If you are anything like me, you have a secret list somewhere of places you’d want to visit before…well, places you’d want to visit. But it isn’t always easy to make your travel goals a reality, is it? There always seems to be competing demands for your time and money. Be it work or other life commitments.
And so each year you make a resolution to travel more and visit places X, Y, Z. The years roll around and you realize you haven’t traveled a bit. And so the travel resolution gets two “X” marks on the next years’ resolutions. This year, you say, am gonna travel more! Oh the cycles of life…it just keeps ebbing away.
Let’s break that cycle today. Me and you. You made a resolution or a decision to travel more this year (I know I did), let’s make that dream a reality. I’ll even volunteer to hold you accountable to your travel goals
Step #1: Shift Your Travel Thought Patterns
Believe it or not, the biggest barrier to traveling more isn’t money or time, it’s your mind! It’s your thought patterns. Come to think of it, isn’t it also the biggest barrier to people achieving their dreams in any field? Yes, the chips maybe stacked against you, they probably are, but somehow where there is a will, a way emerges.
Imagine yourself traveling more. Or at your favorite destination, soaking in the sun, listening to the cool breeze of the ocean. Or standing at the top of that mountain you have sworn (for ages) to climb. It feels good, doesn’t it? You have to believe you can do it. (Oh yes, today I sound like a motivational speaker…believe me, its for yours and my own good.) We’ve got to conquer our fear of travel impossibilities.
Step #2: Start Small
You are not just going to hop on a plane straight to Alaska, nope. You’ve got to “muscle up” for it. Start small and build up confidence and the planning skills to tackle your bigger, dream destinations.
Start in the local neighborhoods. Attractions within walking and driving distance. Take the time over weekends and holidays to immerse yourself in a place you have wanted to visit but just didn’t have the know-how. Explore more. As you do, you not only gain confidence, but you get to understand yourself; how you travel, the kinds of environment you like and what your typical travel expenses look like.
Step #3: Identify You Dream Destinations
By now you are more confident in your capacity to travel and have fun. Sit down and make a list of countries, destinations and attractions you’d want to visit. Get creative and bold. Now is the time to bring out those travel destinations that have been forever languishing on your Bucket List. Note them down, in order of priority if possible. You can as well arrange them on how easy it is to get to them.
Step #4: Save, Save, Save
This is the fun part! Before you throw up your hands in defeat, hear me out. You have come this far. A little bit of money is the only thing standing between you and all that fun at your Dream Destination #1! You know your typical travel expenses. You have researched your destination and are clued in on the kinds of expenses you might incur. Add that up and factor it in your monthly budget.
Go ahead and create a time-line to help you save faster. For example, if you plan on a major trip in December, you have at least four months, from now, to stow away some travel money. If you don’t have the discipline to sit on that money, have it deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a different “special” account.
Step #5: Partner Up & Conquer the World.
Popular wisdom holds that you should surround yourself with people on the same mission as you. Here is your chance to do so. Find people who are trying to travel more. Those on the same savings journey as you are on. People whom you can hold each other accountable for your dreams and goals. It certainly makes achieving your travel goals easier.
Travel is right up there with reading in experiences that transform your life. (Travel more!) Reading immerses you in other people’s thoughts and wisdom over time, traveling takes you right onto the forefront where you get your hands dirty and become wiser. You shouldn’t let the lack of money or time deter you from achieving your travel goals. Conquer your fears today, take baby steps and then when ready, spread your wings and fly.
All the best fellow travelers!Read More
Once in a while, we get ourselves in an ugly situation while traveling. Some of the experiences occur at the least expected place and time.
Airport is not exceptional as one of the places where you can get a lot of headache trying to get yourself out of a mess. Maybe some of these experiences has gone to an extent making you fear traveling using some airlines.
Here we have come with some some common experiences most travelers get across.
Please add your experience if it is not on the list and feel free to leave a comment below.
Scott Grimmer is the founder and author of Mile Value. He is a miles aficionado and avid traveler, born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has earned and redeemed tens of millions of miles for himself and others. You can follow his blog on Twitter, Facebook or You Tube.
First of all tell everyone a basic background of who you are…
I’m a 26 year old full time miles blogger and award booker, living in Hawaii. I started Mile Value in March 2012 because other blogs at the time focused too little on redeeming frequent flyer miles.
Earning miles is easy, but useless, if you don’t know how to redeem them.
The blog shot to fame in 2012 when I discovered how to add Free Oneways to United and US Airways awards. My techniques have since been covered in the New York Times and Mashable.
What motivated you to start to start your blog?
I started the blog because I thought I knew more about redeeming airline miles than the people who were already blogging at the time. I really enjoy booking awards for myself and others, so I started an Award Booking Service at the same time. The MileValue Award Booking Service is now one of the largest in the world. We’ve redeemed tens of millions of miles for trips all over the world. We charge only $125 per passenger.
What advice do you have for someone looking to apply for an airline miles credit card?
Work backwards. Figure out where you want to go, when, and in what cabin. Then figure out the best miles for that trip based on who flies there, with what product, and with how much award space.
Then get the card(s) you need to get the miles for the trip.
If you don’t know where to start, I offer a Free Credit Card Consultation where I tell you–based on your travel goals, what cards and miles balances you already have, and how much you spend on cards–which cards to get.
With many airlines struggling financially, do you think that they will eventually scale back their rewards card offerings?
If so, we should take advantage of the awesome current values now.
If not, we should take advantage now and later.
I sure hope programs aren’t scaled back, but whether they are or not does not change my strategy of maximizing them in the present.
Do you feel that airline credit cards offer superior rewards compared to cash back or other rewards credit cards?
It depends on what your travel goals are. If you want to fly international first class, that costs $10,000+ or a little over 100,000 miles. In that case, you want a card that earns traditional airline miles.
But if you want a trip for your family to Disneyworld over your kids’ Spring Break, you’d be better off with a cash back card or the Arrival Plus to avoid having to hunt for award space and to get on the flights that best fit your schedule.
If you had to give one piece of advice for people looking to maximize their airline miles what would it be?
If you can’t find the redemption you want online at the Saver level, call a phone agent. If they can’t find what you want at the Saver level, hire an Award Booking Service. Do not book Standard or Peak price awards.
I understand you’ve traveled over 40+ countries, what have been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?
Peru is my favorite country. It has everything from the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, the Amazon Rainforest, a beautiful mega-city on the Pacific in Lima, the world’s deepest canyon, the world’s highest navegable lake with indigenous people who live on man-made reed islands, and even stunning beaches in the north. Here’s my Peru Top Ten.
Aside from traveling, what’s the best general advice you want to pass to people?
If you don’t like your job, quit.Read More
Carmen and Dave are the founder and authors of Double Barreled Travel blog. They are two Aussies who moved to London together at the end of 2008, beginning an adventure with little expectations. You can follow their blog on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or You Tube.
First of all give us a quick background of both of you….
I kissed Dave goodbye a week after we started dating and told him to have fun – he was off to travel the world for a year and I wasn’t about to stop him.
Dave and I met when I was 18 and he was 23 but we didn’t start dating until three years later. When this happened, I was a year out of university (where I studied journalism) and working at a local newspaper. He’d just finished a five year stint as a TV reporter, working for stations including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
He left for his trip but returned six months early. We decided to move to London to live and three months later packed our bags, hugged our families goodbye and have been living outside of Australia ever since (this was in 2008). But we did return to Perth briefly to get married in 2012.
In London, Dave worked for Al Jazeera, Sky News and then the BBC as a Senior Broadcast Journalist. I worked for an online magazine, a finance magazine and then as a deputy editor for a number of B2B publications before becoming an account manager at a creative content agency.
But we were getting bored in our day jobs and felt we weren’t challenged enough. So we quit and began traveling the world full time. That was one year ago!
What inspired you to start a blog?
It was when we were living in London and Dave was working at the BBC and I was at the creative content agency. We had good jobs, people even told us so, but deep down we weren’t satisfied.
We often read the posts our friend Natasha published on Glampacker.com and when she told us about going to a blogging conference in Manchester, and how great it was, we decided to head to TBU in Porto.
When we were there, Dave and Deb from The Planet D spoke about how they used to work in Hollywood and even though they had jobs people admired, they weren’t satisfied. Their true passion was travelling and they felt as though they were missing out.
When they were speaking, Dave and I turned to each other and it was like we each had light bulbs going off above our heads. Without even saying a word, we both new we had to change our lives, because just like Dave and Deb we were living lives that we didn’t love.
Dave and Deb inspired us with their talk and seven months later we quit our day jobs for good to travel indefinitely.
Why name your blog after your Surname?
A lot of people don’t get the ‘Double-Barrelled’ aspect to our blog. Sometimes they think it’s something to do with shotguns!
We decided to call it Double-Barrelled Travel because when we got married we both double-barrelled our names, each taking the name of the other.
Because we started our blog shortly after we tied the knot, we thought it was fitting because it was all about the adventures we were undertaking as a couple.
What was your experience Carmen working as a shoe shiner?
These days I look back on that experience with a smile but at the time I can honestly say I hated it!
It was a necessity though – Dave and I arrived in London in 2008, in the beginning of the worldwide recession. As the plane landed, it was broadcast on the news that the BBC that day had laid off 800 people.
Dave’s goal was to work for the BBC so we were a little disheartened!
We really struggled to find work and to pay our rent Dave worked on a street corner selling The Sun newspaper and I became a shoe shiner.
I was put to work shining shoes in all the stockbroking firms and my boss was very paranoid that word would get out I was a journalist and they’d think I was working undercover to listen in on their banking conversations. I had to promise I wouldn’t report on anything I heard and I didn’t.
It was a very good introduction to the class system in the UK though and although I hated it at the time, I’m glad I did it because it made me appreciate where I am now in my career working for myself.
Sometime Dave jokes ‘I got on my knees for the bankers when times were tough’… I guess it helps to put a humorous spin on things.
I notice you have a company called Red Platypus. What’s that all about?
Red Platypus is our bread and butter. When we began travelling indefinitely a year ago, we had a vague idea that we’d start to work at some point and we officially launched Red Platypus to support our lifestyle around two months ago.
We’ve actually been super lucky and haven’t had to market ourselves for work as of yet. One of our main clients we met after staying in her house through Airbnb in San Francisco, and another main client is an old school friend of Dave’s.
Red Platypus focuses on social media marketing, copywriting, editing and video production for small businesses around the world. Basically we are helping small businesses, with all the skills we’ve learnt as journalists, to produce creative content that grabs attention.
If you had to give one piece of advice for couples looking to travel on a budget what would it be
Keep track of your budget! Most people want to travel cheaply but then run out of money sooner than they thought they would and are left thinking, ‘Where the hell did I spend it?’
Ever since I spent my first year away from home on a student exchange to Paris at the age of 15, I’ve been obsessive about tracking my expenses. I used to write everything down but these days I’ve thankfully got an iPhone to help.
I use the Trail Wallet app that allows you to track everything you spend and will let you know when you go over your budget.
Are there any budget travel lessons that you learned the hard way?
Try not to make rush decisions and if you need help with something you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask.
These tips would’ve come in handy before buying our van in Canada at the beginning of our six month road trip around North America. We bought it in a rush and didn’t bother to get a mechanic to look over it.
As a result, the van broke down the next day and we ended up spending nearly $5,000 fixing it.
Which brings me to another tip – have money in reserve for emergencies like that!
(And also get travel insurance so you don’t have to worry about health emergencies.)
Of all the places you traveled to, what was your favorite?
Probably the island of Dominica in the Caribbean (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). It’s an absolutely beautiful place, full of waterfalls, jungle and interesting wildlife.
It’s hardly been touched by tourism so it’s a little hidden slice of paradise.
We lived there for two months at the end of last year and had the time of our lives.
What is one place that you regret going to?
We kind of regret going to Las Vegas. We weren’t really prepared because we didn’t have much money at the time, and ended up staying in the world’s seediest motel where we witnessed crack dealings in the car park.
We didn’t really enjoy the city either – everything is so fake and we couldn’t get why you’d want to take a photo of a fake Eiffel Tower when the real thing was so much better.
But we’re willing to give it another try – in a better ‘party’ frame of mind perhaps.
What places are still on your bucket list?
Antarctica! We’d love to cruise up there and see the wildlife. We’ve been to the other six continents so it’s only a matter of time…
Aside from traveling, what’s the best general advice you want to pass to people?
Stop living a life people expect you to live if it doesn’t make you happy. Think outside the box and don’t just take the safe and easy route – that’s boring.
There’s so much emphasis these days on buying a house and having a fancy car but sometimes it’s good to step back and evaluate if these are the things that really make you happy.
The longer we’re on the road, the more we realise material possessions just don’t mean much to us and it’s the experiences we’re having that are creating a feeling deep inside – and that’s something money can’t buy.
Live a remarkable life.Read More
In this series we’ll be asking some of our favorite bloggers their opinion or advice on a specific question. This way instead of just getting our thoughts on the topic, you can read a diverse range of views from some great bloggers.
If you’re a travel blogger and would like to take part in this series in the future, please contact us.
This week the question we asked bloggers was:
Which airline credit card do you use and why?
Stephen Lioy at MonkBoughtLunch
My favorite credit card that is properly an ‘airline card’ is the United Explorer. I get some occasional value out of the early boarding and free checked bags, and United miles are still one of my favorite points even post-devaluation. More than that, though, I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for my airline purchases. Especially for international flights where the bags are free anyways, the 2.14 points per dollar + bonus for booking through the Ultimate Rewards mall/ partner sites make it a better value proposition for booking. Add in the really good lost and delayed baggage insurance and other perks they offer, and its a no-brainer. Even now that I’m paying the annual fee for it, the CSP keeps a place of honor in my spending patterns.
John Schmoll at Frugal Rules
My favorite Airline credit card would be a tie between the Southwest credit card and the Frontier Airlines credit card. Who doesn’t like Southwest? We love to fly Southwest as their rates are reasonable and they don’t charge any baggage fees. Both my wife and I have churned the Southwest cards and have earned several free flights out of it. The Frontier card is a great one as well because it has a ridiculously easy minimum spend to hit. We’ve churned that card as well to get free flights.
Norbert Figueroa at Globo Treks
My favorite is the Chase Sapphire because I get double miles for any travel purchase and it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.
Auston Matta at Two Bad Tourists
One of our favorite cards is the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express. Though not strictly an airline card, its flexibility lets you transfer your points to more than 30 different airlines. We use this option to top off our mileage accounts when necessary or to book rooms at Starwood properties. We recently stayed the Sheraton Hotel Santa Maria de El Paular in Rascarifa Spain, a great day trip from Madrid.
Jan Ross at Wanderlust Wonder
The Venture Capitol One Visa card. We use this to accumulate points for travel or even just to purchase gift cards.
Jacob and Vanessa at Tightwad Travelers
We have many, but right now the best deal in airline cards is the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card. It offers 110,000 American Airlines miles after spending $10,000 in 3 months. If you really get creative, you can meet the minimum spend requirement before the first statement cuts, receive the miles, and then cancel the card within 30 days after the statement cuts to have the $450 annual fee refunded. This is all legal per the terms and conditions, but it’s sort of a moral grey area. Better yet, you can get multiple cards because Citi is handing them out like candy. Between my wife and I, we have six.
110,000 AA miles is enough for a nice Business/First Class International flight, or 2-3 international flights in economy, or 4.5 domestic flights in economy. Great deal!
Susan Shain at Travel Junkette
My favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I’m always moving around and don’t have a home airport, so I love the flexibility it offers. I can cash in my Ultimate Rewards points to fly on pretty much any airline, which is just amazing. Plus, I love that I get two points per dollar on travel and dining. Not to mention it is a snazzy-looking card!
Annette at Bucket List Journey
I use the United MileagePlus Explorer card because it coincides with the StarAlliance program and gives me perks like access to the business lounge, no fees on foreign transactions, priority boarding and the miles don’t expire. I pair this card up with the HiltonHonors card for discounts on my hotel stays.
Which is your favorite airline? Why is it your choice? Share with us in comment box below.Read More