“The Sun Was Rising Over Mt. Kilimanjaro.  My World Had Changed and Suddenly I Was in Control…”

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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:   Kambam Adventures

Kami writes Kambam Adventures to reflect upon her travels and day-to-day life.

Kambam Adventures - Interview with Kami

How We Feel About Traveling for Free With Frequent Flyer Miles!

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

When my husband and I 1st met, he told me that over the previous 10 years he’d accumulated enough United Airlines miles for 2 round-trip international tickets to anywhere.  That’s my kind of pick up line.  Planning where we might go and what we might do started our courtship.

I joined the fun in 2012 when we were planning for our honeymoon.  Turns out a decade for 2 international tickets is way too long, so I have since taken the reins of the mile travel planning.

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

I started Kambam Adventures to document the 1st big, international trip I ever took, volunteering for 3 months in East Africa.  I’d traveled a fair amount as a kid (both parents were in the travel industry), but it was the 1st time I ever decided I wanted to go somewhere, and did everything it took to get there.

The blog was an opportunity to reflect on what I saw in the world and what that meant to me.  It’s special because it covers travel and day-to-day life.

What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?

I constantly have to remind myself that every mile counts.  A couple dollars for parking, or drinks, or soap at the drugstore, or whatever you may consider spending cash on, it all adds up.

Sign-up bonuses are great, and shopping portals can be if they actually credit you the miles (which often enough you have to bug them for), but 5, 10, 50 miles at a time adds up, so there’s no reason to pay cash unless you have to.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

I’m a sucker for a sunrise.  Of note: When that 1st plane was landing in Tanzania, the sun was rising over Mt. Kilimanjaro.  My world had changed and suddenly I was in control of how much I got to see the world.

Runners up: Watching the sunrise over the ancient city of Bagan in Burma; and over the mountain opposite Machu Picchu.

Kambam Adventures - Interview with Kami

The Kilimanjaro Sunrise That Started It All

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

Most think I must be bleeding money for how much we travel.  The ones who know that we hardly ever pay cash, think it’s a lot more work than it is.

Kambam Adventures - Interview with Kami

Striking a Pose in Paris

Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?

Subscribing to a bunch of blogs from the experts and gleaning relevant information.  I have 10 or so on my blog reader, Feedly, and about 10% of the articles are helpful in my current planning, so I read those and skip the rest.

It’s a complicated world that’s always changing, so it’s nice having a heads up through post titles, even if I don’t have enough time to read them yet.

What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?

Adding an authorized user is just too easy.  My husband is a Race Director (for local half marathons and a national Mustache-themed 5K) and we accrued enough for our recent sailing trip to Thailand with medals, shirts, and mustachioed pint glasses.

What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?

It’s not bad to have a bunch of credit cards.  The spendthrift in me used to see plastic as a sign of excess, when really it’s a sign of thrift…when used right.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

I love free, cheap, and heavily-discounted.  But that shouldn’t be a surprise.  Better, I co-host ReadyGo Podcast, covering all things creativity.

Kambam Adventures - Interview with Kami

A Massive Rainstorm Made for an Especially Wet Iguazu Falls

Any parting words?

You’re in charge of how much you travel.  Vacation days are negotiable, price can be overcome, there are options luxury to budget, for every lifestyle, and for every travel purpose – adventure, family bonding, historical re-enactments, pick your poison.

Look to miles blogs for tips, and other travel blogs for inspiration.  And just GO.

Kambam Adventures - Interview with Kami

Burmese Fishermen Have Serious Skills

Kami – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Kambam Adventures!

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9 responses to ““The Sun Was Rising Over Mt. Kilimanjaro.  My World Had Changed and Suddenly I Was in Control…”

  1. Great Post! I always enjoy hearing from the other Blog writers out there and their inspiration and insight into this crazy game we all play. Thanks for sharing your blog to host segments from your “Competition”. I think I speak for everyone in saying the readers really appreciate it!

  2. cute couple! Definitely want to see Mt. Kilamanjaro someday. Love the Eiffel Tower pic.

  3. WhatIsTheRealSecret

    I visit the MillionMileSecrets website frequently and am grateful for all of the advice and tips that are provided by Daraius. I’m just curious, however. How can there be such an endless supply of new bloggers to highlight every Friday? I read the advice each one provides and it’s all kind of the same. I follow all of that same advice religiously, and while it provides significant savings, I do not see how it is possible to take multiple international trips, completely or even mostly paid for with credit card points and miles. What am I missing?

  4. Another great interview. Always enjoy them
    How do we stop the ripoff and extremely poor “Fireside Chats” by DP????

  5. The Secret Is...

    1) Many of the bloggers have jobs/schedules that allow them much more flexibility than their average reader.

    2) Most of them churn credit cards and participate in manufactured spending at levels that most of their readers are unable or willing to do. (Applying for lots of cards, incorporating very small businesses just for the sake of applying for business cards, spending lots of $ at “office supply” stores, etc)

    3) They have businesses or some other mechanism that allows them to put high volumes of spending on their cards and then either get reimbursed by their customers or employers…

    Not saying that ordinary people can’t get a lot of value from miles and points, but the average person with a 9 to 5 job, a family and a few weeks of vacation time a year is not going to be spending a week in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, popping into the Maldives a few times a year, and rolling in Qantas, Lufthansa or Singapore first class everywhere they go.

  6. Just curious- who won the REI gift cards? I can’t find that info anywhere.

  7. WhatIsTheRealSecret

    Thanks for the explanation. I think #3 must be the key. I apply for lots of cards and use them for just about every purchase I make just like the rest of the bloggers. But there’s obviously a limit to how much I spend in a year. It sounds like there is a little bit of “too good to be true” with the way some of this is portrayed.

  8. @WhatIsTheRealSecret

    There are always ways to get big spend on a credit card without actually having that many expenses, but you have to get creative. When dollar coins were the big thing, I bought about 3k of them per 1.5 weeks. After a couple months, I had enough SPG and AA points to fund 85% of my honeymoon with my wife.

    I recently got the two SW cards for the second time, and I needed the final 10k points to get the companion pass. Not one penny of the spend was on groceries, gas, bills, etc. It was all completely manufactured. I even profited off of the spend.

    Daraius interviewed me too, so check it out at the end of August when my interview is published. I hope you’ll feel that I have some ideas to offer that are out of the ordinary.

  9. WhatIsTheRealSecret

    @Casey Friday

    Cool. I look forward to reading your interview.