An Independent Traveler’s Case for Cruising

Cruising: Elderly shuffleboard players on one hand. Puking, partying Spring Breakers on the other. And package tourism at its absolute worst. These stereotypes kept me from considering cruising until my mid-30’s; something I regret, absolutely. Take it from a former Independent Travel Elitist who thought cruising was only for the proverbial half-dead or newly wed: cruising has much to recommend to the independent traveler. As such, it’s well worth your thoughtful reconsideration. If you ever doubted…

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Cancel flights penalty-free up to 10 Minutes Before Depature on this Airline

Flying the unfriendly skies these days–with baggage fees, overbooking, etc–most of the clouds you see are dark. But this One Weird Airline (sorry, I can’t stop) offers a silver lining. Delays, bumps, restrictions, fees. Take your pick: it’s trite to say flying isn’t fun these days; but the banality of saying so makes it no less true. However, one airline Mandy and I fly strives to make flying, if not fun, tolerable.

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Chase Refer-a-Friend: a Win-Win Proposition

When you see a good thing, it’s worth sharing. I routinely and vigorously recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to friends, family, and co-workers. Why? It’s the best single card for getting started in the miles and points game. Sharing is sweeter when it comes with rewards. Read on to learn how to help yourself and others by referring Chase cards you currently possess–or expect to apply for in the future.

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The Secret to Packing Light: One “Weird” Trick and One Huge Advantage

(Roscoe the dog asking, “can I come too?”)

“That’s all you have?” The crew member was clearly puzzled when I checked-in for my Boston to Bali adventure. Yes indeed. All I had was a small day pack and a larger convertible backpack: one item for under the seat and another for the overhead compartment. This was in the dawn of prehistory when hardly any airlines charged for checked bags. “And you’ll be gone how long?” Two and a half weeks. But it could have been two and a half months. Her expression grew more perplexed. “How?”

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Top 3 Mile & Points Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

(Kapu means “forbidden” in Hawaiian)

Nearly all of us have made regrettable points mistakes early on, and not so early on, in this hobby. Such is the case generally in life, right? “If only I knew then what I know now.” Or, “I should have known better.” Here’s a list of the top 3 frequent flyer mile and points mistakes and how to prevent them. Each could have its own post, so we’ll just hit the highlights.

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Credit Card Signup Bonuses: The Key to Free Travel. A Beginner’s Guide, Part III

In part I and part II, we learned how credit card sign up bonuses play a significant role in traveling free (or nearly so). In this third installment, we’ll explore an action plan to get started: which credit cards should a beginner go for first? If you’re new and haven’t already, please read parts I and II. Although there may be overlapping information, we assume knowledge from those posts. Less new but things still not making sense? Follow the Roman Numerals enumerated above.

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Credit Card Signup Bonuses: The Key to Free Travel. A Beginner’s Guide, Part II

In Credit Card Signup Bonuses: The Key to Free Travel. A Beginner’s Guide, Part I, we discussed:

  • Truly free travel vs. “OMG, I’m Living My Dreams!” heavily subsidized travel
  • What the frequent flyer mile points game is about
  • Who should play it and who shouldn’t
  • The 5 chief types of credit cards used in The Hobby
  • Some variations on those credit cards and how to multiply your points take
  • What to put on credit cards–not cutesy little butterfly stickers…

In this second installment, we resume our Beginner’s Journey by adding actionable credit card signup bonus travel intelligence; answering the question “How do I really get started?” We also serve up a large heaping of Things You Just Need To Know to your fine self. Let’s do this thing.

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Hotel Points Eclipsed Cash in Asheville, NC: Club Carlson to the Rescue!

Two prescient friends of ours booked hotels with cash a year before the total solar eclipse. Friends don’t let friends pay cash (for hotels or flights)–but we’re working on them with the hotel points thing. The prescience was, being astronomy nerds, they suspected prices would grow more outlandish as media hype intensified. Booking by phone many moons prior, a puzzled local hotel manager asked why they were making reservations so early. “The eclipse,” they responded. “Huh,” must have been the response. #RevenueManagementFail.

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Credit Card Signup Bonuses: The Key to Free Travel. A Beginner’s Guide, Part I

“The only thing I’ve ever gotten free was 10 chicken wings,” joked a co-worker of mine. The conversation had been about another of my nearly free trips. To where I don’t recall: Hawaii, Rome, Paris, a Greek Isles cruise. Didn’t matter. What did was the notion that nearly anyone could do what I’d done: travel the world practically free through strategically planned credit card signup bonuses.

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Welcome Gifts Gallery from Hotel Room Special Requests

As promised in blog post “Dear Hotel Manager: Email Your Way to Free Room Upgrades and Welcome Gifts“, here’s a gallery of various welcome gifts we’ve received in our travels. Undoubtedly, we’ve forgotten to photograph some of them along the way. So think of this as a Selection. Looking forward to seeing what hotels will gift us this September on our Anniversary trip to Japan; the Japanese being famous for gorgeous food presentation.

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