Here are a few resources that can help make
the dream of a rewarding travel lifestyle a reality
Credit Card Points
I only recently immersed myself in the magical world of points and miles, earning airline/hotel points for great trip redemptions. The strategy is to sign up for credit cards with the best welcome bonuses/earn rates to rack up points quickly. If you are Canadian, message me and I can help design a strategy that will get you traveling in style .
Great Canadian Rebates
Attention Canadian readers, you can get rebates for various services and products at the GCR website. Often times there are generous rebates for credit card sign ups, effectively cancelling out the annual credit card fee. Use the link below to sign up for GCR and shop for rebates.
This site is great for planning your flight. If you enter your desired departure city in the “From” box, it shows which cities have direct flights there. If you also enter your desired destination in the “to” box, it will show you which airlines are flying between the two cities and the flight schedule. I use this a lot.
Great Circle Mapper
This site gives the flight distance between cities. The results are interesting and useful if you are using points from a distance-based reward pricing plan, such as Aeroplan. The input bar is at the top, you could enter YYZ-BUD for example to find the flight distance from Toronto to Budapest.
Moonlight Champa Riverview (Laos)
Moonlight Champa Riverview is a 10 room boutique hotel on the bank of the pristine Nam Khan River in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, Laos. The accommodation is designed to accentuate comfort and tranquility while providing travelers with a sense of Laos rich natural heritage. Book direct for the best rates
Moonlight Champa Guesthouse (Laos)
Moonlight Champa Guesthouse is a 9 room boutique guesthouse nestled in a serene neighborhood at the heart of the capital city Vientiane, Laos. The lodge is designed to honour Vientiane’s rich Lao heritage in an area with a wealth of great dining options. Book direct on the link below for the best rates
Noppakao Place (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
This place has a good, fairly quiet location in the bustling Santitham area of Chiang Mai. The standard room is a good size with flat screen TV, plenty of storage, king sized bed and balcony with a second sink. They clean the room twice a week but I got them to come once a week instead for a small discount. Email for a booking at email@example.com
Romlan Guesthouse (Tuktuk, Indonesia)
Lake Toba is a large, deep and tranquil lake in the center of the island of Sumatra. The lake is actually the caldera of an ancient supervolacano. Most tourists stay on Samosir island around the village of Tuktuk. My favourite place to stay there is Romlan Guesthouse. The food is very good and the nice, simple rooms are great value for money. Email for booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
If I am traveling someplace new, one of the first things I will check is what the Airbnb accommodations look like. I tend to use this more in locations like Europe, where hotels can be really pricey. Their commission is high so if it looks like there is good availabilty, a trick I use to save money is to book just my first couple of nights and then book more nights directly with the host. The hosts are often a wealth of local information which is a big plus.
Next to direct bookings and Airbnb, Booking.com would be my most used booking option. I like that you don’t have to pay in advance, you can pay on arrival. Also if there has been any problems with a booking they have been reasonable to deal with. I somehow manged to get the Genius status with Booking which will sometimes gets a better rate.
Tangerine Online Bank
I got this online Canadian bank account because it is no-fee, easy to manage when traveling and it can used for free at Scotiabank ATM withdrawals in the Caribbean/ Latin America. (I hate ATM fees). You can sign up with the promo code below to get a cash bonus:
Use Remitly to transfer money internationally from one bank account to another, quickly and securely. The flat rate they charge is quite reasonable and the exchange rate is good. You can get a $20 sign up bonus if you use this referral code:
Surfshark VPN For Online Safety
I use the VPN to make my surfing more secure, especially on public wifi. It encrypts your information so you can make transactions with confidence. You can also use it to virtually change your location, which can be handy for streaming services like Netflix. You will get a better deal if you click on my link below to sign up.
The granddaddy of all navigation tools and a lifesaver in travel these days. One great feature I recently learned about is the Saved Lists feature. An example would be if you save every cafe you enjoyed in Paris to Paris Cafe’s list. You can share the list or keep it to yourself for future refernece. Below is my list from my most recent trip to Budapest . There are too many places in the world to remember them all.
The Wim Hof Method
The Wim Hof Method is a series of breathing exercises, cold exposure and meditation with other exercises blended in. It ihelps with stress control, energy management, endurance and longetivity. I have been procrastinating on the cold exposure (no bi surprise from someone it goes to great lengths to dodge the Canadian winter) but have been doing the breathwork and exercises for years now and feel quite good with it.
I was compelled to buy insurance if I wanted to travel during the pandemic. After a fair bit of research I settled on SafetyWing insurance as it isdesigned more for longterm travellers like me. If you are under 40 it is very affordable but for me I found it a painful new expense. I never required any medical treatment but my limited interactions with the company were quite good.