Space A Travel with Luke: $40,000 in Free Flights + Why He Wanted a $148 Paycheck | Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 33

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Jamie and Spencer talk to their friend Luke about Space-A travel, also known as space available travel. Luke estimates he has saved over $40,000 in flights for his family over the years.

This is a program opened to active duty servicemembers on leave, some dependents, and most military retirees.

We also talk about Luke's journey to FI as a C-17 pilot and Air Force officer.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #33 Transcript

[00:00:00] Luke: ​Take everything out of my paycheck that you can for a savings deposit, take out everything you can for the additional limits. And I think I, I told you guys that I think in December of that year, I deployed over a holiday period. So between two calendar years, I had a paycheck that was $158.

And that, that made me feel so it was, I was so happy. I would terrify most people, but I was like. Yes. It's like I am sending all my money to all the places I want it to be.

[00:00:37] Spencer: Hey guys and gals, Spencer here from This podcast is all about achieving financial independence while you serve in the US military. Every episode, we deep dive into military financial topics to help you achieve FI as soon as possible. I'm here with my co host, Jamie, and a special guest today, Luke.

Jamie, who's our guest today?

[00:01:41] Jamie: Hey, thanks, Spencer. We're excited today to have our guest, Luke. Luke is an active duty air force officer, fellow personal finance enthusiast, and also pursuing financial independence and an expert in military benefits, such as Space Available or Space A travel today.

Luke is going to walk us through a real world journey towards financial independence and how to take advantage of the incredible benefits like Space A travel opportunities. To travel the world and how he saved over $41,000 in travel costs by using Space A flights.

Luke, welcome to the show. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your career and your background.

[00:02:16] Luke: Cool. Yeah, Jamie, guys, thanks for having me. I want to thank you for all the work you've done, the content you've been putting out. I am an avid listener. I've listened to every show thus far, told several several of my colleagues about the show. And I told them if I ever had a podcast, this would be it.

You guys are hitting on some really highly relevant content for military personnel that maybe haven't thought about the ability to actually retire when you hit the retirement time or just financial independence in general when they get out to have the ability to actually choose what you do with your time.

And it's a very powerful topic, I definitely appreciate you guys doing that. So I consider myself a C-17 pilot by trade. However, I've had a pretty diverse career. Started off at officer training school graduate. So I didn't do ROTC or didn't go to the academy, anything like that. Served my initial tour as a special operations navigator.

And while I was there, I was fortunate enough to be able to apply to cross train to become a pilot. And after spending several years doing some really incredible work in some of the more, less desirable places, if I can say more or less, I opted to take myself and my family somewhere great.

So we ended up out in Hawaii, where's where I crossed paths with you fine gentlemen.

[00:03:22] Spencer: Yeah, it was awesome working with you out in Hawaii and Jamie as well. So you're on the path to financial independence like Jamie and I are. 

How did you get started on that goal? How did you hear about it and what has been the hardest part for you?

[00:03:38] Luke: That goes way back. So I remember as a young teenager riding with my mother and she had just in passing was telling me a story that was, Hey, if you have a million dollars, you can live off the interest, you'll make four, four to 5, 000 a month. And I think given that timeframe, that was probably about the time that the Trinity study was all being released.

Obviously, as a teenager that knows it all, I didn't stick with exactly what it didn't stick with me immediately, but I always knew that you should save money when you can take advantage of opportunities that employers provide. 401ks now IRAs, like any, anytime that.

The government or your employer is going to limit you in saving money. It's probably a good thing, right? So you need to do that. I had a good balance though. So my mother was really big into, she wanted me to travel and see the world. And my father was really big into, you need to save, you need to, some people would say thrifty or cheap.

And my wife would certainly say cheap. But there's a point to savings, right? It gets you out there. It gets you to where eventually you're going to have the ability to control your time through that. Needless to say, not to go too far back into time, but I worked for some employers in high school and college that offered 401k plans.

And I  obviously didn't know exactly what I was doing, but I was like, this sounds like a great deal. You give me a match. And so that's where it all began. I've always been really really thrifty with things in my life. And then getting in the military, learning about TSP and the advantages that we have a lot with.

Combat zone tax exemption. I really really saw the ability to take advantage of building this nest egg. And hopefully go back to what mom had told me years before, you can live off the money, the, I think Mr. Money mustache calls it the little green employees that you have that are constantly out there working for you.

So you don't have to work quite as hard. To take it into what probably is the most difficult aspect of FI for me personally was explaining it to the wife, right? Trying to get your spouse on board with what you're doing as they see this deprivation type environment. Even though, and we'll get into that later of all the travel that we've done and all these things, it's wait, you're still trying to save all this money.

Like what's the point. And it Took me the better part of a decade, but I think I've worn her down to the point that now she's definitely on board. She definitely understands and she sees the value that comes from financial independence. I think that's, I think a lot of people struggle with that.

I think a lot of people have a hard time being able to explain that to a spouse, really articulate the value of a financially independent life.

[00:05:57] Jamie: Yeah, that's awesome. I think she's one of our top listeners too, because I understand that you force her to listen to all the episodes with you. So thank you to Mrs. Luke for her support on the show. 

But so when you tell others about FI or your financial independence goals, what are maybe the top one or two pieces of advice that you tell people and try to convince them that FI is a worthy goal?

[00:06:19] Luke: For me, and I've been fortunate to have people who've reached out.

And as you guys know, This ability to have a podcast and put this out there for listeners who are interested in, wants to have this information is much different than perhaps introducing this, right? We sound almost like a cult when we're like, Hey you should put a lot of money into this and then someday you won't have to work.

It almost seems like a MLM scheme, right? So to really be able to structure it in a way that people are comfortable with receiving it is really nice, but the big things I've pushed out are simplicity. And for me personally. Simplicity has always been a huge aspect of my financial independence life.

It's don't, don't get too complicated and don't get too in the weeds with trying to buy stocks, sell high, buy like all that. It's not necessary for longevity in your financial life. It's not really appropriate. Don't really try to push yourself too far. Talk about a lot of this is the financial or sorry, the psychological aspect of money.

And I think Spencer you actually a couple of years ago in the height of COVID had reached out to me and you suggested that I read Morgan Housel's book The Psychology of Money. And it really, that really wrapped up a lot. I call it confirmation bias in my readings. So I read it and I was like, you know what, this is what I'm doing and it helps that understanding that money's a game, right? It's not it's not a hard and fast thing. And as long as you're consistently making progress towards your goal I think one aspect of knowing the psychology is that you don't, even though certain things are possible, right? You can feed your family noodles every night and never go out and see an adventurous life and have an incredible savings rate, but you're going to lose.

You're going to lose that ability to maintain that for the long haul. And that's what financial dependence is really all about. It's about the long term. It's about once you actually have reached financial independence and being able to sustain that life that you designed for yourself.

Another great book that I'd read right after Morgan Housel's book was Atomic Habits. I know this was an incredibly popular book. James Clear had a really good quote in there that really stuck with me. And it's also kind of confirmation bias again, but it says fall in love with. Fall in love with the process, right?

Not with the results. And so you guys know I'm a big fitness buff. I love to work out. And for me, it's never been, let's get ready for beach season, right? Let's get ready for this next if it's never the result at the end of it. For me, it's the daily. I feel better every day when I work out right and every month that you put money in towards financial independence is the same way you're getting that 1 percent better every single month physically, mentally, psychologically and emotionally, like you always, if you continue to just make little bits of progress it can carry you a long way.

So I push that a lot to folks, is to realize that this is the long game. Don't all of a sudden find out about financial independence. The next thing you know you're shoveling 95 percent of your money into a fund and you're living in your car. That's too extreme. And then and I love this too, it's like every time I've listened to you guys, I hear Jamie say, just do something right.

And that carries over both sides of the house. You do something like. If you can put $100 a month into your Roth IRA, do it. If you can work out for 10 minutes versus an hour every day, do it, right? It's those little incremental things that are going to really pay off in the end. And then the other one is to stay the course.

I have a good example of this. I'm very fortunate that when I was in college, I got to work for FedEx. I was a truck driver. I was a courier, right? It was a part time afternoon. Package pickup guy and so as I'm going through school and I'm accumulating all the student loan debt, I was still shoveling money into a 401k because I was playing both sides of the house.

And I knew that they were doing a match, which was incredible. I wanted to take advantage of every bit of that. But as 2008, 2009 came around, as a college student surviving on ramen noodles, I'm doing everything I can. And all of a sudden I see this. 16, 17 thousands of dollars that I had put into savings all of a sudden become eight or 9,000.

It was really hard for me to see that, to see that my tiny little bank account takes such a hit. And so I did what most people would do in that situation. I took my money out because I was scared. I quit. Putting in the monthly contributions that I had put in.

And then next thing I know, the market's on its way back up. And I've missed all this, right? I missed the train as it came back through. And I, as a matter of fact, in preparation for this, I checked. I was like, you know what if I hadn't done that and I would have tripled my money, right?

Because the market came back, the market always comes back. And just knowing that and having that. That wherewithal to stay the course is so incredibly valuable.

[00:10:44] Spencer: Yeah, lots of good stuff in there. Luke a couple of things. You mentioned health is wealth, right? Like you can work so hard at building up a savings rate, building up your asset allocation.

And, okay, I'm 70 percent US stocks, 20 percent bonds. And, like Jamie and I, like we've got our spreadsheets, and it's all figured out. But if you're not healthy enough to enjoy your savings, then is any of it really worth it? And like you were saying it's the daily process of, and for a lot of the investing stuff, you can set it up to be automated.

So I, like TSP, can set up your contributions to be automatic. I know Vanguard has a system where. They'll pull money out of your checking account. So you max out your Roth IRA by the end of the year. And it's those small daily investments compounded over long periods of time that produce amazing results, right?

Both in everything in relationships and fitness and finances. And I like what you said about staying the course. The one other thing I wanted to highlight that you just talked about was in marriage or in any kind of relationship, right? Even if you're both naturally frugal people or natural savers, one of you is probably more of a natural saver than the other person.

And one of you is probably more of a natural spender than the other person, right? Even if you're both left or right on that spectrum. And so playing to your strengths, right? Because you don't want to live a life that is all beans and ramen noodles. But you also don't want to live a life where you're living paycheck to paycheck.

And so having one spouse who pulls you in the direction of, Hey, let's go, let's go out to dinner tonight, or, let's go have let's go have a great vacation and then have the other spouse pull you in the other direction and say, Hey. We can cut back in this area where we're not really getting any benefit.

Maybe you're spending, I don't know, a thousand dollars a month on clothes or whatever. And both of you were like, you know what? We just wear the same thing every day anyways, because if we live in Hawaii and it's always the same temperature,

[00:12:41] Luke: I wear flip flops, I don't need a bunch of shoes.

[00:12:44] Spencer: Exactly. Exactly.

So yeah, lots of great points there. Pivoting now to back to your career a little bit, you've been on some amazing deployments and have some awesome TDY opportunities. How have you used those? That's a very military specific thing where you get to go somewhere, maybe a foreign country, maybe in a tax free zone, and you might get additional income as well from per diem.

So how do you use those opportunities to accelerate your journey to financial independence?

[00:13:15] Luke: I remember when I first got to Hawaii, I I overheard one of the one of the captains that was in the unit he was talking about, he had gone back and looked at like the amount of money that he had made in per diem over like the previous three years.

And of course, like his big statement was, where did that go? What had happened with that money? And I know that a lot of folks in the military don't have, always have those opportunities necessarily to go TDY or to or to deploy in a sense where they can really focus on using that deployment to hone their, hone their financial independence goals. However, some folks, they can't stop, right? You can't stop going TDY sometimes in certain jobs and certain jobs. Especially early on in my life with the like special operations you just deploy all the time. It's the ability to actually sit there and realize that that is an opportunity that you can take advantage of that will really benefit you in the end.

So I have always started out with using that extra deployment pay, extra TDY pay, a lot of the way that you guys preach that, when you get these extra bonuses in the year or you get your annual raises or you're promoted treat that money like it, it isn't there, right?

Find a path for it, send it, send it somewhere so it doesn't find its way out of your pocketbook, right? One big thing for me is going on TDYs, I don't look at the per diem rate and go, okay what can I go? What fun can I have with this money?

I'm still eating as though I were at home, you still have to feed yourself, right? But you don't have to take every dollar. That's probably going to be added to your paycheck and just really yeah, Spend it extravagantly. And, but at the same time, I'm also not just sitting in a room, right?

So we have a lot of us that have to go TDY or deploy. You have the opportunity to travel the world at the government's expense, right? And they're going to send you, again, early in my career to some less ideal places. But then later on I've been able to go to some really amazing locations just by the nature of what we do.

So obviously taking advantage of that everywhere you go, there's so many opportunities to do things that don't just drain your bank account. You can go hiking and experience cultural events and go see places. A lot of times when we're in these foreign countries or even if you're on a stateside TDY, find your little bubble, go out and, venture out in the area that you're in and explore and learn that area for better or worse, right?

Jamie and I are in Alabama. Which, it probably doesn't top speed. Nobody would go, Hey, would you rather go to Hawaii or Alabama? But in doing so, there's all sorts of things to see and do in the areas around and to take advantage of. That's really important so I was, I would say yes, I was probably frugal with a little bit of the per diem that would come in.

Deployments is a totally different ballgame. When I was special operations, obviously a young lieutenant, tons of student loan debt. So I was really focused on that early on, which is good because kinda what we talked about earlier with the Psychology of Money, it was more important for me to get away from that debt than it was to necessarily, start stalking the retirement funds, which is good.

Once all that was cleared though, it was game on, right? And the deployment structure back then was a little sporadic. There wasn't necessarily a defined you're gonna go and come back at these kinds of times, and I know that. That sounds wild to some people in some career fields, but it was just the nature of the mission back in those days.

But my more recent deployment was, I knew well in advance I was going, I knew well in advance the extra benefits that I was going to receive and the locations that I was going. And so I was able to come up with a solid financial plan. I was able to start going, to go ahead and start saving extra money to provide obviously for the basic bills and your family while you're deployed. But at the same time, I could go ahead and say okay, Savings Deposit Program, right? You guys have talked about this in your deployment episode combat zone tax exemption, the ability to put in a tax exempt TSP contribution.

And I came up with a really good game plan before I left. And I actually, I reached out to one of your former guests Doug Nordman. It was Spencer lovingly referred to as the OG of military finance. And he truly is yeah, big big props to Doug. Thank you so much. Cause Doug really understands the system.

He has a working relationship with a lot of these folks that are involved with TSP, the DFAS, the whole organization, and he's able to. Basically I was able to see exactly what I was, was coming up on and knowing that I'm trying to make a plan and he said, Hey, by the way, I have this article, right?

And it discusses exactly what you're doing. I think it was in either an episode you guys did last week or the week prior where you talk about lump sum. And you talk about, is it better to do dollar cost averaging or lump summing? And, it's almost negligible, right?

Spencer, you mentioned that with your nerdery math that you came up with, it's almost the same, but I've always been, again, a psychological part of the money I love. I love saving up the year prior. And when that January comes around, I'm like, boom, Roth TSP is good.

Or sorry, Roth IRAs are good. Putting all the extra money that I'm going to put into like children's educational funds for the next year, and then I'll front load, Roth TSP is a I've failed to mention this earlier, but I'm. I'm so late in the game, right? I hate to call myself an old guy, but I'm I'm, I've gotten up in the ranks that I had the option to do either blended retirement or stick with stick with the legacy system.

And because of the commitments that I've given to the air force, I'm going to end up being in for over 16 years, regardless. So I said, you know what? I'll go legacy. I'll do the cliff vesting for 20 years and just stick it out. And so I don't have to do dollar cost averaging when it comes to a Roth TSP.

So I just go in there and whatever those percentages will take, I put them in, I let that money just come out early in the year. In my previous deployment, the most recent deployment, I had front loaded that year, right? Our elected deferral limit was already met. I found out I'm going to deploy and I'm like obviously you want to find a way to save, right?

You want to continue to save. So Doug has some really good pointers with the annual additional limit you need to be in a deployed combat zone location in order to put money there. So I did, I just said, how do I max this out? And I get into the theater. I fill out all the proper paperwork.

I let him know, Hey, take everything out of my paycheck that you can for savings deposit, take out everything you can for the additional limits. And I think I told you guys that I think in December of that year, I deployed over a holiday period. So between two calendar years, I had a paycheck that was $158 and that made me feel, I was so happy, right?

That would terrify most people, but I was like, yes, it was like, I am sending all my money to all the places I want it to be. So that was really good. And just to refresh this too, this year, if an individual, we know that the elected deferral limits for 2022 are about $20,500.

If you are going to deploy, you have the ability to go up to $61,000. If your lifestyle and if your cash flow allows it. But that all starts with a plan, right? So you gotta start thinking about those things early.

And then you gotta be able to actually execute when the time comes.

[00:19:46] Spencer: A couple of things there that you talked about Luke was when you're on TDY and you're getting this additional income, I think it's a great opportunity to have a little bit of balance. You can go out with your buddies one night, and go to a nice steakhouse and spend all your per diem for that day, but then maybe the next day you just go for a hike and it's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the room.

And you can bounce between those two extremes, or you can just if you've got a health or a fitness goal and you're just, you're trying to hit your macros and you're just, you're gonna be eating your protein and you've, maybe you've meal prepped and you've brought a lot of food on the on the road with you.

[00:20:20] Spencer: I think I've seen a time or two before, and like we were in Korea on a, on that TDY that one time. And I think you might talk about that a little bit later when we talk about Space A. You were there with your family, but we went to that festival in that nearby town and that was completely free.

I think we spent maybe $10 on street food and that was an amazing experience .

[00:20:42] Luke: It was an amazing experience. Such an incredible experience. And that's, I think that's exactly the point I'm trying to make with that one. There are bars everywhere you go, right? There are the basic restaurants everywhere you go.

Chili's. Yeah. You got to hit your Chili's, right? But to have those kinds of experiences, yeah. Just like you said, you can come out of pocket twenty, thirty dollars and have an incredibly immersed cultural experience in some of these places that we have the opportunity to go to. I think it's such an amazing opportunity.

[00:21:10] Jamie: When we were in Eastern Europe one deployment maybe it was back before deployments to Eastern Europe or cool, I guess I'll say that. But one of the, one of the things we love to do when we had downtime is free walking tours. A lot of I guess nonprofit or historical agencies will give free walking tours.

And so for the cost of a tip for the lady or the gentleman doing the tour, you can learn all about the city and walk around, a couple of miles for a couple hours or whatever. That's a really incredible way to experience your location without having to spend a bunch of money too.

[00:21:39] Spencer: Yeah, we did one in Sevilla. It was a bike tour. I think it was like 20 euros and they advertised it as being three hours and it ended up being five hours. We were on this bike with this guy. He took us back to his house. He took us to his favorite tapas bar in the middle. Yeah. We met his mother.

It was like, it was the most immersive experience anyone's ever had for 20 euros. It was fantastic. 

Another thing you mentioned there, Luke was a student loan debt. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind getting into the specifics a little bit about it. So What dollar amount did you have coming out and what was your strategy to pay it off?

[00:22:14] Luke: So I I had a, I had a twofer. I had begun flying as a civilian pilot while in college. I caught the bug very early on. I Had also had, I can't even remember who was inspiring me to do this, but it was, it said, Hey, follow your passion for aviation, but also attempt to get a degree in something in case, we're never guaranteed health and longevity in the aviation world. So I have something to fall back on. I did a two front attack with my education at that time. So I got an engineering degree. And at the same time I was flying at a civilian aviation academy and went to a state school.

I got scholarships early on. I was one of those guys, though, that I loved everything so much that I had to switch my major about 10 times. So I really discovered myself and in doing so, I think I got about $25,000 in student loans. Quite the expensive discovery effort. Also pretty much had almost the exact same in aviation loans, if not just a bit more.

I was well into the mid to low $50,000 range and came on active duty as I said at OTS. And back then they had the career starter loan was $25,000 and the rate was incredibly low. So I said I need to start consolidating. So I took that $25,000, I threw it at some of the higher interest loans that I had.

And then like most of us, I feel like a lot of us get started in the Dave Ramsey world. That's at least where you get your your, your element, your basic education with financial independence. And again, it was a psychological thing for me. I wanted to have less places to have to pay my student loans.

So I found the snowball method, right? I found the little one and I took it out and then I took that money and I took it to the next one. I had the good fortune that I was deployed a lot. I was single at the time. So I had the ability to just throw everything I had at my loans and it was incredibly rewarding to be able to pay off that amount of student debt and well under a year and a half just by getting, just almost tenacious and paying those off.

[00:24:09] Spencer: Yeah, that's fantastic. We've got an episode. I believe Jamie, I can't remember which number it is. Maybe number nine on a Career Starter Loans. We'll have to go look that one up and link to it. But yeah, that's a fantastic opportunity for anybody coming out of ROTC, the Academy, the Academy, it's 0.75%. So that's an insanely low amount there, but there's a lot of mistakes that you can make with that loan too. 

So go listen to that episode if you are eligible. And I think usually it's you're within a year or two of commissioning. 

[00:24:49] Jamie: Luke, you also enjoy traveling. We mentioned this already and recently you had a pretty cool travel hacking trip to Chicago. Can you share some details about, that specifically that's that trip to Chicago and if you want to get into other travel hacking wins.

[00:25:03] Luke: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, so obviously the premise of this episode Space A, I'm sure we'll get into a little bit of that shortly, but in the interim, since Space A has been discontinued until further notice, thanks to COVID I've gotten. More into the actual credit card hacking travel hacking side of the house and it's actually it's turned out It's been a little bit easier now that we're back in the continental united states to try to find ways to get around and do little short trips that that you can use credit card points for or some of the other benefits I was really proud.

And I think you guys mentioned a couple episodes ago and a little shout out about my anniversary trip with my wife, but we we were going to Chicago and so obviously the first thing I do is start figuring out how I can combine points and rewards to, to make this to make this the the most frugal advantageous way to get out there.

At the time, so obviously as any good credit card hacker, not quite as sophisticated as you guys, but we had a pretty good selection to choose from. I've got the Amex Platinum. I've got Delta Amex. And this one was a little bit unique in that I believe before Christmas in 2021, Amex Platinum, just in their normal offers, had said, Hey, if you spend $300 on a Delta flight we'll take $140 or $160 off.

I can't remember the exact numbers. And so I was like, okay, noted. And then because I have the Delta Amex we have the companion pass associated with that. So I was able to get in there. I applied the companion pass, then turned around and applied the Platinum Amex to it. And long story short, it ended up being about $25 a ticket for comfort plus for me and my wife to get out there, which is, I was proud of myself, right?

Little small victories. Yeah, that's pretty good. Little wins. We stayed at a Marriott while we were there. And because I have the Marriott Amex. I had booked that using the military government rate and ended up getting about half of the entire cost back on that one because of their $300 annual benefit as well on that card.

All the small victories, my wife thinks I'm ridiculous for it, but I'm glad to be here among friends and able to express the excitement that I had over those little wins.

[00:27:02] Jamie: So before joining the military, you mentioned you worked for FedEx a little bit. Did you have any travel hacking bug or experience before all the military benefits of credit card rewards and things like that?

[00:27:12] Luke: Oh, yeah, FedEx was definitely my first introduction to finding ways in order to travel on the cheap. Like I mentioned before, I was a part time courier while I'm in college. It was an incredible company to work for. The benefits were really good for a guy that's just able to work afternoons after classes.

But one of the probably one of the more exciting benefits that came from that was the ability as an airline employee as being a, even though I'm just driving a truck around town, picking up boxes, they still considered you're part of the airline structure. So I was able to acquire these Zed fares or what they call non rev tickets which basically and I know folks that work for airline industry out there definitely understand these, but they're, you pay the taxes and the fees and then you go sit standby with whichever airline you've chosen. Super fortunate again, work hard during the week weekends would come around.

I would get these, I would just always have one of these tickets available. And this was back in the day when they actually physically sent you a ticket. It was like, very few people had, if you had an email, it probably had something associated with America online, but they would send you these tickets for $30 plus dollars.

And then you go list yourself at the counter and you travel wherever you want. So as a, again, a broke college student, this was very exciting. Yeah. I took trips to Connecticut and Las Vegas and Tampa and Detroit and all over the US to visit friends, leave on like a Friday, come back on a Sunday night, back back at work at school by the next Monday.

It really ended up laying a pretty solid foundation for what I was expecting  to end up doing once I got into Space A travel, once I discovered that years and years later. Yeah,

[00:28:40] Spencer: I think so much about travel hacking or taking advantage of all these different programs is just having the flexibility and doing it a couple times.

You get comfortable with it and realize it's not scary. And if you screw it up, like in the worst case scenario, you're just stuck somewhere nice for, or not so nice, but you're just stuck somewhere for a couple of days and that's it, right? The downside is maybe you lose a little bit of your time.

You waste a little bit of your time, but the upsides can be incredible. And especially when you're, a broke college student, or let's say that you're, an airman or a soldier, E-3, E-4, and you're not making that much money, you're living in the dorms, but you're stationed in Europe.

When Space A comes back, I know guys who hit 30 countries from Germany and they did that in three years and just every four day weekend, they would just go to the terminal and okay, where's the next C-17 going? Where's the next C-5 going? The C-5 is probably not going anywhere, but Luke in episode 29 of the podcast, Jamie and I talked about circuitous travel when you PCS overseas. And before the episode you and I were talking about, you've got an upcoming PCS to Korea. 

Are you guys planning on taking circuitous travel on the way to Korea?

[00:29:53] Luke: Oh, absolutely. So we've taken advantage of circuitous travel every time we've gone back and forth overseas.

Obviously to and from Hawaii my assignment, and this is part of why we're super thrilled about it. This is part of our air force story is we I'll be going on a one year remote which lots and lots of families do. Air Force, Army a lot of times in Korea, they're, oftentimes people don't have the option.

They have to do this. We were very interested in it. We obviously, you just talked about the flexibility and you need to have, you obviously need to have a family who's willing and eager to do an assignment like that to make it worthwhile. Normally, we would have gotten circuitous travel and taken a few days off and traveled here, there, and made our way over the unique situation with this trip is that I have to find a way to get the family there which is another reason that credit card hacking and travel hacking has been phenomenally beneficial for us is that I had the SkyMiles available and got them a flight over.

Once I got my circuitous travel approved I would do the same as I would with any other PCS, just book a ticket on my own and then I'll be accompanying them sitting right next to him. It ended up being a fantastic event or a fantastic opportunity for us, I should say. To have them fly with me and me not have to get on some kind of rotator and end up landing right at the base.

And then my wife trying to find her way from the airport down, which she's absolutely 100 percent capable of, but it just makes life so much easier, to have that opportunity available. We're able to take, we're able to take leave for at least a couple of days and go back home and see some family on the way out.

So to have those options and opportunities are just pretty incredible.

[00:31:26] Jamie: Yeah. So if you just travel like you said, episode 29, we talked all about that is a really nice benefit coming to her from an overseas assignment. You mentioned that you guys had visited Korea, via Space A couple of times.

So let's transition a little bit and talk about space. I Said earlier in the episode that you guys have saved over $41, 000 in travel expenses using Space A benefits, which is incredible. So we want to just dig into that and see exactly what those benefits are and some of the Tactical and practical ways of signing up for travel and how to take advantage of that Hopefully when it does come back soon but first let's start like Space Available or Space A what is that overall concept if someone's never heard of it before

[00:32:04] Luke: So Space Available travel obviously military, lots of planes moving around the globe, right? So the DOD. Established a program as a benefit to all the people that are eligible for Space Available travel, which we can talk about in a minute when there are open seats on an aircraft and it's going to a location that will allow someone to, to travel. So I'm specifically, when you think about the fact that a C-17 flies from the East coast and there, maybe they were going to the Middle East to some unsavory places, they're going to have to stop somewhere on the way. They're going to have to stop in Germany.

They're going to stop in Spain. They're going to stop in England. The DOD will allow you to utilize empty seats on a Space Available basis to get to those locations. If you so choose a tremendous benefit, right? Because, I'm getting excited about $30 non ref tickets that get me around the United States.

The military travels all over the world. The United States military is covering the Pacific, covering the Atlantic and going to just some tremendously incredible locations that even though your travel desires may not necessarily take you to that specific spot, it's going to get you close to where you can forward hop from there.

Again, I see it as a great benefit that that a lot of people, and I know Spencer alluded to this they're aware that this exists, but maybe they're scared, maybe they're nervous, they don't have quite the amount of information that they need to be able to take advantage but just a tremendous resource.

[00:33:22] Spencer: So who's eligible for Space A? Is it just about everybody in the military? Dependents, contracted ROTC cadets, academy?

[00:33:32] Luke: So my understanding on this is for the most part active duty service members are covered. I believe with Guard and Reservists, you would most likely need to be on orders for greater than 30 days to be eligible, but there's unique situations, like you'd have to put them on reserve or guard orders.

And then for have them turn around and take leave would be strange. So those are a little bit more unique situations. Your families are allowed to accompany you. So you're talking to the dependents that are listed within DEERS, exactly. Retirees.

And I know you guys talk about this as having seen a lot of these folks that are at the space, a tournament, a lot of times retirees are there, but they're there because they have that flexibility that everybody really wants. And then I had to do a little professor Google research on this one, but it is contracted cadets.

So not folks that are taking ROTC classes, but the ones that are actually contracted, they themselves are eligible to take advantage of Space Available once it does return.

[00:34:24] Jamie: Yeah we actually have not great space experience like you do, but a little bit. And when my wife was a contracted cadet, I had already commissioned, but she was still in ROTC.

There was a C-17 that left from Jackson, Mississippi to Andrews every week to start an air medical evacuation mission. They left every Sunday. So she got to ride to and from between Jackson, Mississippi and Andrews a bunch as a contractor cadet. And so that was cool. A random little mission there that we were able to take advantage of. We've ridden Space A once from Andrews back to Travis which worked out. And then my family has come along Space A from Hawaii to California and back with me. That one was a disaster. And then they've tried a couple other times where they didn't make the cut.

So the signup process and. The flexibility, like you said, is important, but yeah, it can be tough sometimes.

[00:35:17] Luke: That's definitely something to consider. So as we've traveled around and the more we've done space A and talked to folks that you, you get one of two experiences out the gate. Either it's the smoothest experience, much like going out and getting on an airline and you show up right on time and everything goes real easy.

Or it's a disaster and you're not ready for it. So I think, as most of your listeners or your military, we know what hurry up and wait, it's all about. We know that nothing's guaranteed or nothing is written in stone. And some of the biggest advice and my wife is, she was a great asset out in Hawaii for some of the units that she wrote a little blurb in the newsletter that talked about Space A travel.

Every few weeks, but she always made sure to talk about the flexibility that's involved with Space A travel. I wouldn't say that we have, we've never had flawless Space A experiences, right? And that's just the reality. And that's something, it's a mindset, right? You need to have that mindset going into it that you get what you're paid for, right?

So if it's free 99, then you're hopping on a C-130 or a C-5 or a C-17 Spencer alluded to the C 5 might not be taking off, probably not. The C-17 is probably going to get you where you need to go, right? This, the KC-135, it's going to be cold. There's always going to be these aspects that you need to consider in the flexibility of travel.

And one thing I wanted to hit on too is we get to tell all these stories. It's like the Instagram of our life of doing some Space A travel. Nobody sees everything that went into it ahead of time. And I've had four instances where when I took leave, I was going to go to Australia, Space A and four separate times I never went to Australia, right? 

So we've ended up in some great locations and that goes into the preparation phase two of saying You're going to have some time off like you want to travel somewhere, right? Have three or four options and go through those as if that were the location that you're going to go see.

Make out daily itineraries, do all those kinds of things and and look at it from a realistic perspective of, okay we live in Delaware, right? So Dover's got flights going out all the time, or maybe you can just drive up the road to McGuire or maybe over to BWI and try to catch one of these hops.

And, okay, we want to go to France, right? If that's… flights going to Germany or Spain, you can obviously get to France. Come up with those kinds of plans. The Pacific was a little different, right? There's a whole lot of water and not a whole lot of land out there. When these trips would fall through, I'm already on leave, I've already taken this time off.

Australia didn't work out. So we said, We're going to go to Korea. So that's how we ended up in Korea the first time. The next time we're going to get on this flight to Australia. That didn't happen. We ended up in Okinawa for a week and that ended up being an amazing trip. Had a fantastic time.

The next time it's California, right? The next time it's Alaska, but it's always, we're always flexible to the point where we're not so hard and fast that this is the location we want to go. We've just taken the time we've prepped for all these like tertiary secondary plans that we can end up doing.

It ended up being it ended up being great experiences all around it, no matter how painful it is, but never forget that it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

[00:38:06] Jamie: I forgot that there was another time too. We tried to space out of Hawaii and it ended up we made it on a KC-135, one of the tankers and up to engine start.

And we hear this really loud noise. And what they said, basically we did not, they then had to cancel the flight because of maintenance, but someone took out the ground power unit without turning it off first and fried the whole electrical system or something along those lines.

And we're just sitting there. Oh, we were so close. 

You mentioned a lot of the unpredictability of missions could get recut. The plane could divert for maintenance and wherever that plane lands, you're done. But you also hinted at BWI. So there's, you can go to Seattle. Or you can go to Baltimore and there's a little bit more structured flights sometimes that you often hear called rotators.

Can you talk a little bit about those? 

[00:38:49] Luke: Absolutely. We have contracted carriers for the locations that are very, for example, Korea, right? Is a location that, especially during the summer timeframe, we're moving a lot of soldiers, troops in and out of those areas. And so much of a demand signal that we need a predictive contracted air carrier.

So as you mentioned SeaTac in Seattle is one of them. They have a couple of different routes that will take them out through the Pacific. Usually hits mainland Japan, sometimes Okinawa and then over to Korea. And then the same thing on the other side with Baltimore Washington International.

So at the international airport, we have government contracted aircraft that are taking folks either. PCSing families to Germany or England, or taking soldiers and troops down down range to the Middle East. And again, a lot of this goes into kind of the research and knowing specific passenger terminals. You can start studying, and this is like the prep phase of this, you can start studying and seeing, Oh, okay on Tuesdays they'll fly between here and England, right?

And You just understand that there's a rhythm to it. And with any travel, right? Any leisure travel, highly recommend not going during the peak seasons because you're going to have a much more difficult time. And this is why you'll always see the retirees around when school's in session they're already ready to go because for a lot of families, they can't take their kids out of school for that period of time.

So for us, a lot of the prep work went back to so where's your base station, right? What's the closest thing to you? And in Hawaii, you have basically Hickam. That's going to be the place to go. And so you start to learn that okay, every two weeks, this flight might happen and every three weeks.

And so you can prog out sometimes where you think trips might go that are more routine. And then the other times you could just roll the dice, right? So again using Hawaii as an example. If someone takes off from Hawaii, they're going to end up most likely in Guam, California, there's only so many places that you can initially go on that first hop.

And so if you use that as a planning metric, you can go, okay, we can at least get here and then we'll figure it out from there. I will backtrack a little bit and tell you one of the better lessons that I ever learned. And I want to make sure all the listeners are writing this down because we, it ended up being a great experience, but we learned it the hard way.

So on our very first full Space Available trip, we went to Yokota, Japan. So we got to go to Tokyo, had an amazing experience, did all the things Tokyo, Disneyland, we were down just to see the entire city. And. So I, again, I had, the way we, all three of us are, is I've got my spreadsheet that tells me here's all the plans, here's all the expected dates that these planes are going to leave from here, we show up at Yokota, ready to come home and against better judgment, it was a C-5 reserve unit, and I was like, oh, this is gonna be fantastic, we're gonna take it straight back to Hawaii the bus takes us out to the aircraft, we stop in front of the aircraft, and the bus drives away, we go back to the terminal and of course, it's a C-5, so it's broken, and I had met a friend in the terminal who's a career Navy, and this guy knew Space A, right? He was super expert on this. So he's already looking at all the schedules. He's okay, tomorrow there's three flights leaving from here. They're going to Travis, California from Travis, there's three flights leaving the next day, going to Hawaii. And we're like, we're connecting the dots.

And I'm like, oh man, I'm just going to ride on this guy's coattails. What a genius. So sure enough the next day we go to Travis and we say hi to Hawaii as we fly over on the way to Travis to California, we get to Travis. And so when you sign up for Space A, you have to send out your request form to every terminal you can anticipate traveling through.

Obviously going to Japan from Hawaii, I never thought in a million years. Oh yeah, we'll definitely end up in California. So we ended up in California. And when you show up on the day of your bottom on the list for sign up dates, cause you just showed up there. So we missed the first two flights that day.

We luckily made it back that night. It was a pretty exhausting, 36, 40 hour trip that we had, but those little lessons that need to be committed to memory when it comes to space A if you think it's even remotely possible that you could end up at this terminal, you better send a request out to them as soon as you have your leave orders, or if your family's stationed overseas, they often can travel without you. They get a letter from their commander which I can talk a little bit more about that. You can send that letter out very early, but make sure you list every single email address possible for the Space Available terminals.

[00:43:01] Jamie: Yeah, a lot of a lot of gotchas there. One thing I just want to hit on it. It's not just an Air Force program, right? There's Navy planes like the C-40, which is a 737 Passenger platform basically, which is a great way to travel. And so there's other It all service members can do it. All retirees can do it.

And it's not just the air force thing, but air mobility command AMC or you'll hear the old retired guy say MAC, the MAC planes just have the most options in the most flights. So it's not just for retirees, not just for air force families. 

You mentioned the upcoming schedules and digesting of what the options are and what's coming up.

Can you talk a little bit about where you see them? They used to be on Facebook, but I understand they're moving.

[00:43:43] Luke: Exactly. They yeah, I like to say back in the day, but this is pre COVID two years ago, so not quite back in the day, right? You would basically have to go on Facebook and or follow every passenger terminal that you would potentially use.

And then they would post continued schedules throughout the day of predicted flights for the next 72 hours. And a lot of times they'll put the location that they're going, the time of the roll call, and then they'll put tentative seats available on the airplane. And they're going now AMC in February, I believe February 28th, they were requiring that all passenger terminals would migrate to the AMC travel page is what they call it now.

You can easily Google “AMC Space Available travel page”. It should be one of the first ones that pop up, but it now has a centralized location for all passenger terminals, at least on the AMC side, and as Jamie just mentioned sometimes there's Navy bases. That will they're outside of the air, the air forces, air mobility community that don't.

Posts necessarily on this in those situations. You would probably still need to follow their Facebook pages But I've gone on obviously Space Available travel current as of the recording is still not going on at least for leisure travel But I've gone on I've checked out how it's going and keep in mind that there's still passenger terminal people there now So these this is actively being used There is a method that you can sign up for your home Terminals electronically.

So it's without email, but I would always double tap that one. So sign up on the website if you will, but also send the emails. There's a link on the page as well that has all the contact information for all the terminals. They break it down into regions. So if you're going to Europe it'll have all the UCOM regions in there.

If you're going out to the Pacific, you want to get to Hawaii or Japan or Korea, there's a PACOM area to that. And while I'm talking about that piece to the the signup aspect of it, so when you're an active duty person stationed either CONUS or in Alaska and Hawaii, when you sign up for Space Available travel, it occurs.

You're able to send that email, if you will, when your leave starts and not before, they'll kick it back. They won't even, they won't even allow you to to put in your initial request for basically, it's basically a timestamp that gives you priority over the next.

category of individuals. So when you're stateside Alaska Hawaii, you'll be category three. Typically with the service member traveling. We were also very fortunate that while we're in Hawaii and this goes for Alaska as well, that your spouse is able to travel without you. 

They'll be traveling as a category five and the way that works. And you can Google Google search how to get a command sponsor letter for Space Available travel. And there's plenty of templates out there that you can use, but the active duty member service members commander would have to sign this form. It would list all the dependents on the form itself.

That specific letter is good for 90 days from the signature. However, When you email that letter to a terminal, it's good in their system for 60 days. So that's, that can sometimes get confusing for folks. And obviously the 90 is just to give the commander time to sign it, give it time to get back to you, and then you're able to email that letter out.

And then that establishes your level of priority there at category five. There's also an element called environmental morale leave EML, which is primarily for folks that are in a little more austere locations. Sometimes I believe all of Korea is considered this. I may be wrong on that one, but what it will do is if you're able to take either once.

In one year, twice in two years or three in three years, if you have the ability to basically travel back stateside and it bumps you to the next category. So an active duty service member would be able to be category two at that point for email. And then if your spouse is traveling without you from such locations, they would actually bump to category four.

So little nuances, a lot of things to Google and research for what specific category you're in, but just understanding that those categories exist and the way that works is once you get to the terminal you would mark yourself present for, Hey, I want to compete for this flight.

That way they're not going through a list of thousands of people who've sent them emails in the past two or three months. And then they'll go, they'll start with category one. And those are the people that need to get home for an emergency situation. And then they go down the list of cat two cat three.

[00:47:42] Jamie: And whatever seats are available, that's what's available by that sign up date from when you sent the email.

[00:47:47] Luke: Yeah, exactly.

[00:47:48] Jamie: So you mentioned there's a lot of different categories. I'm just going to read through them real quick. Some of these you mentioned just to summarize- 

Category One is emergency leave. Like you mentioned, category two is accompanied. environmental and morale leave, which is accompanied by the service member. Category three is regular, ordinary leave, active duty, traveling house hunting, permissive TDY, and a couple of other random things like medal of honor holders.

I don't know if I have a medal of honor, I'm probably not Space A’ing around, but it's category, category four is unaccompanied EML, environmental and morale leave category five permissive TDY, non house hunting students, dependents, post deployment mobilization, some other random categories.

And then category six is where most of the retirees, contracted ROTC cadets and things like that fall. So if you show up as an active duty service member on leave, you're going to be category three and all the retirees that are there are category six. So you can see that you're going to have priority over them.

Depending on the number of seats available, they'll go down the list by category by a sign up date basically is how it works.

[00:48:52] Luke: Exactly. And other little things to keep in mind with this is this is a little bit comical, but every person that you bring with you, with your dependents is a real person.

So unlike the airline where you have a lap baby, yeah, a one year old on a Space Available flight takes a seat and they need to be in a car seat. And you can't choose to not have a seat for them. You can't choose to not have a seat for them as much as you would like. They absolutely require those things.

That's really important to keep in mind. And then the way that you. The way you prepare yourself. So obviously, like day of travel, you gotta be there early. We always recommend being in there well more than an hour before the roll call itself, because as we know things are subject to change.

Rarely do timelines go left, but you never know. So better to be safe than sorry. Show up plenty early. And we learned this very early in the game. We. We've probably done space A 15 times. And I remember the first three or four times my poor wife and I were dragging car seats and bags, and we had just tremendous amounts of luggage to drag around the world.

And we got really good about minimizing what you bring with you. For the most part, you're going to end up at a location that has air, air force or military facilities. You don't have to pack for a third, like you're going to be there for 30 or 40 days.

There's obviously a lot of places you can use laundry at military hotels when you're traveling overseas or even back to the States.

[00:50:05] Spencer: Look, I've got two tactical questions for you. 

One, the first one is hotel booking. So when you're applying this flexible travel style to Space A are you just showing up and then hoping for the best for hotels?

[00:50:19] Luke: A lot of times you do need to wing it. And it's the part that makes people really nervous, right? Very rarely have we ever shown up somewhere where we were just at a complete loss for where we are going to stay? A lot of the locations you. Think about Germany and England and Japan, we have a large military presence there.

So first off, we're going to have some type of military end, whether the air force ends something along those lines. We also, and again, all of us, being travel hackers that we are, you're going to have some points accumulated hopefully for certain hotels that are pretty prevalent in overseas locations.

Always keep a stash of some Hilton points laying around in case you have to make a last minute booking and you're not just having to pay completely out of pocket for some of these, for some of these locales. But it's really good to not obviously book hotels in foreign countries, especially where you don't have an easy or a flexible way to cancel.

And that's just always something to keep in mind is just, kind of hope for the best. Specifically with our travels of say, we'll use Tokyo, for instance, we would try to depart two or three days prior to a hotel reservation that we made for a very specific event.

And we would. Be flexible enough to stay maybe at the air force ends for a couple of nights. And then, you take the train or you take the bus downtown and you transition to this is okay. Now we're in vacation mode. But the whole time we, I was telling you earlier, we had those lists of, oh, I want to do this and I want to do that.

Around these certain areas. And so we made geographic lists of the places that we can go and things we can experience in those one or two day buffer periods where we're waiting to actually start our full planned up vacation time.

[00:51:51] Spencer: Okay. Then my second tactical question is packing.

On a lot of these flights, you're not going to have flight attendants. You're not going to have the lie flat business class seats that I become accustomed to doing all my travel hacking. So what do you pack? Any specific brands of equipment and what makes the trip more comfortable.

And the other thing too, is like you were mentioning earlier, KC-135 gets cold and C-17 is depending on where you're sitting can be pretty, can be hot or can be cold.

[00:52:23] Luke: Oh, absolutely. Here's a bonus tip to folks that aren't super familiar with using space A travel. So when you look at the listing of flights that are coming up, you can sometimes get a read based off of the seats that are tentatively available of what aircraft that's going to be.

So C-17, right? It typically will say 53 tentative seats. That just gives you an idea that flight that's leaving, going to this location might be a C-17 or 19 sometimes depending on it. And so you get a feel for, okay. We started noticing maybe like KC-135s give, they always have 10 tentative seats on there.

And then C-5S will havE 73. I think it's the number for that one. And that also gives you a good idea in the back of your mind too. As a C-17 guys, you realize that like cargo can take those seats away. And oftentimes it does, I have four attempts to go to Australia that prove that right.

[00:53:13] Jamie: So we've heard

[00:53:14] Luke: I'm not bitter, but the 73 tentative seats on a C-5 are always there. Those are seats that are up in the upper deck. Cargo can't Trump those seats necessarily, but it's a give and take, right? Cause the C-5 probably won't take off. You'll be comfortable, C-5 are fairly comfortable.

C 17s are obviously the most comfortable airplane out there. Slightly biased. Then as you said, KC-135s are like a thunderstorm and waiting. They have it 180 degrees by the top of it and 14 degrees at the floor, then you stand up and it's like super. Yeah, it's super divergent in the way that it keeps its heating and cooling in that aircraft.

So those give you kind of ideas and then based on that, at least on your initial departure, you can pack appropriately for whichever aircraft. We would always bring, we, it's almost like we were packing for this long distance hiking trip, we would always pack like small.

Like air up mattresses. You want to have the ability to have pillows and stuff, which by the way, my wife absolutely would prefer to fly Space Available military travel now going across especially the Pacific because your ability to lay out on the floor, like you don't have to sit in a seat necessarily, unless it's a C-5.

You have the ability to spread out in some of these aircrafts. So you can make yourself comfortable in some of the most uncomfortable aircraft that are out there. And then in doing so, have the ability to pack in layers. Bring a light sweatshirt or bring, maybe jackets as necessary.

One thing that really pushed a lot of people early on to think about the fact that you need some kind of hearing protection for yourself. And then obviously children as well, too. So we like to take noise canceling headsets which not only helps with, watching movies or listening to music or maybe listening to this wonderful podcast while you're flying eventually back on space A again and then bringing chargers on board with you and you, in reality, if folks have never done this before. It's very similar to airline style flying as far as once you get there, you can check to, usually two 70 pound bags, you can bring one carry on. It's all those kinds of those typical TSA rules that you see for your carry on stuff. It's just bringing the extra few things that you would need for comfort if you have the ability to lay out.

[00:55:14] Jamie: Yeah, I've seen people even have inflatable air mattresses pool floats.

We, one time, like when my family, like I said, flew from Hawaii to California, they, we did it like the rafts, like pool floats and just blew those up. And that was like a little air mattress, but I've seen legitimate air mattresses in the cargo bay as well.

So you mentioned snacks, is there an option to buy? We don't have flight attendants on most of these planes, but what do you do other than just a bunch of granola bars?

[00:55:42] Luke: They usually do offer you the ability to buy what a lot of us in the military lovingly call box nasties. We have the ability to get those pre made sandwiches.

There's usually a piece of fruit in there. We. We typically will bring our own food. We'll pack up at least enough to get you through almost an entire day, because a lot of these trips, considering the amount of time that you get before roll call, show up an hour or two before roll call roll calls, usually sometimes three to three and a half hours before the flight even takes off.

And then if some of these flights are. Upwards of seven, eight hours. And then, and then by the time, then you have to wait for the bus at the end, there's just a lot of process. And if you have whiny children that get hungry I highly recommend having enough food for a solid day to sustain you as you travel through.

And then you also have the ability to pick and choose what you're eating and not necessarily at the whim of AMC.

[00:56:26] Spencer: So space, it sounds like it's been a huge benefit for you guys. How did you estimate the $41,000 in free travel?

[00:56:33] Luke: Oh again, back to us being spreadsheet guys, I had to take a look, I was like, I went back, I saw all the trips that we had done and on a very conservative level, I said we had bought three one way trips that took us to this location and then, turned around and we went to another location afterwards using just the most basic of search engines, I was like, wow, this is at least $40,000 that we've saved over time. Now, we've also been very fortunate a couple of times, ending up on C-37s and C-40s, which is, like being on a private jet.

And that is probably not something that most folks will get the opportunity to do. That was sheer luck and timing, but those are incredible experiences. On those. So I didn't even account for the fact that, you're on a, you're on almost a personal business aircraft that's taking you to some of these really amazing locations.

Yeah, that's awesome.

[00:57:18] Jamie: So I think the two big takeaways I want to share from today's episode, which has been really good hearing another perspective about financial independence and some personal experience, as well as talking about Space A travel and the incredible benefit that is. 

First takeaway is kind of your three things you talked about when you tell other people about financial independence Luke and to recap those were simplify, focus on the psychology more than dollars and cents, and stay the course and your big gains are gonna come from small daily investments.

I think there's definitely a lot of wisdom there and the second good takeaway from today is that Space A travel we talked a lot about can be a great benefit for both active duty service members and their families, as well as retirees. But it does require a little bit of flexibility and a little bit of homework ahead of time and throughout the process. 

So Luke, any other resources you can point people to if they had more questions about Space A A or if they're interested in giving it a shot, their first go

[00:58:10] Luke: Yeah, now that they've migrated this page, I highly recommend that everyone while things are still suspended due to COVID, get on the AMC Space Available travel page and kind of click around and make yourself familiar with that and start learning like where where your home base is going to take you to and and familiarizing yourself with those schedules.

The other place that I would absolutely recommend folks go check out is Poppin’ Smoke. Stephanie Montague runs a Facebook page there and she has some great articles that discuss certain locations. She gives tips for, traveling around some of the more normal bases that people would travel to, in Japan and in Germany.

And then I believe Spencer also is going to be posting shortly a Space Available article on his website as well, which will all be good places to go get yourself familiarized with them. And just remember you get what you pay for out there, but there's some real tremendous value that can be pulled from traveling with a military aircraft for free.

[00:59:02] Spencer: Thanks for all that Luke. And thanks again, listeners for joining us today. We appreciate your continued support and for all the five star reviews you're giving us on Spotify and Apple podcasts. And thank you for sharing this episode and all of our other episodes with your friends and coworkers who can get a lot of benefit from the topics that we talk about here.

Also, for those of you who have purchased my book recently, thank you very much. The book is now on Amazon in hardcover, Kindle and audible. It's The Military Money Manual, A Practical Guide to Financial Freedom by Spencer Reese. You can search “Military Money Manual” on Google or Amazon. Or you can go to my website,

And big thanks to our good friend, Luke, for coming on the podcast and for sharing everything he knows about financial independence and Space A. Hey, it's awesome to get another perspective and another military service member who's actively saving investing for FI. We'll see you next week on the Military Money Manual podcast.

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