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Travel Blogger Interview – Round The World in 30 Days

Round The World in 30 DaysMeet Jenny McIver the founder and the author at Round The World in 30 Days blog sharing with us her travel experience around the globe. Her first RTW trip was love at first flight and quickly turned into an annual event once she realized that it wasn’t that hard to plan,it wasn’t as expensive as she thought it might be and it was unbelievably, life-alteringly, amazing!. You can follow her blog on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Jenny McIver. Atlanta-based road warrior, globetrotter and author of “The Grown-Up’s Guide to Globetrotting.” Ten years ago while on a business trip, I came across a newspaper article about a man who took a year-long trip around the world on a single airline ticket. I don’t know why but the idea just struck me like a ton of bricks. I’d never heard of “RTW” tickets but I started looking into them the next day and discovered that I had more than enough miles to book one through Delta’s Skyteam Alliance. I couldn’t take a year without sacrificing my career but I decided to do a month. Exactly one year later I departed on my first 30-day trip around the world and this year I’m planning my 10th for January 2015. To date, I’ve visited and written about more than 155 countries on all 7 continents.

What gave you the inspiration to start your blog?

I started blogging long before I actually realized that’s what it was called. With my first round-the-world trip in 2006, I used a site called MyTripJournal.com to keep an online journal of my travels, mainly just so I could share photos with family and friends, keep them updated on my location and have something to help me remember all the little details of the trip. (Remember, this was back before the whole world was on Facebook.) When I decided to do the trip again the following year, I again used the MyTripJournal site but by Round the World #3, I knew this was going to be an annual event so I decided it was time to transition to my own site. Thus, RTWin30days.com was born in 2008 and I’ve been blogging about my travels there ever since.

What is it about travel that has you so obsessed about it?

It’s funny, the more of the world I see, the more I want to see. You don’t realize just how big the world is until you get out there and start exploring it. And travel (especially round-the-world travel) has definitely become a passion for me. In 2009 I realized one 30-day trip a year just wasn’t enough anymore so I started a mid-year edition. Not a RTW, but a month-long trip focused on a certain region of the world. That summer was “Europe in 30 Days” I’ve also done Central America, the Himalayas and the Balkans in 30 days each on subsequent summers.

What have been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?

My all-time favorite is Antarctica and I can’t imagine that any place will ever surpass it. It’s the closest you can get to visiting another planet and it was just a uniquely special and surreal experience. My other favorites are Easter Island and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. I also love the Maldives, Laos, the Greek Islands and just about everywhere in Thailand.

I noticed you mentioned travel isn’t expensive, how to you fund your travels?

My round-the-world trips are primarily funded by my business travel-accrued airline miles and hotel points. I use my Delta miles for a business-class RTW ticket each year and my accumulated hotel points cover about half of the hotel costs. That helps a lot. That said, you don’t need miles to do a RTW trip affordably. RTW tickets are an incredible value for anyone and I’ve seen them on sites like Airtreks.com and Bootsnall.com for as little as $2,000 (which is almost what I paid just for my coach flight to China last summer). Choosing inexpensive destinations is a great cost saver, too. In South America, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, your money will stretch a lot farther than at home. South Africa is a deal right now, too, thanks to the rand’s drop against the dollar. I was just there last month and I was shocked at how much cheaper it was than on my first visit in 2006.

What are the most effective ways you limit costs when traveling?

Miles and hotel points are the biggest thing. But I also spend a good amount of time figuring out the least expensive order to visit several countries in a region – where are the cheap direct flights? Or inexpensive train routes, for example. Each big trip is like putting together a puzzle. You have to find the least expensive way to make the pieces fit. I also love taking advantage of low-cost carriers around the world and have done dozens of flights for less than $50 in various countries. Buses and trains aren’t always the cheapest form of transportation!

Are there any budget travel strategies that you tried but decided weren’t for you?

Hostels aren’t for me. Budget airlines, yes. But hostels, no. I do love a nice bargain hotel, though. With budget airlines like Easy Jet and Air Asia, I always pay the extra money for early boarding and assigned seats when available. It makes me feel like I’m flying a full-service airline even when I’m on a super cheap fare.

What do you mean by “being on the road for business”?

I own an event management business and travel frequently to manage large conventions and trade shows. My primary client, however, is a major sports television network and I travel weekly for them during college football season. Overall, I travel for business more than half the year.

Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

Absolutely! I’m an Atlanta-based frequent flier so Delta is my program. I have two Delta Skymiles American Express cards, one business and one personal. Those cards help me earn miles for my RTW tickets. I also carry the Chase Sapphire card and I’ve used their Ultimate Rewards program to book flights on airlines all over the world.

What places are still on your bucket list?

The Arctic to see the Northern Lights. Visiting all 50 US states (believe it or not, I’m still about 6 short). The Marquesas, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya…so many places! And there are dozens of places I can’t wait to return to someday.

Of all the places you traveled to, what was your favorite?

Antarctica, hands down. Mykonos, Greece is also a very special place to me, it was the first place I visited overseas and I loved it so much I’ve been back 7 times. I like to think it was that little island that first inspired my wanderlust.

Do you have any major travel regrets?

Not starting when I was younger! While some of my peers were taking gap years to travel, I was building a career. I didn’t get my first passport until I was 26 for that trip to Greece. I don’t necessarily regret the choice because it got me to where I am today but I think I would have loved backpacking around Europe as a 20-year-old. What an incredible learning experience it would have been.

Aside from traveling, what’s the best general advice you want to pass to people?

Don’t assume you’re going to have the time or money “someday” to travel. Travel NOW. You never know what will happen down the road. People always say they want to travel but most never really do. They take the traditional, single destination vacation each year and wonder why they’re not making any progress on their Bucket List. Change the way you think about travel. Take that two weeks and go around the world! It’s easier and more affordable than you think.

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Weekly Roundup – 4 Challenges Faced By Travelers

Are you traveling to Paris to celebrate a marriage anniversary, a vacation at Maasai Mara in Kenya or visiting friends in London. You are really anticipating the trip and praying against all odds for the trip to be. As much as you anticipate all these, here are a few challenges that you can face as a traveler and are beyond your wit.

1. Flight Delay

Nothing frustrates a traveler like a delayed flight. this can be caused by poor weather, flight cancellations, maintenance problems with aircrafts, fueling, air glitels congestion in air crafts, security issues, late arrival of the aircraft to be used for the flight from a previous flight among other reasons. A delayed flight can be very costly to the traveler as they are forced to adjust their personal schedules.

2. Airport Security

Going through security check at the airport can be very cumbersome to the traveler.
this is because of delays and adjustments in protocols such that it can be hard for the travelers to keep up with changing tide.

3. Losing your Luggage

Losing a luggage can be attributed to various factors like the attendance typing the wrong destination code, forgetting to pick your luggage, routing label gets damaged, your bag is loaded on the wrong plane among other reasons. To avoid loosing your luggage always; double check if the routing information on your bag is accurate before being sent down the conveyor belt, make yourself known by placing various ID cards in various pockets and poaches, by sharing your itinerary so that the airline workers will be able to route your bag in case the find it and cannot trace you among other advisable measures.

Prescription medication emergencies

It is easier to forget to take a prescription, loosing or running out of medications. It’s even disastrous if your are away from your usual pharmacy, you are in the country the brand name is different or liquid quantities prohibited by airlines.

Conclusion

If you face either of the above challenges, don’t be discouraged, Always remember “There is a solution to every problem. Face the challenge like the brave person you are and definitely your trip will be and you will enjoy to the maximum or achieve your set goals.

Have a Safe Journey, wont you!

How do you face challenges while traveling? Let’s us know in the comments below.

Amazing Reads of the Week

Financial Wisdom From My Younger Self – Disease Called Debt

9 Unexpected Ways Your Budget Leaks Cash – Your Personal Finance Pro

How to Get the Best Rates With Mortgage Brokers – Money Mini Blog

Helpful Social Security References – Oblivious Investor

3 Step For Getting More Out Of Educational Conferences – Advisor Websites Blog

A Flight Attendant Paid to Travel – Travel Junkette

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Travel Blogger Interview – Two Bad Tourists

Two Bad TouristsDavid and Auston are Two Bad Tourists who like to travel “their way” and not the way you’re “supposed to.” They believe travel is more achievable and possible to do without spending a lot of money. You can follow their blog on Twitter, Facebook, Google plus or You Tube.

First of all tell us who you are…

Two Bad Tourists is a travel blog created in 2012 by David and Auston, two American’s who left the US to travel around the world. A former lab scientist and engineer, we now teach English and work freelance in Spain.

Why the name Two Bad Tourists?

Our style of travel is not typical of the average tourist. We prefer to travel slower and experience more by visiting less. We’re not bad travelers, per se, but we don’t really appreciate the hyper-sightseeing approach when visiting new places.

What motivated you to start to start your blog?

Our original motivation for our blog was to create a journal of our one year round-the-world trip so we could share our experience with close family and friends. We never had the intention to make our blog public or become (*cough, cough) “professional travel bloggers.” Now we continue blogging to inform and inspire others to travel. We love visiting new places and sharing our experience with our readers. Likewise, we enjoy discovering our own new home in Spain, so we can provide local tips like where to find gay friendly accommodation in Madrid or guides to the best gay nightlife in Madrid.

When was your first trip? Where did you go?

Our round-the-world trip started in May 2012, though we started the blog in February to share our story of planning our trip, selling our belonging, quitting our jobs and leaving our then home town of Chicago. Our first destination on our trip was Mexico City where we spent 2 weeks studying Spanish in an intensive course.

Have you ever experienced any challenges to blogging as duo, such as who’s turn it is to write?

Yes! We always joke that David is more creative but Auston works harder. We occasionally have different opinions on what to write or how we should engage with our readers, but in the end we always work it out. Luckily, we each have strengths in different areas of the blog and we tend to prefer working on the area in which we are best skilled.

You have mentioned it is possible to travel without spending a lot, what trick do you use to limit costs when traveling?

We save the most money on traveling by using airline miles to book flights. Our original round-the-world trip was booked solely with airlines miles that Auston had saved for more than 4 years. Along with miles saved from business travel, we also took advantage of airlines promotions and mileage earning credit cards. We also appreciate traveling in a more local way so luxury hotels or frequent taxi rides are rarely things we really go for. We usually take public transportation and often stay in hostels, budget hotels or even use couch surfing to stay with locals for free.

How do you fund your travels?

Our original round-the-world trip lasted for one year and ended in February of 2013. This trip was funded by 3+ years of savings. We consequently spent our entire life savings and moved to Spain with one-way tickets, no money and no jobs. One year later we are still living in Madrid. David teaches English part time and Auston works freelance as an engineer and travel writer.

For the budget travelers out there, what would be your top tip for saving money when traveling?

If you’re American, airline mileage earning credit cards is by far the best way to save on travel. Some programs even let you redeem miles for hotels or rental cars. Although some banks offer credit card offers in other countries, they tend not to be as lucrative. For those living in other countries, the best money saving tip is to explore alternative approaches to travel like house swapping, house sitting, couch surfing or car sharing. These programs are often very inexpensive or even free. Some people are hesitant to try these programs out of fear or misunderstanding, but they are all friendly and have trust and review systems to ensure everyone’s safety.

Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

Yes, we’ve used various different airlines cards over the past couple years. The cards we are currently using are the Lufthansa Miles & More Card from Barclays and the Starwood American Express. We love the Starwood card because we can use it for hotel stays or transfer the points to almost any airline.

Any major travel regrets?

We don’t have any major travel regrets but we certainly would have done things differently if we could go back. Firstly, on our round the world trip we would have visited less countries and stayed for longer in each place. We quickly learned that traveling to a new city every 5 days can become exhausting and is not sustainable for an entire year. While we did scale back some during our trip, many of the flights were pre-booked so we didn’t always have as much flexibility as we wanted.

Any Advice to young travelers?

Don’t wait to start traveling! A lot of people will try to convince you that you should focus only on school or a career and they’re the most important. While it’s true that an education and a good job are important, you must realize that traveling when you’re young is often easier to undertake because you have less commitments and you can enjoy your time more than when you’re older.

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Weekly Roundup – How To Fund Traveling Around The World

You are a travel blogger or you want to take the plunge in discovering our beautiful but vast planet. The big question to ask yourself is; How will i fund traveling this amazing planet? Don’t worry anymore cause I’ll be sharing those tricks I do to fund all my travels hoping it will be beneficial to you too.

Advertising

Companies pay you to advertise their products or services on your website. These advertisements can take many forms, such as sidebar banner ads, or sponsored content where a company pays you to publish a post about them. While advertising on your site, be cautious though, you might be penalized by Google loosing all your income in a fraction of time.

Affiliate Sales

Whenever you share maybe a book or any other product, always include an affiliate link to those products because if someone clicks that link and goes ahead and buy that product, you make a certain percentage from that sale.

Photography

The world is big and beautiful with infinite number of amazing photos to be taken. Be the one to capture the beauty of a sunset at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro or the migration of the world beast at Masaai Mara. Depending on the country you are visiting, there is a good chance that you will make a reasonable income by selling them to magazines or sell them online. Just master a few tips and tricks that will enable you make your photos much more marketable and fashionable.

Freelance Editing

There are many different types of freelance writing you can do, from writing travel related articles for other websites to newsletters and blogs for various companies. I’ve been doing this for a time now and it worthy all your effort.

Brand Partnership

Brand partnerships are longer-term projects with companies. There are many brands out there with fantastic products that you would be happy to work with on a long-term basis in exchange for compensation

Is there any tips I’ve omitted you feel should be on this list? Share it with us in the comments below

Amazing Reads of the Week

Things I Did in Riviera Maya besides Diving – Electric Travel Girl

27 Inspirational Projects & Quotes from WDS 2014 – Travel Junkette

11 Ways to Make Money When You Spend Money – Money Mini Blog

Monetizing Your Blog and Spotting Dodgy Advertisers – Mo Money Mo Houses

Summer Project: Moroccan and Bohemian Style Patio – Continental Fairy

What to do, see, eat in Rome? Tips from a local Roman! – Getting Stamped

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Travel Blogger Interview – Mile Value

Mile ValueScott 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?

Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class

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?

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

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.

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