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My Honeymoon Cost Next to Nothing and How I Did It

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

I was twenty-two, fresh out of college, and about to marry my high school sweetheart – paying for a honeymoon was the last thing I wanted to do.

Oh yeah, did I mention I just bought an engagement ring, paid a NYC apartment deposit (ouch), and hadn’t started my job yet?

Enough of my pity party, the bitter truth is that we all want to take incredible trips and it’s never the right time to blow thousands of dollars.

But, this was my honeymoon… I wanted to take my wife on the trip of a lifetime.

That’s when I stumbled across 10xTravel. I read the free e-book, sent Bryce my sob story, and discovered that the honeymoon of our dreams wasn’t out of reach.

So, piece-by-piece I put together a honeymoon that was almost as great as the sex was (too personal?) and it was an adventure that we’ll never forget.

Luke_Honeymoon_1

 

Where are we going?

We had no idea where we wanted to go.

We didn’t want to do the typical Cancun sit-on-the-beach honeymoon (not bashing it), so we typed in “unique honeymoon destinations” and this picture popped up: Continue Reading

5 Thoughts, Blog

5 Thoughts: Vienna

I had the pleasure of visiting Vienna for a couple days in February of 2016 on a trip to Central Europe.

(Here’s how I was able to do it for next to nothing using points/miles)

Here are 5 thoughts I had after my trip.

Vienna1

1) Compared to other major European cities, Vienna is just “Ok”

Vienna checks all the boxes that make for a fantastic place to visit. History, culture, food (more on this later), museums, activities, etc.

The problem is that Vienna is not particularly notable for any of these things. It’s just “ok” at all of them. Which makes for an experience that is best described as “just ok”.

Sure, there are a ton of museums in Vienna. But none of them contain any can’t-miss works of art or historical artifacts. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Citi ThankYou Points to Fly to Hawaii

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today we are continuing with my mission to put Hawaii back on the map for you (from a points/miles perspective).

We have already covered two of the most popular types of points programs in weeks past.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Amex Membership Rewards Points

Today I want to continue with my quest by introducing you to another very popular rewards program, Citi ThankYou Points.

BrycePhotobombedinMaui

Being photobombed in Maui

Here we go.

How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

Citi offers a variety of different cards to suit all needs. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Citi ThankYou Points

Citi ThankYou Premier Card – Citi ThankYou Premier comes with 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. The card has a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Amex Membership Rewards Points to Fly to Hawaii

Hi Travel Junkies,

Last month I promised to help put Hawaii back on the map for you (from a points/miles perspective) and provided an overview of how you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get there.

Today I want to continue with my quest by introducing you to another very popular rewards program, American Express Membership Rewards.

BryceDolphining

Less money spent on flights = more money available to swim with dolphins

Let’s get to it.

How to Earn Amex Membership Rewards Points

Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards points are incredibly valuable because of their flexibility to transfer to a number of different travel partners in multiple airline alliances.

Yes, they can also be redeemed for things like shopping and gift cards but we are not going to cover that in today’s overview. The value of these redemptions is mediocre at best.

WayToUsePoints

Amex Membership Rewards can be earned with a TON of different credit cards but today I want to focus on the most popular ones. The Platinum Card, Premier Rewards Gold Card, and Amex EveryDay Preferred.

The Platinum Card – The Platinum Card by American Express comes with 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. The card has a $450 annual fee that is not waived for the first year.

Platinum comes with a variety of other travel perks, including lounge access, a $200 airline fee credit, and a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.

Premier Rewards Gold Card – The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card (“PRG”) is currently offering a signup bonus of 25,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months. You also earn 3x points on airfare, 2x at gas stations and supermarkets, and 1x on all other purchases.

PRG has an annual fee of $195 that is waived for the first year.

There is also a business version of this card that has a signup bonus of 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – Family Trips to Australia, Florida, and Canada for Next to Nothing

Hi Travel Junkies,

I love unapologetically bragging about how awesome my readers are.

And one of the ways I do this is by sharing reader success stories, which allows you to see just how powerful points/miles can be (and provides a blueprint for you to create a similar trip).

Today’s reader success story is of particular interest just because of the sheer amount of cheap travel that Leah and her family were able to book.

Over the last 12 months they have traveled to South Florida and Australia and already have another trip booked to spend a couple days in Canada. All for pennies on the dollar.

And today Leah is going to tell you how they did it.

Take it away, Leah.

LeahYoder-1

Leah and her family in Sydney, Australia

The best thing about the points/miles hobby is that once you “get it” everything seems to fit together nicely.

Your view of how credit cards, frequent flyer miles, and other types of points all work completely shifts and you start to see opportunities everywhere.

That’s exactly what happened for me just a few months after I discovered Bryce’s blog, 10xTravel.com. His site has been a source of constant information for me, and I’ve been able to use his user-friendly step-by-step breakdowns to plan a number of family vacations for next to nothing.

Let’s start with our trip to Fort Myers, Florida.

After reading Bryce’s article about the Southwest Companion Pass my husband and I decided to try to earn one. My husband is self-employed so we opted to get both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, which were each offering a bonus of 50,000 Southwest Miles at the time. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Fly to Hawaii

Hi Travel Junkies,

Those of you who have joined my Insider’s mailing list know that the very first task I ask you to complete is to pick a dream destination and write it down.

Those of you who haven’t joined yet are missing out on some of my best material. No worries, you can join here:

Download The Free Ebook

Tired of paying too much to travel? Get my step-by-step guide on how to travel the world for next to nothing.

 

I also ask my new readers to share their dream destination with me so that I can provide a few tips to help make it happen.

Their most popular choice?

Hawaii, and it’s not even close.

BryceHawaii

Hanging out in Maui

At any given time there are at least a dozen 10xT readers in America’s 50th state.

(Keep an eye out next time you’re there. They’ll be the ones asking the hotel to split their bill across 4 different cards to maximize their points haul)

For many people, Hawaii is the ideal vacation destination.

Unfortunately, Hawaii can feel more like a dream then an attainable vacation spot (cue coins clinking into a piggy bank).

Which is why I am going to take some time over the next few weeks to bring Hawaii back on the map for you.

No, I’m not going to go into detail about what volcano to visit, what sunscreen to use, or even what hotel I recommend (though I am a big fan of the Andaz Maui)… we can get into all of that later. Continue Reading

Blog

Introducing the Newest Member of the 10xT Team: Luke Sims!

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I am very proud to announce the addition of a new (and very talented) member of the 10xT team, Luke Sims!

Luke’s official title will be “Travel Guru/Contributor” (I love letting people create their own titles), which means he will be sharing amazing content on 10xT as well as helping all of you make your travel dreams become travel realities.

Here is what he has to say, in his own words

Luke Sims

Hey Travel Junkies,

My name is Luke and I’m addicted to travel hacking. I was baptized into the game when Bryce helped me put together an incredible – and completely free – honeymoon back in September, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Thailand for Next to Nothing

One of the things I love most about 10xT is getting to see some of the amazing trips that my readers have been able to put together.

I share these with all of you from time to time for 3 reasons:

  1. Many of you like to use these stories as a blueprint for your own future travels (today’s story is a prime example of that)
  2. It’s great to see specific examples of just how valuable points/miles can be
  3. Let’s be honest, I love unapologetically bragging about how amazing all of you are

Today I want to introduce you to longtime 10xT reader Chris, who read about my trip to Thailand last summer and was inspired to put together a similar vacation for him and his girlfriend.

Take it away Chris.

——————

Thailand Tiger

My trip started simply enough, I wanted to go to Thailand.

So what would you do if you wanted to go to Thailand but didn’t want to spend $10,000 doing it? You google “Cheap Trips to Thailand”.

After sifting through the normal BS, I stumbled upon a link to Bryce’s overview of how he used points to book a $28,000+ trip to Thailand for ~$300.

I was obviously a bit skeptical, it seemed a bit overwhelming. But I decided to email Bryce anyway.

Worth a shot right?

Bryce was gracious enough to hop on the phone with me and walk me through a step-by-step plan of which points I would need, how I could go about earning them, and he helped me map out the trip (I basically wanted the same trip as him). Continue Reading

Blog

What Are Airport Lounges (And How Can I Access Them)?

Hi Travel Junkies,

Remember that time your plane was delayed, your gate was overflowing with annoying travelers, and you sat on the ground contemplating how many Auntie Anne’s pretzels it would take to be happy again?  

Yeah, I’ve been there. (The answer is 4. It takes 4 soft pretzels to feel whole again)

The worst part is, you probably walked by a few of those mysterious airport lounges and wondered what it would be like to be a part of the “in-crowd” (and if they hand out free soft pretzels inside).  

Well, today is your day.

Today, I’m going to give you the rundown of how airport lounges work.

  • What are they?  
  • Why are they awesome?  
  • How can you gain access?  
  • And do they actually have soft pretzels inside?

Let’s start with the basics.

 

What Are Airport Lounges?

Put simply, airline lounges are very comfortable places to spend time in an airport.

Most of them feel a little bit like libraries. They’re usually quiet, filed with tons of comfortable seats and desks, and have free Wi-Fi.

Admirals Club - London Heathrow

Admirals Club – London Heathrow

Oh, and one more thing.

Almost all of them have a bar. Which typically has complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails.

Iberia Lounge - Madrid

Iberia Lounge – Madrid

More on that in a bit.

Let’s take a look a few of the other fantastic amenities offered by airport lounges.

Continue Reading

5 Thoughts, Blog

5 Thoughts: Barcelona

I had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona for a few days on a trip to the Iberian Peninsula in January 2016.

(Here’s how I was able to do it for next to nothing using points/miles)

BarcelonaIG

Here are 5 thoughts I had after my trip:

 

1) Barcelona is Not the “Spain” That You Pictured

Yes, Barcelona is a City within the Kingdom of Spain.

But spend more than 10 minutes there and you’ll realize that Barcelona is far different from the rest of the country, and from what most people imagine “Spain” to look and feel like.

Barcelona2

Barcelona isn’t the flamenco dancing, bull fighting, colorful/vibrant culture that you’ll find in other parts of the country (although you can find touristy versions of these everywhere). Continue Reading