Hey gang, I hope you all had a fantastic Holiday season (I was stuck working in the ER ;), and thank you to all our loyal readers out there! One of my (many) New Year’s resolutions is put out more frequent, better, and more germane posts. So, to piggyback on the COL’s 5 excellent tips:
6. Take advantage of TSA Precheck. Log into all your airline frequent flyer accounts tonight, and enter your DoD ID number (shown in the middle of the back of your CAC card) into the “Known Traveler Number” under your frequent flyer profile. Then, when you make reservations under the airline, it will automatically tag you as TSA Precheck. Check out this article for more details. It means less time spent languishing in the security line, and you can keep your belt and shoes on!
7. Sign up for Awardwallet. Awardwallet is a free website where you can keep track of all your loyalty numbers and balances. And, coolest of all, it will automatically log you in to your account, so you don’t need to remember 50 usernames and passwords. It covers almost every single airline, hotel, rental car, shopping (REI, staples, Mr Rebates, etc.), and other loyalty program that you can think of, and is completely free!
8. Invest in yourself – specifically your travel education. People have said that people like myself or COL Goddard are obsessive about frequent flying and credit cards, and spend far too much time strategizing about it, but my counterpoint to that opinion is that it’s good personal finance to have a plan to minimize costs and maximize rewards – especially if you can do it without altering your normal routine. I love working out, and it’s good for me, and I have no problem spending an hour or two a day on it, so why should this hobby be any different? By using strategic credit cards, or shopping portals, you can accumulate miles and not do anything different. If you want go a little further, you can check out my top 10 websites, or the flyertalk forums, or any other the hundreds of frequent flyer blogs out there. Even if you’re not interested in travelling, you can get decent cash back for your everyday habits. And of course, check out our website frequently 🙂
9. Download Lifelock Wallet. If you’re like me (hopefully not too many of you are 🙂 you have over 20 credit cards, and you can’t carry them all with you at all times. For the times that I need the more obscure cards, I have this app on my phone. (it used to be lemonwallet but was acquired by Lifelock). You can keep digital copies of all your credit cards, in addition to any other loyalty cards you’d like, all for free! It’s hard to beat free! It’s PIN protected, in case your wallet gets stolen.
10. Have fun! I can be as competitive as anybody when it comes to accumulating the most points, the most obscure travel tips, or the most passport stamps. But the point of this whole game is to have fun, to see some beautiful amazing places and to make unforgettable friends. I truly believe we as military members have more opportunities than most to explore every nook and cranny and to meet every wonderful person of this beautiful Earth. The best times I’ve had travelling have not been on prearranged tours or excursions, but on random adventures that I never could have conceived of beforehand. If you can book a flight in business or first class (like I recently did – in an upcoming post!), kudos to you. But the reason we travel is not the seat we fly but the destination.