You Don’t Have to Be Uncomfortable to Have an Authentic Travel Experience

When I went to Burma several years ago I stayed in a nice guest house for about $35 a night. The rate included free Wifi and a large banana pancake for breakfast. Mmmmmm.

After I came home, I talked with someone who had also been there. "How much did you pay?" he asked.

"Oh... about $30-40 a night," I said. I may also have mentioned the delicious banana pancake. Mmmmmm.

"That’s crazy!" He said. "You got ripped off... there are places you can stay for just $10 or less."

I didn’t know how to respond. Was I “ripped off?” Well, I guess I could have paid less... but I was happy with the experience, so for me the rate was a great value.

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“Make Your Dream Trip a Reality”: Week 2 Recap (Earning Points & Miles)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Every day for six weeks, we’re teaching people how to “Make Their Dream Trip a Reality.” You can watch each lesson for free on the day it’s broadcast, or you can purchase the whole course and have access anytime.

This was our second week with our in-studio audience and the thousands of people who participated online.

Everyone made lots of progress, and we’ll be back again after the weekend with much more.

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Top 5 Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Miles and Points: May 2015

Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. About 250,000 of them come through actual travel, and the rest come through travel hacking: the art of seeing the world on a budget.

One of the easiest ways to earn a lot of miles all at once is through credit card signup bonuses. This post contains the best current card offers as of Tuesday, May 5th. If getting every card from this post, you'd earn 215,000 points or miles. Happy travels!

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“Make Your Dream Trip a Reality”: Week 1 Recap (With Photos + Prizes!)

_MG_7268 copy Every day for six weeks, we’re teaching people how to “Make Their Dream Trip a Reality.” You can watch each lesson for free on the day it’s broadcast, or you can purchase the whole course and have access anytime.

This was our first week with the in-studio audience and the thousands of people who participated online.

Whew! We’re wiped out … but we got a lot accomplished, and we’ll be back next week with much more.

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Limited Offer: 50,000 Points Bonus for United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Link: 50,000 Miles for United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Over the past four days I've been filming (and preparing...) non-stop for our new "Make Your Dream Trip a Reality" course. We kicked off on Tuesday morning with a live broadcast that many of you watched.

_MG_6842 copy More news on that including a full recap of Week 1 is coming tomorrow! I'm behind on posts but will catch up soon. :)

In the meantime, here's a special deal that just came out. If you're jumping into the world of miles and points this week, here's a way to get a bunch of extra points that aren't usually available.

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Live from Seattle: Today’s “Dream Trip” Kickoff Was Awesome!

Greetings from Seattle! This morning we kicked off the live broadcast for "Make Your Dream Trip a Reality"... and a ton of you were watching!

Creative Live is rebroadcasting the session throughout the day, so tune in over here and you can still catch the whole thing.

(If you’re reading this another day, we may be on to another session—but we have six weeks of them, so there's still plenty to go.)

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“Dream Trip” Course Starts Tomorrow: Join Us Live Online at 9am Pacific!

Hey everyone, just a quick reminder: tomorrow morning we kick off our new “Make Your Dream Trip a Reality” course on Creative Live. You can watch for free starting at 9am Pacific time.

Link: RSVP (It’s Free) and Join In Here

Yesterday we went to the studio for a production meeting with the whole team. This is a big undertaking, and a bunch of people have been working on it for weeks (okay, months).

IMG_20150426_142817 Oh, and we even got a sneak-peek of our awesome set featuring a “travel hacking hot seat” with First Class seats borrowed from the Seattle Museum of Flight. We're so excited!

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5,000 Word Travel Hacking Resources Page Now Available

Solomons Over the past ten years I’ve used millions of Frequent Flyer Miles & Points to go everywhere—literally, everywhere.

I write a lot about travel hacking in the archives and also through our paid service, the Travel Hacking Cartel, which has served more than 16,000 members and counting.

I'm also co-teaching a brand-new bootcamp called Make Your Dream Trip a Reality, which you can watch for free every weekday morning for six weeks starting on April 26.

If that's not enough, we recently published a new page on the blog that includes 100+ links and a general overview of getting started in this world.

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A Tale of Two Rivers: New Film Documents Journeys in Iran and Patagonia

And as far as I can recall, I’ve seen Tom Allen in Los Angeles, London, and Portland. The guy gets around!

He's also a prolific filmmaker. Tom is returning this year with another big documentary project, this one produced with a partner with whom he undertook major expeditions through Iran and Patagonia—two places that are different in many ways.

With only 5 days to go, here's the trailer for the Kickstarter project to fully produce two feature-length films:

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11 Travel Hacking Tips, Stories, and Ideas Combined into One Post

Last year I changed the blog’s format to a style that was more conducive to frequent posting, and my goal for 2015 is to publish at least 500 posts. This change means more work for me, but it’s also better work.

Besides, it’s always good to change things up.

If you missed something, take a look at the list below and see if anything might be helpful to you.

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Packing Essentials

It doesn’t take me long to pack for most trips. I typically bring the same clothes and “stuff” with me no matter my destination or purpose of travel. Sure, there’s some variance—a warmer scarf depending on season, or a nicer jacket depending on what kind of meetings I have on the other side.

On average, it takes me twenty minutes. No more, no less. If I’m doing laundry and sorting through the mail while packing, the whole process might take up to an hour, but that's the cost of multitasking.

The greatest challenge is indecision. Do I want two pairs of jeans? (Usually just one, but I waver.) Do I need to bring my bathing suit? (I don’t swim often, and when I do I can wear my running shorts.)

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Ending Soon: Last Chance for 70,000 IHG Hotel Points

Link: 70,000 IHG Hotel Points

A while back I mentioned a limited-time offer for 70,000 IHG hotel points (normally 60,000 or fewer). The deadline for the big bonus is coming up, and this is one that’s definitely worth looking at if you're eligible.

70,000 points in the IHG network can be used for at least two nights at nicer properties, or up to a week or longer at budget properties. Personally, I’m in the “life is short” department—I have plenty of points these days and would use this bonus at the nicer places. But I used to be a very low-budget traveler, and the idea of essentially getting a week’s worth of free hotel nights in exchange for a single credit card application will be appealing to a lot of folks.

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Fuel Dumping: A Little-Understood Trick to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Airfare

194798561_f024ab66d7_z There’s a fun trick that can help you save hundreds of dollars on your next long flight—but it’s a little complicated and requires a bit of work.

Bloggers get hate mail over sharing this tip (I’m not kidding), presumably because some people feel entitled to keep secrets to themselves. In my opinion, the only reason this loophole hasn’t been closed has nothing to do with its public knowledge but rather that it takes effort and attention to benefit from it.

Basically, "fuel dumping" is a ticketing strategy to help you strip the fuel surcharges from certain international airfares by adding on an extra, unused segment to the end of the trip.

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How to Join “The Amazing Race” for Regular People

Have you ever wanted to be on The Amazing Race?

I’ve never actually seen the show—I preferred to focus on my own race for ten years—but one time J.D. Roth and I got up early to stand in line for auditions. After waiting for two hours, we were told that the line had closed and there would be no more auditions. Reality star #fail.

Fortunately, I know a guy who helps regular people with their own amazing race, every summer in Europe. Steve in Washington, D.C. is a full-time travel hacker. Competitours is a fun side project for him, and I thought some of you might be interested.

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Can You Visit Bora Bora on a Budget? Sort of—Here’s How.

This is a free excerpt from Upgrade Unlocked: The Unconventional Guide to Luxury Travel on a Budget by Stephanie Zito.

Bora Bora is a dream destination smack in the middle of the South Pacific. The French Polynesian island is famous for its crystal waters in 50 shades of blue, and luxury accommodation in over-the-ocean bungalows that come complete with a private balcony stepping straight into the sea.

It’s a popular destination for honeymooners and just about anyone who likes to be pampered on an island while never being more than 10 steps away from tropical waters.

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