I’m sure that everyone out there has a list of all of the places that they would like to see or visit. I happen to have a list that could fill a book. And while I’m sure that there are a majority of people who could survive having not done a significant amount of traveling before they die, I am absolutely not one of those people. I need travel like I need oxygen, and that’s something that I know is a fact despite not having done a whole lot of it.
  The problem is that I have no money. No money and traveling are rarely compatible bedfellows. Chalk it up to a degree in English, a decent, but not lucrative job, and several thousand dollars in debt, and you have a recipe for a permanently fixed position. Crappy? Oh, you bet. Impossible to get out of? Not so much. Like so many rules of life, there are rules in the world of travel that are easily bent or broken. It does take a lot of research and even more imagination, but it’s doable. I don’t pretend to be an expert on travel hacking, because I’m just getting started myself. But part of this blog is meant to chronicle my discoveries as they happen, so that people can be privy to my mistakes, as well as my successes.
The first thing that I learned is that you have to be open to opportunities as they happen. The second is that you have to know how to mix business with pleasure. I guess “business” is kind of a misnomer, but it’s the most appropriate term I could think of. What I mean is, take advantage of the trips that are necessary to help you with the trips that aren’t.
  In June, I’ll be flying up to Seattle to visit two of my best friends in the world; one would hardly qualify that as a business trip. But it is a trip with an intention, not one without. Travel for pleasure has no business or intention, and that’s what I mean by take opportunities as they come.  Open ended travel means going just to go, not going because. If the opportunity came up when I booked my flight to Seattle that there was a lengthy stopover in Portland, I wouldn’t scoff at the extra time spent trying to get to my destination. I’d embrace the opportunity to visit a city that I’m especially fond of, or at least have never seen before.
  When I was booking my flight, it occurred to me that it would be wise to take advantage of an oft not taken service – frequent flyer miles programs. People automatically assume that you have to actually fly on planes to accumulate them, but you often don’t. The company that offers the service is often linked to a multitude of other services that you can also use to acquire points without actually flying. Since I was flying Southwest Airlines, I signed up for their Rapid Rewards Program, so the flight racked up a good amount of points that I can use for my next flight. I also noticed that buying from 1-800-Flowers would get me even more points. Since my mother is so fond of buying my grandmother flowers, there’s a little bit of an advantage already. Is it super lucrative?  No, not yet. But I’m hoping that in time, it will be, after I learn more about it. Again, all of the tricks are there. It’s just figuring out how to make the best of them.

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