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  • jholmes370

Laid Off. Now What? Take a Trip, Of Course!

Like many around the United States, I was recently informed that my job was being eliminated. Technically, I am still employed, but on Leave until the end of May, but my last day working was in late March. I will continue to be paid through May, and will receive a severance.

It stung a bit to learn the work I was doing wasn't valued or essential enough to continue, but to some extent, the break from work was welcomed and appreciated. Over the last five years, I had slowly taken on more and more responsibilities, and the stress was really getting to me. I had also been doing the same work for five years, and felt it was time for a change anyway.

After getting over the shock of the news and after making the decision to take a couple of months to rest and recuperate before figuring out what to do next to earn an income, the travel bug got me. Living in Florida gives me lots of options for cruising, so I started looking for something that looked interesting, but wouldn't break the bank.

I've been to the Caribbean a number of times already, and while not opposed to visiting again, I started looking at cruises that were not round trip for something a bit more interesting. While most cruises begin and end at the same port, some cruises will begin in one port and end somewhere different. Sometimes cruise ships will do this regularly, for instance Alaska cruises going from North to South with one set of passengers and then the next cruise going South to North with a different set.

Cruise ships also offer repositioning cruises as they move from one home port to another at different times during the year. For instance, a cruise ship might spend the winter in the Caribbean and then move to Europe for the Summer. Repositioning cruises are often unique itineraries and many times are Trans-Atlantic. I've always wanted to do a Trans-Atlantic cruise, and I seriously considered a few.

In the midst of trying to decide between Trans-Atlantic options that fit my schedule, I was looking at what flight options I'd have to get back to Florida afterwards. I have a good amount of Delta miles, and was checking out their Current Flight Deals. I found a great deal on a roundtrip flight to London, only 50,000 miles round trip! On top of that, I am a Delta Reserve cardholder, and Delta now offers 15% off when I book with miles. With the discount, my flight would only cost 42,500 miles. I checked with a friend in London to see if she would be around and then went ahead and booked.

Meanwhile, I continued to look at cruise options, including a couple on MSC. I had previously heard that MSC offers status matching for their Voyagers Club, so I did some digging into that and decided to request matching to my Hilton Diamond status that I have via my Hilton American Express Card. Within 24 hours, I received an email letting me know that I was matched to the MSC Voyagers Club Diamond status.

Now that I had flights and status with MSC, I got down to business and found a 12 night cruise out of Southampton to the Canary Islands. Knowing nothing about the Canary Islands, it still seemed to fit my criteria: fit the dates I would be in the UK, weather should be warm, and has a number of sea days for relaxing and staring at the water.

So, even though it's a little scary to be spending money on travel, considering I am soon to be without a job, I decided that I didn't know when I'd have this extended time off again, so I booked it! I'm looking forward to my first trip on MSC as well as visiting some new places. I'm in full on planning mode and will continue to document my process, and of course the trip, as I go.

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