Why I Travel Hack (and Why You Should, Too)

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Clearly, my secret’s out of the bag. I love to travel. In fact, I travel as much and as often as I can. To tell you the truth, I feel a bit antsy with no travel plans on the horizon, no airplane tickets booked. So, naturally, the inevitable question comes up over and over again.

How can you afford to travel so often?!

Thailand Elephant Nature Park
I know…that is the elephant in the room! (Thailand, elephants, miles, and points…it has a nice ring to it, right?)

Not too long after someone asks me this do they realize they’ve touched on a favorite subject of mine, miles and points a.k.a travel hacking. 

After a (very) long-winded answer, they’re usually ready for me to stop talking, but they’re also extremely curious about how they can get started, too.

I’ve put together a free basics course to get you started with miles and points, as well as to save as many ears as I can. 


It’s simple, really. You can “afford” to travel to all the places on your travel list and you don’t need to save up for years and years to finally make that dream trip happen.

Mr. TGT & I in London on miles and points. Yep, sometimes I share my miles for this guy to tag along. 

But, I realize, after being told over and over that travel is just too expensive, you might need a bit more convincing.

So, I’d like to share my own personal story and rationale for getting started with miles and points.

I’m an elementary school teacher, a wife, and a dog mom. I’m not rich. Nor am I in a corporate job racking up miles and points with a corporate card or from business travel.

Seriously, I don’t know if it gets more “regular person” than this. You know what teachers make, right?!

What is travel hacking?

Travel hacking is the skill of earning miles and points to travel for free or for less.

Why did I start travel hacking?

Have I mentioned I’m a teacher who absolutely loves to travel? Past trips, future trip planning, and new places to explore are always on my mind.

Costa Rica Zip Line Manuel Antonio
I could afford this zip line excursion since I used miles for my flight to Costa Rica.

I get it, though. A love for travel does not pay the expenses involved. If only!

So, like most people, I started by looking for places we could save in our monthly budget. Sure, there were a few places we could be a bit smarter, but overall, we weren’t spending carelessly.

What did stand out, though, was my husband and I spend WAY TOO MUCH money on our monthly bills and expenses. Even worse, we were getting little, if any, return value on our money.

While going through our budget and talking about our bills, I had a “stop the madness” moment.

Our money was not working for us the way I knew it should and could. I began investigating and realized how what we already spent each month could allow us to travel for WAY LESS.

In Paris for the 3rd time with miles and points. I finally rode that Vespa through the city like a local!

Here were the 2 scenarios at which I arrived. We could:

1. Pay our monthly expenses as usual AND try to squirrel away a few pennies here and there to eventually take a trip.


2. Pay our monthly expenses using smart, reward-earning strategies with travel rewards credit cards that would let us travel for way less.

The choice was clear and we haven’t looked back.

We now earn miles and points every day, for buying the same everyday items we did before and by paying many of our bills. Buying toothpaste has never been so thrilling!

The difference is, we make our money work harder for us. Almost every dollar spent returns some value back that can be used for travel later on. It’s been life-changing.

With miles and points, I’ve gone to countless European countries, some more than once.

Prague is gorgeous no matter what time of year you visit.

Prague Spire View

I couldn’t take my eyes off the sparkling lights of Budapest.

Budapest Hungary Parliment Building

Skiing past the Matterhorn in Switzerland is as incredible as it sounds.

Zermatt Switzerland

Dogsledding and seeing the Northern Lights in the arctic of Finnish Lapland was a bucket list experience.

dog sledding in Finnish Lapland

There’ve been family trips to Turks and CaicosCosta Rica, and Ecuador.

Turks and Caicos

and sister bonding trips to places like Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Playa del Carmen Mexico

I’ve even turned my mother into a world traveler. I still laugh when I think of her riding this horse in the Canadian Rockies or galavanting through Europe with me, be it the Christmas Markets in Germany or the Montserrat Mountains in Spain.

She couldn’t believe she got to see an erupting volcano in Iceland!

Jasper National Park

And, I l-o-v-e-d my solo travels in ThailandCambodiaPatagonia, and Romania.

Patagonia Fitz Roy
Hiking in Patagonia was such a bucket list trip for me!

And I never would have seen this guy up close without my award flight to southern Africa…in business class.

Okavango Experience tour Botswana Chobe NP Lion

Are you joking?  Is this for real?

Trust me, I still get giddy looking at my miles and points balances grow and then redeeming them for amazing award travel.

I also understand the skepticism.

But plenty of people, as well as myself, earn and use miles and points for travel. We can attest that the time and effort to learn about award travel is SO worth it.

You absolutely can “afford” that dream vacation, weekend getaway, or bucket-list destination. 

You don’t need to save for decades to take that BIG trip.

Do you want to travel more? Are you interested in having unforgettable travel experiences?

Sign up for my free basics course. The course has what you need to know to get started plus access to a supportive Facebook group where we can answer your questions and talk about all things travel hacking.

Let’s get started! I’ll see you in the group

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2 thoughts on “Why I Travel Hack (and Why You Should, Too)”

  1. This year, I actually plan to commit to a credit card for the sake or reward points for my travels. I’m quite excited to get started, but I’ll be lurking around your site to get the scoop!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Lurk away, Erica! 🙂 My advice would be to look for a credit card that offers the ability to transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel partners. These cards are usually offered by banks as opposed to a particular airline or hotel brand.

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