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Get Two Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

JapanTHC Link: Get 2 Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

A few years ago I started the Travel Hacking Cartel, a service that has now helped more than 20,000 people travel for nearly free.

The reason I started it was simple: lots of you wanted to learn how to earn miles and points (and then use them to see the world), but felt overwhelmed with an abundance of information from forums, blogs, and other resources.

The Cartel is still going strong with this mission, and we regularly hear success stories from members who have been able to travel places they had only dreamed of before.

There was just one problem...

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Why the Best Way to Earn Miles & Points Still Hasn’t Changed

3489951440_7edeebd79e_z Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 Points Bonus)

I’m always on the lookout for new travel hacking opportunities. Even though I don’t need to earn as many miles & points as I used to, it’s still fun.

This year I’ll be flying in The Apartment at 30,000 feet. I’ll be going back to my favorite country, Australia. And I’ll be heading out on a 30-city book tour. (You can come, too.)

… and I’m sure there will be many other adventures along the way. For all of these experiences and more, I’ll be using the same credit card.

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My New Travel Hacking Goal: Book an Apartment at 30,000 Feet

16256196535_84d50ed2e1_z It’s a brand new year, and that means it’s time for change—both in life (because why not?) and in travel.

Every year I earn more than one million miles and points, which I then use for free travel all over the world. For a long time, travel hacking was my primary tool for going everywhere.

These days, I don’t jet off to Kinshasa or Katmandu very often, but I’m still in the game. Even without paying attention all the time or doing crazy things like making a hair-loss appointment to earn miles, I’m still able to get more than enough miles and points to have experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible.

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Adventure Is Worthwhile In Itself

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"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
-Amelia Earhart

You often hear about how we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do. Looking back at the experience of traveling the world, this belief shines through whatever hardship I encountered.

Sure, I can remember the struggles. I can remember sleeping on the ground, running out of money, missing my flights. I remember not being sure if I’d make it, if I’d have to give up somewhere.

If I think about it, I can remember sweating it out in Eritrea, detained by the police overnight before I was put on a plane to Cairo. I remember flying to Angola and Pakistan without the required visa, wondering what would happen on the other side.

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Limited Time: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points (Usually 40,000) toward Free Travel

Travel Link: Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

My longtime favorite card for earning miles and points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, has just raised its signup bonus offer. For a limited time you can earn 50,000 points (usually 40,000, which is also good) upon getting the card and completing a minimum spend.

As I’ve explained before, different cards are good for different reasons. Some cards are great for big bonuses, but after that it’s best to put them in the drawer and reserve your spending for other cards. Other cards are good for category spending, where you can earn 5x points at office supply stores or other particular merchants.

But if you can only get one card and not worry about keeping up with a bunch of stuff, this is the best overall recommendation—and now you can earn extra points just for getting it.

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Do You Ever Get Lonely When You Travel?

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Last month in Hong Kong, I went to the New Territories, a part of the city I'd never visited before. It was only half an hour from bustling Kowloon, but it felt like a totally different region.

On the eve of my departure, before I'd fly to Tokyo and then to Los Angeles, I was feeling anxious.

I went for an hour-long run, my longest in a while. I set out just as the sun was setting and ran along the water, looking at the Kowloon skyline across the narrow harbor.

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2012 Annual Review: Travel Roundup

Where did you go in 2012? Feel free to share with other readers … my own notes are below.

Every year as part of the Annual Review, I look back on where I've been. As usual, this year's list is fairly long—though not as long as some previous years in terms of new countries. This year has been more of a clean-up mission, where I've visited a number of places that have eluded me over the previous few years.

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Adventures in Travel Hacking

Greetings from LHR Terminal 3, soon to be departing to San Francisco after a weekend in London for the U.K. launch of The $100 Startup. We've had a lot of new readers join our community over the past month (hi, everyone!) and I thought it would be good to provide an overview of travel hacking: the means of seeing the world in style while on a budget. For the past five years, I've been to at least 20 new countries a year on my quest to go everywhere. In addition to overland travel by bus or train, I get to many of them through a variety of paid and almost-free plane tickets ...

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2011 Annual Review: Travel Roundup

As part of the Annual Review series, I look back at everywhere I went in 2011. As usual, it’s a long list! Despite a lull when I spent several months at home writing a book and preparing for WDS, I still made it to a decent amount of places. All told, I made it to at least thirty countries, including twenty that were new to me. Highlights included a visit to a gorilla reserve in the Eastern Congo and running a half-marathon in Cuba, my final country in the Americas. I also traveled to every province in Canada for the conclusion of my first book tour, and lots of U.S. cities for various meetings, talks, transit stops, and adventures.

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Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and the Congo

Note: This post contains videos. If you can't see them, you can view the collection over here. After flying through the day and night via Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and Nairobi (yes, I'm perpetually tired), I made it to Kigali, Rwanda—the starting point for my latest trip. This was a special adventure: a visit to several countries in Central-East Africa, and my first time to trek into the forest of Virunga National Park in Eastern Congo.

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Visit to North Korea (Sort Of)

n my last trip to Asia, I stopped off in Seoul for an important side-trip. I'd been to South Korea three times before, and each time I'd tried to make this side trip—but each time, something came up to block my way. A public holiday was announced, or I came on the wrong days of the week, or hostilities between neighbors had erupted that derailed the plan. Each time I flew back to Hong Kong or Japan, resolving that the next trip would be successful.

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2010 Annual Review: Travel Roundup

As part of the Annual Review series, I look back at everywhere I went in 2010. It’s a long list! From my usual 20+ new countries to a book tour to every U.S. state, I spent a lot of time on the road this year. In rough chronological order, here’s everywhere I went in 2010:

United States, Canada, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Maldives, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Germany, Ukraine, Cyprus, Cape Verde, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Thailand

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The Final Fifty

Greetings from Terminal 1 in Singapore's Changi Airport—or perhaps HKG, or NRT, or en route to LAX depending on when you read this. I'm on the way home from my latest global adventure. A long time ago—five years, to be precise—I had an idea to visit every country in the world. I like travel, I like big goals. Smash the two together and you get: 192 official countries, plus a bunch of other places. Read More