My friends and readers often ask about how I manage to travel to such nice places — how do I take such expensive flights and stay at such fine hotels without spending a fortune? Mainly what I hear is What’s your secret, Kathy?
Here’s the secret: there is no secret.
Yes, sometimes finding a good deal is simply being in the right place at the right time. But, chances of that good deal finding you are much greater if you position yourself in a place where you can learn about that deal while it’s still alive.
For me, in addition to working hard and saving money (i.e., the good old-fashioned way), I am on the constant lookout for special sales. I follow the best websites that might alert me to such sales (or mistake fares). I set notifications on Twitter and elsewhere so I just don’t learn about the opportunity in tomorrow’s email summary of yesterday.
Plus, the more flexible I am in terms of where I want to travel and when I want to go, the easier it is to take advantage of sales and opportunities. There are some general rules too – like … if you learn of a crazy travel deal, book now and then think later (most airlines give you 24 hours to cancel a booking for a full refund).
I have been to Stockholm for $150 RT, to India for around $500 RT, South Africa for $400 RT, and from New York to Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Lima, Peru also for around $400 RT. I have also taken many trips using the miles I have earned. I earn miles from actually flying but also from promotions and credit card spend or bonuses. A few years ago, when Won’t Run and I went to Mendoza and Buenos Aires, Argentina, we flew entirely on miles earned from one credit card promotion!
Credit cards play an important role in my travel because, through the points and miles I earn, I can can travel more and better. Each card has its own shtick (pardon my Yiddish) and jargon. Some credit cards earn cash back, others earn points or miles. Some credit cards award extra points or miles for various categories of spend. Some have extremely lucrative sign-on bonuses, others have consistently good benefits. It goes without saying that one should only apply for credit cards if financially stable.
How do I decide which card to apply for? I do research. I look on blogs and websites and read commentaries. I also always Google to check to see if there are any links or offers out there that are even better than the one I have. You are always free to ask me any questions. If I don’t know the answer, I usually know where to point you.
Sometimes special offers from credit card issuers pop up where they offer more points or miles as a sign-up bonus for a limited time. When the offer is 100,000 points or miles, I jump. There is one credit card that right now has such an offer. And it’s a good one!
I have good news. I was recently approved to have credit card links by Creditcards.com. They have links to a broad spectrum of credit cards. Many of their offers are the best available. If I know of a better offer, I’ll either write about it, or feel free to ask.
To make it easier for you, in the next few days (or sooner) a drop-down tab will be added to this blog where you can easily explore the credit cards offered and see what might be right for you.
It’s always a work in progress, but it’s also fun and exciting, and I thank you for your support by using my links!