FTU and GPS: Frequent Traveler University and the Galápagos Islands
Frequent Traveler University (FTU for short) is being held in Tampa, Florida on September 27-29. FTU is like Comic-Con, minus the costumes, capes, swords, and crazy makeup. Instead, it is a gathering place for frequent travelers to meet, talk, share travel secrets, and recount their personal trip reports. It is a great place to meet people who don’t think it’s strange that you have more than 10 credit cards and know exactly which credit card to use for every transaction. You can find more info here (link).
Anyways, I was looking forward to my FTU trip at the end of September when The Flight Deal shared an amazing trip from MIA (Miami, Florida) to GPS (Galápagos Islands) for $377 round trip (link). I couldn’t believe my eyes! The Galápagos Islands is one of many places on my bucket list and I couldn’t let this deal pass me by.
My friend Jim, who I met at FTU LAX back in December, is meeting me at FTU Tampa in September. He is a great guy with tons of interesting travel stories. I told him about the deal to the Galápagos Islands and he was intrigued. He has always wanted to go to the Galápagos Islands as well and we decided we would extend our weekend trip to FTU Tampa by adding a weeklong trip to the Galápagos Islands.
The Planning Process:
The Flight Deal’s post is for MIA-GYE-GPS-GYE-MIA for $377. We could have added a TPA-MIA leg to our itinerary, but prices went up $75 to $452.
The cash price of the flight we wanted was $79 on American Airlines.
We checked British Airways and found seats on the American Airlines flight for 4,500 British Airway Avios (miles) plus $2.50 in taxes and fees. We each used Avios to get a seat.
Next, I looked at the MIA-GYE-GPS-GYE-MIA routing to find out which flights we could take. Both of the departure and returning flights have long layovers in GYE (Guayaquil, Ecuador) and we wanted to maximize our time on Ecuador’s mainland. Luckily for us, there is a Sheraton Guayaquil Hotel near GYE Airport with free airport shuttle and availability with Cash and Points.
We found flights with the longest layover in GYE and an early afternoon flight from GYE to the Galápagos Islands. After putting all the segments together, our itinerary was set.
I also looked at flights returning to Tampa, Florida and to my surprise, those flights were only $12 more than the MIA round trip flights. I decided to go with MIA-GYE-GPS-GYE-MIA-TPA for $389. $12 was a lot cheaper than paying for a American Airlines flight or using British Airways Avios.
The great thing about Southwest Airlines is that you can cancel tickets for free and make changes for free. So I changed my previous Tampa to Orange County flight from September 29 to October 7, for free online.
Here is a Great Circle Mapper look at my FTU and GPS trip:
Total Distances Flown:
If you want in on this deal, you better act fast. Great deals don’t last long. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Otherwise, I’ll see you in paradise!