These are experiences few Americans ever get to experience, and for most, this would be a trip of a lifetime. Our flights alone retailed for around $60,000. Yet, our combined out-of-pocket expenses for the entire trip only totaled $2,500, including everything from domestic flights to tours to lodging and ground transportation. And, about a third of our expenses went toward our climbing expedition to Mount Kinabalu. Unfortunately, they haven't built a Hyatt on the mountain yet.
Perhaps even more amazing is that we didn't have to do anything crazy to get there. Our flights came from fewer than two credit card signups each (we had miles to spare at the end!) and almost all of our hotels were covered by everyday spend on our Starwood and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. Nearly anyone with a decent credit score could have done the exact same trip. By taking advantage of our hotel status and points-based upgrades, we were able to get breakfast, snacks, and evening drinks at many of the properties we visited, cutting down on food expenses.
In the upcoming weeks, I'll be dissecting this trip in more detail to show you how obtainable a vacation like this can really be. Until then, I'll continue to sit in amazement about what is really possible with this hobby.