How I Traveled To San Antonio, TX for 3 Nights for $37 [Travel Cheap]

How I Traveled To San Antonio, TX for 3 Nights with a family of 4 for $147 or $37/person [Travel Cheap]

San Antonio is a beautiful place.You have the River walk, Sea World, the Alamo, and a number of great places to visit if you’re ever in Texas. The food there is also quite amazing. This post discusses how I traveled to San Antonio, TX for cheap.

Over the Summer, I took my family there for vacation and a work meeting and I was able to travel cheap.

I’ll show you how I did it. But here are some things we got to do while we were there.

Since my sister is autistic and has a severe mental disability, visited Morgan’s Wonderland. Morgan’s Wonderland is a themed park for people with Special Needs.


Flights – $0

Since we’re from Dallas, it was only about a 4.5 hour drive. We still rented a car though and I’ll explain why. But if you’re looking for cheap flights, there’s always a number of flights going into San Antonio Airport.

You always want to consider flying to nearby airports as well. I’ve seen flights to DFW and AUS generally a lot lower than going into San Antonio. The only catch is you’ll need to rent a car and possibly a hotel if you’re staying overnight in Dallas or Austin.

Which isn’t a bad idea to visit if you have time.

Accommodations: Free

I was excited to use my SPG points for the first time. I had accumulated over 35,000 points just from the signup bonus for spending a minimum of $3,000 in 3 months (and $2,000 more two months after) on the SPG Amex Card.

I found an incredible deal in San Antonio under SPG hotels for just 3,500 points a night in the Four Points Sheraton. Because we only used 3,500 points, our accommodation costs allowed us to travel cheap.

We had two nights at an awesome hotel for free. On top of that, we even got bonus points back for foregoing room cleaning. So if you’re generally pretty neat and tidy, you get extra points with SPG.

In addition to a beautiful, clean room – they also had a gym. We utilize it to the max every time.

Transportation: $147 for 3 days

Hertz was running a Summer deal at the time which awarded 5,250 miles to United Plus members for renting a car with them. Since I was a Mileage Plus member, I decided to take advantage of that deal (and also save my own car some mileage) since the valuation on United Miles was about 1.5 cents (or about $78.75 worth).

Of course, it’s cheaper to drive your own car but I figured there’s perks of driving a rental for long distance travel (namely if your car breaks down or if there’s mechanical issues. It’s easier to do repairs on a rental over your own unless you have AAA which I don’t.


San Antonio was a fun, meaningful trip with family. Best of all, I got to travel cheap. At $147 for 3 days (which we also stopped by Austin and a work meeting nearby), it’s a steal when you utilize mileage and travel deals.

You can find my complete list of travel hacks and ways to find cheap flights and travel deals without a travel agent here.

If you’re in San Antonio, you should also consider visiting Austin – you can see how we traveled cheap to Austin here.

What are some of your tips for traveling to San Antonio?

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How I Traveled to NYC for 3 Nights for $384 [Travel Cheap]

How I Traveled to NYC for 3 Nights for $384 [Travel Cheap]

This post is the prequel of my trip to Taipei in May, 2017. In this post, I’ll show you how I traveled well to NYC but still was able to travel cheap.

It’s a bit of a complex itinerary. Most people probably would not want to go through these complexities. But as for me, it runs in my blood and I love it because I get to travel cheap.

Before my trip to Taipei, I had a work trip in May to help host a race in New Jersey for one of the cities there.

It was really an awesome event that helped raise scholarships for some of their high school students.

Flights: $137 on Southwest

Note that this was only one-way. However, round trip prices weren’t too much more – I just didn’t book a flight back to Dallas because I wanted to advantage of a cheap flight from NYC. When looking for Cheap International flights (particularly to Asia or Europe), there’s usually a few good airports to check… LAX, SFO, NYC, and CHI.

Also I had A LOT of equipment I needed to bring; hence why I booked a slightly more expensive flight on Southwest. Southwest airlines allows up to 2 check in bags and 1 carry on bag at no extra cost.

There were a number of low cost carriers but the extra baggage fees I would’ve needed to pay for would have been very expensive.

Accommodations: $95 for 3 nights

If you ever travel to NYC, you’d know hotels are very expensive there. $200/night would get you an average hotel. If you’re staying in Manhattan, prices would easily run higher.

On top of that, I didn’t want to stay in a hostel because I had so much expensive equipment with me.

So I searched for an Airbnb. This is also where location makes a huge difference to travel cheap with cheap accommodations. I searched for a place in New Jersey, not far from NYC. Yes, you would need to drive (ideally) but it gives you a lot more freedom to go where you want to go.

I’ve been to NYC several times. I’d say every situation will always be different. Sometimes if you truly want to explore and see as much NYC as possible – then it’s better to take public transportation and stay closer to the City. You wouldn’t want to drive due to the heavy traffic and expensive parking fees.

But staying in New Jersey is always a great alternative and there are lots of buses that run into NYC.

I had this entire bedroom to myself for about $25/night. It was wonderful aside from a bit of noise from the nearby airport.

Transportation: $152

I rented a car since I had meetings and equipment. It was also convenient since I was staying in Jersey. The only thing I had to note was my drop-off was different from my pick-up since I was flying into LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and flying out of John F Kennedy (JFK). I rented with Costco travel and didn’t have to pay any additional fees for a different drop-off.

For this particular trip, I didn’t go visit NYC since I had been there plenty of times. But my itinerary easily allowed for me to visit NYC and its awesome eats, sites, and things to do had I wanted to.

I’ll likely do a more “normal” NYC post elsewhere.

Until then, I hope you’ve found some ideas here on how to travel cheap and well to NYC.

You can find my complete list of travel hacks and ways to find cheap flights and travel deals without a travel agent here.

What are some of your tips for traveling to NYC?

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How I Traveled Cheap to Taipei, Taiwan for $466 on EVA Air and JAL [Cheap Flights]

How I Traveled Cheap to Taipei, Taiwan for $466 on EVA Air and JAL [Cheap Flights]

Over the Summer, I took a quick trick to Taipei, Taiwan and met with family, caught up with friends, and had a blast. In this post, I discuss how I was able to travel cheap to Taipei, Taiwan for $466 for flight, accommodation, and transportation.

I always start with the big 3 expenses in traveling. To travel for cheap, you’ll need to save on Flights, Accommodation, and Transportation. The better deal you’re able to find for all 3, the more money you’ll be able to save

This trip is going to get complex but bear with me on the itinerary and you’ll find some tips to save on travel.

I’m originally from Dallas, TX but had a race in New Jersey that weekend in May so I counted the flight to NYC (which I got for cheap) as a separate trip that was business expensed.

Flights: $454 (on EVA Air and Japan Airlines)

Admittedly, this flight was even more abnormal than usual. If you’re looking for general tips on how to find cheap flights, you can read my blog post here.

So I found a deal flying out of JFK that same weekend for $348. However, note that the destination was Hong Kong, not Taipei. This tactic is known as hidden-city ticketing where you get off at the stopover instead of the final destination.

United actually sued one of the sites started by a 22 year old that actively and publicly sold tickets that way – The 22 year old owner of Skip Lagged won the lawsuit.

Here’s my take on hidden-city ticketing. For one, know it’s definitely frowned upon by airlines and if they find out, they may revoke your ticket, frequent flier mileage, etc.

I actually almost had my only carry-on luggage checked in (going to Hong Kong) due to it being overweight. To prevent that, I had to wear half my clothes into security.

After one experience, I would not recommend doing this but I did save quite a bit of money!

On my return flight, I used JAL mileage I had accumulated over about 2-3 flights on Japan Airlines. JAL Mileage expires after a certain time as well… so it was good for me to use it. It’s always good to use mileage if International prices are high and/or if your mileage is set to expire. In this case, a return flight would have cost about $800 and I would have lost quite a bit of miles at the end of 2017.

Of course, you take everything (including your mileage inventory) into consideration before you book any trip. Had there been a Round Trip flight for cheap, I may have opted to take that and used the JAL miles later in the year. But in this case paying cash was not ideal, so I took the opportunity to use my mileage.

Accommodations: Free

My stay in NYC was quite cheap, I talk about it a bit more in my NYC post here. But basically I paid $25 per night for an Airbnb in New Jersey. It was very clean and a very local experience. Since that was part of my work, I didn’t count it in the expense for my trip to Taipei.

In Taipei, I have family and a home there I stay for free. If you’re ever in Taipei, let me know and I can see if I can get you connected to cheap (and nice) housing!

Housing normally in Taipei is very cheap… We’re talking about $30 USD per night will get you a very night place.

Since my flight was at 12:00am, I stayed a “Night” at the JFK Priority Pass lounge. I didn’t take a lot of the photos but there were plenty of free food, showers, wifi, and this awesome PS4 Station. Yes, I played NBA2k17 shortly before my flight.

Transportation: $12

When I arrived in Taipei, transportation was a breeze. I had a lot of options getting home. I took the new airport shuttle which was about $10 USD and then a $2 USD MRT/Bus ride to my home.

Some may say I “cheated” with free accommodations, odd flight itineraries, and mileage but travel is always very holistic where you take your understanding of all the various rules, possibilities, mileage inventory and circumstances and make it into something ideal for your specific situation.

If you have family to stay with, do it! It’ll save you money! This was probably one of the more complex trips – but I saved a lot of money in the end. And it was a very pleasant trip!

You can find my complete list of travel hacks and ways to find cheap flights and travel deals without a travel agent here.

What are some of your tips for traveling to Asia?

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How I traveled to Yellowstone National Park for 6 Nights with a Family of 4 for $215 per person [Cheap Travel]

How I traveled to Yellowstone National Park for 6 Nights with a Family of 4 for $215 per person [Travel Cheap]

Over the weekend, the four of us went on a 6-day trip to the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.

We saw wildlife in its natural habitat, eagles that flew right next to us, herds of bison roaming the grasslands, deer grazing.


We saw gorgeous views from the “Grand Canyon” of Yellow National Park, Old Faithful, Grand Teton Park, and other beautiful sites.

Yellowstone is usually a relatively expensive place to visit, particularly if you’re flying into Jackson Hole or even Salt Lake City. At the time of our travel dates, prices from DFW to Jackson Airport were up to about $800 RT per person. From DFW to Salt Lake City was about $400 RT a person.

But the bigger expenses when visiting Yellowstone is accommodations. Unless you’re camping or using an RV, accommodations close to Yellowstone can go up to around $400 a night at several of the places nearby.

The trip could have easily cost well over $4,000 for four people.

Instead, our total cost for 4 people to Yellowstone for 6 days: Flights, Accommodations, Transportation was about $600 ($150/per person).

Here is the breakdown of our trip:

Flights: $45 ($11/person)

We flew from DFW > DEN on Southwest Airlines using points.

Normally, Southwest isn’t the cheapest but it’s always definitely worth looking into for a couple reasons… 1) Southwest has awesome service and they don’t have any hidden fees 2) you can cancel any flights up to right before departure and get credit to use later 3) parking at Dallas Love Field’s Love Connection ($6) is cheaper than parking at DFW Airport and most of the time, cheaper than calling an Uber.

Flexibility and some research found us 2100 points each way per person on Southwest.

So our total was 16,000 points + $45 in fees for roundtrip flights for 4 people.

Accommodations: $470 (6 nights)

(Hotel in Lander, a little over 3 hours away from Yellowstone)

Beautiful Sunset & Sunrise view from our $90/night hotel

These days, for accommodations, I only stay at hotels that have at least a 7+ guest rating if traveling for myself and a 8+ guest rating if traveling with others.

Cleanliness really makes an enormous difference on how pleasant the stay. Though when I first started traveling, to save money I’d often settle with 6+ guest ratings to pay around $50 for a hotel. From my experience, the extra $30-40 to get a nicer hotel is worth every dollar. If I could have done things any different, I would’ve rather stayed at an airport instead of paying for a cheap hotel. That being said,

We stayed 2 nights in Denver (at a pleasant 3 star hotel) for about $170

We stayed 2 nights in Lander (at a beautiful new Casino hotel) for $180

We stayed 1 night in Dubois (at a nice 2 star hotel) for $120

We stayed 1 night at Denver International Airport for free

Very Comfortable, New, and Clean!

There was even a gym and pool! Which we always end up having a “private” gym to ourselves due to sheer numbers.

Night at Denver Airport (No Priority Pass Lounge available at DEN, unfortunately)

I could’ve used points but since the hotels were relatively inexpensive, it was more valuable to just pay cash and save the points for something more expensive.

Our total hotels cost for 6 nights (technically 5 paid nights and one at the airport) was $470.

Transportation: $244

We found a deal on Costco Travel for a luxury car for $244 for a week rental (with a $20 Costco cash back voucher). We had the option of upgrading the car to a SUV for free which we took instead of the luxury car.

Actual bill was lower than Costco’s estimate – we paid $244

Gas was close to $100 for the entire trip.

So there you have it… Our total cost to see the beautiful Yellowstone National Park was $859 or about $215 per person.

Keep in mind, we weren’t pinching pennies for the trip; we thoroughly enjoyed awesome flights, extremely nice hotels, a nice car rental, and had an awesome time.

In case you’re curious about everything else we spent, I’ve included the breakdown. However, I don’t usually list personal and food spending as I know everyone’s preferences is vastly different.


Everything Else:


We ate out for 5 meals during the week – total spent was about $225.

We ate a simple breakfast and grocery store bought hot food for the rest of the meals. Total cost was about $150.


– National Parks were free the day we went

– Chatfield Botanic Gardens – $5

You can find my complete list of travel hacks and ways to find cheap flights and travel deals without a travel agent here.

What are some ways you’ve traveled to Yellowstone National Park for less?

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How To Travel Round the World For Cheap [Travel Cheap]

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap [Travel Cheap]

(first half of my RTW Trip on Star Alliance)

At the beginning of 2017, I traveled round the world. I visited 12 countries on my bucket-list. I met countless amazing people, experienced Business Class seats on 12 flights, enjoyed over twenty lounges at various airports, got to see cultures I have never seen, taste food that I have never tried, and best of all – I got to experience something I’ll never forget. 

A lot of people who travel round the world do it for an extended time and often leave behind or drastically change their careers, lifestyle, and home. Hats off to those who can take such a big leap of adventure! But if you’re like me, such a big change was just not realistic.

So I decided to take my own leap of adventure…and travel around the world without changing my life, using much of my savings, or quitting my job. I used a number of the 101 Travel Hacks I posted here

And I had an unforgettable experience.

Here is how I did it:

Flights: Round the World on Business Class Seats

For flights, I used points. 240,000 points transferred to Singapore Air for the round the world trip on Business class.

How did I accumulate 240,000 points? I really didn’t change any of my lifestyle or spending. And I accumulated those points in about 1 year.

I signed up for three credit cards that gave me generous bonuses –

Chase Business Preferred Card – 80,000 bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – 100,000 bonus

AMEX Gold – 50,000 points

(each card also gave me not only points but 2X or 3X points on certain categories such as gas, travel, restaurants).

I had to plan my spending a bit more carefully (directing all my bills onto one card when I was trying to get the bonus) but just spending a little over $1000 on my card each month was more than enough to cover the minimum amount I needed to spend every 3 months to get the bonuses.

I chose Singapore Air because they had one of the best redemption rates for business class and their customer service was excellent.


(photo of my $35/night hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

To travel round the world relatively inexpensively, I had to save on accommodations. I mostly just paid for hotels in Asia where it was around $30 USD/night for a nice 4 star hotel.

In Europe, I stayed in hostels for about the same price. And in certain countries, I found friends & family to stay with as well.

I used and to find the best deals for excellent rating accommodations and made sure to read reviews of every place I stayed at.

On a few occasions, I didn’t mind just staying in the lounge and airport at night. I showered, ate, and slept at the airport in Singapore, London, and Israel.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the most comfortable staying at an airport but it was actually kind of fun! You don’t end up sleeping much but it feels like an overnight lock-in adventure.

If I could have done it any differently, I would have spent more time accumulating hotel points (on SPG, Hilton, Marriott, etc.) and it definitely would have been a lot cheaper for accommodations splitting with 1-2 other people.

Everything Else:

(the complimentary breakfast at my $30/night hotel in Hanoi)

All my other expenses consisted of food, basic necessities, some local transportation, and entertainment (which included admissions to museums, experiences, etc.).

Since much of my travels were in Asia, all of those expenses were very low (meals averaged around $3, transportation was a few dollars, and experiences were very cheap also).

When I got to Europe, everything became a lot more expensive but I still managed to eat mostly from simple groceries I bought. I also rarely took transportation (only trains for long distance travel) and chose to walk as much as I could.

Quite honestly though, I didn’t sweat the details and wasn’t particularly trying to travel cheap or stretch every dollar since it felt more like a vacation. At the end of the trip, I spent less than $3,000 + 240,000 points for the entire one month trip around the world.

This included the airline fees & taxes you’ll need to pay for your round the world ticket.

Here are some (brief) highlights from the trip…

I got to visit over 20 business lounges across the world and 12 business class flights.

(The new Royal Laurel Business class on Eva Airlines)

(Eva lounge at LAX airport)

My first stop, Taipei. I got to spend almost a week along the beautiful shores of Northern Taipei in Taiwan.

Then I visited Hanoi, Vietnam – home of the UNESCO world heritage site – Halong Bay and went to the caverns.

I stopped by Bangkok, Thailand for coconuts and some incredible food.

After that, I toured the beautiful and culturally rich Singapore.

Then I visited Batu Caves and tasted extremely flavorful cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

From Asia, I traveled West and visited the finest lounge I’ve ever seen in Istanbul, Turkey.

I experienced the incredibly rich history and beautiful architecture in Rome.

After, I met awesome entrepreneurs who brought me into the largest home & decor show in the world in Frankfurt, Germany.

I toured the beautiful and historically-rich Tel Aviv, Israel.

Then I went around London on a double decker bus and had the best scones.

I saw the beautiful island shores of Guernsey while visiting family…

My last stop, I explored Toronto, Canada and visited a few more lounges.

Before finally taking my last flight back home to Dallas.

(2nd Half of my RTW Trip on Star Alliance)

I traveled to my heart’s content and saw the world.

There were many stories I didn’t include in here and so many incredible people I met I did not mention.

Indeed, traveling opens your horizons to a whole new world outside of your own. And the world really is far more different than I could have ever imagined.

The best part was getting to experience all of this without having to drastically change my lifestyle at home and only using just a bit of my savings to travel round the world. 

Why is traveling round the world part-time (and short-term) better in my opinion? Because after having traveled for about 6 years for work, the one thing I’ve realized about travel is –

As far as you can go, as much as you get to experience, as different as you see how the world is- one thing that still remains constant across every culture and place is having somewhere you can call home.  

For some home can be wherever life takes them, but for me, home is here in Dallas, TX.

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My Trip Round the World on Business Class [101 Travel Tips]

My Trip Round the World on Business Class [Travel Blog]

At the beginning of 2017, I traveled around the world. I visited 12 countries on my bucket-list, met countless amazing people, and experienced Business Class seats on every flight. I enjoyed over twenty lounges at various airports, got to see cultures I have never seen, and food that I have never trie. Best of all, I got to experience something I’ll never forget.

I did it without drastically changing my life, using much of my savings, or quitting my job.
Here is my unforgettable journey.

First Half of My Trip (Asia Segment): Taipei, Taiwan – Hanoi Vietnam – Bangkok, Thailand – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Brief Background:
I really did not plan or expect to go on this trip but it had always been something I wanted to do – to travel and see the world.
I have my own small business but around that time, there was some downtime so I decided I would finally take that trip I had always wanted to go on.
I booked my round the world ticket via Singapore Airlines Kris Miles, under the Star Alliance Round the World program. I decided Business class seats weren’t much more than economy (240,000 vs 180,000 points).
I used AMEX points for redemption but I know there are plenty of ways to transfer other Credit Card points. And really, you don’t need a business or spend a lot of money to accumulate a lot of points. In fact, I wrote a blog entry on how to collect 500,000 miles in about a year.

Most people spend months if not years planning for a trip like this. I spent about 3 days planning and left for my trip 1 ½ weeks after I thought of the idea (though I would not advise doing this as you really have to be flexible and may not get to go to a lot of the places you wanted to go if you plan last-minute).

So without further adieu, here is my journey round the world on Star Alliance:

I traveled 30 days with just a backpack and small carry-on. This would prove to be vital later in saving a lot of costs/headache, but more importantly it allowed me to enjoy full days at the lounge.

My first destination was to LAX for my transfer to Asia. Immediately, I felt the difference of flying business class vs economy (I had never flown business class before). You don’t wait in normal lines, there’s a priority line to check you in. You don’t wait at uncomfortable chairs, you wait at lounges with food, shower, and work space. You don’t worry about luggage space, you’re the first to board. It’s just a totally different and pleasant experience to travel.

The best part of business class seats? The business class meal, even if first is just yogurt and granola. I arrived in LAX in the morning but my flight to Asia was not until 10:30pm. With almost a full day at the airport, I had plenty of work to catch up on. So I decided to go to the airline lounge.

Note** this wouldn’t have been possible if I had any checked luggage since airline gates normally open earliest 4 hours before departure. But since I only had a carry-on, I was able to check-in early.
At the lounge, I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the buffet. The food varied only a bit from each meal service but nonetheless it was superb food so I didn’t mind at all.

After each meal, I would go back to work, take a nap, or enjoy a bit of alcohol and dessert. I’d also take breaks in between and walk around the terminal to see some of the shops and just get some exercise in.

My full day stuck at the airport turned out to be not bad at all as I ended up getting a lot of work done. I felt relaxed and refreshed as well since I had amazing food and an incredible office to work in. I also had a chance to plan out more of my trip (where I would stay, what to do, etc).

Above is a map of the first half of my trip around Asia – I planned to visit Taipei, Hanoi, Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.

Finally, at 10:00pm, I was called to board my flight to Taipei. I got to be one of the first passengers to try the new Laurel Business Class on Eva Airlines.

The flight to Taipei was 14 hours but it didn’t feel like an overhaul flight at all (I had flown overseas many times before) Rather than feeling like groggy and drained after a flight, the difference between business class and economy class is you walk out of the flight feeling refreshed and ready to go. The ability to fully recline and lie down to sleep in a flight makes an enormous difference. On top of that, all the amenities (better food, personal care kit, large seat and workplace) helps make the experience a very pleasant one.

I spent a week in Taipei catching up with friends and family. It was wonderful. After Taipei, my next destination was Hanoi.

Hanoi was interesting and definitely a culture shock for me. As soon as I went into the City, I was overwhelmed by the traffic with seemingly no laws to govern any vehicle or pedestrian from transporting in any orderly fashion. People just sort of drove or walked around as they wished. It was quite incredible seeing how vehicles maneuvered around such chaos dodging other ongoing traffic and people by inches. It was like everything just worked out in harmony despite the chaos.

Hanoi was beautiful. I went to see Ha Long Bay, which was a full day tour from Hanoi. The tour included a private ferry ride around the UNESCO site with local seafood lunch, a side tour into some of the caves, and transportation back to your hotel.

I stayed at a 4 star hotel that only costed about $25 per night and included an incredible breakfast of local fruit, snacks, and hot made-to-order food.

Throughout the day, I was able to work for a few hours, go out to explore a few hours, work a few hours, and repeat the routine.

All in all, Hanoi was just a very different place with a different culture and an environment that was new to me. I was glad to be able to see Vietnam, enjoy great amenities, eat good local food, and not break bank staying there.
After Hanoi, I did a quick stopover in Bangkok (if you’ve never been Thailand, Thailand is a must place to visit but since I had been to Thailand, I decided to stopover at the airport and go directly to Kuala Lumpar). Before my flight, I stopped by the lounge in Hanoi. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I would be the only passenger in the lounge for an hour or so. In Asia, most people don’t care to pay extra for business class. Understandably so – I normally wouldn’t pay for business class either.

The airport in Bangkok is ginormous and also a fun place to visit if you have lounge access. I visited 4 lounges just in the half day I was at the airport- the Thai orchid lounge, Singapore Kris lounge, Eva lounge, and one of the general premium lounges they had. If you book your Round the World Trip with Star Alliance, you have access to all of Star Alliance partners lounge. I got to enjoy 4 different types of cuisine, relax, shop, and work. The stopover was well worth the visit!

After Bangkok, I did a full day stopover in Singapore. I had been to Singapore before so I really just wanted to take the free tour I had heard Chiayi airport offered to passengers with a layover of at least a couple hours. Singapore is rich full of interesting government structures and regulations that make the country a very efficient and harmonious place to live. On top of that, the food is amazing.

The lounges in Changi Airport was off the hook! I guess Changi Airport IS known for one of the best airports in the world… And indeed there were so much to see, so much awesome food, and was one of the liveliest airports I have ever been to. So comfortable I slept in the lounge for 5 hours.

After my stopover in Singapore, I moved onto my next destination. Kuala Lumpar. KL was also a very different culture – completely different from its tiny neighbor, Singapore. The food, however, was arguably as good as Singapore’s – very diverse and rich in taste. I stayed in a 4 star hotel (under renovation) for about $30 USD which was a steal! Again, throughout the day I visited sites like the Batu Caves and at night I would mostly stay in my room and do some work. I was really getting the hang of this life on the road!

KL would be my last destination in Asia and the next stop on my itinerary was a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey. I really had no reason to travel to Istanbul other than it was just the only available connecting flight to where I wanted to go – Rome.

However, at Istanbul I was again treated to a jaw-dropping Turkish Airlines flagship lounge that was almost like a high-end mall with fresh made food, showers, large screen movie theaters, a train station game, virtual reality games, and more! What an awesome stopover experience!

I had spent about 2 ½ weeks traveling around Asia. The latter part of my trip would go through Europe, Canada, and a few other countries I wanted to visit (but could not fit in my itinerary due to their segment requirements). The places I visited that aren’t pictured were: Tel Aviv, Israel – Kiev, Ukraine – Guernsey, U.K.

My first destination in Europe was Rome. Rome was full of beautiful architecture, rich in history, and so much to soak in, particularly if you are a historical biblical enthusiast. I only had 2 days here so I wanted to maximize my short stay and see all the main attractions. It was truly amazing just to be there.

Two things that did happen to me while I was in Rome though was getting scammed by a cab driver and then taking the wrong bus 15 miles out of the main city. Lesson learned: Don’t book a hotel outside of the main City area even if it’s cheap. That mistake was the costliest mistake of the entire trip.

After Rome, I took my next flight to Frankfurt. Originally I had actually planned to take trains to nearby countries to explore Europe via Frankfurt but things didn’t go as planned. Simply because I had found a cheap ticket to Israel from Frankfurt.

Israel was a destination on the very top of my list of places I wanted to go to.

So I got to Frankfurt, slept one night at a hostel, and went straight back to the airport the next morning to take my flight to Tel Aviv. But before that, I had a quick stopover in Kiev, Ukraine.

Tel Aviv was by far one of the most interesting places I got to visit. To my surprise though, I was almost immediately stopped by Israeli secret service who grew suspicious of a single traveler staying overnight at their airport (some places I didn’t book a hotel for some nights).

After trying to stay calm with holstered guns all around me, I answered their questions as honestly as I could.
Aside from the security ordeal (which later I connected why Israel is incredibly safe considering having hostile enemies all around), Israel was actually one of my favorite destinations. Similar to Rome, the history and culture was so rich and awesome to experience. I chose to do a Biblical history tour to see sites such as the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ burial place, Old Jerusalem, where Jesus walked to Golgotha, the place of the last Passover, David’s tomb and so much more.


It was worth the security ordeal without question. But alas before I flew out, I would get interrogated again – this for over two hours at the security gate.

Israel wasn’t part of my around the world ticket only because it just didn’t workout to meet the requirements of the ticket rules and there was no good available flights at the time of my booking. However, I’m glad I took the side trip to visit and was actually able to use my travel credit (courtesy of my Chase Sapphire Reserve card) to pay entirely for the flight.

After Israel, I headed back to Frankfurt.

Quite frankly, Frankfurt really was my least favorite destination. Everything was expensive. My cheap hostel was about $40 a night but was not pleasant to stay at in the shared bunks with shared bathroom. The only upside I found in staying in hostels is the people you meet.

I was able to meet another business owner from Bali, Indonesia who sold specialty furniture. Not only did we have great conversations, but he was also able to bring me into the largest furniture trade show happening in Germany at the time.

Germany was planned as a travel center to other countries in Europe but in the end although I did not go to any other countries nearby, I did get to visit Israel from Germany.

Had I more time, I definitely would have visited more places around Europe.

After Germany, I took a flight to London. From London, I flew to a tiny island called Guernsey to visit my brother there. My round the world ticket did not cover my flight to Guernsey but the separate flight was not expensive.

After a short visit to Guernsey, I headed back to London. I didn’t stay in London for long. I also didn’t book a hotel so I stayed overnight at the airport. It’s interesting staying overnight with virtually nobody there but the cleaning crew.

The nice thing though was the lounge opened at 6:00am… which means a fresh shower, full buffets, and beautiful work spaces to start the day!

My final destination before I headed home was Toronto, Canada. Originally I had planned to visit Niagara Falls but after looking through some travel sites and blogs, I decided I was pretty exhausted already from travel and I didn’t want to take the 2 hour ride to get there. Instead, I visited Downtown, Chinatown, some local markets and around the City in Toronto.

And that concluded my 4 weeks of travel around the world. In such a short time, I got to visit all the countries I had always wanted to see, got to fly business class seats about a dozen times, visited over 20 lounges, and had an unforgettable experience. Best of all, I did it without any big “sacrifice” from my life.

Total I spent no more than $3,000 on everything including airline fees you pay for the round the world ticket, hotels, food, and everything else. Albeit I slept a number of nights in the airport at the lounge or sometimes at the regular seating area.

There’s a lot of tips I tried to document in my other blog posts (such as how to get cheap accommodations, what to bring, where to sleep in airport, and guides to help make your trip as awesome as it can be.

Of course, there were so many more stories I didn’t include in here and so many incredible people I met I did not mention. I really only covered an overview. But every story is different and I know your story around the world is going to look vastly different than mine.

Regardless of where you go though, it is said traveling opens your horizons to a whole new world outside of your own. And the world really is far more different than I could have ever imagined.

But one thing I realize will always remain constant across every culture and every place…and that is the concept of home.

The circumstances in each place, the environment, the lifestyle, and people are vastly different from place to place. But I think what I realized was all of it didn’t matter as much as simply wherever someone can call “home”. Home is where the heart longs for – home is the people you do life with, being with loved ones, and perhaps a deeper longing for a sense of belonging and love. So don’t leave for home for long.

I hope you too will get a chance to travel the world one day like I did. I know your experience will be different. I would love to hear about your travels. Email me at daniel @

If you enjoyed this post, you may also find the below articles useful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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5 Essential Travel Gear You Need [101 Travel Tips]

5 Essential Travel Gear You Need [101 Travel Tips]

A common question people ask is what travel gear they should bring for their trip. Quite honestly, there’s hundreds of items you can potentially bring. It just all boils down to what you want to do abroad. Do you want to take photos? Blog? Go on off the beaten path adventures?

I believe traveling should be done as efficiently as possible. That way, you there’s more flexibility and less risk of losing valuable items. And that can only happen if you understand what you really need.

The things you need that can be purchased for a reasonable cost (e.g. certain toiletries, snacks, etc) anywhere should be omitted from your packing list.

I believe everyone has their own preference and personal needs. But here are the top 5 travel gear, I believe are most important to have.

1. Cell Phone

Ensuring I have enough coverage and data to get me through all my travels.
My cell phone is the brains of my travel ventures. I store all my confirmations & information I need in it. It helps me navigate where I need to go (which is vital). I use it as a camera so I don’t have to bring a camera. I even keep a number of credit cards and cash with the cell phone cover I have.

It essence, if I lost my cell phone I would be in trouble. This has its pros and cons. The less vital items you have, the more you’ll protect it with your life and constantly use/check it. When traveling, any additional number of “vital” items (e.g. a wallet) is just another liability that you need to keep track of and when traveling, it is incredibly easy to lose track of a number of items you’re carrying.

Now if I actually lost my cell phone, I have a backup plan also (I keep a spare card and cash in my backpack along with my laptop I can use to get help). But my cell phone is by far the most used item whenever I travel as I have all my documents stored in it, it is my navigating tool, I use Google search to find out whatever I need, and I use it to record memories.

2. Laptop

The only other tool that is almost as vital as my cell phone is my laptop. For me, this is more of a personal preference and is important so I can stay productive and continue to get work done while I travel. It’s the only function a cell phone cannot do – getting work done efficiently.

3. Uniqlo Jacket (two inside pockets, 2 outside zipper pockets).

This is my “mobile carrier” that keeps all my vital tools safe while also keeping me comfortable as well. When traveling, one of the most important things is to wear something that is not only comfortable in all types of weather, but have an apparel that will keep all your vital tools close to you and safe. It took me a long time to find something that met all the criteria. The best thing about the Uniqlo light jacket is it serves exactly what is said above and it’s less than $40.

I’ve used the Uniqlo jacket in very cold conditions (though it won’t be warm enough for freezing conditions), in hot climates, in rainy weather, and it’s comfortable both indoor and outdoor.

It has two outer zipper pockets that are important to prevent vital tools (my cell phone, keys) from falling out. The jacket has two inner pockets to keep other items I may need within quick reach (boarding pass, any documents I do need).

It is really the perfect jacket at least from my personal experience. I love it so much that I own 3 of them!

4. A Great Backpack

I personally use a high sierra elite backpack with an easy laptop pocket, 3 additional larger pockets, and several small pockets. Again, function and ability to protect your items is really important.

The other thing to consider in investing in a good backpack is how large of a backpack you want to get. And it all depends on your need (someone traveling on remote trips needing lots of camping items vs someone traveling for work who needs more tech gadgets will look very different).

There’s a ton of great backpacks out there. Just make sure to find one that will suit your needs.

Quite honestly, that’s all the tools I really heavily depend on when I travel. Everything else can really be replaced relatively easily (clothing, food, other gadgets, documents, etc). This of course is aside from things like passport or IDs.

5. Roaming Data / International Coverage

As mentioned above, my cell phone is my lifeline. I use it to get around, to store all my important information, take photos/videos, and communicate with people I need to contact. This really just saves a ton of clutter and makes things a lot more efficient and organized so you won’t have to worry about another piece of document while traveling.

That being said, if you’re depending on your phone for information, you don’t want to get nailed with roaming charges that can rack up extremely quickly.

The easy fix to this is just using T-mobile’s coverage which gives free roaming data (with however much data you pay for in the U.S.) in over 900 countries. It also includes free texting and a very reasonable rate for international calls if you need it. Yes, sometimes you’re going to need to call internationally (particularly if you get lost).

With these 5 essential tools, I really believe you’ll not only be able to survive any condition or challenge you may run into when you travel but you’ll really get to worry less and soak in more of what each destination has to offer.


What are some travel gear you would recommend for traveling?

If you enjoyed this post, you may find some of these other articles helpful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points [101 Travel Tips]

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points [101 Travel Tips]

Travel & Credit Card points is a very complex thing that has taken me years to somewhat understand how it all works. Every airline, hotel, and credit card have different policies and ways you can use those points.

This is a 2-part series where I talk about travel and credit card points and how it can help you travel for cheap.

In this post, I discuss in-depth how to earn a lot of credit card points.

I’d like to first point out first that Airline Miles and Credit Card Miles are very different. 

Airline Miles

Airline miles are accumulated normally through the actual miles you’re in the air. They are hard to collect unless you fly a lot. Here’s an example just give you an idea of how many miles you need to redeem a free flight. I recently flew Japan airlines 3 round trips before I had enough miles with JAL to fly one way from Asia to America. And note that I had to fly the same airline to accumulate those miles.

Most of the time even if you fly a few times a year, you will likely find better deals on other airlines.

Credit Card Miles

Credit card miles is what is being discussed in this article since it’s a lot more reasonable to attain. With bonuses, you can secure an award ticket normally a lot quicker than you think.

First, I think it’s important to note that collecting miles should never be your primary focus.

In other words, you should never consider buying a new gadget so you can collect more miles for your trip. Your cash is still worth so much more than whatever your miles can ever redeem for. And you don’t want to make the grave mistake of overspending to collect points. Frugal living and saving will still save you more than any mileage redemption can offer.

Having said that, here is how you collect a ton of miles very quickly with what I call, intentional spending.

Intentional spending just takes some research and understanding of how credit card bonuses work. If you combine it with an understanding of your own regular spending habits, you’ll be on your way to some amazing rewards. Let me break it down further for you.

How credit cards points (specifically bonuses work):

In less than 3 years, I spent over half a million dollars in paid credit card expenses on my companies. However, those miles I earned from spending still could not compare to the credit card points I earned from bonuses.

Here are two more recent examples,

1) With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it was offering a whopping 100,000 Chase miles. The spending requirement was $4,000 or more in the first 3 months.

I would have had to spend close to $100,000 to have gained the amount of miles the bonus was offering. Instead, I spent a little over $4500 (with the $450 credit card fee).

That deal was an incredible deal that unfortunately you cannot get anymore. However, a similar deal will still get you 50,000 miles. Though it’s a only fraction of the deal I got, it still is an incredible offer.

2) If you own a business, you can get the Chase Business Preferred card offering 80,000 miles with a minimum spend of $5,000 or more in the first 3 months.

Admittedly, getting these bonuses couldn’t happen “naturally” in my regular spending. But in just being intentional in my regular spending, it was manageable. Sure, I had to make a few adjustments. But it was well worth the sacrifice. 

So where do you start?

Here is one way I would approach it:

Note that Credit Cards do have a limit on how many you can open within two years, depending on your Credit Score.

In general, Chase miles and AMEX miles have the most flexibility in terms of what you can spend points on. You can transfer to airlines if you want to save on flights. You can transfer to hotels if you want to use the points to book hotel nights. Or you can also use points for car rentals.

Generally, product or gift items have the worst transfer value so you want to avoid using points to pay for product. But if you needed the cash, of course you can also use those points to get cash back. 

That being said, I would start with the Chase Card. The Chase Sapphire and Reserve card will get you over 100,000 points alone. These points can be transferred to several airline partners including Southwest, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, United, and more. It would be pretty easy to get the bonuses if you plan your spending in 6 months or less.

If you have a business, you can also qualify for the Chase Business Preferred Card. The card will get you 80,000 points alone.

AMEX points are also very valuable and can be transferred to a number of airline partners.

If you were to get all three Chase Cards and both AMEX Cards, the bonus points alone would be over 300,000 points.

After the Chase & AMEX cards, there are literally dozens of other cards you can get with awesome bonus mileage. 

Some cards are more limited in what the bonus miles can be used for. But you’ll begin to learn what perks you get with each bonus and how to maximize the value you get from it.

I don’t consider myself a high spender but in less than a year, I’ve obtained the following bonuses:

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card – 80,000
Chase Reserve Card – 100,000
United Explorer Card – 70,000
AMEX Starwood Card – 40,000
AAdvantage Mastercard – 60,000

With the miles I get from spending and bonus categories, I’ll easily hit 250,000 miles this year. If you want to know what you can do with 250,000 miles, you can visit the article I wrote on 5 awesome ways to use 250,000 miles here.

For a list of Credit Cards and its bonus offerings, you can visit –

Don’t forget on top of the initial bonuses, there’s so much more opportunity to earn points just through regular spending.

What are some ways you have collected a lot of credit card points? Share with us below!

The next part of the series discusses ways you can use a lot of the credit points you earn!

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5 Best Things to do at an Airline Lounge [101 Travel Tips]

 5 Best Things to do at an Airline Lounge [101 Travel Tips]

Going to a business airline lounge at an airport is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of travel.

Here are some of the best things I’ve found you can do at most lounges around the world.

How do you get access to a lounge? Here are the most common methods: – If you fly business class, your business class ticket will automatically give you access to a lounge.

– If you have a priority pass membership (that can be purchased at or comes with certain credit cards (The AMEX Platinum card or the VISA sapphire reserve card), you’ll have access to over 1,000 lounges around the world.

– If you have airline status from flying a lot, you’ll have access to their alliance lounge (e.g. For American Airlines status, you get access to One World Alliance lounges, For United Status, you get access to Star Alliance lounges, etc).

– If you don’t have any of the above, you can also purchase lounge passes usually at most lounges anywhere from $30-50.

Without further adieu, here are the best things I’ve found to do at a lounge:


1. Take a shower

One of the underrated pleasures I realize I had always taken for granted was a hot shower. When you travel, the simplest daily needs all of a sudden become a luxury because you no longer have what you normally use everyday at home. On one hand, it makes you realize how privileged we are to sleep in a comfortable bed and to be able to shower everyday. But especially when you’ve been on an airplane all day or have been away from home for some time, a hot shower is the first thing I take advantage of if available at the lounge.

2. Try the food

Most airline lounges will always have a buffet style of food or light refreshments. Not all lounges are equal. Generally from my experience, the ones in Asia do better on food because people in Asia are big on food.

Moreover, the airline lounge will try and provide local cuisine or tastes to try so it’s a good opportunity to sample some of the local tastes. And while some people may be worried about eating too much before a flight, if you’re flying Business class, the restrooms are actually quite pleasant to use. So I say, “Don’t fret too much about it!”

3. Bring some refreshments for the “road”

It is perfectly fine to take some refreshments with you before you get on your flight. That way you won’t be paying $5 for a bag of chips at the airport or on the plane. Be sure to bring some drinks too if you tend to get thirsty. While airplanes will provide drinks and refreshments onboard, sometimes it just isn’t quite what you’re craving. Lounges are a good place to stock up on snacks that might make your flight a little more pleasant.

4. Take a Nap

Airline lounges are really an oasis from the hustle and bustle of traveling. This is because you won’t have to be concerned over lost luggage or missed flights. Most of the time, lounges will have a pretty safe place to store your luggage. Although it is usually still a good idea to take precautions with a lock. You can also request to have your boarding call reminded or have an agent call for you.

This is especially helpful if you are using a designated nap room if they have one. Rooms, even for a few hours, are usually very expensive at airports or nearby. So this is definitely a very valuable benefit to use from an airline lounge.

5. Do some work

You can be sure airline lounges are catered to the business traveler who needs to work on the road. You’re sure to find free wifi, plenty of outlets, comfortable work spaces, and often printers and general workstations to help you keep up with your work. Airline lounges make great office spaces so don’t fall behind on work just because you’re traveling!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also find the below articles useful:

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points

How To Travel Round the World For Cheap

101 Travel Hacks & Ways to Save Money and Travel Well, for Less

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Why Fly Business Class Seats: The Experience vs Losing a Day

Why Fly Business Class Seats: The Experience vs Losing a Day

I never understood why anyone would opt to pay $3,000-$4,000 more for a business class seat. Having flown many economy flights and business class tickets, here is what I’ve found through my experiences on flying both economy and business.

Flying Economy

Flying economy almost always is something to dread – and with good reason. You’re stuck in a cramped seat for hours and over half a day on overhaul flights.

That’s after spending hours to get to the airport and get through security. Then you go through all the other pains of possible travel delays, baggage issues, and overpriced airport food. Once you’re on the plane, you’re constantly checking the flight time to see if any significant time has passed.

You’re stuck trying to getting some shut-eye while sitting in that cramped seat and just finding any way to pass time by watching movies or reading.

When you finally get to your destination, you’re already exhausted from all the travels. But now you have to settle in and deal with finding your stay or overcoming jet lag.

Yes, unfortunately, that’s the typical flying experience.

Flying Business

That’s until I tried flying business class for the first time. In short, instead of an experience you dread in traveling, it is truly an experience you can look forward to.

The moment you step into the airport, everything is designed to make your life as easy as possible. Not only that, you get to experience feeling very special.

When you check in, there’s a special expedited line for you to check in your luggage (with greater luggage allowances). When you’re ready to go through security, there’s a separate line for you to pass all the “regular” line and travelers.

After you get through security, there’s an airline lounge available for you with showers, food, comfortable chairs, and great workspace for you to relax and do what you need to do.

When ready to board, you’re called in first to a special line. Upon boarding, you’re immediately served drinks and a menu of unique special food that will be provided on flight.



On overhaul flights, you’re presented with an amenity kit with useful items to make your experience better. Amenity kits usually include eye masks, ear plugs, special lotions, tooth brush, comb. You look forward to dinner as you would if you went to a nice restaurant.

Your seat is huge with plenty of space. And the best part of traveling business class? When you feel tired, you can recline your seat all the way, lie down, and fall sound asleep in the comfort of your seat. Domestic flights don’t have that reclining bed seats but international flights normally will.

Sleeping on flights really is where business class tickets offers the most value in my opinion. If you’re able to get some shut-eye it totally changes your travel day. When you get off the plane, you actually feel refreshed and ready to go. It saves you from having to recover from overhaul flights. If you’re flying for important meetings the very next day, this is invaluable.

Bottom line: If you’re able to afford to pay for a business class ticket, it’ll change your perspective on flying. It will be an experience you’ll look forward to. Better yet, if you can use points & miles to travel on Business Class, you should do it.

If you’re fine with going through the pains and recovery days to travel economy to save, just go with an economy ticket. Economy is usually over 50% of what you would pay for a business class ticket.

If you want to learn how you can fly business class seats without having to pay for it, I wrote some articles below that may be helpful.

How to Travel Around the World for Cheap

How to Maximize Travel and Earn Credit Card Points


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