Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Ninh-Binh-dragon-hike-2We decided to do a last minute day trip from Hanoi. Really last minute. Like at check out we decided to get an Uber.

Carrie found on Google Maps a weird town called Ninh Binh the day before.

Weird karst stone pillars and cliffs separated by flooded rice fields and rivers.

This post is about why this is such a cool day trip (or longer), why it’s super easy and cheap to do, and the “things to do” in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Also, if you missed the TravelisFree Instagram Stories we were posting live on the trip, we saved and posted the videos on Facebook – so here is our video of our 24 hours in Ninh Binh.

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Everything About the Southwest Companion Pass

It’s the time of year to talk about the Southwest companion pass, which may be the best airline benefit you can earn from credit cards. (See How Long The Southwest Companion Pass Lasted Us).

By earning it at the beginning of the year you can have free flying for almost two years.

If you earn 110,000 Southwest points within a calendar year, you get free flying for a companion through the next calendar. A companion will get to fly with you for free on any Southwest flight you take, whether it’s paid for with cash or points. And 110,000 Southwest points will last a long time!

This post will outline:

  • Earning the Southwest Companion Pass from Southwest credit cards
  • Alternative ways to earn the Companion Pass (going away soon)
  • How to use the Companion Pass

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5 Tips Before You Use Your British Airways Avios

Avios are likely the easiest frequent flyer miles to earn for free via credit cards, but BA doesn’t make it easy to understand their program.

They have 3 award charts, inconsistent pricing on fuel surcharges, and distance based pricing. In other words, you can pay wildly different prices for the same route.

I show how you can pay $128 for an AA flight from Dallas to Rome… or you can pay $320 for an AA flight from Dallas to Rome. I show you the tools and resources to get lower prices, and to hopefully make sense of it all.

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Cost Breakdown of 18 Days in Albania

This is a delayed cost breakdown of all the expenses from our trip to Albania and Macedonia. As usual, we keep track of all of our expenses while traveling, so this is exact and may help you get an idea for how much a trip like this would cost, and where our money went.

Check out the pictures of beautiful Albania (5 nights were in Macedonia).

Or check out two of my videos: Hiking in Theth, and The Blue Eye hike.

This post will discuss:

  1. How much we spent. Down to the penny on food, flights, hotels.
  2. Breakdown on everywhere we stayed, and costs.
  3. Car Rental

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(New) Unbelievably Cheap Points Hotels

Since I’ve now updated our Complete Maps, I decided to go through each chain and pick out the best deals.

The idea is that category 1 hotels can cost a fraction of the top tier hotels, and yet some are actually really nice or in great locations.

For example, you could get 19 nights at a category 1 Hilton for the price of 1 night at the top tier… and that’s before 5th night free. And still 9 nights of a category 2, which actually has decent hotels.

Generally, these are hotels I would actually want to visit because of the hotel and destination. Maybe I wouldn’t go back and spend a lot of time in Jakarta, but I seem to layover there a bit, so I included it.

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
Go to About Me to learn more.