Posted on Apr 9, 2013 | 8 comments
North American Road Trip: Day #86
Nothing like running into a blizzard when driving at 9,000 feet! What a day!
We hiked Bryce Canyon and then met with blinding snow and winds as we made our way to Cedar City, Utah. We're finding unexpected adventures around every corner, and - as long as the car holds up - we'll just keep on embracing them. You just don't know where the road can lead you until you jump on it and GO!
At the start of this journey we started budgeting our travel expenses. Being rookies in the world of travel, we felt it was important for us to keep track of as much as we could so we could (hopefully) learn from our mistakes and get better at this game.
After nearly 11,000 miles and 200 meals on the road, here's what we've learned so far:
Posted on Dec 19, 2012 | 28 comments
And now, the conversation goes like this . . .
People: So what do you do for work?
Me: Well . . . I don't have job right now.
People: Oh! I'm sorry.
Me: No, don't be sorry. I left my job a few months back.
People: Why did you leave?
Me: Well . . . My wife and I are taking our family to travel around the world.
People: Like . . . the WORLD world. Wow! Like, for a year or something?
Me: No, a lot longer than that. Hopefully for many years.
People: . . . how? You're brave. How does one . . . How do you do that?
Posted on Nov 8, 2012 | 24 comments
If there's one concern people have about exiting the rat-race and embracing a life of travel, it's probably money. Nearly everyone we come across wants to know how we plan on funding and sustaining our family travels. No one wants to end up broke in some foreign land, and everyone struggles at some point with the concept of security.
As time has gone on, we have learned a lot about location independence, minimalism, and travel. We have learned to live and travel cheap, while staying creative, productive, and motivated. But above all, we have learned to simply stop worrying about money.
You see, only in rare cases is money truly the thing that stops us from doing the things we love. We love to blame money. We love to rely on it as that thing that keeps us from going for our goals. But in the end, money has very little to do with our success.
Posted on Oct 27, 2012 | 14 comments
Years ago, I had the great fortune of stumbling upon a website that got me started on a serious path to travel savings. The Frugal Travel Guy - run by Rick Ingersoll and crew - taught me how to grab, save, and maximize travel reward points, and since finding this site, I haven't looked back. I started earning and collecting hotel, airline, and credit card rewards in 2010, and today, between my wife and I, we have just under 1 million miles and points. And, as you'll see below, these points and miles should save us over $22,000 on hotel stays and flights as we travel with our family around the world.
This article will show you how to start earning these free travel rewards, and how you can stretch them to your advantage. It's no secret that we are frugal travelers who love a good budget, and so we naturally lean towards making these rewards last on cheaper destinations instead of blowing them all over a weekend in Vegas. But hey, you never know!
Here I'm simply trying to show people how we are using these perks to help our travel dreams come true, and how possibly, you can do the same.
Enjoy, and Good Luck!
Posted on Sep 29, 2012 | 29 comments
This is a guest post by Family Trek blogger Clark Vandeventer. When Clark managed to get his blog sponsored by The North Face, I just had to know how he did it. Thanks, Clark!
I'm on a quest to work less, live more, and travel the world with my family.
And it's hard work. Really, really hard work.
Two years ago my wife and I began the process of reinventing our life. I had recently come off a congressional campaign (I lost) and we had a lot to figure out because I had bet everything on winning. I'd cashed out my retirement savings and put other career opportunities on hold in order to be a full-time candidate. Risky business for a 30 year old with two kids.
I want to live epicly. Sometimes things turn out, well, epicly. Sometimes I crash hard. This was one of those times that I crashed hard. Shortly after my run ended, we moved into my in-laws garage.
Posted on Aug 20, 2012 | 24 comments
People like to ask us how we plan to make money as we travel the world.
Well, the truth is, I'm not really sure. I know how I'd like to make money, so that's good. I also know the things I don't want to do to make money, and that's good as well. I guess we will just have to wait and see how things play out.
Most people don't like to wait and see how things play out. Honestly, I don't like it much either. I'd feel a whole lot better about taking a leap if I knew for certain I was going to land in a giant pile of money. But that's not going to happen.
No, the best we can do is trust our ideas, our guts, and our patience. The best we can do is take a well-calculated, educated leap and hope for the best.
I've got a little something for you. I'm a believer in the title of this little article. You get an idea you believe in, plan around it, give it something extra, and you'll find your way. We all have good ideas. Ideas that suit us. Ideas we care about. Ideas we want to push and plan and bring to life.
There's a benefit to sharing ideas. It gets us thinking, it inspires us, it boost our confidence. So . . . I'm asking you to share your ideas.
Marriott Rewards has given me 50,000 reward points (that's enough for 2 nights in Paris or 5 nights in Peoria) to give away as I please. They are running this "What's Your Travel Type" game that's packed with ridiculous prizes and adventures, and to help promote it they asked me if I would throw some rewards love your way. And since my wife, my kids, and I TRULY love Marriott's Residence Inns so much, we had to help out.
So here's how I'm going to give away the 50,000:
Posted on May 8, 2012 | 8 comments
A long time ago Heidi and I found ourselves in China staring into the eyes of a baby panda. We were right there, and this 40-pound fur ball was begging to play with us.
Only catch was, it cost $50 to hang out with the little guy.
You want to play, you got to pay.
Heidi and I looked at each other. $50 in China is a lot, and we didn't have a lot, but we had enough.
Heidi voted Yes. I voted No. And to this day Heidi tells the story of how she could have held a baby panda and I didn't let her. My bad.
This stuff happens. It's tough to make choices in the moment when you're on a tight budget, especially when traveling.
What do we spend our money on? Who makes the call?
I know if we're going to travel for a living, something's got to give. The family arguments will just pile up if we have to debate over every experience we encounter on the road. We can't just base all our decisions on our feelings in the moment. We need to have a plan. And thus I have created: The Fun Fund.
Posted on Feb 23, 2012 | 9 comments
Have you ever seen the Amazing Race?
How do people act on this show as they gallop around the world?
Are they calm? Are they enjoying their travel experiences?
No - they're not. They're frustrated, angry, and tired. They keep making mistakes and they just can't seem to figure out how to stop. The race often ruins the trip.
And not only does racing around the world bring out the worst in your personality, it manages to suck the money out of your money belt as well. The faster you travel, the more money you spend.
And nobody likes a grumpy dad with an empty money belt.
Posted on Feb 8, 2012 | 9 comments
Over the past few years I have kinda become addicted to playing the travel hacking, frequent flyer game. I've managed to save up over 600,000 miles and rewards points to use during our travels, and the funny thing is - I hardly ever fly.
In a few weeks I'm going to share with you how these free reward miles will save us thousands of dollars as we travel and allow us to visit a few places we would normally never be able to afford, but for now I just wanted to give you some ideas to get you going in the right direction.
I asked Justin from InACents.com to write a guest post and tell us just exactly how to get started collecting and benefiting from travel reward programs. Justin started visiting our site last year, and after getting to know each other a bit, I realize that the guy knows his stuff! He really breaks the process down perfectly here. As well, he's actually running a cool contest to find the best travel story of 2011 that all you travel bloggers should check out!
I'm sure you'll learn a lot from this post, and make sure you contact either of us with any questions.
Posted on Jan 12, 2012 | 37 comments
A few days ago I received this comment on a post I wrote long ago about saving $20,000 in a year.
What planet are you on? Most people can only afford to get by and were hoping for some decent ideas on how to stretch the extra $50 a week they have left over. Instead you come up with a whole bunch of ways to save cash by getting rid of luxuries most people don’t even have in the first place.
Please take my advice and don’t write another thread, you're obviously an idiot…..
Well, if you didn't know it before, then I guess you know it now - I'm an idiot. I give. It's official. I graciously accept my lowly lot in life.
But if an idiot like me can save enough money to travel the world, then why can't you?