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Welcome to the next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: Kid Free Travel
Laquel writes Kid Free Travel to share information with readers who prefer to travel without kids.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I just recently learned about travel hacking and how to collect miles! I started looking into it around the middle of 2013 because I was thinking of where we’d want to go for a honeymoon.
I really wanted to do it up from flying in Business or First Class, to staying at gorgeous hotels in Italy without breaking the bank. I found that miles and points would be perfect so that started my interest.
The only downside is that I didn’t know about this sooner. Oh the miles that I have missed!
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I started my blog, Kid Free Travel as a fun hobby to share mys tips with others who prefer to travel without children.
I am a part-time traveler and work a full time, 9 to 5 job in San Francisco so I definitely don’t travel all the time. I have a mortgage, 3 cats, and a husband, LOL. I try to take 2 big trips a year and do smaller vacations when I can as well.
There are a couple of things that make my blog special: I’m a part-time traveler, I focus on traveling kid free (either solo or with a partner), and I also share my experience as a black women in an interracial relationship (which I’ll be posting more about soon).
I’ve noticed that there aren’t a lot of travel bloggers who are minorities so I feel that this lends to a unique perspective.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Just jump in! Do some research on some of the helpful blogs (Million Mile Secrets, One Mile at a Time, and others).
Start with 1 card and pick the 1 that you feel you’ll get the most out of (as far as miles but also a card that will get you where you want to go).
I chose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card since it transfers to so many partners that I am interested in and it has been great! I just got back from a short solo vacation to relax and unwind and with hotel, flight and food, I paid a total of $90 out of pocket.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
So far my most memorable travel experience has been to Thailand. At the time my boyfriend had never been out of the country AND it was our 1st major trip together. We had an amazing time and visited Bangkok and the island of Koh Chang.
Of course this was before I learned about miles but the trip was a fabulous experience and we found that we travel wonderfully together. It was a totally different experience for the 2 of us.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
Since I have just started they haven’t seen the full benefits yet.
My husband thought it was a little weird at 1st: me scouring over these various blogs, learning about travel partners, award availability, etc. Once I told him where we can go and what we could do with all the points he became a fan, LOL.
I’m helping him pick a starter card so that he will be able to accrue points as well.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Blogs. Lots and lots of blogs. It can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of information out there but I’ve narrowed it down to key blogs that fit my travel needs. From these blogs, I’ve learned about great tools and resources like ExpertFlyer, AwardWallet, and FlyerTalk.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I realized that it’s not all about making major purchases. All those little everyday things you buy: the cup of coffee in the morning, your lunch out with friends, all of those add up over time. Even if you start slow you can start accruing points with really no effort at all.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I knew to sign-up for all the hotel and airline loyalty programs before hand. I could have been racking up points for years of travel! But now I know, so I’ve made sure to sign myself and my husband up for all the loyalty programs and I make sure we get points for any trips that we take.
I also wish I’d known how to pick the best card for travel back in my college days. Don’t just get some random credit card that sounds good. You should do the research to see which will work best for your travel goals and will offer you the benefits that you’ll actually use.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
That 1 of my dreams is to be an expat in a lovely European country for a few years. We’re thinking Italy and would love to pick up and move, cats and all, for a while. I’m learning Italian now so I can be prepared 🙂
Also, I love photography and entrepreneurship. I have a side photography business as well as a full-time 9 to 5 job and I’m already thinking about another venture I want to start. What can I say, I like to stay busy.
Any parting words?
Don’t be afraid to get out there and travel and live your dreams! Life is short. Even if you can’t travel full time, start going on small trips to wet your whistle and explore. I think traveling is one of the best things that people can do in their life.
Laquel – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!
If you’d like to be considered for our interview series, please send me a note!