Recap: Family Travel For Real Life Conference & What You Missed

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Family Travel For Real Life Conference - August 2014 (15)

Family Travel For Real Life Was A Success

In case you missed it, this past weekend Dia the Deal Mommy hosted a family travel conference in Washington DC called Family Travel For Real Life. I was honored to be one of the speakers at the event & it really turned out to be an amazing success.

I have heard from Dia that there is a good chance of a #FT4RL2, but we will have to allow her some time to rest before announcing future plans! (She seriously did an awesome job of putting this together!)


The speaker lineup was solid and featured bloggers with a wide range of backgrounds and skills. While the subject of family travel was covered in each presentation, everyone brought forth unique and useful information. Here is a brief breakdown of the speakers and their subject matter:

Shawn Coomer (Me) – Long Term Family Travel

Jason Steele – Award Bookings For Families

Phil – How To Earn Points/Miles For The Family

Susan DeBruhl – Alternative Lodging Options Including Airbnb

Debra Schroeder – How To Save Money While Traveling


Even before the speeches started, everyone was sharing their knowledge! It was a great atmosphere.
Even before the speeches started, everyone was sharing their knowledge! It was a great atmosphere.

Thankfully Dan over at Points With A Crew live blogged the entire event so you can get a better idea of what topics each speaker covered in their presentations. While all of the presentations were great, the real magic happened in between when everyone networked and shared their collective knowledge. The dynamic among the group was fantastic and I personally met so many interesting people.

My Presentation

Family Travel For Real Life Conference - August 2014 (13)
My presentation!

My presentation was about extended family travel. As some of you know, my family and I have taken several long trips over the years including three months backpacking through Europe last year and an 18 month around the world trip in 2007-2008. In the presentation I aimed to teach and share some of the strategies and techniques for long term travel that I have learned the hard way!

I formatted the presentation with a lot of text specifically so it could be shared here and retain its context. Here is a link to the presentation on Google Docs. You should be able to view and navigate through it in your browser. If you have any questions about the topics covered, I am always here to answer them. Simply shoot me an email at:


While so many people in this hobby are focused on topics like churning and manufactured spend, this conference was a great way for those of us with children to talk about the unique challenges that family travel entails. We also did a fair bit of talking about manufactured spend and other non-family topics, but always through the filter of being parents.

As other speakers post their presentations online, I will link to them here. While there is no formal interest list for Family Travel For Real Life 2 (#FT4RL2), you can email me if you are interested and I will pass your name on to Dia so she can contact you when more information is available.

For those who considered going and couldn’t make it, I highly recommend the event and hope to be involved in its second iteration! It was inspiring to be in a room full of parents who love travel as much as me and I had a wonderful time!

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  1. It was, indeed, a great seminar and I really enjoyed your presentation! Thanks for making it available!
    The venue was great… and the speakers were outstanding. Of all the events I have attended in the past (and that includes all of the Chicago Seminars and several FTU’s) I really felt as though there was a certain freshness to these presentations. I learned many, many new things!


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