Once an idea finds coupling with an interest, it is at that time new and meaningful things begin to happen. My passion for travel planning is now a full-blown hobby. Simply pulling up Google Maps provides an endless source of destinations, each of which of course has a name, but perhaps also an interesting story. Placing myself into that story is one of the most culturally respectful rites and socially entertaining sensations I can experience. Full immersion. I am now living in another world, others’ world.
Booked a flight to Miami (MIA) from LaGuardia airport (LGA) for a visit next month in late June.
LaGuardia (LGA) → Miami (MIA) → Newark (EWR)
A rough outline of the costs involved:
- 15,000 Avios miles redeemed:
- 7,500 LGA-MIA ($168.10 equivalent fare ) – $0
- 7,500 MIA-EWR ($168.10 equivalent fare) – $0
- 1 night in Hilton Bentley South Beach ($402.10 equivalent rate) – $0
- 3 nights via Airbnb in the Wynwood Arts District ($325.00 total equivalent rate) – $153.97
- Public Transportation – $0
- Uber × 3 – $0
The itinerary has been a joy to assemble!
Internet explorations can take a person to such strange lands. Finding a place to stay for a night in Cincinnati and then a second night in Washington took me over to Couchsurfing. After a quick search in the DC area it turns out that there are quite a few hosts. One in particular, Jordan K, really stood out with his 268 references. Reading through his profile it is apparent that Jordan isn’t a guy just offering up his couch. “There is a lot to see so be prepared to walk until your feet fall off!!!” is how he ends his couch description. By linking directly from his profile to “How to Be a Good Guest” on CouchWiki, it appears Jordan fully endorses the cultural sharing aspect of Couchsurfing.
What a cool guy!
It’s called “manufactured spending,” and I am not on the cutting edge of this hobby. Unlike with computer hardware, for me manufactured spending (MS) is a strange, new and exciting unexplored world, people have been pursuing this hobby for at least 2 decades. Consider the following scenario: You apply for a credit card with a lucrative sign-up bonus. The bonus, however, is awarded only after spending a certain amount of money—usually a lot—within a given time frame. How to spend so much? Enter the hobby of creating the appearance that money is being spent, when actually it is not. Briefly, this is one out of many methods to do so:
- With a new credit card holding a lucrative bonus behind a big spending barrier, meet this threshold by buying Vanilla Reload gift cards (VGC) at a CVS, Duane Reade, or Walgreens pharmacy store
- Unload these gift cards into an American Express Bluebird account from a Wal-Mart Money Center kiosk
- Transfer the funds electronically from Bluebird to your bank account
- Pay off the credit card balance from your bank account as per usual