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5 First Steps for Travel Hacking

If you’re new to this blog, one of the things I write about is travel hacking—the art of having incredible experiences that would otherwise be unobtainable for most people.

It’s a bit different from budget travel, which tends to focus on staying on hostels, flying on low-cost carriers (LCCs), etc. Travel hacking can not only help you travel, it can help you travel better.

I stumbled on this world by accident. I just wanted to learn to travel for less, and then I got upgraded on a transatlantic flight. When it happened again a year later, I was hooked. Then a couple years later, I began my quest to visit every country in the world.

Travel hacking allowed this experience to be much, much cheaper. I can say with confidence that a full third of the 11-year project was either free or nearly free thanks to miles and points.

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17 Travel Hacking Tips for People Who Value Their Time and Sanity

This is a special post from Austin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Check out his free 10-lesson course called “Better Credit in 10 Days.”

After reading the Frequent Flyer Master guide in December 2010, I scored two $20 tickets to Honolulu. Travel hacking was amazing, and I was hooked.

But a lot has changed since then. My wife Megan and I now have two children. During working hours—which is to say waking hours—I split my time between a startup called Closeup.fm, and the marketing consultancy that pays my bills, Wunderbar LLC.

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The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part II)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

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The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part I)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

How did you get the idea to go everywhere?

I remember it very clearly: I was on a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, during my first big independent trip after ending a four-year volunteer commitment in West Africa. I had two weeks until my graduate program started in Seattle, so I went to Asia.

I’d been working on my initial goal of visiting 100 countries for a while. But on that ferry, I suddenly started thinking about a much bigger goal: every country in the world, no exceptions.

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One Free Ticket, 18 Hours on Amtrak, and Many Interesting Passengers

Amtrak1 Greetings from the Coast Starlight! I’ve been riding Amtrak 18 hours through Oregon and California, while traveling to San Francisco and eventually (by plane) to San Diego.

A few years ago I took a long train journey from Chicago to Portland, riding the Empire Builder just in time for the launch of the Empire Building Kit.

Aside from some short journeys, though, I haven’t been on “real” Amtrak for quite a while.

So why now? Well, to be honest I don’t think I was aware of how good the points redemption opportunities have been. Amtrak divides the country into zones and charges the same number of points for travel within any particular zone. In other words, there are some great values to be had when booking with points.

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“If We Never Booked the Tickets, We’d Never Go”: On the Road with Serena Star Leonard

Well into her third year of continuous travel, Serena Star Leonard and her husband John spend their days exploring the world and documenting stories of people who make a difference.

I’m Serena, a half-Kiwi, half-Malaysian born in Hong Kong. My husband is John, an Irishman. We were both living in Australia when we met, fell in love, and got married in the space of 16 weeks.

I’d worked in corporate environments for a number of years, but I wanted to change things up. My goal was to work for money one day a week and spend the rest of my time doing work I was passionate about but wouldn’t necessarily make a cent.

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Live a Life of Travel, Even with a Full-Time Job: On the Road with Ruby Escalona

As many of our readers know, having a full-time job doesn't mean you can't make travel a regular part of your life. Ruby Escalona tells us how she does it.

Hi! I'm Ruby. I grew up in the Philippines, but now live in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve always had ambitious dreams. When I was a child, I wanted to read all the books in the world.

Now, I’m passionate about traveling. My fiancé and I have desk jobs, and a motto: live a life of travel, even with a full time job. We’re seeing the world, one bit at a time. It’s a little slower than people who are location independent, but it works for us.
Ruby9

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“We Don’t Know What it’s Like Not to Travel”: On the Road with Sarah Glashegal and Scott Haywood

Sarah and Scott are at an exciting time in their lives: after incorporating regular travel into their routing, they're now transitioning from a rooted life in America to a more nomadic lifestyle. Here's their story.

Himalayas
I’m Sarah, and my partner is Scott. We met several years ago and fell in love - not just with each other, but also with the realization that we could fulfill lifetime dreams of traveling the world with the one we love.

We've lived mostly in the Midwestern U.S., but Scott recently took a job teaching at a middle school on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas, where I’ll soon move full-time.

One of our passions has been learning about the work of artisans we meet in our travels. This turned into an online business called From Around the Globe to help these artisans reach a wider audience. In doing this, we’re actually aligning with our core values: to be respectful, caring, and helpful members of the world community.

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A Traveler Who Loves Coming Home: On the Road with Megan Cain

This is a traveler case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

I love finding people who are able to incorporate travel into their lives without making it their whole life. Here's how Megan Cain has done just that.

Megan-Cain
After college, I lived in San Francisco before packing up and moving to a rural, 100-person town in Missouri to live at an eco-village and learn how to garden. I felt a pull towards growing my own food. My move was a leap of faith that changed my life forever. I lived in a 90-square-foot cabin, met my future husband, and started the basis of a career in sustainable living. Mark and I are now have jobs, enjoy owning a home and being rooted in Madison, Wisconsin, while incorporating longer travel adventures into our lives.

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Top 15 Travel Hacks (and a Free Workshop!)

Tomorrow I'll be teaHappy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!

Tomorrow I'll be teaching a day-long workshop on Travel Hacking. You can enroll here and watch for FREE from anywhere in the world.

In preparation for teaching the course tomorrow, I thought I'd compile a few—okay, many—notes on the best current travel hacking opportunities. If you'd like to see the world, or at least travel without spending a lot of money, perhaps something in this extended post will be helpful to you. Enjoy!

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