Travel

Category Archives for Travel.

Stacking Hyatt offers: A month stay for $1,100 & net zero points + Globalist status

Chase World of Hyatt card

Hi from Memphis! I have about a week left here. The last few weeks have been filled with family visits and wayyy too much home cooking (if that’s even possible?).

Next Sunday, I’m heading to Nashville for a month to stay at the Hyatt Place Nashville/Hendersonville – a Category 1 Hyatt hotel, meaning award stays are 5,000 Hyatt points per night.

stacking hyatt offers

A month of free Hyatt breakfast and unlimited coffeeeeee

I’ll be there for 29 glorious nights, visiting local breweries, walking nearby trails with my dog, and seeing what Nashville is all about.

For the 29-night stay, I paid $1,158 and 70,000 Hyatt points. But thanks to multiple deals going on right now, I’ll get all 70,000 points back – and come out on the other side as a Globalist (Hyatt’s top elite status tier) and with an extra free award night. Which means my “rent” next month is $1,158, plus I get free breakfast and coffee every day, access to a fitness room and pool, free toiletries, and room service.

Here’s how I did it.

Stacking Hyatt offers for a one month stay

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Incentives for remote workers: Get paid to move to a new place

incentives for remote workers

The other day my mom sent a text about how West Virginia is paying remote workers $12,000 cash to move to the state. I must admit – it got me thinking. About a few things.

Right now, I’m a digital nomad, so I can theoretically live anywhere. But getting paid to move would surely sweeten the deal.

Could I really live in West Virginia?

I pondered it for a couple of days and even looked at houses online. Then I saw there are no Costco or Whole Foods stores in the entire state. But then I was like – so what? 

The biggest drawback would be living in a snowy place again. I’m not ready for heavy coats, frigid mornings, and driving on ice just yet, especially after my Texas experience.

Then I discovered there are many other places offering incentives for remote workers. It could lead to all new ways of living and traveling.

Incentives for remote workers

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My plan to be a digital nomad and slow travel for the rest of 2021

As I sat in the freezing dark for hours earlier this month, lit only by candlelight, a crisp and salient thought began to form: fuck this.

My windows were covered in condensation that made puddles on the window sill. I put towels down and tried to wipe it up as best I could. My power came back in flashes and I ran around charging everything and trying to heat the place. Over the course of a week, I paid $700 for what little electricity I got. In the middle of the week, my lease expired.

I didn’t want to renew it, nor did I want to move elsewhere in Dallas. So, I called to give what I thought was my 30-day notice. But noooo, it’s a 60-day notice. They’ll “try” to get it rented sooner. Oh and keep the power on until the last day, they reminded me.

digital nomad

Lovely

So this is how it ends – talk about a whimper.

I picked the date, called my brother, and reserved a U-Haul. I’m gonna throw my stuff in a storage shed and live on the road for a while.

First stop next month: Memphis.

Digital nomad life

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FoundersCard Review 2021: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

FoundersCard Review 2021

Time to update my FoundersCard review for 2021! I’ve been a member for 7 years by now. Each year, they add more (and more useful) benefits, keep the best ones, and refine their partnerships based on member demand and use.

The upshot is making the most of even ONE perk can outweigh the $395 membership – and the rest is gravy. And when you sign up with my link, your rate will never go up.

I’ve used the 15% AT&T discount, Hilton Gold elite status, and Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status (which is back this year through January 2022!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2021, mostly focused on business and lifestyle. A couple of the travel benefits have gone away, but I believe that’s reflective of where we currently are with Covid-19 and that they’ll return. Until then, what’s left is still a long list of benefits.

FoundersCard Review 2021

Has it really been 7 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again as a Charter Member

Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.

FoundersCard Review 2021

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Easy Status Match: Caesars Diamond to M Life Gold to Hyatt Explorist through December 31, 2020

caesar m life status match

This is rather niche, but it works! Through December 31, 2020, if you have Caesars Diamond elite status, you can match it to M Life Gold, and from there, to Hyatt Explorist. I just did it this past weekend.

The only hitch is you must do the Caesars to M Life match in person. And of course, have Caesars Diamond status to start with, which is a free perk you get from FoundersCard membership. You can also get it from matching your Wyndham Platinum or Diamond status, which you can get from having a Wyndham credit card.

If you’re in a place where there are Caesars and MGM casinos or hotels, like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or Tunica, it takes just a few minutes to get it done. I was at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, and walked over to the Gold Strike Casino. From there, I matched from M Life Gold to Hyatt Explorist online in under a minute.

caesars m life status match

Easy way to get Hyatt Explorist if you can work it out

Within Hyatt’s program, Explorist – the middle tier – isn’t all that different from Discoverist – the lowest tier – which also comes with having the Chase World of Hyatt card. But this is an easy way to get it for free and without completing a single stay.

Caesars M Life status match to Hyatt Explorist

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Trip Report: My Texas-sized road trip to Austin, Big Bend National Park & Marfa

trip report big bend

I spent most of last week partying in Austin, hiking in Big Bend National Park, and driving. Lots of driving. I drove over 1,000 miles last week. But let me tell you: West Texas is insanely gorgeous. I had no idea. I kept thinking, “This is Texas?!” as I hiked and drove around the Big Bend area, very much in the middle of nowhere.

I was also able to squeeze in the River Road drive between Lajitas and Presidio (on my way to Marfa), 67 miles of pure twisty mountainous highway considered to be the most scenic drive in Texas and one of the most beautiful in the country.

All the hiking and driving made me feel, at times, that I was perhaps the last person on Earth. It’s such beautiful nature out there. And at night, you can see thousands and millions of stars and glimpses of the Milky Way, which make you feel like you’re on the fringes of the galaxy – which you actually are. Absolutely cosmic.

Big Bend trip report

At the terminus of Lost Mine trail, on the mountains… in Texas!

I wasn’t expecting so many mountains. Or to experience such biodiversity in Big Bend. For example, did you know there are bears in Texas? I sure didn’t. But sure enough, the park is populated with thriving black bears, along with mountain lions, deer, rattlesnakes, and lots of other critters that move between scorched desert to canyon to near-jungle, from cactus flowers to alpines.

Here’s more from the trip.

Big Bend trip report

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Booked: A Texas Road Trip to Austin & Big Bend National Park

I don’t post industry news – and as most of the world remains closed to Americans, I’ve withdrawn inward. Instead of planes, I’ve found solace in my car during the pandemic. My last trip was to Arkansas, and that was back in July.

I’ve been mostly shut-in, but am venturing out again, feeling more empowered and eager to explore. A wandering soul needs to wander.

My next trip is to Big Bend National Park via Austin at the end of this month. Two nights in Austin at the Hyatt Place Austin-North Central, then three nights in Terlingua, TX at this cute Airbnb cabin outside the entrance to Big Bend. Then back to Dallas through Midland and Abilene.

texas road trip 2020

The lil cabin I booked in Terlingua, TX

I used Hyatt points and a free night credit from my Chase World of Hyatt card for the two nights in Austin, so they were completely free. And paid for the Airbnb with my Chase Freedom Flex via PayPal, which is a 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points category in Q4 2020.

That Freedom Flex is a beast, I’m tellin’ ya

The only expenses I’ll have on the trip are gas, food, and pet fees at the Hyatt hotel. I’ve been wanting to visit Big Bend for as long as I’ve lived in Texas.

I took election week off to spend in nature and take a break from all the media and craziness. Coincidentally, I’ll be in Big Bend for Day of the Dead this year.

Texas road trip 2020

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5 Easy Ways to Earn Points for Airbnb Stays (Updated 2020)

save on airbnb

My friend Meghan asked if I knew of any ways to save on an Airbnb booking. I gave the obvious one – get up to $35 off a booking with a new account.

save on airbnb

New to Airbnb? Save $20 off your first $200+ stay, plus get $15 off your first $50+ experience booking

Most everyone has an Airbnb account by now. But if you don’t, here’s my link if you’d like to sign up (and I’ll get a $10 travel credit as well).

That’s honestly the biggest savings. Still, there are other ways to get a return on your Airbnb stay: earn points or miles for it. Depending how you like to redeem them, you can get big value by stacking a few of the methods I’ll tell you about.

Lezz begin, shall ve?

5 ways to earn points and miles for Airbnb stays

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Allbirds: The perfect travel shoes? (Updated 2020)

allbirds review

It’s weird to write about travel shoes in the middle of a pandemic. But I wanted to refresh this article since it’s been up for a while and I have more experience to reflect on.

My first encounter with Allbirds was an article with the kinda clickbait-y title, “The Most Comfortable Shoes in the World.” I rolled my eyes a bit but definitely clicked on it. Because I like to take one pair of shoes with me when I travel: the ones on my feet. So I was curious what had been singled out as “the one.”

Before Allbirds, my go-to was New Balance. They have that appearance of “casual athletic” – and of course the big reflective “N” logo – so I’m comfort-over-style.

For the last three years, I’ve been wearing Allbirds more often than not.

allbirds review

Hanging in my Allbirds

The idea of a comfortable and attractive shoe lured me in. They come in basic colors, they’re $95 a pop, and the founders are committed to design, sustainability, and ethical standards.

What began as a six-month test evolved into a brand preference. And I still get comments about them all the time.

Each pair lasts me ~9 months. I’m on my third or fourth pair by now. Safe to say I’m now a fan.

My Allbirds review, three years later

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My first vacation during coronavirus was really weird

I had to get out. My last trip was to Cabo San Lucas in early March. So for the July 4 “holiday weekend,” I met my mom and stepdad in Heber Springs, AR. It’s a cute mountain town ~45 minutes north of Little Rock.

We booked two nights at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Heber Springs. I had plenty of IHG points – and they’re the only pet-friendly place in town for a road trip with the pup.

After being home for 4 months and only leaving to get groceries, I was ready to be anywhere.

my first coronavirus vacation

What a unique name for a sandy beach

I started out by taking photos of the hotel room as if I was going to do a review and trip report like old times. Well that lasted about two seconds before I realized traveling during this pandemic is just a really weird experience.

From what I saw, about half were taking the virus seriously. And the other half were carrying on like nothing was happening. It was a really strange vibe to reconcile in my mind.

Now that I struck out and traveled, I don’t think I can enjoy trips the way I used to. It wasn’t the same. Maybe I’m not ready for the new normal?

Heber Springs, AR: The site of my first coronavirus vacation

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Ways to support Out and Out during the COVID-19 pandemic

What a strange time to be a travel blogger. And what an especially strange time to be a travel blogger who’s also interested in personal finance topics. I can’t travel, and the economy is going through one of the rockiest, decline-iest, bear market-yist times in a generation – or a lifetime. #iquit #not

There’s no question page views and blog revenues are declining right now. There’s simply lack of interest and people are more preoccupied with daily existence rather than aspirational trips and points balances. I’m still here and ready to get back those types of reports. Trust me, I’m ready to book an epic trip the second things return to normal (in my cabin fever haze).

But what really rattled me was when my company slashed everyone’s salary and started cutting expenses left and right. So now I’m low-key worried about my future and thought – well, there’s no harm in asking for support. Plus, many readers might not know there are so many ways to support the blogs they enjoy. Including mine.

It’s always been hard for me to ask for support. But I figure nothing ventured, nothing gained. And oh, how I’d like to venture right now!

Ways to support Out and Out

Cheers to the many years this blog has been around

Many of the ways you can support are super simple – by clicking a link at no cost to you. Affiliate links are free for you and directly support the blogger of your choice – including me.

And most links have a benefit to you in the form of promotions for services we’re mutually interested in.

I encourage everyone to support the blogs, little guys, small businesses, and local joints they love – we need you more than ever during this pandemic. So please please please use our links!

I will also go ahead and say thank you for the first of many times throughout this post. Thank you for your support!

Ways to support Out and Out

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Review of My $100 Stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

Writing this now is so weird because my last trip was exactly a month go today. In early March, I headed to Cabo San Lucas to enjoy a 4-night stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. Read about how I booked it for $100 per person – including flights – for what would’ve been a $2,600 trip.

And now I’m reminiscing because I don’t know when my next trip will be, which would’ve seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago. I have FinCon set up in Long Beach in early October. Sure hope I can still get to that. But no jet-setting or hopping around the globe for a while. I’m craving a nice long trip to Europe. ✈️🇪🇺

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos review

Cabo was my last trip in a pre-virus world. Here I am a month ago at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

So I’ll take my time writing this one. While we were in Cabo, word was already starting to circulate about this mysterious new virus. But it wasn’t in full effect yet.

Because of the constant news cycles and information, I feel like this trip was years ago instead of four weeks. 😝

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos review

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