Booking Flights – Tricks of the Trade

Below are a few tips that have worked for me when booking trips on my various travels.

1.  Use Miles or Points

It goes without saying that using reward points is the one of the easiest ways to obtain free travel.  If you don’t have miles or points, the quick hack is to apply for a credit card.  Most travel credit cards come with lucrative sign up bonuses in order to entice you spend on the card frequently (make money from transaction fees) and pay it off after the month end (make money from interest charges and fees).  IF you are responsible enough to pay off the card either in full or make the minimum payment each month, thereby allowing you to have a good credit score, you should be approved.  Credit score needed is typically 700+ for a good travel card.

The best two travel cards I have found are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture Rewards Cards.

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How to Screw Up a Car Rental

Lessons Learned:

  • Credit Card Rental Insurance is not as clear cut as all these travel blogs make it look.
  • Responsibility to pay for damage is yours – regardless of fault – if you rent a vehicle.
  • Rental Agreement must have same name as name of purchaser, especially if paying with points.
  • Avoid Oahu, Hawaii Towing Lot Mafia
  • Avoid Hertz
  • Know Uninsured provision of personal rental insurance.

Story:

I landed in Oahu with the intention of exploring the city for three days on foot/public transport, and then renting a car for couple days to explore the rest of the island.  The plane was booked to leave in two days, so I thought it would be easy just to drop off the car on the way out of town.  So the story begins.

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Alaska Things To Do

The Alaska.org tourism website breaks down the state into 5 areas:  Southeast & Inside Passage, Far North & Arctic, South Central, Interior, and South West.  Flying into Anchorage is likely the most convenient and gives you a good base to adventure from.  The tourism website has a tremendous amount of information and publishes an online brochure available at this link on dropbox.

List of 11 things to do in Alaska:

1. Day Cruise in Prince William Sound or Kenai Fjords National Park

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Great Hiking Adventure Ideas

Hikes to consider if you’re inclined to go do a walk-about or a just some ideas on famous trails that the average hiker could do.

1. Peru – Inca Trail -May to September – up to 43k and 4 day trail to the forgotten city of Machu Picchu.  You can also just hike for a couple hours up the mountain to get to Machu Picchu or for that matter, take a bus to the entrance

2. USA Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) – 2663 miles – months – summer months – Washington, Oregon, California

3. USA Appalachian Trail – Georgia to Maine – 2,185 miles – summer months

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Colorado Adventure Ideas

List of Adventures to do in Colorado

Rafting 

The rafting season spans from late spring to early fall.  Although popularity has declined over the last decade, this experience is often a enjoyable experience, especially for those who have never gone rafting.  The Arkansas river is the primary river for rafting, and access is about 2-3 hours from Denver, primarily along Highway 24/285, between Canon City and Buena Vista.  The Colorado River also serves as a worthy choice and runs west of Denver along I-70 2-4 hours between about Vail and Grand Junction.  The Gunnison, Yampa, and other rivers also offer water recreation options.

A couple tour operators:

Arkansas River – Royal Gorge, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, Cottonwood Family Float, and Guided Fishing trip options available at Arkansas River Tours.

Colorado River – Glenwood Canyon is also a family-friendly option.

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Iceland Adventure Ideas

Iceland Adventures

The land of wonder and awe.  Airfare is cheap; however, expect high prices for everything else involved with your trip.  Below is a list of some fun, adventurous things to do and places to explore in Iceland.


1. Bike Packing Trip

Cycling adventure around Iceland’s ring-road. Check out BikeMap.net for more information.

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How to Start A Blog

The hardest part of blogging maybe just getting started.  It was for me anyways.  I’m hoping you can learn from my mistakes and just get started already!  Blogging can change your life and only costs a few dollars a month. Technology makes everything simpler, but knowing where to start is key.  I’ve tried to summarize what I’ve learned below and provide a go-to start-up guide for getting started.  You can get a discount by using links I set up from the same companies that I use to run this blog.

If you’re looking for a cheap, easy, and effective way to start blogging, then you’ll want to use a combination of WordPress and a good hosting provider.  WordPress powers over 25% of the world’s websites, hence why some say this technology ate the internet.  And for good reason!  It’s simple and easy to use and while it takes some time getting used to, it makes a bloggers life easy.

Click here to start a blog on WordPress, then use the tutorial below to guide you through the process.

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Travel Tips

In the broadest possible strokes, here are a few high-level travel tips that have significantly reduced costs/hassle associated with my travels.

Air Transportation

  1. Skyscanner – This website allows you to search destinations from a particular airport and filter by price.  It’s a great way to generate ideas if you’re on a budget.  
  2. Hitlist App – This is like a mobile skyscanner where you can check on deals from a particular airport.  Works great for last-second price checks on flights.
  3. Discount Airlines – Think RyanAir in Europe or AirAsia in SE Asia – These airlines are often bare-bones and you have to pay for luggage and everything else.  Often these airlines do not show up on sites like expedia or google flights, as they do not pay commissions to third party websites in an effort to keep airfare prices low.  Keep this in mind when booking fares.  If you’re flying to, say Penang Malaysia, for example.  Book a round trip to Kuala Lumpur on your favorite airline.  Then, book a separate ticket with AirAsia to Penang.  This trick has saved me a lot of money on flights over the years.

Rental Cars

  1. Insurance – Obtain through a credit card if at all possible.  Foreign countries however have different variables to keep in mind.  Some cards offer insurance as secondary, meaning your personal insurance deductible will still apply, but the card will cover any overages.  A few cards, like the Chase Sapphire Cards, offer primary insurance.  This means that they will pay out first and cover all costs, regardless of fault, without any need to go through your personal insurance.  Check out How to Screw up a Rental, for a personal story on the matter.
  2. Parking Fees – Remember, the price to rent a car does not include parking fees.  Like the cost to eat candy does not include the cost of a dentist visit.  Factor in anticipated parking costs before renting the car.
  3. Off-Airport Rentals – Airport taxes are often quite high.  Off-site locations often provide a free shuttle to their location, so if you don’t mind the shuttle time and time to get to the location, you can save money.
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