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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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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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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Travel Resources

Below are a list of travel sites that I use on a regular basis.  Sites that provide practical travel help and great insight.  If you have one you use yourself that is not mentioned, please feel free to add in the comments below.

Travel Sites

Loyalty Traveler – Publishes monthly, a listing of major chain hotel promotions.

The Points Guy – Publishes travel advice related to news, reviews (flights, credit cards, hotels), guides (to every loyalty program), and videos.

One Mile At A Time – Travel Blog run by Ben/Lucky

Nomadic Matt – New York Times best selling author who initially traveled the world on $50 a day and publishes travel guides.

Secret Flying –  Travel blog that somehow manages to find all the great flying deals.  

Lonely Planet – Publishes guidebooks on travel destinations and travel advice and articles.

Alan Arnette Blog– Mountain Climber and Everest updates

Saving Money On Travel

Ebates – Cash Back website that can give you a big discount on sites.  Sometimes they run specials like the one on the left.

Priority Pass – Not sure how I managed to travel before this pass came to be.  Can be obtained through a credit card.  Access thousands of lounges and restaurants world-wide with this pass at airports.  

Travel Reading/Listening

A bit of strategy and lessons learned from the Dutch Iceman  Wim Hoff.  

This book will make you want to run a marathon!  A fascinating look into the super-runners of Mexico called the Tarahumara.

New Zealand Adventure Ideas

List of some fun, adventurous things to do and places to explore in New Zealand.

1.Glacier trekking on Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.

2. Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Credit Wilsons Abeltasman Tour Operators

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