Blog, Success Stories

Another GFF Success Story – 6 Vacations for Next to Nothing

Steve Travel Hacker

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite readers, Steven from Pittsburgh.

Steven has been absolutely killing it with free travel lately, but his success didn’t come overnight.

In fact, it took more than a year for him to get started with the points/miles game. After a little bit of a push from myself and a few of my readers, Steven finally decided to get started with earning points/miles and he hasn’t looked back since.

He has taken 6 free trips in the last year and is well on his way to booking many more.

His success so far has been nothing short of remarkable.  So I invited him to answer a few questions for the GFF community with the hope that it will inspire more of you to follow in his footsteps.

Take it away, Steven.

 

How did you get started in the world of points/miles? What finally convinced you to get started and what were some of your first steps? Continue Reading

5 Thoughts, Blog

5 Thoughts – Cancun

Cancun View

Have you ever asked someone a simple question, only to receive a response with WAY too much information?

I used to live with someone who did this. Here’s how one of our conversations went a couple years ago.

Me: “So what is this Game of Thrones show about?”

Him: “Ok, so there are these families, right? And they all have kingdoms. The Lannisters, who are the ones with a golden lion on their flag, are enemies with the Stark family, who lives in the north and have a direwolf on their flag. Oh and the Lannisters control Kings Landing, which is pretty crucial. Oh and Jamie Lannister is called “The King Slayer” because he killed one of the kings he was supposed to protect, oh and they’re friends with House Tyrell, who…….. (10 minutes later)…..and that’s the basic overview”

Me: (pretending to have actually understood any of that) “…..cool. Thanks”

I was looking for a twitter-length synopsis of the show, and instead got a 10-minute overview of every character and plot twist.

Searching for travel advice is no different.

Google “Things to do in X city” and you’ll find dozens of complex travel guides, trip reports, and poorly written advice from people who have never even been to the city they are writing about.

(My favorite are the TripAdvisor reviews that go something like “My husband and I visited this place. It was nice”.)

The process is incredibly frustrating, and often creates more confusion than clarity.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple. Which is why I am happy to introduce a new type of post on GFF called “5 Thoughts”.

5 Thoughts is exactly what the title indicates, 5 simple thoughts about a specific travel destination that I have visited.

No lists of “100 things to do in X city”, no attempts to sell you expensive travel packages, and no long-winded overviews of how you should spend every minute of your precious travel time.

Just 5 thoughts that went through my head while visiting a new place that might help you plan your own trip.

Let’s get to it.

Here are 5 thoughts I had after visiting Cancun, Mexico:

1. You don’t have to stay at an all-inclusive resort

When researching where to stay in Cancun the general consensus seemed to be that an all-inclusive resort was the way to go. Continue Reading

Blog

Does Closing a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Credit Report

Today we are going to tackle one of the most common questions I get.

Does closing a credit card hurt your credit score?

Let’s start with a succinct answer.

Closing a credit card will likely have little to no effect on your credit score.

Boom. I said it.

Now before you send me an email telling me I’m wrong because your grandma/boyfriend/parent/friend who studied Finance for 2 weeks told you otherwise, hear me out.

Remember that credit advice is a lot like fitness advice.

It’s not always logical, the vast majority of people have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, yet nobody hesitates to dish out (usually terrible) advice.

Stick to the Facts Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

GFF Reader Success Story – Hotel and Flight to Thailand for $72.80

Thailand Beach

I love unapologetically bragging about some of the amazing successes that many of readers are having.

Some of you are absolutely killing it with free travel, and you deserve to have your stories shared with the world.

“G” is one such reader. He bought my book about 1 year ago (before it was free – thank you advertisers) and hit the ground running.

Last month he booked the trip of his dreams to Chiang Mai, Thailand for less than he spent on his bar tab last weekend.

G was able to book this amazing itinerary using just 3 credit card bonuses (Chase Sapphire Preferred, United MileagePlus Explorer, and Starwood Preferred Guest) and a little bit of manufactured spending.

All told it took about 6 months to accomplish.

Take it away, G.

Tell us how you got started with points and miles. When did you decide to give it a try and what was the tipping point for your decision?

I got started because I wanted to travel to Southeast Asia and had no idea how I was going to pay for it. I started researching how to do this and found Bryce.  I reached out to him and he was very approachable and receptive.  He made me feel at ease and that I could really venture down this path and achieve success.  The tipping point for me was the enthusiasm Bryce had and encouragement he showed to me. Continue Reading

Blog

Tools Used by the Pros: One of My Favorite Travel Apps

TripCase Logo

Many of my readers like to picture me as the world’s savviest traveler, cruising through airports with the ease and grace of a Broadway dancer.

Truth be told, that wasn’t always the case.

In fact, I used to be that guy who printed all of his confirmation emails and carried them around in an oversized and overstuffed folder.

It was as awkward as wearing a fanny pack in public but it worked, I guess.

The Rock's Fanny

I like to think I looked this cool wearing one.

Continue Reading

Blog

Get More Out of Travel (and Life) by Doing Less

Bryce Hangin' in Maui

Today’s post is going to take a different approach than many of my previous posts.

We’re not going to talk about how to save money on travel.

There is absolutely no mention of points, miles, or credit cards (other than in this sentence).

And yet this might be the best advice I share with you this year.

I promised to help you find freedom in 2015 by expanding my focus beyond the world of saving money on travel. Today is another step to making good on that promise.

Remember that traveling is never in and of itself the goal. Traveling is only the means to accomplish other goals like escaping the grind of day-to-day life, learning self-reliance, and finally being able to unplug and relax.

Which is why today I want to talk to you about how you can get more out of traveling (and life) by doing less. Continue Reading

Blog

Will I Lose All of My Points If I Cancel My Credit Card?

Guy who loses his points

A couple weeks ago I made a very costly rookie mistake. I cancelled a credit card without thinking, and forfeited about $400 of rewards points in the process.

Here’s how it went down.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Columbus, which is pretty rare in early April.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks, trying my best to avoid looking like a hipster while sipping coffee and doing my monthly points/miles check-up.

This is a ~20 minute monthly ritual where I take stock of my open credit cards (using my awesome free spreadsheet), tally up my points for future trips, and close old credit cards that are about to be hit with annual fees.

I’ve done this dozens of times now so I have the entire process down to a science. I even copy and paste the same email scripts for closing credit cards. (I’ll share these with you in a future post). Continue Reading

Blog

Giveaway – (15) – 15 Minute Chats with Bryce

Giveaway - (15) - 15 Minute Chats with Bryce

Hi again, Travel Junkies.

Last week I introduced you to Marcus, one of my newer readers who just booked 2 flights to Paris for $185. Marcus got started by taking advantage of one of my 15-minute chats in January.

Today, I want to give you that same opportunity.

I am giving away 15 more 15-minute conversations where we can talk about whatever you like.

No sales pitch, no hassles, no BS.

Just 15 minutes of my full attention to answer any of your questions.

 

Here are some examples of things we can talk about: Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Another GFF Reader Success Story: 2 Tickets to Paris for $185

Travel Hack to Paris

One of the things I love to do with GFF is show you some of the amazing results that my readers have achieved with very little time and effort.

I’ve shared many of these success stories in the past, but today’s post features a particularly remarkable result achieved by one of my newer readers, Marcus.

Marcus took advantage of one of my free 15 minute conversations in January and hasn’t looked back since. In fact, he just booked a trip to take his wife to Paris later this month for $185 (more on this later).

Three months ago the idea of traveling for next to nothing was a completely foreign concept to him. Three weeks from today he will be sipping wine with his wife on the Champs-Élysées, having paid next to nothing to get there.

So I asked him to share his story by answering a few questions about his experience so far.

Take it away, Marcus.

 

Tell us how you got started with points and miles. When did you decide to give it a try and what was the tipping point for your decision? Continue Reading