INTERESTS AND HOBBIES

TRAVEL

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain

I have a passion for travel, whether it's a day trip to a park, driving a few hours to chase the region's best cheeseburger, or hopping a flight to a faraway place. 

I've also been fortunate enough to travel extensively in my career. I am a road warrior, often traveling 60-70% of the time to complete projects. Those weeks on end of back-to-back travel have afforded me the opportunity to meet amazing people, learn about regional nuances, and develop great connections. 

Image by Eva Darron
 

JEN'S TRAVEL TIPS

People often ask my favorite tips for travel. A few of my favorites are below.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS 

Join the loyalty programs of airlines, hotels, and car rental firms you frequently use. Even if you don't travel often, you may find ways to take advantage of special offers, perks, or accruing points. 

LOTS OF WAYS TO EARN

Did you know that even if you don't fly often, you can keep loyalty accounts open by accruing points or miles? My favorite ways of accruing miles or points, no special credit card required, include:

  • Shopping Portals

  • Dining Programs

 

SHOPPING PORTALS

Most airlines offer the option to shop at your favorite retailers by accessing a special portal within their program, and earn miles. 

Examples include: 

You may be thinking you don't shop that often, and you couldn't possibly earn enough miles to make a difference. Let's look at some examples of ways you can use shopping portals for purchases you'd make anyway. 

  • Purchase a new suit from your favorite clothing store

    • Use the mileage shopping portal and earn 2 miles per dollar ($200 suit = 400 miles)​

  • Visit your local warehouse store for household supplies and groceries​

    • Use the online shopping portal and earn 1 mile per dollar ($300 per month on groceries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies could add 300 miles to your account)​

      • Use the curbside pickup option and you not only get to earn miles, but you also save time and avoid the temptation to impulse shop​

  • Buy a new laptop for your high school student​​

    • Order for in-store pickup through the miles portal​

    • Take advantage of a back-to-school bonus mileage offer (spend $1000 in the month of August and earn 500 bonus miles)

    • Laptop at $1400 earns 2 miles per dollar through the miles portal, plus a 500 mile bonus, for a total of 3300 miles (2800 miles plus 500 bonus miles)

 

DINING MILES

Even if you choose not to sign up for airline credit cards, you can earn miles just for eating at your favorite restaurants. 

Dining miles portals allow you to add your favorite debit or credit cards through their secure portal. When you dine at participating restaurants, you'll automatically earn miles. No receipts to scan, nothing to track. Just sign up, add cards, dine, and earn. 

Some participating programs include: 

 

In addition to the options above, many airlines, hotels, and other travel providers offer loyalty credit cards, options to earn through banking, and other opportunities for earning miles.

 

Other Airline Tips & Tricks

In addition to using loyalty programs to their fullest, there are a few other tips and tricks I often use to find the best airfares. 

  • Use ITA Matrix or Google Flights to see all available flights in a market, including prices to determine the best airports to fly into and out of, and the lowest priced days and times to travel. 

  • Check the airfare prices for your chosen trip, then go to the vacation section of the airline's website to compare.

    • Adding a hotel (even an economy hotel for less than the full duration of your trip) a car, or other trip elements can significantly reduce costs– often resulting in costs even lower than the price of flights alone.​

  • Clear your cache and cookies, and use a private browser. If you've ever browsed for a new appliance, only to find a ton of ads for the same appliance popping up on your social media feed, you've experienced website algorithms at work. ​Clear the cache and cookies, and use a private browser to ensure you're seeing the same (lowest) prices available to everyone else.

  • Be flexible. If you're willing to travel in shoulder seasons (typically spring and autumn) you can save big, especially on international flights.