Here in Chicago we got quite a bit of snow today, around 20 inches or so. And although I’ve been told by my favorite Canadian that what we got was only some snow, it’s still a lot to us. Those Canadians…they can keep their snow, I prefer the beach. 🙂
Today I’m excited to share with you something that I’ve been anticipating for quite some time. In the past I wrote briefly about how we were able to get United to foot the bill for our airfare to Los Angeles by earning frequent flyer miles while at home.
The method I touched on was signing up for high mileage credit cards and then earning your rewards by using those cards for your everyday purchases (gas, groceries, etc.). While it is a solid method, there are two downsides. First, you have to find credit cards that are offering high mileage bonuses and second, you have to sign up for more and more credit cards if you want to continue to reap the maximum benefit.
While spending the last week in Los Angeles I believe I’ve figured out the secret formula to working on the road. Well actually it’s not a secret, and not really a formula at all, but I’m gonna call it that just because it sounds cool. The Secret Formula!
Anyway it dawned on me during this trip that there are at least three distinct forms of travel, each with inherent benefits and pitfalls in relation to working on the road. By understanding the limitations of each mode of travel, you can effectively anticipate your level of efficiency.
Initially I was planning on making this third and final cutting travel costs post about finding free entertainment on the road, but I realized that the entertainment that we’re partaking in on our trip is completely Los Angeles centric, but it also dawns on me that entertainment everywhere will be quite the same; location focused.
This is the second part in the series about cutting travel costs. Last time I gave a brief rundown of how we got United to foot the bill for our round trip airfare to Los Angeles, this time I’ll share how we’re saving on our accommodations.
Our next trip is scheduled up. It’s just a short 8 days this time. In January we’re on our way to Los Angeles, CA.
While our trip to Europe worked out to be quite a steal, we’re getting a bit creative this time around and it turns out we’ll be able to save a good amount of money. So today’s the first post in a little series where I’ll map out what we’re doing and how you can save some dough when traveling stateside.
Let’s start it off with the big ticket item of any trip, airfare, and how we got United to foot the bill for our roundtrip tickets.
I take every Thursday to share a brief story from the road. No message, no lesson, no direction in particular, just a fun little anecdote about our travels.
Today’s story comes from the streets of Rome where Marla haggled her way to her very own “Prada” bag.
If there’s one quote that you should keep in the back of your mind whenever you travel, it’s this.
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
According to Chesterton, a tourist is someone who’s goal is to check items off of a bucket list instead of truly seeing the sights, while a traveler travels in order to experience the world and actually see what’s in front of him (or her).
In my mind over planning plays a big part in being a tourist. On our trip I wanted to do it differently. Aside from the first couple days and our flight home, we didn’t have much planned at all. I wanted to travel, not tour.
Today I want to talk a bit about tours and tour guides. A great tour guide can contribute to an amazing experience, but does hiring a tour guide or taking a tour diminish your ability to truly see the world?
I take every Thursday (but if you’re reading this in your email it’s already Friday) to share a brief story from the road. No message, no lesson, no direction in particular, just a fun little anecdote about our travels.
Today’s story is about what it took to catch the Bears games while we were in Europe.
Spending 22 days working on the road proved to have unexpected challenges, but also great benefits. It’s time to weigh in on the results of the 22 day experiment in location independence.
This is a new thing I’m starting on the site. Typically I try to write in a way so there’s something that you can learn from our experiences, but starting today (and every Thursday) I’ll be sharing a brief story from the road. No message, no lesson, no direction in particular, just a fun little anecdote about our travels.
Today’s story comes from the Paris to Venice overnight train.
I started this blog to share and document the things that we learn in our travels, and there’s still much to share about Europe that we’ll write and post in the coming weeks. But beyond travel alone I think there’s things to share simply about living life to the fullest and this is one of those posts.
The point can be summed up in one sentence. Travel is exciting because of new experiences, but you don’t have to travel to have adventures.
Being big on primal nutrition, one thing that struck me about London was the lack of protein and the major focus on grains, mostly breads. Obviously I expected Italy to be big on pasta but I just assumed that London and even Paris would allow for me to eat fairly similarly to how I do at home. But I was wrong.
We utilize our iPhones to their fullest potential. We write our blog posts, take photos of bus and train schedules, take walking tours, keep up with our email and of course much much more. But without a doubt the most useful part of the iPhone while traveling is the GPS.
Too bad it doesn’t work in Italy.
We’re currently in the third and final country of our trip and we have, for the most part, successfully navigated without a lick of French or Italian, armed with only our English and a pocket phrasebook for each language.
Other than my camera there’s just one thing that I bring with me nearly everywhere I go, my Klean Kanteen.
Like Vibram FiveFingers, I’m a big fan of Klean Kanteen and their BPA free (healthy), reusable water bottles. Buying and drinking bottled water is extremely wasteful, typically less clean than tap water, and a waste of money. (For an amazing, eye opening documentary on bottled water watch Tapped)
The issue I’ve run into in Europe though is that there’s no such thing as ordering tap water in restaurants.
Today our journey has brought us to Pisa, home of the leaning tower. Although the Leaning Tower of Pisa is cool to see, there was something else that struck me as the most amazing part of Pisa. It’s quite shocking, but it was a street vendor.
We arrived in Venice wide awake and refreshed after a brief 13 hour overnight train ride from Paris, got to our hotel, and started our day with a bang. Well that may be the standard plan and the 13 hour part is true, but the rest, well not so much.
Venice is a beautiful, unique city, but finding an address of an obscure, already booked place to stay is impossible.
At home Marla and I draw a lot of attention to ourselves. Marla being 4’11” and me being 6’4″ is something that naturally turns heads. I’ve learned though that it’s less for the fact of our large difference in height and more for the reason that, standing next to her I look illogically tall.
Funny enough though height hasn’t been much of an attention grabber in Europe.
Although it’s being posted much later, I’m currently drafting this on my iPhone from the bus that’s taking us back to Central London. We just left what’s the most exciting tour I’ve ever been on. Exciting may not be the best word but maybe I should say privileged. I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to experience what we did in the way that we did.
Every once in a while you may discover an opportunity to take a normal, everybody’s doing it, experience and get insider access that very few others get. This was one of those experiences.