A Travel Hacking Interview with Calgary’s Breakfast Television

After reaching out to all sorts of media, Calgary’s Breakfast Television invited me on their show for an early morning introduction to travel hacking. It was a really interesting experience to be on TV and it went really well. The only unfortunate thing was that BTCalgary forgot to mention Canadian Free Flyers so no one probably knew where to find me. It was fun though and hopefully people are inspired to start using points for their travels.

Five Tips to Get Started with Travel Hacking in Canada

Have a Dream Trip in Mind: All the frequent flyer miles in the world won’t matter if you don’t use them. By having a destination in mind, it helps you to focus on what types of miles to earn and when to use them. It also keeps you motivated!

Get a Travel-Related Credit Card: You’ll want to earn miles that can actually get you to where you want to go. Some of the best are Aeroplan, American Express Rewards, and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

Maximize Everyday Spending: Move as much of your everyday spending over to the travel credit cards. If you’re going to be spending money, you might as well be earning miles!

Double-Dip: Double dip as much as possible. For example, Esso accepts Aeroplan. When filling up at Esso, use both your travel rewards credit card and your Aeroplan card for double the points.

Keep Track of Your Points: The simplest way to do this is with an Excel file. However, you can also use an app like Award Wallet, which tracks everything for you. Points only expire when they are inactive for one year or more (depending on the program) so as long as you’re always earning miles, you don’t have to worry about the expiration. However, you’ll still want to keep track so that you know when you have enough miles to book your dream trip!

If you want to take it to the next level and really learn how to maximize your frequent flyer miles and travel for free, sign up for one the courses on Canadian Free Flyers. If you use the code GLOBAL25, you’ll get 25% off any service you choose. This code expires soon…

Happy Travels,

Matt

A Quick Guide to Travel Vaccines

What Vaccinations Should You Get?

Depending on where you’re going, vaccinations can be a very important part of your travel plans. At the same time, I want to caution you from getting every single vaccination that everyone says you should get. I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you what to get and what not to get. However, in all my years of travel, I’ve noticed that the most popular vaccinations that many travellers get are:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever

flying over albertaWhen it comes to malaria, there are no vaccinations but there are pills that help fight the disease should you contract it. I have travelled to many malaria-infested countries but have always opted to not take the pills. This is because I am usually traveling for many months and malaria pills are very hard on the liver if taken long-term. Taking them will depend on where you are going, how serious the situation is in the country you’re visiting and how long you’re going for. It is best to do your research, speak to a doctor and make an educated decision. The best prevention of malaria is not getting bitten by mosquitoes, which means covering up your skin and wearing bug spray that contains DEET.

Before deciding what vaccinations you may need, it helps to do some research on the country and area you are planning to visit. It also depends on what vaccinations you had growing up.

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How to Travel Around the World in Business Class for $750

2015 has been a great year for travel. I’ve already stepped foot on three continents, witnessed a permanent lava lake erupt right in front of me, visited Japan during cherry blossom season, and went completely around the world in business class.

It was my first time at the front of the plane and I picked a good time to do it. After all, my wife and I were flying from Calgary, Alberta to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, which took us through England and Turkey. From Tanzania, we flew to Ethiopia for a month and then to Japan for three weeks before coming back to Calgary over the Pacific Ocean. It was a lot of long flights and many time zones to circle the world but having full lie-down beds on the flights made it much more bearable.

Air Canada Business Class Pod Seating

I certainly can’t afford business class tickets around the world. It’s a tough itinerary to price out but just flying to Tanzania and back in business class came to $15,000 each when I looked it up on multiple search engines. It’s safe to say that it would have cost us at least $35,000 USD to make this trip happen, had we paid for the tickets.

Instead, the trip cost just $750 CAD each. That’s because we used frequent flyer miles to “pay” for the rest. Since becoming a travel hacker a few years ago, I’ve managed to earn over 1 million miles through credit cards, everyday spending, and various promotions. However, even though earning miles is crucial, redeeming them for high value rewards is much more important in the world of travel hacking.

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