How To Become a House-sitter
House-sitting is a great option if you’re looking to stay somewhere for a couple of weeks or more in one area. This can be really great for those wanting a local vibe as you’ll be staying in someone’s house in a local neighborhood or in the countryside. House-sitting takes a lot of preparation in the beginning as you’ll need to create a well-rounded profile and research all the listings. I find house-sitting much more fitting for those without permanent jobs or for retired couples, though it can be for anyone. Typically, it involves taking care of pets or plants, so you need to be ready to do your part in exchange for a free place. [Read more…] about How to House-sit Around the World
Hotels are definitely the most common type of accommodation when traveling the world but they’re also the most expensive option. I typically only use hotels when I’m in a major city for a couple of days or when I’m on a road trip and need to stop in a small town off the highway. However, hotels are common and plentiful, which make them an easy choice wherever you go.
Below are some websites that make booking hotels easy and cheap:
This is your basic hotel booking site with large amounts of inventory all over the world. What I like is that they also include some hostels, which gives many cheaper options. [Read more…] about The Best Way to Book Hotels Around the World
Although travel has been a passion of mine for many years now, luxury was never really part of the equation. Sure, I like a little bit of bling bling now and then but I’m the kind of guy who’d rather be sleeping in a tent in the mountains than living it up in a 5-star hotel (most of the time, anyway). So it was somewhat odd to recently find myself sitting first class on an Emirates flight from Dubai to Houston. Not just any Emirates flight either – the A380. The Cream of the crop. The golden goose of travel hacking.
After having breakfast in the Emirates first class lounge (included with the flight), my wife and I both boarded the luxurious aircraft for a 17-hour trans-Atlantic flight. It’s a long haul flying over the Middle East, Europe, the Atlantic ocean, and most of the US in one jaunt but it was made all the better by sitting in pure luxury.
Although the lounge was nothing short of spectacular, the fun really began when I was shown to my private suite. It was very flashy with wood and gold trimming surrounding the interior, which fits perfectly with the Emirates style. After settling into my extremely spacious suite, I began to look around at all the amenities and gadgets I had within reach; My own little electronically controlled min-bar that could be hidden when unwanted, a vanity mirror, high quality creams and lotions, a writing kit, and best of all; a 27 inch flat-screen TV. 27 inches! Incredible.
As I began to play around with all my findings, I found the button for the window blinds. Not only did I have three of my own windows for looking out over the clouds but they also had an electronic shade system rather than the normal pull-down plastic ones. I just had to click a button and they would – very beautifully I might add – open and close. It’s difficult to describe bit you can watch the video. I love small details like this. Then the flight attendant came by with my free travel kit, which included a handsome leather Bvlgari case, Bvlgari cologne and creams, underarm deodorant, slippers and a complete set of pajamas. It was a 17-hour flight I wish had been longer.
But that’s not all. There was also a massive bathroom with shower spa. I didn’t even know it was possible to shower at 40,000 feet but I was certainly happy to try it out. Showers are always refreshing but there’s something magical about having one 40,000 feet in the air and three hours before arriving in a new country. After watching a movie and enjoying some first class meals such as caviar, traditional Arabic mezze, and roast beef fillet, I put my pajamas on and went to the bar. Yes, an onboard bar. Since all drinks are free, I tried some Dom Pérignon, Hennessy, and a classic mojito while mingling with other people from all over the world. When in Rome, right?
But how did a backpacker-style adventure traveller like myself land himself in Emirates first class?
Easy. Travel hacking.
As many of you know by now (if you’re regular readers of Live Limitless that is), I’m a hardcore travel hacker. For years, I’ve put a priority on frequent flyer miles by learning how to earn large quantities of them quickly, and more importantly, how to redeem them for maximum value.
In this case above, I used Alaska miles. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a very special mileage program because although they don’t officially belong to a major alliance, they are partners with many airlines around the world such as Emirates. Normally, I would be using Aeroplan for a trip like this but since we were going to be in India (relatively close to Dubai), I looked into Emirates flights via Alaska airlines and found that for just 90,000 Alaska miles and $89 in taxes, I could fly first class from Kolkata to Dubai, enjoy a “free” 4-day stopover in the luxurious city, and then fly first class on the incredible A380 from Dubai to Houston before flying first class again on Alaska Airlines from Houston back to Canada.
Since I’m always collecting as much points as I can, I began building up my Alaska mile balance over the last couple of years by applying for Alaska-affiliated credit cards (a new card usually comes with 25,000 points just for signing up) and allotting my everyday spending to those cards. At the time of booking, however, I had only 80,000 points in my account so I took advantage of their 30% sale on purchasing miles and paid approximately $250 for the last 10,000 miles that I needed. The taxes were only $89.
Not bad for a $15,000 one-way flight.
Since going to a new country is what excites me most, I’m more than happy to fly in economy but since I earn hundreds of thousands of miles each and every year, I thought I’d see what the front of the plane looks like. I’ve now flown business class around the world for $750 (literally, around the world), business class throughout the South Pacific, and now, first-class from the Middle East.
What do I want to do next in terms of travel hacking? Well, I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Emirates VS Etihad, so perhaps I need to fly first-class on Etihad via their famous “apartments” class. Now that sounds epic.
All pictures above were taken by me. You can follow me on Instagram. www.Instagram.com/MatthewGBailey
If you’re Canadian, I also run the #1 travel hacking site in Canada; CanadianFreeFlyers.com.
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.
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.
If there’s one thing that really gets to me, it’s hearing people make excuses for everything in their life. They complain about this and that and how other people are simply lucky. Sometimes I give them possible solutions and they brush them of with yet another excuse. It’s exhausting.
I’ve fallen into this category more than a couple of times in my own life and I can certainly tell you that it gets you nowhere. If anything, it just makes things worse.
If you’re unhappy with your situation but keep doing the same thing, you’re going to be exactly where you are one year from now and ten years from now and twenty years from now. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
Don’t be insane!
You can’t complain that you don’t have enough money to travel the world or that you don’t have any time to learn new things or that you don’t have enough income and then turn around and watch the next episode of American Idol. You can’t sleep in late every day, stare at your Facebook feed for hours and sit on the couch if you expect to make changes in your life.
It doesn’t work like that.
We all have enough time to learn something new and try new things. If your time isn’t prioritized however, it will go to waste.
I have friends who make more than $100K per year but have no savings…
I know some people who say year after year that they want to travel or pay off debt but literally don’t make one step in either direction…
Some complain about not being able to find a job yet they’ve only applied for five or six…
Others want to start a side project or learn a new skill or start a business but spend all their free time partying or watching movies…
Every one of them has an excuse.
I don’t have the time. No one will hire me. I can’t do that. I don’t have enough money, etc, etc, etc.
It actually irritates me to see people throw away possibilities in life. I find it quite sad because it’s all bullshit.
Everything is a choice.
If you don’t have enough money, chances are that you’re not spending it right. You need to re-prioritize where the money is going and make a change. Your accommodation, eating habits, drinking habits and shopping habits are all choices you make. No one is forcing you to do anything.
If no one is hiring you, you’re doing something wrong. Maybe your resume sucks. Maybe it has spelling mistakes. Maybe you’re not applying for enough positions or maybe you’re applying for the wrong jobs. How about moving to a new city? Maybe you need to start for free or do something creative to get attention.
If you want to travel but never do, you haven’t made it a priority. It’s extremely rare for someone in a developed country to not be able to afford traveling somewhere exotic for a long period of time. What’s common however is that people either tell themselves lies such as traveling is too expensive or they are simply spending their money on other things instead. Others expect too much and have conned themselves into thinking they need 5-star hotels to change their life abroad. Ugh.
The point is. You have chosen where you are. Yes, we all have different circumstances and some of us have it a little harder but for the most part, you are where you are because you’ve put yourself there. Unless you’re living in North Korea where you’re literally imprisoned, you are free to make a different choice. It might takes months or years but if you want it bad enough, YOU CAN make it happen.
Unfortunately (or fortunately in my opinion), it requires effort. Government programs don’t pay citizens to travel and do what they want. You can’t lose weight by eating junk food. Great jobs are not bought at a vending machine and are rarely found in a job database.
Make a choice and stop making excuses. If you’re too lazy to make a change, you should still stop making excuses and just accept where you are and where you’re going. Contentment is the key to happiness after all.
If you do want to make a change and are ready for some small sacrifices, get started right away. Though you should never wait for the New Year, it’s here anyways! All you need is you and the desire to be somewhere different in life.
Want to travel?
Make it a priority. Stop doing other things that cost you a lot of money. Stop buying new clothes. Stop buying alcohol at bars. Stop eating out at restaurants. Move to a cheaper apartment or a cheaper house. Figure out why you actually want to travel and know that you don’t have to be rich to travel the world. Create a plan and get started. You can also sign up for a free copy of the Limitless Travel eBook or Canadian Free Flyers travel hacking program.
Want to lose weight?
Stop eating junk food. Eat less carbs. Stop drinking soda. Stop drinking alcohol. Commit to a 12-week program and get a gym membership. Work out every morning. Start sweating. Eat clean and drink lots of water. Take a before picture and cry yourself with happiness when you take your after-picture 12-weeks later. It really is this simple. The hardest part is perseverance.
Want to learn something new?
Maybe you want to learn how to create a business on the side or learn how to salsa dance or learn how to code computer programs. Did you know most of these things can be learned online for little or no money? Stop watching TV, take shorter showers and stop using social media so you can spend that time studying what you wish to learn. Make it a commitment. Do it everyday. Get out of the house and meet new people who want to learn with you. Try meetup.com. That’s just one option.
You may know right away that this is you. Maybe you know others who should read this. Awesome! Share this with them. It’s free. Some of you will probably shake your heads in agreement and some of you will shake your heads in disagreement and start surfing the Facebook newsfeed for pictures of celebrities and their pets.
What I hope is that at least ONE PERSON will read this and be inspired to change themselves and move in the direction they wish to go in. You don’t need to know the destination – you just need to begin moving forward. The path will change as you move forward but at least you won’t be lost in the forest of life.
What do you want to change? Where do you want to go?
Share below and I’ll get back to each and every one of you.
For those wondering my plans for change in 2015, a lot of it is extensions of what I’ve already been doing. I plan on visiting about 10 countries. I plan on doing another fitness program when I’m back in Canada for the summer. I plan on being more happy, grateful and content. Most of all, I plan to focus more on business, even though it’s going to be VERY HARD with all the adventures planned.
I plan to LIVE LIMITLESS in 2015 because I’ve learned that 2016 is not guaranteed.