Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fly Around the World for Under $200

Passage des Alpes par AF 9803 - 13-01-2008 - 10h10
Flying over the Alps
Photo by Panoramas
There is an interesting dilemma that many would-expats face: how do you know you want to live somewhere if you've never visited it? One of my English professors in college told me the story of a student who claimed he didn't need to travel the world because he had the internet. He can see the countries online. He can watch videos of their daily life. He can learn their languages online.

This, of course, is bullshit. You cannot possibly begin to appreciate the world if you don't experience it firsthand. Visiting somewhere is good. Living there is even better.

But back to the original question: how do you know you want to live somewhere if you've never visited it? The sad truth is that you really don't. You may be amazed at everything you've read or seen about a country, only to discover that movies and magazines often only show the good stuff. Since many readers probably don't have a bunch of spare cash lying around for traveling the world, it's worth figuring out a way to do this without spare cash. That's where frequent flyer miles come in.

In an article entitled Travel Around the World for Under $200, the author lists his extensive itinerary:
Departing from Miami tomorrow, my companions and I will pass through Chicago, Shanghai, and Hong Kong en route to Bangkok, where we’ll commence our month of traveling around Southeast Asia. The intentional layovers allow for plenty of time to indulge in a smoked pork mollete at Tortas Frontera in Chicago, as well as some cheap dim sum in Hong Kong. After our month wandering around Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Thailand, we’ll swing through Dusseldorf for a £15 Michelin-star lunch and a few beers at Zum Schlussel. Twenty-four hours later, we’ll set off to Paris for a week. Once we’ve had our fill of wine, bread, and cheese, we’ll head back to Miami for a much needed week or two of rest (21,694 miles later).
And it cost him less than $200 US by gaming the frequent flyer miles system. While the author explains his method of doing this, it turns out that there are tons of  Web sites where people detail how to accrue free frequent flyer miles (I'm not listing the methods here as this is a bit out of scope of this site, but the concept itself is perfect).

Many of the programs which award miles require you to spend money, but this is often on products you'd already spend money on (particularly the credit card programs). Others require you to sign up for newsletters, take surveys, or other things which are annoying, might take time, but cost you nothing.

If you're willing to spend a little time and energy, you can start traveling to places you never dreamed of before.

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