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Lessons Learned from 11 Years of Travel

Last weekend I had the honor of speaking to 600 people at Frequent Traveler University, a conference devoted to the world of points and miles.

A longtime friend, Gary Leff, asked me to share a few lessons from the 11-year journey to every country that just wrapped up a few weeks ago in Norway. What have I learned?

Good question. I thought about it for a while and here are some of the highlights I came up with.

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Travel Hacking Anywhere Without Credit Cards

Since posting the 2012 Frequent Flyer Challenge, I've fielded a ton of queries from people about how it works, which cards are best for their needs, and the occasional complaint from someone who feels like this information is too good to be shared. The short response is: it works very well. I'll be receiving more than 200,000 miles from my recent applications, in addition to several million miles over the past few years. These opportunities aren't going away anytime soon, so you might as well get in on them if you can.

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Questions and Answers on Travel Hacking

A few weeks ago I mentioned I had created a page on the site that lists current airline mileage credit card bonuses. With just a couple of new cards, you can earn 100,000 miles or more—and then book round-trip plane tickets all over the world. Much to my surprise, card bonuses have continued to get better and better over the past couple of years. It's never been easier to earn a large stash of points or miles that you can quickly convert to plane tickets and hotel stays.

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The Latest in Travel Hacking: Earn Free Airfare in 2012

Happy New Year!

On Sunday's long run, I pushed it to 12 miles in honor of 2012. I then tried to eat 12 pieces of nutella pie as a reward, but that plan fell through after piece #2.

As you're thinking about a new year, here's a free tip: forget resolutions; think about living intentionally instead.

What matters to you this year? Do that.

What do you hope to build in 2012? Work on that.

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The Latest in Travel Hacking: November 2011 Edition

Last Thursday afternoon, I approached the registration desk at a Radisson hotel near the airport in Portland, Oregon.

“Checking in, sir?” the clerk asked.

“Yes,” I said. “And checking out.”

I was there to take advantage of a new miles-and-points adventure: in this case, staying for one night (or at least checking in) in order to receive another night free. Why do that? Because my paid night cost $74, and I'll use the free night for a property that runs $300 or more.

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One-Hour Travel Hacking Class Now Available

Friends and readers, greetings from Johannesburg airport, where I've just arrived from a week of gorilla trekking in East Africa. Life is good. By popular request, you're invited to join me for a one-hour online class on the basics of travel hacking: how to see the world on a budget. We'll discuss at least 8 ways to earn a free plane ticket in the next 60 days. Update: the class is now sold-out.

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Business Goals for the Travel Hacking Cartel

I was all set to go on national TV Friday morning to discuss travel hacking, but then I got a frantic message from the producer: “Have you been to Egypt?” Why yes, I said, I have—not checking the news, since I was thinking ahead to the segment for which they were interviewing me. The next message came three minutes later, saying they were dropping travel hacking in favor of Egyptian riots. Since bringing democracy to a country that has lived with a dictator for three decades is probably more important than earning a free plane ticket, I decided that decision was fair. I went back inside and changed into a t-shirt ...

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Travel Hacking in North America

Greetings from the road between Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee ... soon to be Oxford, Mississippi. I've been on tour for five weeks now, and a number of people have asked, “What kind of travel hacking are you doing on this trip?”

The best answer is: Not much. The schedule is fixed. One day per city, with no flexibility on dates. I've done 32 stops over the past five weeks, usually back-to-back, and the priority is to structure everything around the meetups. In addition to that, I've done media interviews every day, all of the work I do on an ongoing basis, and some planning for two bigger projects that I'll be announcing soon.

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Free Trip to Thailand: Travel Hacking Case Study

When I haven't been contemplating the puzzle of how to do everything, I've been planning my final international trip of the year. Yes, it's only July, but come September, I hit the road to meet readers in 63 cities for the Unconventional Book Tour. Therefore, next month's trip is my final chance to get in a couple of new countries before putting my Frequent Flyer cards back in the drawer for a long four months.

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Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking

Greetings from Ouagoudougou, winner of the “most awesome city name” contest and also my current stop on the week-long West Africa tour. I came in via Lufthansa, Royal Air Maroc, and Ethiopian Airlines... but more on that in a moment. I wanted to write a lengthy post outlining a few principles of what I call travel hacking. In short, travel hacking is all about seeing experiencing the world on a limited budget. I've been able to visit so many countries over the past decade not by being independently wealthy, but by learning to be creative.

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The Latest In Travel Hacking, “Volcanic Ash Karma” Edition

I lived in Seattle from 2006-2008 without a car, which worked well about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, I spent a lot of time waiting on street corners for the bus to arrive. It was frequently late, but once in a while, I'd get to the bus stop right when the bus was pulling up. My friends and I called this “good bus karma” which we ascribed to previous 40-minute waits when we had just missed it.

Last month during the British Airways strike, I walked around a deserted Heathrow airport terminal with departure signs reading CANCELLED. Meanwhile, my flight went out as planned, albeit on a chartered “EuroAtlantic” flight where the meal consisted of a paper bag filled with bananas (seriously) and half a bottle of one-euro red wine. I was grateful for the bananas, but mostly for the flight.

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