. Um , tell us a little bit, how did you get into that? Real briefly, just what made you think to do something like that?

Sunny Burns:

Right. So I guess right when I graduated college and I started working for the Department of Defense Mechanical Engineer Making 50 k a my wife started working as an elementary art school teacher making 50 k so we were making a hundred k bringing home good uh, income, you know, hundred to say between us. Pretty young age. Yeah. You know I was 25, 23 I forget 25, I think 23, 23 we bought a house

Chase Peckham:

you're way too young to forget these kinds of things.

Sunny Burns:

Two Kids, you know, they keep your mind straight and a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. So at 23, you know we got um, we started saving a lot of this money and then at 25 , um, we bought, we bought that four family house cause we were actually, so we're making this a hundred k income but we were living at my parents house in their little one bedroom, just paying them $500 a month to rent that one bedroom there in their house. So it was kinda crazy cause we had nine adults there in their one house with one bathroom, nine adults, one bathroom. Can you, can you imagine that?

Chase Peckham:

No, Katie , you should see her right now. Her face is contorted.

Sunny Burns:

But because we did that, you know, we only had this $500 housing expense and a hundred case salary between us. We were able to save $75,000 in two years, which is enough to put a 10% down payment on a $430,000 a four family home, which enabled us to live for free essentially and just propelled us forward to this financial freedom where we were able to buy another property two years later and now we have another four family property under contract. So we're going to go from seven units now to 11 units probably next month and I will be able to quit. And you know, my wife quit her job after that first four family cause they replaced her income dollar for dollar. We were getting 50 k gross income while we lived in one of the units for free. She was able, she was on maternity leave with our six month old at the time and she was just like, I'm just not going to go back to work. And I'm like, yeah, cool, let's do that. You can become a stay at home mom because that's what you want. And that's what I'm , I agreed to. It'd be awesome and you know, we're just going forward and soon we're going to be a stay at home family . So again, making those little sacrifices now is enabling us. Those freedoms later and crossing us . Greater happiness.

Chase Peckham:

One last thing. So you say a four unit home. This is like a quadplex right? This is four attached, but individual apartments.

Sunny Burns:

Yeah, there's actually two duplexes on one, lots of two, two family homes on one. Lots of new buildings.

Chase Peckham:

Got It. Perfect. Cool man. I'll tell you what, you've got to go in and I, I applaud you for thinking outside the box. Uh , how much of that did you get from your parents?

Sunny Burns:

Um, well so we both kind of grew up , uh , without too much money. So we just grew up naturally frugal and thrifty. So definitely gained all that from my parents. And uh, yeah, so we just learned to be natural savers and now we're kind of using that to our benefit.

Chase Peckham:

That's really impressive because a lot of people might go the opposite direction. Um, you know, you're making two young people making $50,000 out of the shoot and they're thinking, you know, they grew up without a lot as children tend to go the other way and spin themselves like crazy because they're trying to make up for what they didn't have when they were younger. And it , you, you've done it the right way. I think if anybody's listening to this or when they listen to this, excuse me, that take a lot from this because especially young people, this is the way you need to think that sacrificing a bit more when you're younger is gonna absolutely pay off as you, as you grow with your family. And , and I think that's too many of us young Americans want instant gratification and want right now instead of thinking about what could be and what will be further down the road.

Sunny Burns:

Couldn't agree more.

Chase Peckham:

I think that's a good place to end. Thank you so much. We really appreciate your time. And, u h, hopefully we can do this again and we can talk more about how those rental properties are doing.

Sunny Burns:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me guys take care. Absolutely.

Chase Peckham:

And now we'll follow up with myself, Phil and Katie.

Katie Utterback:

Hey. So I have so many questions for you then. Now that I know that you're a Kiwi because my husband, that's the one place he's always wanted to go because of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Chase Peckham:

And by the way, yes Matamata, New Zealand, where I was born, is where all the hobbits shire home is. That's where it was filmed.

Katie Utterback:

Okay. That is exactly where I'm trying to take him.

Chase Peckham:

If you actually look up Matamata, you will see Lord of the Rings things everywhere because they actually um, show and it , it's , it's a tourist thing now where they'll take people to where the hobbits homes are right in that huge, cause remember how green and beautiful that was. Matamata is basically all farm land .

Katie Utterback:

Have you been back?

Chase Peckham:

are we recording this by the way?

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah.

Katie Utterback:

Have you been back since you were born?

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, but I was pretty young. Would I, I am Carrie and I are waiting to where our kids really will remember. Um , I think somewhere in middle school we will, and I'm going to have to take, you know, you don't just go to New Zealand for a week.

Katie Utterback:

No.

Chase Peckham:

You know, you've got to take off some time.

Felipe Arevalo:

You gotta start collecting points now.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, that's exactly what you know . Funny you say that. That's what I was thinking when I was telling him in the interview about being in Newsy , being born in New Zealand a that, so for all those Lord of the rings fans,

Katie Utterback:

AJ listen.

Chase Peckham:

that is a, that's the home of the hobbits. Yeah. Pretty crazy. Huh? It's a New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries. I mean, this world is full of beautiful things and that's why I really applaud, applaud Sonny and his wife for really being, you know, free spirited enough and realizing that kids are not, that, you know, they're very adaptable and they're , they're not weak and they're not , um , so sensitive that they can travel and they will, I mean, many, many families came west in the covered wagons right. And they survived. And I would say those are harsher conditions than being on an airplane or being in a car for awhile.

Katie Utterback:

No, definitely.

Felipe Arevalo:

That's true cause you didn't , you don't have to go weighting across rivers and all that fun stuff. When you're in your car, there's this , you shouldn't , if the road is flooded, you should turn around roll. Yes. You don't want to drive through a flooded road.

Chase Peckham:

And thank you for that safety tip. But yeah, I mean traveling around , um, you know, there's very friendly people in this world as well. Um, I have this 90/10 rule that I believe in and nobody would think that because we are in such the information age that we think inherently this world bad, that there are just bad people. Cause that's all we hear about cause it sells. Uh , but I believe that 90 to 95% of people in this world are wonderful, caring, loving human beings that want to help their fellow man. Uh, and there's that 5% that are just complete jerk offs and terrible people, but they get the headlines and most people are out there. They want to help you. They're my parents. You know, I'm reading my Dad's book right now that he wrote since after, during while my mom was sick and then since my mom passed and I'm reading , he wrote a book. I think it was very therapeutic for him more than anything, but he wrote a book about my parents' love affair. They're their life together, their 49 years together. And I went, I went through the part, I always knew that I was born there, did all that stuff, but I got to read about in great detail about their actual triple they were there and the amount of people that opened up their home to them , um, became lifelong friends, help them with anything. We , they, you know, since the doctor , uh, Dr Hargreaves who, who , uh, was the doctor when I was born has since passed, but they were lifelong friends with my parents and we had longterm relationships. Um, there was a little boy that was born at the same time on the same date as I was born. Uh, and we have been friends and kept in touch ever since. Um , because my parents kept in touch with those families cause back in those days, this was a maternity hospital and they wanted the, the women to stay there for like two weeks after postpartum. And so my mom and this lady, Sandy , uh , became very good friends , uh , through that whole experience. And you know , uh , it's funny how they didn't get charged to stay nights at many places. My Dad talks about how they would splurge if they stayed in a bed and breakfast for , uh , $20 a night. Right. And , and in those days, that was a huge amount of money , uh, for them. And even with the, the currency that was, you know, the dollar was worth a lot more than, than the New Zealand dollar or the New Zealand pound. I believe it was at the time. Uh, they had the queen of England, by the way, on their money, the New Zealand currency , um, whole different story. Uh , but that's, it's interesting how times have changed, but Sunny and his wife are essentially doing the same thing that my parents did back in 1970 except my mom just happened to be, have a really big belly when she was on this trip.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. And it's almost easier now to get that experience that your parents had kids , like Sonny was saying, they just went on airbnb. You can find, you know, a home to rent in a foreign country.

Chase Peckham:

Oh, the Internet is amazing. They, they went, they, they mapped out their, their, the way they went because of locals telling them this is where you need to go. They didn't just, you know, where we have the Internet now, where there will be a, as he mentioned there, there could be different travel sites or, or different forums that you can go to like New Zealand travel or whatever. And you're gonna have a bunch of people saying, oh, we did this, you've got to visit here. And where my parents didn't have that, but they had the, the, where locals would say, oh, we have a home here. Go use it out in the beach, up near Auckland. Right. And, and they would be these little cabins that they would have as their getaways , their holiday place, and they would let them use it for nothing. Um , they would be able to go to the South Island and say, Oh, you've got to go to the glacier. But when you go to the glacier, a friend of ours owns a place right over here, let us call them. And they're expecting you, you know, so they got to travel. I mean, that's amazing. They got to learn mechanics because of, you know, the, the VW bus did break down a few times. They learned , uh , you know, they, they made some friends that were mechanics along the way and those mechanics would say, oh, we'll come stay with us. The part's not going to be in from Auckland for a a two days. So, you know, come stay with us. I mean, that, that's the way most human beings are in this world. And you can do those kinds of things on a budget.

Katie Utterback:

Definitely. And , um, you know, there just, there's little cultural things that you learn. When I was in fourth grade, my family went to France and we stayed with family friends that had been transferred to um, live in France and I guess staying in a suburb of Paris. So a lot of just natural born Parsians are very proud Parsians. Oh yes. They do not want to speak English. I don't speak one word of French. I got by on the limited Spanish that I knew, but French, you know , no Spanish Spanish. Oh . Because I don't speak French at all. So I was actually able to get by on Spanish. They were willing to speak Spanish, not English, but I learned women would walk every day in their heels. They would dress up in a Chanel suit just to go get a loaf, like a baguette. And then they would carry these beautiful cloth bags to pick up the bread. And that was something that I actually then picked up. I started bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, the clothing store, the bread store.

Chase Peckham:

And I wonder if they did that. They weren't really thinking about the environment environment at that point. I think they were probably just, this is how we do it.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. I think traveling going to where my grandparents live down in Mexico, they've been using, like my grandma has like nailed a couple of nails in her kitchen wall where she hangs the reusable bags and they're like these plastic.

Chase Peckham:

probably out of necessity because they don't have.

Felipe Arevalo:

they really dont give bags.

Chase Peckham:

and probably don't have the trash availability to put away those things that don't recycle as.

Felipe Arevalo:

the vendors don't, don't offer it. So are you going to bring your own bag? Are you going to carry everything back and deal with it?

Chase Peckham:

Absolutely.

Felipe Arevalo:

How many times have we complained, probably not Katie, Chase and I about grocery bags?

Chase Peckham:

We talk about this all the time.

Felipe Arevalo:

All the time.

Chase Peckham:

I've got bags in my trunk. I got like four of them. I never remember to bring them into the store with me.

Felipe Arevalo:

I have a bag of bags, but then I'm at the grocery store standing at the checkout line like, ah ,

Chase Peckham:

that's a whole new, that's a whole different podcast.

Katie Utterback:

You guys need a little key chain bag that just kind of folds up. You can keep it on your keys. You just UNZIP it or unfold it.

Speaker 3:

Have you seen my keys? I don't think I can fit anything else.

Katie Utterback:

They're tiny. I'm gonna figure out a way to get you guys on this environmental train .

Chase Peckham:

I was really impressed with Sony . I think that that there's maybe , you know, one thing about traveling that a lot of us think about is that travel has to be looked luxury. Yes . Or has to be this grandiose thing and experience that we're going to do with our families, which means that it must be at a high end resort. Um, and.

Katie Utterback:

or at least Instagram worthy pictures.

Chase Peckham:

Those are fun as well. Yeah. And those are fun as well, but you can get a lot of those great experiences by just literally traveling , um , very light and experiencing it the way locals experience that everyday . And I think we can take into heart a little bit of that. Where we live. We live in San Diego, California. We live in an area that is highly, the number one economic , uh , push in this city is, is tourism. People come here, all the people come here all over the place to experience our resorts, experience our beaches. And we live here and we take it for granted, I think. And how many of us take staycations , how many of us stay here?

Katie Utterback:

I , I'm not originally from California, so I love exploring California. And one of the best parts about living here is that it's so diverse. You can wake up in the desert and finish your day at the beach. Um, but I think that's kind of the beauty of it doing a staycation is that you do get to try out things you wouldn't normally do.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. If it's something where you happen to live in a place like we do here, you can for very little less than a tank of gas. Go do all these interesting things that people may travel hours to do.

Chase Peckham:

And we really are lucky that way.

Felipe Arevalo:

And we can go do it and then go home and the next day you can go out and do something else. That's completely different. Like Katie mentioned. You go snowboarding and then go home, call it a night and the next morning wake up and go first surf.

Chase Peckham:

San Diego is crazy that way. And Southern California, generally you have the beach and 35 minutes away you have pine trees in the mountains with snow.

Katie Utterback:

Oh yeah.

Chase Peckham:

During the winter when I grew up in Lake Arrowhead, California , um , two hours north of San Diego. And you know, we're at 5,000 feet , uh , 5,500 feet, somewhere like that. And then New Year's Day , one year we actually snow skied in the morning, drove down at noon and went boogie boarding and stayed the night and , and surfing for those who surfed and was in the ocean that same day and at night and wait , so we got to snow ski and Surf in the same day, which is crazy.

Felipe Arevalo:

And then it was like you mentioned earlier, it's a, you don't have to go do luxurious travel. You can take advantage of the Oh, free things and their's nature.

Chase Peckham:

But there's places for that too. As you know, a cruise isn't exactly cheap either, but he found a way right to , to , to just, again, this word comes up over and over and over again. They planned it. Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Utterback:

So you guys, the average person will spend $581 on a four day vacation per person. So to go on a cruise or 250 per person, five day cruise, really impressive.

Chase Peckham:

It's very impressive .