Traveling for Free: How and Why

Growing up in the suburbs of Jersey, the only traveling we did was visiting family in New York. I definitely can't complain, New York is fun and all, but I always wanted to see more.  I almost felt homesick for a place I have never been too. Culture fascinated me almost as much as the run away from reality. I mean, fuck, this is therapeutic but I am going way off topic.

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” — Mark Twain


After I turned 18, I learned about credit cards. I learned more about credit card points and miles then anything else. Sign up and get a bonus 50,000 Miles after doing a few thousand in spending.  Sure, as an 18 year old kid that’s more money than Angelina Jolie has kids, but my parents gladly used my new card for the grocery shopping and tuition. Before I knew it, I had more miles then I knew what to do with.

Until I was 20, I saved. Hoarded points and miles like your grandma hoards old photos. I had hundred of thousands of points and miles and was ready to burn. The funny thing about points and miles is that it isn’t just a spend and win strategy. Some redemptions are so much better than the others, like a lot better.

For example, if you were to take your points and use them towards cashback, with some credit cards you’ll get $500 for 100,000 points. If you use the exact points for travel, you can book the value of a 10-15 thousand dollar first class ticket in Singapore Airlines suites, a true iconic flight. But that’s for another time. 

Bottom line, I had lots to learn. What does a young adult do when he’s got plenty to learn? Internet. Reddit. Blogs. YouTube. I spent months in a hole learning and learning. After a few months, we took our first trip to Europe. We flew from Tel Aviv (where I was located at the time) to London using British Airways Miles. From there we took a bus to Paris and rented a car. We spent the next 3 weeks traveling through Central Europe.

 In about 3 weeks, we got to experience 12 countries completely soaked in the culture. Talk about culture shock! Aside from the learning cultural experience, we got to stay in luxurious hotels. I even got to spend my 21st Birthday in the beautiful Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, right on the ocean. Being diamond status with Hilton from all the spending , we got upgraded to a tremendous and gorgeous suite.

Now, I’m not here to brag, rather talk about how far learning about something new and diving right in can get you. Maybe across the world, maybe just to see your long lost family, or maybe just running away from reality. Fuck, am I going off topic again?


“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

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