How to Get IHG Points for .292 Cents – Stay in Hotels for $15!

While the offer is limited, IHG – Intercontinental Hotel Group, is still offering the purchase of 100,000 Rewards Club Points for only $565 through Daily Getaways, a purchase value of .565 cents, a better value than the normal points and cash purchase value of .7 cents – 10,000 for $70, it seems most people have not realized that this is actually a much better deal than it appears.

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When purchasing getaways from the site, the purchases are coded as travel, so we are able to buy the points using the Barclay’s Arrival Plus card and earn 2 miles per dollar and then 10% back when redeeming for travel – essentially 2.2 miles per dollar spent; okay, great, we’ll get 1243 miles back – $12.43, not adding up.

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The great thing here is that we can buy Visa and Mastercard gift cards, $500 for $5.95 (at my local grocery store,) and upload them to BlueBird by American Express and Walmart and then use that money to pay Barclays. But, wait, there’s still the $1,000/day $5,000/month limit, and we need 55,257 miles to redeem for the purchase (minus the miles earned on the purchase,) and we only have 120 days to earn them.

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Here’s something I haven’t read about in any blogs; open Bluebird accounts for friends and families – it’s a prepaid debit card, no attachment to credit, I have done it with my four family members, best friend, and grandma and hope to open others in more family and friends names. This allows for a lot more miles to be earned, much more quickly, now the limit is how many friends and family members will let you open an account in their name instead of the set limitations.

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Now, during the 120 days, we can buy 55 gift cards (round to the next highest, without factoring the 10% point rebate) for $327.25 and upload each to our Bluebird accounts. Redeem 56,500 miles for the paid value of $565 and voila! Our price has dropped to $327.25, factor in the rebate and you have another 5650 miles left which you didn’t have to buy another 6 gift cards for $35.70 to get, so take that from the price and we’re at $291.55, or .29155 per point.
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Now, redeem these points for 20 nights at the IHG Pointbreak Hotels for 5,000 points per night, and you’re looking at 20 nights at a hotel for $14.58 – cheaper than a lot of shared dorms in hostels. While most of the hotels are budget ones like Holiday Inn, there are some incredible places on the list – like the beautiful InterContinental Lhasa Paradise in Lhasa, XZ, China, where rooms start at $180 when I looked, a savings of $165.42  or 91.9% every night, and a point redemption value of 3.6 cents. Another top place currently is the Hotel Indigo in San Jose, Costa Rica where the rooms start at $123.  Hurry, because these deals are almost gone.

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Hitchhiking?!

Ever wonder how to cut out some extra expenses while traveling? While in many countries, buses are very cheap and are the budget travel solution for many backpackers, they still cost money. If we want to cut out every expense possible, try hitch hiking to get rid of extra travel fees. We may only save fifty cents on some buses, but we could save twenty dollars or more on others, and even those fifth cent buses add up. There is a general idea that hitch hiking is too hard or too dangerous, but it can be surprising how many great people are willing to help out a complete stranger with a ride, and sometimes much more; I have been given free food, drinks, and even money during my rides. I have fallen in love with hitch hiking, it is a great feeling when a vehicle pulls over to the side of the road to offer you a ride and you have a chance to make some new friends!tmp_IMG_5252768895265-1207574808It is true that hitch hiking is not always a walk in the park, but the best experiences in life often come from a bit of struggle! I have often had to walk for hours, sometimes in the rain, before someone would stop to give me a ride. I was also robbed once, a man left me at a gas station and drove off with my backpack, but even with this, I have never experienced any real danger. “You could be getting into a car with a serial killer!” This is a true risk, but the “serial killer” is also inviting you, a possible killer into their vehicle; it is a situation that relies on mutual trust and respect. Although there are risks, use this guide to reduce the risks and increase the likelihood of catching rides from tourists, locals, and even taxi’s and buses!

Have a sign!

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This is a very important part of hitch hiking. When I first started trying to catch rides, I walked for a full day without getting a ride for more than a mile. The second day, I started thinking and decided to go to a local store and buy a black marker and some paper so that I could create a sign. I went to a traffic light on a popular road that lead to my destination and held it up with a smile. In less than a minute I heard a honk from a car stopped at the light and saw the driver waving me over, I hurried over and hopped into the car and we were on our way to my destination.

Sign rules:

1. Spell correctly

2. Make it legible and as large as possible

3. Black on white works best

4. Use popular destinations – for far destinations, use shorter destinations as mid-points

5. The sign does not have to have a destination! – Writing North, East, West, or South in the local language works well too, sometimes better than a destination, because the drivers do not know how far the destination is and will not worry about feeling obligated to go very far.

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Where to Catch Rides:

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Decent place to catch a ride – a lot of cars coming

1. Get on a road that goes straight to the destination

2. Find a busy road, the more vehicles, the more likely it is to get a ride

3. Busy traffic lights are best; drivers can read the sign and have a few moments to decide to give a ride or continue and are already stopped

4. Highways can work, but places where cars are traveling at less than 50MPH are best

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Where not to hitch hike

Dress Code: How you look is important.

1. No hats, glasses or anything that can cover our heads unless necessary – ladies, pull your hair back if it is long.

2. Clean shave is best

3. Men; short hair is best, although a crew cut is not recommended

4. Well fitting clothes are best

5. No dark clothes and make up

6. Take out facial piercings

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How to catch the ride:

1. Make eye contact with the driver

2. SMILE!

3. If walking, turn around and face traffic to follow prior rules

4. If there is another hitch hiker around, find another spot, or wait your turn

Keep in mind, it is harder to catch a ride in the rain.

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I can’t stop smiling in the back of a pick up!

Safety Rules –

I do bring any weapons with me – I prefer to trust in people and believe in God for my protection

1. Always take our stuff with us when exiting the vehicle, even if just using the restroom

2. If the gear is in the back of a pick-up truck or trunk of a taxi, leave the door open until we have our gear or do not exit the vehicle until the driver has also exited

3. Remember, we do not have to take every ride offered; if a driver looks dangerous, we can tell him/her that we will wait for another

4. It is more dangerous to hitch hike at night – it is also much more difficult if it is necessary

This guide to hitch hiking will greatly reduce the difficulty and danger of hitch hiking along with aiding in the creation of great friendships, experiences, and memories. So grab your sign, put on a smile, and go meet some new people!

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Energy on the Road

Have you ever wanted to go on a trip, whether it be a weekend camping trip or an extended backpacking trip, but worried about the inaccessibility of energy on the road? Not many people know that you can have plenty of energy with you at any time to last weeks of charging cell phones, tablets, and other small electronics. While wall outlets are still harder to access for things such as Li-ion battery packed camera’s and computers, as long as you have USB port style charging can have all the power you want, and soon they will have USB to wall outlet adapters.

The solution to power on the road can be found in a few options. First, there are power banks such as the EC TECHNOLOGY® New 22400mAh Portable Ultra-high Density External Battery Pack Backup Charger, my favorite because of the low cost, high battery capacity, and even though the size is a bit larger and it weighs about a pound, it is still about the same size and weight as power banks with half it’s capacity. These things can charge a cell phone about ten times! Secondly, for complete power independence and in conjunction with the power bank, there are great, light-weight solar charges such as the Anker® 14W Solar Panel Foldable Dual-port Solar Charger. Anker has proven to me numerous times of their quality electronics, which is why I trust them with so many of mine. Use the two USB charging ports to charge your power banks, cell phones, and other electronics, plug a USB hub into it to charge multiple electronics at once. These items combined can keep you charged no matter how long your trip is as long as you get some sun along the way!

Another way to get energy is to search restaurants, bus stations, and airports almost always have power outlets available, bring along a smart hub to distribute the power to you devices most efficiently for the faster charge available! If you hitch hike, bring along a car charger and the smart hub to get some juice on the go, even if it’s only for a few minutes!

With these tricks and tips, you can have all the power you want, anywhere you want! Never worry about your phone or tablet’s battery again!

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