What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover

We’re all at a disadvantage in the travel community. As budget travel aficionados, chances are most of us don’t have attorneys on retainer. So when companies decide to find whatever reason they want to deny honoring their promises, there’s nothing we can do. They can do almost whatever they want to consumers because we have been priced out of the legal system that was put in place to protect our rights and unless they’ve lost our baggage or injured us somehow, our travel insurance won’t cover this.

As a Travel Hacker, I have invested a lot of time and some money into completing promotions, earning bonuses, and anything else I can to earn travel rewards. It’s necessary to know that companies will honor their promises, otherwise we risk the investment.

I once went to a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Wales to complete IHG’s Set Your Sights promotion. This would give me an additional 50,000 points upon completion. Long story short, their system messed up and they didn’t want to fix it. Instead, the customer service representative told me that they do not consider Holiday Inn Express’ as Holiday Inn properties (WHAT?). I was told that there was no way I would get the additional 35,000 points I had been promised.

IHG Set your sights

Another situation; late last year Discover teamed up with Apple to promote Apple Pay and offered huge bonuses that could come out to around 20-30% cash back. After a few days, they changed the terms and conditions to disallow the purchase of gift cards.

They then started denying people their cash back claiming they had purchased gift cards, even if they hadn’t. They informed their customers that they required proof that they didn’ purchase a gift cardt. This means that we consumers were guilty until proven innocent. Anyone who didn’t keep their receipts ended up losing their their hard-earned cash back because Discover decided they didn’t want to keep their promise.

Most people would end up just accepting being taken advantage of like this. No way would they spend $200-$500 to talk to an attorney and have them send a letter demanding their rights be honored. No way would they spend thousands in court to fight for a few hundred dollars.

Companies know this and this is why we’re at a disadvantage, because who’s going to force them to do what’s right if it’s not in their best interest? It needs to stop. No longer can we accept being taken advantage of. No longer can we let companies do whatever they want to us. We have rights and we deserve to have them fought for.

Josiahs Letter from IHG

I received the additional 35,000 points with an additional 500 goodwill points to total 50,500 for completing the promotion. I didn’t spend a lot of time and energy yelling at customer service reps or managers. I also didn’t spend $500 for an attorney to write them a letter or thousands to fight in court. I also received all of the cash back bonuses that Discover had originally promised.

Now I have the advantage because I am a member of LegalShield and have been protected since I was a baby thanks to my parents becoming members about 21 years ago. All I had to do to protect my rights and get what I was promised was call a LegalShield attorney.

The LegalShield attorneys have written many letters for me to companies who didn’t want to keep their promises. They have gone to court for me to protect me for auto incidents. I also have a Living Will in place in case anything happens to me, while traveling or not, that didn’t cost me anything extra.

IHG Letter1 IHG Letter2

With over 4 million members, LegalShield is able to provide top quality attorneys to it’s members throughout all of the US and 4 provinces in Canada. That means wherever you are, you are protected if whatever company has a base in the US or Canada.

LegalShield and their IDShield are necessary insurances to protect our, and our families, rights and identities at home and abroad. Everyone should have these services, but especially travelers and travel hackers.

If you see value in protecting your rights and preventing yourself from being taken advantage of again with LegalShield, use the links in post or click here to sign up via my affiliate link to support the blog.

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8 Reasons You’re a Victim of Identity Theft and What to Do about it

Although identity theft is the largest growing crime in the world, with 850 million to a billion stolen identities in 2014 alone, many of us still feel like we’re immune and our identities could never be stolen. However, just the opposite is true, our identities have already been stolen, the thieves are overloaded with information and simply haven’t gotten to you yet. Here are 8 reasons why your identity has already been stolen and who is most vulnerable to having it used.

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  1. Jobs, Hospitals/Check ups, etc. – Every time you’ve gotten a new job or gone to the hospital, you’ve given out all of your valuable information. Everything needed to impersonate you is right there on those papers you filled out and in their system waiting to be stolen or hacked.
  2. Credit and Bank Accounts – Every time you’ve opened a credit account or bank account, again, you had to provide a lot of valuable, personal, information. Whenever we call into a credit card company, using our social to look up our account is an option, and for many, it’s an convenient option that they use. So not only is your informatioon in their system, that sweet rep you just gave your social and mothers maiden name to may have just written all of that down.
  3. Passports and Travel – When we get a passport and especially when we travel, we put our identities at risk. The process of going from one place to another, especially via airport, is chaotic. At any point, we could be pick pocketed, or maybe that sweet rep is writing your information down. I was once robbed while in Puerto Rico and lost my passport. Any time you travel, you are at a greater risk of having your identity stolen than when you’re not.
  4. Social Media – Yes, you read that right, social media is not the just haven you retreat to, to escape from your normal life that you imagine it is, there are people there too trying to steal your identity. Many of us put out our birthdates, names, favorite color, and other types of useful information for anyone to see. They may also find your mother’s parents to find out her maiden name via friends lists.
  5. Being Born – Now adays, just being born or being a kid puts us at high risk of ID theft. We go the first 16 or so years of our lives without applying for credit, getting a job, or anything that would make us think that we should be worried about our identities, and parents think the same way. However, kids’ identities can be stolen from the hospital where they were born, the dentist’s, from school, and many other places. Kids are actually at a very high risk of ID theft because no one looks for the warning signs until they do start applying for credit or getting jobs.
  6. Earning a Lot – Obviously if a person gets the information of someone who makes 40k/year and someone who makes 200k, they’re going to spend their time trying to get and use the ladder’s identity. Not every identity theif is going for volume, some are going for the jackpot, so earning a lot puts you at a higher risk.
  7. Paying with Plastic – When we pay with a card, debit especially, it’s possible that someone will get their hands on the information. They may even use a magnetic strip copier so they can steal your cards information and put it on one of their own with their name on it. Using debit puts you at even more of a risk because they don’t have the same level of anti-fraud protection that credit cards do.
  8. Using a Smart Phone – People who use a smart phone, so pretty much everyone, are 3x more likely to have their identity stolen than those who don’t use one. One report states that smart phone users don’t view their smart phones the way they do their computers. Only about a 3rd of smartphone users put a password on them while it’s standard for computers and very few add anti-virus to their phones. Even though they aren’t protecting their phones like their computers, their using them for mobile banking and storing personal information and passwords on them.

We are all waiting to be arrested for a crime we didn’t commit. To be told we can’t have our tax refund because we’ve already claimed it. That we can’t vote because we’re already registered in another state. Can’t get a loan or a new travel credit card with a big spending bonus because we have too much debt.

None of the travel insurances or any of our regular insurances provide any security if our stolen identity is used while traveling. If our credit cards are stolen and used, that’s a simple call to the credit issuer. However, if our identities are used in any large way like mentioned above, we’re left to pay around $50,000 or more and spend about 6 months of our lives, taking time off of work, trying to restore our identities.

Here’s what you can do about it:

LegalShield’s IDShield is the protection we all need. Not only do they fully monitor our identities, in any way you can think of and more, they do it better than other popular monitoring services, and they do it at half the price. They also have licensed investigators on staff to restore our identities. That means when our stolen identities are used, if we’re relaxing on the beach in the Maldives or climbing Mt. Everest, or whatever you do, we don’t have to stop. We can continue on with our lives and let IDShield handle it.

When compared to the popular LifeLock, IDShield, Lifelock falls far below expectations. IDShield’s Family Plan is only $19.95 compared to LifeLock’s $51.96 plan. Single Plans are $9.95 and $19.95 respectively. In the pursuit of budget travel, we need to protect ourselves, and IDShield does it at a budget price with premium quality.

IDShield LifeLock Comparison

We all need someone in our corner that is going to protect us when our identity is used. Too many of us have spent months stressing, taking time off work and spending and losing way too much money trying to restore our identities ourselves. With IDShield we can travel in peace knowing that we are 100% protected.

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P.S. If you see value in protecting your identity at home and abroad with IDShield, use the links in the post or click here to sign up via my affiliate link to support the blog.

Backpacking Europe

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Just a change of clothes and we’ll be ready to go!

My sister, Jen, and I are about to start a bit over a month long backpacking trip through Europe. We’re flying Southwest to New York to catch Norwegian Air to Norway and then Ryan Air to Alicante, Spain. We plan to spend 5 weeks going through Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and hopefully a trip to
Iceland somewhere in there.

As we’ve been preparing and continue to do so, I’m reminded of how stressful it can be. But also how much fun. My sister has never been backpacking before and so it is great showing her how to pack only what is necessary. She’s also started going for a few mile walks everyday with her fully packed backpack to start strengthening her body for it. I maintain my philosophy: binge watch TV and eat whatever, hit the road and feel like I want to die, and get used to it again. Anyone else do that?

We are leaving at the beginning of February and so we have to prepare for the winter (very different from the Floridian climate we’re used to!) This means extra layers, boots, and weight overall. Since we plan to camp when we can’t find a CouchSurfing host (comment below if you’d like to meet up or host us at some point!), we have the additional weight of camping gear.

Luckily, we almost have everything we need for the trip and our packs come out to a decent 18LB’s each. We shouldn’t reach above 20 with the last bit of items we need and then it’s only the added weight of food and water. When you realize how little you actually need, life can become so easy, free of worry and stress. And weight.

Of course, this trip is going to be a lot different from my others, I’ve traveled with groups for a day or two here and there, but I could always do whatever I wanted and leave at any point. I’ve also traveled in the winter, but now I’ll have a full time companion who I will have to be considerate of. Where does she want to go, what is she comfortable doing or not doing, will we have to make an unexpected stop at a store to buy some “ladies products”?

This will be different.

Normally, I hitchhike everywhere, Spain to Rome? No problem! But now, for obvious reasons, my sister is a bit anxious about the idea of hitch hiking so much, and we may end up taking buses, which will obviously hurt the budget goal. If we do, we’ll be trying to get night buses to use as our accommodation as well as transportation.

While I’ve never hitchhiked with anyone before, I hope I’ll be able to get her to do it… Maybe I’ll hide behind a tree or something while she flashes her leg and waves to try to catch a ride. Maybe she’ll meet her future husband that way (Hint hint guys, this lovely lady is available and on the prowl, but check out what is taught at Godsavemymarriage.com first to see if you qualify.)

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I also have to take into consideration her body heat. Women generally get a lot colder than men, and just because I feel like we’d be fine going for a hike in the Swiss Alps in the midst of winter, she might feel like we, or at least, she, will probably die. Or if I want to wild camp in a city, but am having trouble finding a concealed spot where I can sleep without being bothered, she probably won’t be willing to sleep under a bridge to avoid having to pay for a room or bunk.

Although this is going it be different from my normal travels and as much as I love traveling solo, I am very excited for this new experience. I may have to give up some of the key things that allow me to travel on such a shoestring budget as $15 or less per day, but it will help me in life and prepare me to travel with my wife once we’re married in December, WOOT WOOT!

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Interview With Paris Attack Survivors

It has been a few weeks since the terrorist attacks on 11/13 in Paris and Beirut on 11/12. Amidst crisis and grief, I know many people have been wondering, is it safe to be traveling right now while IS is still out there? I know this, because the thought entered my own mind as well.

IS, Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is not a new threat. We, citizens of the world, have been hearing about their acts of terror for a while now. However, for the most part, they have been contained in the Middle East.

Now, they are maturing, becoming more intelligent, and becoming more wide spread. They have supporters in countries all over the world. The world is worried about terrorists coming in as refugees, but they use people who are already in or who have access to target countries, to commit their heinous crimes. They have learned how to attack multiple sites at once with skill and efficiency and are able to do a lot of damage with only a few people.

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During the attack at the concert hall in Paris, terrorist’s were heard saying things like “Parisian blood tastes good, but American blood will taste better.” They have issued threats on America before and obviously we’re not their only target. Russia recently confirmed that it was a bomb that caused the plane crash, which killed over 220 people, and IS claimed it was their doing.

Now, with all of this information, should we feel safe to travel? To trust strangers? To fly, stay in hostels or couch surf?

My parent’s, Joel and Kathy Davisson (GodSaveMyMarriage.com) arrived in Paris on Friday the 13th, the morning of the attacks. It was their first time in Europe and they were welcomed by terrorism. They have answered some questions about their trip and how they feel about Paris and traveling, despite the terror threats.

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TTE: How did you feel leading up to the trip?
Kathy: Excited about our trip. Obviously with all the craziness in the world, I was a little concerned with Flying for so many hours. But, I was really looking forward to going to Paris.

I didn’t have any feelings like anything bad was going to happen and when a negative thought crossed my mind, I simply prayed about it. We considered it a miracle when we got our passports so quickly. We hadn’t realized they expired until the day before, so getting our passports in less than 24 hours was pretty miraculous.

When we realized we may not get to go to Paris because our passport had expired we both were taken by surprise and disappointed. I told you that if we didn’t get our passports and we’re unable to go to France then I would have to really think that God was preventing us from something. I was okay with that thought and realized we would end up going another time.
I prayed and asked the Lord that if you did not want us to go for some reason that you would not let the passports go through but if we were to go it was all going to work out and it did. So off to Paris we went.

TTE: Where were you when the attacks began and how did you hear about them?
Kathy: We were at a French Pizza restaurant. While we were eating, Joel happened to look at his phone and noticed a pop up that said France bombing or something along those lines and he mentioned it to me. My first reply to him was a disconnect in my mind in which I said “I don’t want to talk about it.”
He continued to check out this pop up and then the manager came over and,asked if we speak English. We said yes. He said “I’m sure you have heard about what is happenings. I need to check you out so my servers can go home so they are safe.
While checking us out, he got caught up in his mind and said “Paris is turning bad, really bad.” I’m thinking, “this is NOT what I need to hear right now.” Ugh. Lol I asked him, how far away was this? He said “far, far away.” Well, his Far far away and my far far away are NOT the same far far away. Lol.
I said ” in another city, right? (Forgetting (disconnect) I was in Paris. He said, “No, it’s happening in Paris, where were at” Ugh. With that said, we figured we probably needed to get on our way to our apartment. When we went to get up, The manager said “Oh, you don’t have to leave. Just relax if you would like.”

Clearly, he was trying to be a really nice manager. Not wanting us to be afraid etc. But, we grabbed our coats and went back to our apartment

Joel: We arrived in Paris on Friday morning. After making our way to our Airbnb apartment, with the beautiful Eiffel Tower view and getting settled in, we walked a few blocks to a nice French Pizza restaurant. White table cloths, very classy.

As we finished our pizza, I glanced at my phone and saw a news headline.. something about hostages, guns and explosions at the concert hall, soccer field and restaurants. For a moment, it was quite surreal.. wondering if this was actually a “now” news flash.. In about 90 seconds, the manager or owner came to our table with a credit card machine.

“Have you heard what was going on? It is not on our side of town, but ‘they’ are still out and about. I would like to send my young men home early (the employees), so may I check you out now?” Then, being the ever polite host, he says, “You can stay as long as you would like. I would just like to get them home to safety!”


TTE: How did you feel after the attacks once you had heard the extent of them?

Joel: I was quite troubled and grieved. It was not until Saturday that I really started to understand how bad it was. On Friday night and half of Saturday, we did not even realize that it was “top headline” world news. We had not made any special efforts to communicate to anyone that we were okay. It just did not register that our offspring would be worried about us.

Midnight in Paris, on Friday night  was only 6 pm in Florida and Georgia and 3 pm in California, where our two sons and daughter were.  We were sound asleep by midnight or 1 am and our kids were trying to find out if we were ok. We really felt bad that they had been so worried. We were asleep, safe and sound.. and they were flipping out with concern.
Kathy: We went back to the apartment, went to the terrace on the roof to look at the Eiffel Tower and then went to bed. In the morning is when we learned more of what happened. Joel read about it and let me know.

Obviously, we felt horrible about the attacks. We prayed for the families of those whose lost their lives and those who were wounded. I began to wonder how things were going to play out. I wasn’t afraid s much as I began to miss our kids and family members.

I did ask Joel if he thought that we made a mistake and shouldn’t have come? He said “no, I believe we are where God wants us to be.” Truthfully, that was all I needed to hear. The questioned was answered and settled in mind and I knew everything was going to be alright.

We had sent out an email to our kids but for what ever reason, Josiah didn’t get it nor a Jen due to her phone not working. So when I saw the post on fb from your Aunt Pam, Lorinda and others asking for prayer and then to see your (TTE’s) post joelandkathy Davisson : RESPOND….was absolutely horrible. Realizing ya’ll didn’t know if we were okay or not. Ugh! I told Joel, I was ready to pack my bags,and go home. But, I didn’t feel afraid.

TTE: Would you have still gone had you known the attacks were going to happen?
Joel: No. I don’t think that anyone would willingly put themselves in harms way.

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TTE: How did you feel about the rest of the vacation?

Joel: We enjoyed the vacation. The attacks happened five miles from where we were staying, so most of the stores and shops were open. Certainly we carried a sadness for the families who lost loved ones – but we were in Paris for some R and R. We could not carry the weight of their loss. For our sake, we had to stay in the mode of enjoying Paris!

Kathy: We decided that there was nothing that we could do to change what happened. Life happened, so we set out to enjoy ourselves. We’re in Paris. Not everyone gets to go to Paris. Enjoy it. So we did. I don’t think Joel and I felt afraid from Sunday on. There were police all,around. Armed and ready. Some had riffles in the arms with their fingers on the trigger. I think that kinda made me feel safe.

TTE: What was your favorite memory of you visit?

Kathy: The Eiffel tower and the Hop on and Hop off Bus. The Bus tour was really nice and I enjoyed the information I learned while on the bus. The bus driver was crazy. Lol. We sat on the top of the bus where the seats were right in front.

There were so many cars so many motorbikes so many motorcycle so many bikers all trying to cram themselves into one street and here comes this big bus making his way through all of that. It was like a roller coaster. We were busy laughing about how well this guy managed to weasel his way into the traffic.

We kept looking over the edge to make sure no one got hurt or he didnt hit a car or whatever.. when Joel and I went to Africa Joel drove in Africa and that was wild but Joel said that he would not drive in Paris….. Ever ….that’s how crazy it was. Lol.
The Eiffel Tower was amazing especially when they turned it red white and blue. The Eiffel Tower was closed needless to say from Saturday Sunday and I think it was open on Monday but then I think it closed again on Tuesday if my memory serves me right.

Joel: The red, white and blue Eiffel Tower, the crazy ride on the second level of the tour bus, the boat tour, the walks up and down all of the really cool streets, the beautiful buildings and… the crepes! We don’t have crepes like that in the USA.. at least not that we have seen.

Sitting on the corner of one of the seven streets that intersected into a busy circle. We were at a little table in front of an ice cream shop and next to a fruit stand (classy one, not country looking) and watching all of the vehicles. That was entertainment, to say the least!

So many cars, scooters, motorcycles, “smart” cars, bicyclists and joggers/runners. All entering the circle at fast speeds, narrowly missing the other vehicles… Total mayhem.. No rules except to turn right or right/straight into the circle, but no wrecks happened! Ah..

Then another favorite memory! – when we were on the tour bus, we came upon the large boulevard that Parisans say is the most beautiful in the world (name?) – there were white tents setup for about a mile with so many CHRISTMAS vendors.. it was great! We want to go back again, at this same time, to have a lot more time to visit all of these tents.

They lined both sides of the road.. we only had time that day to see some on one side. Sadly, that was our last day in Paris. The next morning, we were picked up at 9:30 am by our Uber driver. The taxi ride was $40 from the airport and $60 to get back to the airport. but it was definitely worth the price for the ease of transportation!

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Most beautiful boulevard in the world according to Parisians

TTE: what was your favorite food?
Kathy: I loved their crepes. They were made with Nutella, strawberries and coconut. Rolled up like a waffle cone and topped with whipped cream.

Joel: The crepes.

TTE: Where did you stay in Paris?

Joel: We had a really cool little apartment that we found on Airbnb. It was the smallest place that we ever stayed in – but we had a direct view of the Eiffel Tower! We would walk out of our door and there were shops and restaurants beginning just steps away. And the streets were awesome. Five to Seven streets converge into a circle. The driving is crazy!
Kathy: We stayed at an Airbnb apartment. I think we paid $350 for the week. It was small like a box car, so it’s a good thing I like my husband so much because it worked lol. Our son josiah (TTE) helped us to hook up this apartment with Airbnb. The window looked directly out at the Eiffel Tower, so when we woke up in the morning and before we went to bed we were able to look out the window and see the Eiffel Tower. Magnificent.

TTE: How did you get to Paris?

Kathy: Our son Josiah (TTE) saw these tickets to Paris while we were in Las Vegas that were so inexpensive it was amazing. Remembering that I, Kathy wanted to go to Paris Josiah brought this to our attention and before we knew it all the plans were made and we were scheduled to go to Paris.
It was amazing how quickly everything came to pass.

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Making Crepes

TTE: How did you get around while we were there?

Kathy: We walked. We walked everywhere. We chose not to rent a car and then after riding the hop on and hop off bus and seeing how crazy all the drivers motorcycles motorbikes & bicycles, etc. were, we are so grateful we chose not to rent a car and walk instead.

Joel – We used “uber” from the airport to the apartment. We did not want to navigate buses and subways. Then we walked everywhere. The only time that we did not walk was our 90 minute boat tour and 7 hour bus time. (hop on and off). 

Thank you Joel and Kathy for the interview. I’m glad you ended up enjoying the trip and for so cheap using the advice found on here.

Even though it was Joel and Kathy’s first visit to Europe and it started out in such a terrible way, they still enjoyed the trip. As Joel stated, they wouldn’t have taken the risk had they known what was going to happen, instead just gone another time. Once it had happened, he believed they were where they were supposed to be and chose to stay to enjoy Paris.

They did not let the attack ruin their trip and they will not let this keep them from traveling in the future. Even though the world may be suffering from terrorism, we can not live in fear. We can not let them stop us from living our dreams. If we do, we let them live. Instead, we must simply pray to God that he keeps us out of harms way and continue to enjoy our lives and travel on.

Learn more about Joel and Kathy Davisson at Joelandkathy.com or Godsavemymarriage.com.

Watch out for my upcoming interview on the popular blog Million Miles Secrets @ The Boarding Area.

Also, Check out my latest blog post – An Amazing Deal: 61% Off Amazon With 60% Off Groceries

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Amazing Deal: 61% Off Amazon With 60% Off Groceries

There is an amazing combination of promotions going on right now that can achieve 45% off groceries. I just found out about these deals by a visit to my local Albertsons and from a friend who just took advantage of a portion of it.

First, Albertsons is promoting gift cards. Currently, when purchasing $125 or more in gift cards to a variety of places, including Amazon, we’ll receive a coupon for $15 off the next purchase of $25 or more within the next 7 days. $15 off of $25 is a 60% return.

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Buy an Amazon gift card for atleast $125, $150 if you have friends or family who will let you use their Amazon Prime Now accounts or let you create one for them. Limit one coupon per transaction, so make sure to separate transactions into totals of $125. This promotion ends 12/1/15, but can be taken advantage multiple times.

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Next, when purchasing the gift card(s), use a credit card with a high earning rate such as Wells Fargo’s Cash Back card which earns 5% back at grocery stores. That starts you out with 5% cash back on the gift cards, so 5% at Amazon in this strategy.

Wells Fargo Cash Back

Another option is to use a loyalty card such as the SPG, Starwood Preferred Guest card by American Express. It only gets one point per dollar, but with the flexibility of SPG points, they’re worth a lot more than a penny each.

SPG cards

Next, Amazon is currently promoting their Amazon Prime Now app and delivery system. They now deliver within an hour to metro areas around the country. With the promo codes 20PRIMENOW or GETITNOW (from the PrimeNOW app,) shoppers will receive $20 off their first purchase of $50 or more.

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Also, since the purchase will be above $35, in Chicago, Orlando, Northern New Jersey, and some zip codes in New York City and Philadelphia, along with other metro area’s, shoppers will receive free shipping. That’s another savings of $8.

So take your Amazon gift card to Amazon.com. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account already, sign up for one. Use the free trial if you haven’t already to access the next part of the deal for free. The best return is if you have at least 3 accounts that have not used PrimeNOW and use the coupons for each account.

This promotion, including the free shipping savings and 5% cash back credit card, brings a return of 61% when making a purchase of exactly $50. If you have friends or family who don’t live in a metro area who can take advantage of this promo, use their accounts to get this return multiple times.

In total, $92.50 will be spent to receive $199 on Amazon and at Albertsons. $90 will be spent on Amazon for $174 in goods and shipping. $7.50 will be received from cash back bringing the amount spent down to $82.50. $10 will be spent at Albertsons for $25 in groceries.

To receive this, download the Amazon Prime Now app, put in your zip code and start shopping. Add your items to your cart and put in the code 20PRIMENOW or GETITNOW. Check out.

Finally, wait for your discounted goods to arrive. Enjoy.

Watch out for my upcoming interview on the popular blog Million Miles Secrets @ The Boarding Area.

Also, Check out my Latest blog post – an interview with a couple who survived the Paris Terrorist attacks earlier this month.

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How I made $1300 Grocery Shopping Last Month

update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.

Ever felt like you needed a bit of extra cash? Ever been unemployed and unsure of where your income will come from?

Travel Hacking is not only good for earning points and miles toward travel. It can be used to create a decent source of income, enough to mimic a $20,000 job after taxes at least.

I’m currently living in Las Vegas for a few months before my upcoming trip to Europe in February. I’m sharing a house with a resident teacher while I explore a new relationship.

My plan before coming was to become a substitute teacher as soon as I got here, but it took longer than expected, leaving me unemployed. However, thanks to Travel Hacking, that doesn’t mean I’ve been without income.

Wells Fargo Rewards

I created over $1,300 in September from Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards by shopping at grocery stores. Of that, only $300 was expenses, leaving a profit of $1000, non-taxable income.

How do I do this? I recently wrote about a Manufacturing Money Spent (MMS) strategy that I use to make it look I’m spending up to $35,000/month. I actually only take a max of about $400 out of the profits. I do this at grocery stores such as Smith’s, Albertson’s, and Wynn Dixie.

With the Wells Fargo Cash Back Rewards Card new card holders earn unlimited 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores the first 6 months. When applied to the MMS strategy, the only limit to how much can be earned is how many like you.

Things to consider:

  • Currently, there is no sign up bonus, although if you are a WF account holder, there may be a offer of up to $100 cash back.

 

  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 12.15% – 25.99% variable APR. It’s always best to pay off credit cards in full each month, but it’s nice knowing that for the first 15 months, it’s not necessary, just remember to pay the minimum.

 

  • No annual fee. This makes this card great for the first 6 months and then forget about while it slowly boosts your credit score.
Wells Fargo Cash Back
Ask not what you can do for it, but what it can do for you!

I have run into some issues with Wells Fargo that has caused me to lose out on quite a bit of cash back, but I have solved the problems so you don’t have to.

First, when going to buy gift cards or make a large purchase, call WF and have them put a pre-authorization on the account. After a while, WF will notice the pattern and large purchases can be made without pre-authorizations.

Second, when paying off the card, instead of sending money from BlueBird straight to the card account like normal, withdraw the money to a checking account using BB’s settings page (preferably a WF checking so payments will apply instantly,) and then pay the credit card.

This is a bit more of a hassle, but since BB isn’t a checking account, WF says they can’t verify that the money is there. They will hold payments for up to 15 days before allowing it to effect available credit.

A bank account can only be added to 2 BB accounts, so I send the money from my other accounts to the 2 that are linked to make the withdraw. BB states that accounts are limited to sending up to $2,500 per month and receiving up to $10,000, including the $5,000 load limit.

This means that $20,000 can be withdrawn to one checking account each month. If you plan to MMS more than that, then have a second bank account ready or plan to send some money straight to the card and be prepared for a possible hold on the credit limit.

I recently wrote about how to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card account.

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How to earn up to $3,000 per Discover Card

Update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.
Update: As of 10/9, Discover announced that Gift Cards would not be eligible for the additional 10% bonus. According to a representative at Apple, Apple Pay does not provide any additional information about transactions than Discover  normally receives. It is unknown if Discover will be able to enforce this exclusion.

Discover recently announced that they will now be available to use with Apple Pay. With this, they announced that when a card holder uses their Discover It, Discover It Miles, or Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card, they will receive an additional 10% bonus on the first $10,000 spent on in store purchases on top of the current cash back.

The offer is available on September 16th and runs until the end of the year. It is only available on the Apple Watch or IPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.

Discover Card

This promotion takes Cash Back up to 11% on all purchases and 15% in revolving categories for the Discover It card and 11.5 % for the Discover It Miles and Discover It Miles and Getaway’s card’s.

The INCREDIBLE thing is for cardholders who signed up for the Double Points or Miles promotion this year, then ALL of the points or miles earned this year are doubled. This includes the points and miles earned during this promotional period.

This means that the 11% and 15% earned with the Discover It card and the 11.5% are doubled to 22%, 30%, and 23% on all in store purchases! When the full $10,000 is spent, card holders can earn $2,200, $3,000, and $2,300.

If a holder, like myself, doesn’t plan to spend $10,000 on in store purchases before the end of they year on any or all of their Discover cards, they can refer to my post on Manufacturing Money Spent.

With MMS, card holders can spend $119 on 20 $500 gift cards to hit the $10,000 limit. This would leave profits of $2,081, $2,881, and $2,181.

If you don’t have a version of the IPhone 6 or Apple Watch, you could buy one and use the profits to repay yourself. Apple sell’s theirs for $545 + tax. You could also find them cheaper used or with cell phone contracts. You could get the AT&T Access Card which gives a $650 credit toward a phone to cover the cost. You could borrow a friend’s or you could buy one and take advantage of the return policy.

Iphone 6

If you don’t have a Discover Card, it may be worth it to apply for one to take advantage of this bonus, even without the double points and miles bonus. Without the bonus, there is still $1,000 of profit to be made from each card.

I’m going to be buying and returning at least one IPhone 6 to take advantage of this promotion. I have the Discover It and It Miles cards, both with double cash back promos activated. I’m then going to be using my mother’s and sister’s Discover It’s without the double points activated.

I will be using these four cards to earn about $6,000 this month, $4,000 now, $2,000 at the end of the year when the Double Bonus is completed.

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Monastery Surfing – An Underutilized Accommodation Option?

“Hello Father Michael, I was told next door at the church to come here and ask for you. I’m from the United States and passing through. I’ve heard that some Monasteries may take people in for a night or two and wanted to find out if I could stay here for a night.”

“Yes, come on in, we just sat down for dinner. You can put your stuff here, Brother George will take you to your room after dinner.”

“Thank you Father.”

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That is the conversation I had with the Father at the first monastery I attempted to “surf” at. Monastery Surfing, my new term references Couch Surfing, which I use to stay with locals during my travels. While I love Couch Surfing, it’s not always an option, so outside of camping, I’ve found other ways to obtain free accommodation, such as monasteries, Red Cross’s, and random locals.

I first got the idea to try to surf at monasteries from a traveler I met in Xela, Guatemala. She was excited to meet the man who was trying to spend only $700 in 2.5 months while going through all of Central America. She had heard about me from another traveler who I had met in Nicaragua. She told me that if she was doing what I was, she would be staying at churches. Her father had always told her that if she ever got into trouble and needed help or a place to stay, to go to a church, they’re usually open 24/7.

While that certainly was never my experience, most I had seen were closed a lot, and this is still true, I liked the idea and decided to try it. I was able to hitch hike my way to Cobán, a town that I heard had a monastery and was close enough to my destination, Semuc Champey, where I planned to do some bridge jumping, to stop at. This is where the above conversation comes into play.

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After the Father invited me in, we sat down at a dinner table with three Brothers. We had a delicious meal of rice and beans, plantains, fresh fruits, and juices. I was lucky that they all spoke English very well, so we were able to get to know each other a bit. I was glad I was also able to give a bit back by entertaining them with travel stories.

After dinner, I was shown to my room. I was surprised to find that I had my own room. There were three beds to choose from, I was provided toiletries, and I had access to WI-FI in the Father’s office. It was better than a hotel!
In the morning after making my bed, I went looking for Father Michael to thank him again.

I found a maid in the kitchen and she informed me that the Father was gone for the day. She then offered me a delicious breakfast and water to fill my bladder (the one in my backpack… not like the, you know, one where it goes once you’ve drank something…) I thanked her and asked her to thank Father Michael.

After Guatemala, I surfed at two more monasteries in Belize. I found the first monastery in Santa Elena, not far into the country. I did the same approach, only this time, informed the Father that I was a bit sick, exhausted, and needed rest (Montezuma was taking his Revenge.) He informed me that they usually only let people stay for a night, but he would allow me to stay a second if I needed extra time to rest.

Again, I was provided with my own room, food, a shower, and WI-FI. I explored a bit in this town, but mostly I rested. On the second day, I met a Canadian, Father Nicholas, who was visiting from the monastery just west in San Ignacio. He invited me to come to his monastery to experience the Festival of the Patron Saint Mary that was taking place over the next couple of days.

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I love festivals, especially ones based so deep in culture and religion, and loved the festival in this small town. The first part of the festival was a parade. The whole town came out to watch as members of the Church, Brother’s, and Father’s carried the statue of Mary around the town.

After the parade was a feast. I was happy to be able to serve the masses food and give back a little after I had been given so much. Following the food were fireworks, though not the usual big, colorful fireworks. First, was a street length set of firecrackers, a constant pop-pop-pop, for a full 30 seconds. Then there were the Bombas. Bombas shoot up into the air and make a small explosion and a very loud BOM-BA sound. They are awesome to experience.

The next morning, I went to my first Catholic service. While embarrassing, it could’ve been worse. At one point, the Father welcomed the congregation to partake in the Eucharist. As a Christian, I’ve experienced Communion many times, and anyone is welcome to partake, whether a devout Christian or not.

I followed the others to the front to take the Eucharist and after watching a few people go up to the Father, say a silent phrase, take the Eucharist and walk away, I still had no clue what exactly the procedure was. I ended up in front of the Father looking like a deer caught in headlights. I was grateful when he took pity on me and gave me the piece of bread. It was only later that I found out what I was supposed to say. I also found out that the Eucharist is only meant to be taken by devout Catholics and that he gave it to this little deer out of compassion to end it’s misery.

After the festival, I found out that the Church and these great people turned out to be the gift from God that kept on giving. I was planning on hitch hiking my way into Mexico now that I had rested a bit. Father Nicholas told me that he and a few others were going to make their way to Mexico that same day and that they were making room for me in the van. Once again, I was so grateful, I no longer needed to use the bit of energy I had stored to try to catch rides.

Monastery surfing has been one of the best experiences I’ve had while traveling. The people are amazing and it’s hard to beat free hotel level accommodation that includes food. This is definitely a underutilized form of accommodation. It is a diamond in the rough and I don’t see enough people trying this anytime soon to jade the church, so it’s worth keeping in mind as an option through your travels.

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P.S. Sadly, due to my camera and cell phone being stolen in Nicaragua, the above photos are stock and not the actual monasteries I stayed at.

 

 

 

 

 

Manufacturing Money Spent: Bluebird

update: BlueBird has shut down many accounts of people who have used them to Manufacture Money Spent as in this article and others. While not all have been shut down and it is still possible to open accounts and do a bit of MMSing, it is dying and should not be seen as a guaranteed option.

Manufacturing Money Spent or MMS. What is that and what does it mean? MMS is the act of making it look like more money is being spent on a credit card than you are actually spending. Often times, as it is with the strategy I demonstrate in this post, a person will spend 1% to earn points or miles. This means, that if a credit card gives a return of anything more than that 1%, we can turn a profit. It means that when we sign up for a credit card that has a $5,000 minimum spending requirement to receive the sign up bonus, we do not actually have to spend $5,000 of our money.

Gift Cards

The first step in this strategy to MMS is to find a local store that sells Visa or MasterCard gift cards. I go to my local grocery store, where I get a 5% return on groceries, and buy their $500 Visa or MasterCard gift card. They each come with a one time activation fee of $5.95, so just above 1%. There isn’t much difference between the two, the main thing to keep in mind when buying the gift cards is that they can not be Vanilla brand, any other bank issuer is fine, and American Express gift cards do not work. The other difference is that with the Visa cards, the PIN is automatically the last 4-digits of the card number, while with MasterCard, there is either a code attached to the card, or you have to call MasterCard to set a PIN. Once I have my gift cards, I make my way over to Walmart.

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Excluding Steak and Shake, these cards all had balances of $200 or $500

Bluebird

Bluebird was created from a partnership between Walmart and American Express (Amex.) It is a prepaid card with online access, it is not a checking account and there is no credit attached or involved. A Bluebird card can be obtained in two ways, either by purchasing a temporary card at Walmart, usually for $5, or by going to their site, Bluebird.com and signing up there. Temporary cards must be registered on their site and go through the application process as well. They will mail a permanent card once the application is approved. Identity verification is required at times.

Bluebird has compliance limitations to what accounts are allowed to do. Each account can upload $1000/day at Walmart’s ATM machines or $1,500 at the Money Center. They can also only load $5,000 per month per account. With this, we can MMS $5,000/month, not a small amount, however, some, like myself, want to be able to MMS more than that. I currently manage 7 Bluebird accounts that my family and best friend have opened and allowed me to use. This means I can load $35,000/month. If I do it all at the grocery store and I use my Wells Fargo Cash Back card, which gives 5% cash back at grocery stores, I will spend $416.50, but I will receive $1750 in cash back, turning a profit of $1,333.50 per month.

Bluebirds Small

Now that I’m at Walmart, I’ve bought my Visa or MasterCard gift cards, and I have my Bluebird cards, I head over to the Money Center. If there is an ATM, I use that, otherwise, I head to the register. If I’m at the register, I hand the cashier a Bluebird card and tell her I would like to add $500 to my account, sometimes $500 to two accounts. If I have a Visa card, when the time comes, I just slide the card, enter the last 4 digits of the card number and it should go through. If I have a MasterCard, I have to hit “Change Payment” and select “debit card,” enter the PIN that came attached to the card or the new PIN I called to set and, it too, should go through. If I use the ATM, my preference because I generally don’t like telling cashiers what I’m doing or that I’m using a gift card to add money to my account, I hit the Bluebird button to start. I follow the steps of swiping my Bluebird card, entering the amount I want to load, $500 at a time, accepting the amount, clicking “Debit Card” as the payment option, and swiping my gift card. Here, it does not matter if I have Visa or MasterCard, both will work, I just slide, enter the PIN and finish.

While at the ATM, when I try to load more than $1,000 onto one account or $1,500-$2,000 onto multiple accounts, the ATM’s camera sees that it is the same person and decides that I have reached the compliance limit for the day. I have to wait until a worker comes to help or just walk away. If I wait, the associate will generally cancel the transaction and I will either have to wait until the next day to continue or go to the cashier and put a last $500-$1,000 onto an account or two. To avoid the machine showing the compliance message, after I load $500 or $1,000, I’ll walk away and either get a drink of water, use the restroom, do some shopping or let someone else use it and wait behind them. If I go shopping, I ask to load $500 at the end of the transaction. This time away resets the ATM and will allow a bit more to be loaded without the message popping up.

Once I have loaded my gift card balances onto my Bluebird accounts, I either go onto my Bluebird App or go home and pull up the accounts on my computer. Once I am logged in, I go to the “Pay a Bill” page, this is the final step in the MMS strategy. I’ve added my payee’s by clicking the “Add Payee” button, searching for whichever bank issued the credit card I purchased my gift cards on and then putting in my credit cards info so that I can send payments to it. I give the payee the nickname of the type of card I have so I can distinguish between payees without referencing card numbers when I have more than one credit card from a single bank. Bank accounts can be linked too and the balances can be withdrawn to it instead of being sent to the credit card. Since the payee is set, I click “Pay a Bill” and send the balance from my Bluebird account to the credit card.

Using this strategy, I make it look like I am spending thousands of dollars each month while only spending 1% of that. Any spending requirement is within reach and any points or miles goals can be achieved. It is essential to stay organized when doing this with more than one card, it can become complicated very quickly. Watch for my upcoming post about how to stay organized and MMS like a pro.

 

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A week in the Land of Fire and Ice

I am convinced that Iceland is one of the top five most beautiful countries in the world. It’s vast landscape varying from incredible mountains, about 130 volcanoes, to glaciers and plains of nothing. Its Hekla Volcano is the place where Director Ridley Scott chose to use as his planet in the “darkest corners of the universe” in his film “Prometheus.” I had the pleasure of spending 8 days there in early April 2015 and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had.

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I arrived at the airport in Reykjavik and it didn’t take too long before I found a local waiting to pick up his girlfriend who happened to fly in on my flight. I sat down a seat a away from him and started talking to him, told him that I was hoping to find someone heading toward the city and he said as long as it was okay with his girlfriend, I could ride with them as far as they were heading. I caught a second ride that took me into the city and started exploring.

It wasn’t long until Iceland’s weather started showing itself and there was a full out hail blizzard. For about ten minutes. Then it was decent, only snow flurries and a bit of wind. I even saw some blue in the sky instead of grey clouds. The saying goes, “If you like the weather in Iceland, wait 10 minutes,” and it’s true, ten minutes later, the hail storm was back.

I ended up staying in a hostel my first night to avoid the weather. I met a group of travelers from all over and hung out with them. We ended up being a group of five and since the beginning of April is the end of the Aurora season, went hunting for a dark spot to try to see the lights. It reminded me why I do not like traveling in groups, decisions are so slow to be made. The hunt was unsuccessful.

þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park

The following night I was scheduled to couch surf with a local, Petur, and his son for a couple of nights. It was absolutely great, the Icelandic people are so kind and welcoming. He took me to a local thermal pool, a much more budget-friendly version of the Blue Springs that everyone raves about. I didn’t see the point in spending about six times as much when the local thermal pools are where the locals are. It was very relaxing, indoor and out, different pools of different temperatures, depths, it had jets and even a water slide. He prepared traditional snacks and a “filler” dinner, a kind of rice pudding that I enjoyed, but Iceland isn’t known for it’s food, so it wasn’t something to write home about. He introduced me to his vinyl collection and I listened to his album “Illinois” by Sufjan Stevens about fifty times. On my second night with him, I used his spare key to go watch the night sky in hopes of seeing the lights. The forecast was unusually high and I was lucky enough to be able to lay out under the stars and watch the Lights dance across the sky for a few hours before I became too sleepy and returned to the apartment.

Petur told me that he believed that in the country side, I could knock on a few doors and about half of the locals would open their doors to me and invite me in for a night, so after my two nights with him, I set out to hitch hike the famous Golden Ring Route and spend my nights in random locals homes. I received two rides with locals before I arrived at my first destination; Þingvellir National Park. During one of my rides, the woman let me see how the locals view nature. She told me about the mountain on the opposite side of the harbor from Reykjavik. She told me that “She” was wearing her White Dress and that she must have an extraordinary closet because throughout the year she wears so many different dresses filled with so many different colors. Many believe in invisible elves, trolls, and other creatures. It’s just another reason why I love this country.

Geysir

Here at the Þingvellir National Park is where I met Shaniece, a awesome person and the best police woman I’ve ever met. She was from Virginia and was traveling for the first time by herself. We had the same plan, so I was able to catch a ride with her. We ended up spending four incredible days together. We continued on the route and came across some Icelandic horses, stopped to try to pet them and met a couple of ladies from Los Angeles, Danielle and Laura. Danielle is the stage director of Marvel on Ice and helped produce the awesome Power Rangers Reboot while Laura is an editor at Playboy. Having been a huge Power Rangers fan growing up, I was a bit star-struck. We met up with the two again at the next stop, the geothermal area that contains the famous “Geysir” and “Strokkur,” and the four of us became fast friends. Geysir erupts hot water into the air up to 100ft every 10 minutes or so and is where our word “geyser” comes from. We continued onto our final stop in the Golden Ring, the Gulfoss Waterfall with the ladies in tow.

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Danielle and Laura returned to Reykjavik for the rest of their trip while Shaniece and I continued onto the village of Vik, population about 200, where Shaniece had booked her hotel. We spent two nights here and this is where my hopes of finding kind locals would come in. After exploring the beach and agreeing on what time to meet up in the morning, Shaniece and I parted for the night. I went knocking on the doors of the village. The fifth person to answer their door was an older local lady, Lara, she was home alone, her husband wasn’t going to be home for a few hours, but to my delightful surprise, she almost instantly said yes and showed me to the spare bedroom downstairs.

Lara was so kind. I came upstairs to ask about the bed covers and she offered me crackers and hot chocolate. She made me the best home made hot chocolate you could imagine, I had never seen anyone make it with a bar of chocolate and milk, it was amazing. We talked for about an hour. She told me about her daughter, Doctor in Sweden, her son, a fisherman, and her career as a elementary school teacher. She was retired and about to go visit her daughter. She told me that she wished she could have traveled more when she was young, but ended up getting married and having a family, so she was unable to. I felt bad she hadn’t been able to travel as much as she’d wanted to and I hope I’ll be able to make my reader’s travel dreams come true. Lara was even more optimistic about the locals welcoming spirits than Petur, she felt 3/4 people would welcome someone into their home rather than Petur’s estimate 1/2.

Sadly, at least in Vik, tourists are ruining this culture. The next night, I heard a very opposite view. The seventh door I knocked on was the home of Aran and his wife Eva, two local police officers. When I asked Aran if they would welcome me into their home for the night, he went and discussed it with Eva, and I heard her say Couch Surfing. I informed them that I am a Couch Surfer and that made them feel confident enough to invite me in. We talked for about an hour or so before it got too late. They had once had an account to host, but were immediately overwhelmed by the vast amount of requests they received and ended up closing the account. They informed me that at one point, it was true, nearly anyone would let a traveler stay with them for a night rather than be left outside in the cold, but tourism has grown so fast that it has become common for the hotel and hostel in the village to fill up, even in the off season, so many people come to their doors knocking. On top of this, tourists walk onto local’s lawns and look into their homes as if they’re at a museum. The locals are becoming jaded. We must respect property and privacy if we want to even hope for locals to be kind and welcoming.

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Shaniece and I at Jökulsárlón,

During the second day with Shaniece, we made a long trip to Jökulsárlón, an amazing glacier bay where we got to walk on the most idyllic glaciers. We got extremely lucky, during our two days in the South, we experienced really good weather for Iceland at that time, while Danielle and Laura were suffering grey skies, rain storms, and roads being shut down due to the weather. After Jökulsárlón, we finished our day off with a trip to the Skaftafell National Park to see Svartifoss, or Black Waterfall.

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Svartifoss, AKA Black Waterfall

When we returned to Vik and I found Aran and Eva to spend the night with, I was given an awesome offer. Eva was going to the local horse stables in the morning where they kept their horses and asked if Shaniece and I would like to ride. Horseback riding is a big attraction, Icelandic horses are unique, very cute, and it has been illegal for any horse to enter Iceland for over 130 years to preserve its genetic purity. That includes any horse that has left the country from re-entering. With a bit of struggle, I woke Shaniece up and off we went to meet Eva.

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On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped at a few places we’d wanted to on the way to Vik but didn’t have time to. We went to Reynisfjara first, AKA Black Sand Beach, where there are rock formations similar to the Black Waterfall’s formations. We struggled but succeeded to find a crashed airplane from years ago that the government decided to leave. We saw multiple more waterfalls including the huge Skogafoss fall and finished off our tour with the frozen Kerið Crater Lake. The GPS took us down a wrong road and we ended up walking through woods and foot high snow to find the fenced back entrance. Someone inside told us we had to go around and pay to enter, but we decided it would be easy enough just to go through the fence, and who would know?

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After our final stops, we made it back to Reykjavik for my final day and Shaniece’s last couple. We kept in touch with Danielle and Laura and ended up meeting up with them at a bar for trivia. Danielle was meeting up with an old friend of her boss who had been living in Iceland for the past 10 years after falling in love with a local. He owned an acting school and is a radio host. He ended up winning the trivia and treating The ladies and I to drinks with his winnings. He was also a couch surfing host and ended up spending the night with his girlfriend and allowed me to stay in his home for the night. We also met another couple of awesome people and we all hung out well past the end of trivia. It was a great night.

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The next day, I started hitch hiking to the airport to catch my flight the next morning. I started going to gas stations and just ask people if I could have a ride because I was not having much luck with my signs. It took longer than I expected, but after a few rides, I finally came across a government official who was heading close to the airport. It was pouring rain out, so he didn’t think I would have much luck catching another ride, so he kindly decided to take me the final 10 or so miles to my destination. At the airport, I was dumbfounded. I had never seen an airport with signs that said no sleeping or eating in the airport, but here they were. I realized I needed to find a hidden area where no one would notice I was sleeping because I did not want to go back out into the rainstorm to try to sleep for the night. I found the restrooms and was very happy to see that the doors to the stall were from the ground to the ceiling and the stall were big enough to lay down in. I had my own private suite. Another traveler had the suite two doors down.

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Iceland was amazing and I can’t wait to go back and experience it in the summer. Being so far in the northern hemisphere, on June 21, it’s longest day, the sun sets just after midnight and rises before 3AM, so there is nearly 24 hours per day to explore this gorgeous and incredible country.

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