L’Chaim! Thankful For You And 18 Years Of DansDeals!

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Where has the time gone?

I started blogging here a mind-boggling 18 years ago on Black Friday, November 26, 2004. The date is easy to remember, I turned 20 that day and was spending the year on bochur shlichus, volunteering to teach and mentor at a school in Sao Paulo.

Who could have guessed the chain of events that would be set off because the school couldn’t even afford to buy toilet paper? I shared a deal for free toilet paper with my friends and family and the rest is history.

The Ami Magazine covered some of that chain of divine providence earlier this year, though there is much more to the story, perhaps one day I’ll write a book?

I suppose it was always in the cards for me. I was born on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It may not have been back then, but nowadays the Monday after Thanksgiving is better known as Cyber Monday, the official holiday of internet deals.

I’d certainly have laughed at you if you told me in 2004 that I’d still be blogging daily at the same site. I’d think you were even crazier if you told me that it would be my living and calling.

But I guess the signs were always there. I was flipping baseball cards as a 10 year old. Selling beanie babies on eBay as a 12 year old. Freezing out in the cold on Black Friday as a 15 year old to flip items on eBay (thank goodness that can be done online now!). By 16, I was renting out 18 lines on a corporate cell phone account and negotiated a 50% discount with Delta and booked out an entire flight from LAX-JFK for my Yeshiva, saving everyone money while earning a boatload of miles and free tickets for myself in the process. And by 17, I took advantage of a now defunct eBay points program to rack up over 1 million miles with Cathay Pacific. And since then, it’s grown into an obsession to see how many tens of millions of miles I can rack up and burn through each year. There are worse hobbies to have, no?

Sure, Dave Portnoy, it may be fun to rack up and hoard miles. But the real joy is in redeeming the miles! They’re not earning interest or becoming more valuable sitting in your account.

I’ve certainly been blessed with being in the right place at the right time so many times in my life and it’s amazing looking back at how all the pieces fall into place. Over the course of 18 years of blogging and traveling the world, every day I gain an incredible appreciation for the world and our part in leaving it better than we found it.

The fact that my hobby and job enabled me to travel to places I could never have dreamed of traveling to and do things I could have never dreamed I’d be able to do is something I never take for granted.

 

 

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I’m thankful to G-d for allowing me to support my amazing wife and 4 adorable children in the most unique of ways. And for being able to take them on hundreds of flights to see the world thanks to miles.

I’m thankful to my parents for making sure that I was always curious. Always questioning. Always working hard because nothing worthwhile comes easy. And always striving to be humble and appreciative of everything and everyone.

I’m thankful to my brother JJ, 6 years my junior, for helping me run this website for the past 9 years. He has now been running DansDeals with me for the majority of the site’s existence!

 

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I’m thankful to my wife Mimi for putting up with me working all-nighters, for letting me book international travel glitches just hours before departure, and for always being there through life’s ups and downs.

Mimi even joined the DansDeals team earlier this month and is doing an awesome job communicating with our advertisers and writing up ad copy, which I’m certainly thankful for as well!

I’m thankful to my kids, Rafi, Talia, Maya, and Kovi. Aside from being impossibly cute, their wide-eyed wonder at seeing the world is refreshing. Their adorable innocence, hugs, and unconditional love melt away the biggest worries and fears in the world. Sure it’s significantly harder to travel with kids, but there is no greater blessing in the world.

Jerusalem, June 2022. Photo credit: Raphi Nussbaum.

 

I’m thankful to the amazing DDF Family for being a great source of deal leads and an awesome place to read trip reports, plan trips, and just shmooze. It’s always awesome to have a DDF DO and put a face to a name that you talk to online.

I’m thankful that the world has (mostly) reopened and we can travel again. Because there’s nothing that compares to the memories made while traveling. We finally got to take our kids back to Israel earlier this year after several years of the holy land closing their borders due to COVID, and there’s nothing quite like not being able to go somewhere, to remind you of how precious it is.

But one thing the pandemic showed me is that we also have a beautiful country to explore and I need to spend more time traveling in the USA!

 

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Miles have enabled a lifestyle where I can jump on a plane whether it’s just to be there for someone else (and it’s good to see others thinking about miles along those lines as well) or jumping on a flight to see things like a volcano erupting. It’s hard to see something like this and not be in awe and thankful for the awesome places that G-d has given us to explore in this world:

 

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And sometimes you just have to let go and live life on the edge, like I did last year as I explored my 7th continent:

 

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And I’m thankful to you. For reading. For following on TwitterInstagram, Telegram, SMS, and Facebook.  For sharing your deals, experiences, and trip reports on DDF and the DDFB group. For telling your friends and family. For commenting and adding insight. For patronizing our advertisers and opening credit cards or shopping through our links that keep this site running. For sending me countless touching emails letting me know how DansDeals made a difference in your life, whether it was being able to take a special trip that otherwise would have been out of reach or even finding your soul mate through DDF! You make it all possible and worthwhile!

Reading stories like this about our awesome community are truly heartwarming. Just yesterday someone else messaged me on Facebook how they went from learning about DansDeals when they were told about and booked first class transcontinental tickets on Delta for $50. That snowballed to learning how to earn top-tier status on Delta while flying across the globe. It’s that kind of feedback that makes me thankful to have such awesome readers who love to learn and know when to share a story that will make me smile.

It’s hard to believe 18 years are in the books.

I feel like I live and breath DansDeals every moment of the day. But I also feel like I haven’t worked a day in my life. I suppose that’s what happens when you have a job that you’re passionate about.

I still haven’t wrapped my head around turning 38 this weekend, I feel like I blinked and aged 18 years. But I won’t stop as long as I’m having fun. And I hope you won’t either.

Thanks for 18 years of fun and as we say, L’chaim to the next 18 years filled with lots of miles, deals, good health, happiness, and true fulfillment for all!

-Dan

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47 Comments On "L’Chaim! Thankful For You And 18 Years Of DansDeals!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sp

You the man dan we are all thankful for you as well man keep up the good work

Mw

Happy Thanksgiving!

pagro

lchaim lchaim lchol hadam hanesafim thank you for many years and great deals

Ricster

Thank You Dan!

Nathan

Happy 38th birthday! 🙂

Ben

Thanks for a that you do Dan! That Delta $50 deal in First Class was the best I ever had

yelped

Mazel Tov on the continuation and constant betterment of the site and L’Chaim on your birthday!

YitzyS

Mazel Tov! Great to read a new post and not just a BUMP of an old one! And congrats to Yehudaa on getting not just one mention, but two!

For me, DDF is not just a convenient site to learn info. It’s had an impact on so much, as I’ve pointed out numerous times on the forums. It’s been an honor to be part of this the last seven or so years.

Shmueli

Thanks!
!לחיים

sacul

Thanks dan

Andre

Happy birthday, Dan! Thanks for your wonderful site and fun forums!
Lots of luck to your future!

Steven Saposnik

Mazel Tov on all that you have accomplished! Happy Birthday and enjoy!

Fjdo

Mazel tov and thanks for sharing!

Toronto

Thanks so much for all you do Dan! Would you consider expanding to Canadian deals? Or do you know of a similar blog like this in Canada? We are missing out on your expertise here.

A

Thankful for you and this site. I often think about the ways my life is better because of it.

FBR

Happy B-day!

Just watching those last 2 videos made my heart plummet, not just to my toes, but straight to Earth’s core! I can’t imagine what it was like in real life :0.

Yisroel

מזל טוב!!!! Many more years of helping us out, לחיים all our travels should only be for שמחות and to guy on Dan’s jet to greet משיח בקרוב

LK

Happy Birthday!

Benji

Mazel tov. we are thankful for all you do for the community.

California Gourmet Chocolate

Mazel Tov on 18 yrs of Dans Deals!
We have been following your’s and JJs posts since the very beginning.
We attended Dans Deals Seminar in Cleveland, and also Dans Deals Seminar in Los Angeles. The online forums are a great resource, too.

Thank you for sharing the deals, airport lounge tips, and hotel status trends.

Harfer

Dan, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog.

Kol hakavod to you!

Happy Birthday!

David Djmal

If Dan has a million fans, I’m one of them.
If Dan has 5 fans, I’m one of them.
If Dan has 1 fan, that one is me.
If Dan has no fans, I’m no longer alive.
If the world is against Dan, I’m against the entire world.

Till my last breath, I’ll support Dan.

Chaim R

Dan is great but mesiras nefesh for a blog? What’s this world coming to…

Foxman

David relax!

Co

Very nicely said! Thanks for everything and you should have continued Hatzlacha!

Berl

לחיים ולברכה

18 years?! Wow!!!

It’s most definitely time for Mashiach and the Geulah!!!

Yonah

Mazel tov on a “lifetime” of Dan’s deals. Good luck on the next 18, and thank you

Rick

Thank you! I love your website and have discovered great savings from your posts

James

Thank you!!

Sn

This is so great. Sometimes our path is laid out so clearly by H”KBH and you are blessed to be one of those. Being able to be excited about work and what you do is a tremendous Bracha. May you continue to use it well in good health and success.

Sara

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday!

robertw

Congrats! Great post.

Ellen C

There’s no one like you, Dan! Well, maybe your bro JJ! All your followers benefit from your blog, and the deals you uncover. But the chesed you do in an instant when called upon, warms my heart. Like the time you made some calls, jumped in your car, and delivered kosher food to a bunch of people stranded in the airport near your home. Your call to duty to help your fellow human is admirable and inspirational! Thankful for you…keep on blogging in good health, happiness, and good fortune!

Alicia

Thank you Dan you’re the best 🙂

Noman Azhar

Dan I met you in Chicago area skokie around 8-9 years ago and I am a big fan of yours!!

Kay

Thank you Dan!

Thom Mans

But is it safe? Happy Birthday!

Walter

thanks for all you do, including highlights of your sports and travel experiences! Cool to see. Happy thanksgiving and birthday wishes too.

Binyomin in Israel

Dan and JJ, thanks for the great deals and the positive hashkafa you put into it!

I thanked you at one of my sibling’s Sheva brachos for enabling me to fly in for the wedding! BH so far I have not missed any. Thank you Hashem!!

And thanks to Yaakov Goldstein for introducing me to the site. May we be zoche to celebrate together at your wedding!

C2CMom

Many thanks to you and your family for all you have done to make my family’s life richer. I hope you realize that you are touching future generations too. My daughter got married recently and just got back from an extended honeymoon that included 10 days in the Maldives. You have said the Maldives are “truly heaven on earth” and she confirmed that is true. I am so grateful for experiences like this, as well as all the wonderful trips we have taken as a family, and for the ones we are dreaming about in the future. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday!

TB12

Thanks for the Deals !
Thanks for creating such a great site for travel info and trip reports…
Last and not at all least, thanks for being such an articulate and thoughtful spokesman for a Torah true life

Go Tribe!

Jj

Thanks Dan we appreciate your work

Stanr

Thank you for making our traveling more fun and less expensive. Wishing you and your family continued success. May you have much nachas from your children..

Eluzer

Link to the first post?

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