Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Travel More in 2014

Is more travel on your bucket list for 2014?


Then, let's talk about how to travel for less, saving money on flights and accommodations.

Because you see, I love to travel, but I hate to pay full-price for airfare or hotel stays.

One way I rarely pay full-price for airfare is by banking and redeeming airline miles.

With our Citibank Platinum Select/AAdvantage World Mastercards, my husband and I have been earning miles for almost eight years. In that time, we've taken at least seven (maybe eight) free flights. Most recently, we flew to Dallas and back, and on the way home, we used miles to sit in business class.  Pretty sweet!

So, how do we earn miles
  • By using our credit card to pay all of our bills (except our mortgage payments) and to buy everything from groceries to gas to diapers.  Basically, we use the two credit cards (Brian has one and I have one) as debit cards and then pay them off each month.
  • By eating out at restaurants that participate in the AAdvantage Dining program. You can earn up to 5 miles for every dollar spent at participating restaurants in your area as well as across the country.    

Note: I just signed up for the AAdvantage Dining program after reading about it in this blog post by Chris Guillebeau.  United and Delta have their own programs; click the links in this post to find out more.  

By the way, have you heard of Chris Guillebeau? He's a writer/blogger/speaker out of Portland, Oregon who travels extensively. In fact, he's been to every country in the world.  Pretty impressive, huh? I've read his blog posts for a few years now, and definitely gleaned several tips on how to travel for less.

Having said that, I don't agree with all of Chris's advice and methods when it comes to travel "hacking." However, the information he's shared about his favorite credit cards has been helpful.

If you're considering applying for a credit card that earns miles or points, but you're not sure which one to go with, read this post.

One of Chris's favorite cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a 40,000 point mega-bonus!  In the future, when Brian, Noah and I are traveling more, I'd love to take advantage of this card--especially given its big point bonus and flexible transfer policy. (I really like the idea of having the flexibility to use points for a flight--on a number of different carriers--or for a hotel stay.)

As for travel for us in 2014, I think we'll be sticking close to home--for the most part.  Flying with a nearly 2-year-old in November was challenging, and until Noah is a little older and can sit still for longer periods of time, we're going to stick to car trips.

But thanks to our credit cards, even though we're not currently flying, we're continuing to earn miles. 

And one day, we'll get back out there, traveling the world. I want to show Noah some of the beautiful places we've visited, both here in the United States and abroad.  And take him to places we've never been before. I want him to experience a number of different cultures--in both first world and third world countries--observing how the people there live, learning their customs, trying their food, listening to their music, and learning a bit of their language. 

For now, these are just dreams. My dreams.  But I've always believed that dreams are important and valuable--and for me personally, absolutely necessary.

I think Anatole France was spot-on when he wrote: "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but believe."

What are your travel dreams?

1 comment:

Bethany Grace Martin said...

I really appreciated this post, Jennie, and would love to know more of your tips on travel on a budget or with small kids. What you posted here was great inspiration. We have our sights on taking our family to Germany to see my brother and his family, but at this point the cost and the distance with two little people is daunting.

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