Thursday, August 27, 2009

Still plenty to learn

So on Sunday I went to a local CouchSurfing event that I think I mentioned before. Essentially this was just a gathering of CS members where we did the potluck thing and just chatted, hung out, and talked about things related to travel (of course). The travel part of it was a good way for people to exchange ideas and tips and it was in one of these conversations that I found out I still have plenty to learn.

One of the guys asked me if I'd ever heard of card churning. I had a moment of panic because I thought I'd researched every possible thing out there when it came to my trip. No need for panic, though; card churning isn't a necessity, just an extra bonus tip. So what is it? Some credit cards out there offer bonuses when you sign up for them. For the purposes of a round the world traveler, the best bonuses are air miles. You sign up for the credit card, spend the minimum amount (usually around $750), collect the miles (usually somewhere around 30,000), pay off the card, and close the account. The "churn" part comes in when you then sign up for a new account and do the same thing all over again. Not all cards allow you to do this, but it's perfectly legal. An added bonus is that you don't even have to actually spend that minimum amount. How? Go to the U.S. mint website, purchase $1 coins using your new credit card, deposit those coins into your bank account, then use that money to pay off your credit card. There's a shipping and handling fee, but that's it. This won't work for every one, but if you are interested in traveling, particularly for free using air miles, it's something to consider. Just Google "credit card churning;" there's TONS of info out there.

The other thing mentioned at the CS meeting that I wasn't very familiar with was Help Exchange. Help Exchange is "an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invited volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation." In my opinion, it's a good way to really get a feel for local life while at the same time saving money and occasionally even doing something good. I've only begun to research it, but I definitely think that at some point during my trip this type of set up will be very useful for me.

These were two new or relatively new concepts to me. Things like transportation, vaccinations, travel health insurance, accommodation types, etc have been highly researched and are pretty well covered. But let's play Stump the RTW Blogger. :-) Is there anything you can think of that you think I haven't thought of? Put it in the comments. . .

1 comment:

  1. Holy Crap - the countdown thingy is at 30 days!!