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Business Travelers

How I Rocketrip: Rewards Edition

The only thing we love more than hearing how Rocketrip users save on their business travel is hearing how they put their share of the savings to use. The less our travelers spend on trips, the more they earn to spend on the stuff they really want: home renovations, vacations, Amazon shopping sprees, or just about anything else they can think of.

David Newton, Team Lead for Dashboard Support at Pantheon, found a particularly creative use for his Rocketrip Points. We caught up with David to find out more about how he gave his wife a birthday to remember - one involving day spas, roast pig, alcoholic watermelon, and possibly skydiving.

Are you on the road often?

I usually travel for work about one week out of the month, although in the last month I was away for three out of four weeks: two in San Francisco training new team members, and one in New Orleans for DrupalCon, a huge convention for the Drupal community.

Would you describe yourself as a frugal traveler? Once you get a Budget to Beat, how do you look for ways to save?

I think I am pretty frugal. I don’t like spending company money unnecessarily, so I like to find a good deal when I can. Usually I use Expedia to find a place that has a shower, a bed, WiFi, and a lockable door if possible. In San Francisco a free parking space is always a must too to avoid crazy high parking charges.

Where in the world would you most like to travel?

Last year I went to Venice for the first time with my wife, and fell in love with the city. It’s so peaceful there because there aren’t any roads. The food and the culture are relaxing and recharging: you could be living there 300 years ago and I doubt it would look much different. It’s a great place to switch off.

Can you think of any great meals or fun memories from a work trip?

Any time we have a team dinner it's inspiring and fun. A couple of weeks back we had a team dinner at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans and our CEO gave a brief pre-dinner speech. It made everyone feel like we were part of something big, which I have always believed. It is good to see the energy from the top down is still at 100%.

Another great memory when I was away for work was watching the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in a Stanley Cup playoff game while I was training a new team member in Orlando. The timing of the trip was very fortunate. When I realized the dates matched up, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. So I rented a Dodge Charger and drove across Florida to see my team win :-)

Altogether you've saved Pantheon thousands of dollars on your recent trips. Well done! We hear that you used some Rocketrip earnings to buy your wife a birthday present. Can you tell us a little more about the birthday celebration?

For my wife's [editor’s note – age redacted] birthday in May this year I threw her a surprise party. There was lots of food, including a whole roast pig on the kitchen counter. When she walked in and saw it she screamed and then all her friends came flooding out of their hiding spots and surprised her. I used my Rocketrip Points to buy a TV for our new home – she’s been working hard to decorate the place for a year, and that was what she wanted. I also got her a spa morning so we could get her out of the house while we got everything ready for her party: flotation tank/massage/facial, and champagne from the moment she woke up.
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There’s another thing … when I dropped my wife off at the spa on the morning of her birthday, I had convinced her that I had scheduled a parachute jump for her. There was initial terror and tears and heart palpitations, followed by about a week of not being sure she could do it. Then, acceptance. Pretty sure she was a little disappointed when I drove her to the "jump" and it was a nice relaxing spa.

I know this might seem a little mean, but she enjoyed herself and I needed to throw her off the scent of the party. Don’t hate me.

It was all for a good cause! You gave your wife a birthday she’ll never forget, but what's been your favorite birthday?

I don’t really like to be the center of attention, so when I celebrate my birthday I like to see other people enjoying themselves. I guess my favorite birthday I can remember was a couple of years ago when I hit 36, we had dinner at the French Laundry and the meal was amazing.

One last question: which of these songs is most likely to be heard at your birthday party?

Well at my wife’s party we definitely had at least one rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and I think Birthday Song by 2 Chainz was playing some point too.

Thanks, David! Please pass on our birthday well-wishes!

All Tags: How I Rocketrip, Business Travelers