Ex-Waitress' Guide to World Travel

How to earn frequent flyer miles even if you are not a frequent flyer

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

The intro says that I am an international marathoner. Guess what I used to do before that. I have probably served you a meal at one of the restaurants where I've waited tables in Houston. I know your next question….How does a waitress afford traveling to places like China, Africa, and Iceland? Sometimes more than once a year. I have three words for you….Frequent Flyer Miles! They are your best friend and if you are not a rich, but you want to travel, they should be a priority in your life. Few people know this method, so I'm going to do better than tell you. I'm going to show you.

All major airlines have a rewards program. I fly United Airlines because I like all of the airlines they partner with in Star Alliance. Their rewards program is called Mileage Plus. It is free to join. The big question is: How do you earn enough miles to afford an international trip?

To come up with this answer, we need to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. If I could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? (Sky is the limit, literally).
  2. Who am I as a person? Describe my lifestyle.
  3. What do I spend my money on every single day?

We are about to turn the answers to these questions into miles into the dollars we will save off of our trip. I'm going to use myself as an example. I've always wanted to see Machu Picchu. There is a marathon this year on the Inca Trail. What's the first thing I do? I go the United.com to look up how much the flight to Lima, Peru would be. Lima is the closest international airport to Machu Picchu. After looking the cost of a round trip in October, I find that the price is $2275. Do I want to pay this? No way.

Let's redo the details of this trip, but using a reward miles search instead ofdollars. Now we know that this trip will now cost 40,000 miles and $73.36 in taxes and fees. Wow, from $2275 to $74. Can this be true? Yes, it can. Next Question.

Who am I as a person?

We are all different. I do not spend money like you and nor do you like me. I am a woman who does not like to shop for expensive clothes. I don't like trying them on in the store. I rent, but I do use services like electricity under my name. I spend money on maintaining my older car, light makeup and hair products, but I love going out to eat at restaurants (restaurants are in my blood). I also own my own business, so I have business expenses like marketing materials. We will stop there. I think that is enough information. Next question.

What do I spend money on every day?

With this in mind, go to the earn rewards section of your rewards program. Start researching on how you can earn as many miles as possible. We are looking for miles only. Here are a few things that jump out at me that I can begin implementing in my life.

United GoBank Card:

Without even taking out a new line of credit, you can use this card to purchase everyday items, like gas, groceries, and whatever. You earn 1 mile per $2 spent up to 2500 miles (15,000 miles for six months)

Change your energy provider to Reliant using the Milage Plus promo code:

This action gets you 27,000 miles. There a couple of conditions: You will only get 21,000 by October and you have to sign a two year contract with Reliant at .15/kwhr. It's kinda high, but you decide how bad you want to go to Machu Picchu.


Milage Plus Shopping:

You can earn points by shopping online at the places that you shop all of the time. I'm looking at the stores. I need contacts, business cards and posters, running shoes and clothes, hair products, tires for my car, and a brake job.

1800 Contacts $4/mile

Saucony Running Shoes $3/mile

Auto Zone $1/mile

Kerastase shampoo $2/mile

Vista Print $2/miles

Discount Tires $2 mile (just as long as don't send tires to my apartment.

If you add everything together, these items could mean 3,850 miles. You can bump that up by making all these purchases with the GoBank card and increase your miles to 5,775.


Gift Cards

You can purchase gift cards through the rewards programs to your favorite places. This could also help you budget your spending better or could be gifts that you were going to buy anyway. These are the places that I use:

Buffalo Wild Wings $4/mile

McCormick and Schmicks $5/mile

Hello Fresh $4/mile

Saltgrass Steakhouse $5/mile

Charming Charlie's $3/mile

After doing some figuring, I could easily earn 4,004 more miles by the gift card method.

Downloaded Apps

If you download certain apps to your mobile devices from the United Plus website, anything you order from them have automatic miles attached to them. Groupon jumped out at me. I'm always looking for a deal on oil changes, massages, and other stuff. You can earn $11/mile. So, the eye exam I needed that could cost $120 or more, will cost $60 and I'll earn 660 miles and so forth. Looks like I'm going to be on that Groupon app often. Let's say, I'll spend $400 on Groupon. That's 4400 miles.

Grand Total

So let's add it up and see what we have miles we will have by October I'm so excited!

GoBank 15,000 miles

Reliant Switch 21,000 miles

Shopping 5,775 miles

Gift Cards 4,004 miles

Downloaded Apps 4,400 miles

Total: 50,179 miles

Guess What? I'm going to Machu Picchu with some miles left over. You can also use miles to make hotel reservations, too. There you have it. Now you can be a world traveler too.

Kick your vacation up a notch and get exercise!

6 bucket list run routes in the world's best bucket list destinations. You are welcome!

Pixabay.com

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

World travel is a wonderful gift that not everyone will experience. One of the things that I hate about travel is finally making it to the destination after a 15-22 hour flight just to get caught in the tourist’s trap. You know when the only thing on your itinerary is museums, clubs, and restaurants. And because I'm the international marathoner, I totally recommend getting some exercise on your vacation, at least one day. Here is my list of bucket list runs or walks to do in the world's best bucket list destinations.


Get a little wet on Barcelona's beach.Pixabay.com

Take a run down Las Ramblas to the beaches of Barcelona, Spain.

Las Ramblas is a famous shopping and dining boulevard in the center of Barcelona. Along it, you will see musicians giving impromptu concerts. I swear to God, the most beautiful people in the world, and some of the best tapas in Catalan. Take Las Ramblas all the way down to the beaches of Barcelona. Once you are there, it is fair game. Barcelona is full of partiers. And they go all night. Make this a night run, not only will it be cooler, but much more interesting. Be at your risk, Barcelona is the only place that I felt totally high while being completely sober.


Run the Louvre for the best Instagram pics.Pixabay.com

Take the perfect morning long run in Paris, France.

Because of Paris' best tourism is in the city center, you should be able to see the best of Paris in one run. Start at Notre Dame, the cathedral of the hunchback, making the Eiffel tower your next stop before crossing the Seine River. Run down the Champs Elysse to finish in the Louvre Square. Of course, we are on vaca, so we are in no rush. Take time to take pics for your social media. Wish you were here.


This is the Real Bellagio.Pixabay.com

Run intervals in Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy is small towns situated around a large lake and surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you want to know what peace feels like, go to Lake Como. This one is a different type of adventure, but I swear Lake Como is the safest place on earth. Tie on your shoes and run to the ferry. The ferry goes to about 5 towns. Run two miles in the next town, walk back on the ferry and repeat. The ferry provides for good rest time and one of these towns is the real Bellagio! Eat your heart out Vegas!


Run across the Chain Bridge in Budapest.Pixabay.com

Take a photo run from Buda to Pest in Budapest, Hungary

You can get an amazing run in one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. Start with a picture of you tossing up your baseball cap at Heroes Square. This is just a start. Run towards the Parliament and along the Danube River that divides Buda from Pest. Take photos of the Royal castle in Buda (across the river) and of the many creative statues along the way before crossing the Szechenyi(Chain) Bridge to Buda. Stop and take pics of the picturesque sites and the ferocious lions on the bridge before taking the hilly challenge up to the castle. Take in the grand view of Pest (the Parliament). And to think that communism just ended in the 1989.


A dramatic finish in San Marcos Square.Pixabay.com

Run to a dramatic ending at San Marcos Square in Venice, Italy.

A run, in Venice, will make you truly feel like a mouse in a maze searching for cheese. You will run down this walk just to hit a wall, literally. So you turn to the right, go down a little way and guess what, another wall. Before you get flustered, just go with it. Mix in frustration and the unknown with endorphins. After much mental and physical work, you will come to a clearing…..San Marcos Square, a wonderful picture worthy prize for your adventure!


Watch your step in Bangkok!Pixabay.com

Run with the Wild in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand does not seem like the place you would want to take a run. If you have ever been there, you know the motorcyclists make it impossible to run or walk in the road. So, you hear about this park from the locals called Lumphini Park. You as the avid runner has to get your fitness, so you go. It seems like such a peaceful park until you see a five foot monitor lizard just walking along the path. Then another and another. Little did you know that this park was full of 5 foot monitor lizards. Run at your own risk at Lumphini Park! I did and I came back alive!

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