19 February 2019


Anyone else scrolling through random travel photos on social media, dreaming about their next vacation? Wanderlust has become one of the top used hashtags for travel photos on Instagram at nearly ninety-five million posts and counting! What does this beautiful word even mean? Simply put, it means a strong desire to travel. A lot of people experience it at some point in their life, if not their entire life.

So, how does one afford to travel? I’m not going to tell you that it is simple and I have a magical method, but I will share with you some tips that I have found useful with the dreaded flight and accommodation hunt that deems necessary to fulfill this strong desire known so poetically as wanderlust.


Plan your trip as early as possible. This will allow you to do some research and have some time to watch prices. Although there are debates regarding whether using incognito mode in your browser is, or is not, beneficial when doing repeated flight searches, I tend to use it. Why not? I know that when I search for anything online, it suddenly starts showing up in advertising everywhere I go online. Incognito mode prevents my flight search from being used in potential false advertisements later.

Always sign up for airline mile rewards programs and book directly when possible. Try to continuously use the same airline or partner airline(s) so that you are earning miles that can later be used for upgrades or even free flights! Some credit cards allow you to earn miles with specific airlines. If you are in the market for a new card, this is something to consider.
Be sure to read all of the fine print. A lot of airlines charge extra for checked bags and some airlines even charge extra for a carry-on bag. Details are your friend when traveling and especially when booking flights. Being caught off guard at the beginning of a trip is not a fun way to start an adventure.

Flight cost will most likely be the largest travel expense you have. If you are aware of this ahead of time, you should be able to budget properly and not feel overwhelmed when you plan your trip.


Chances are if you want to do some traveling, that means you are a bit adventurous but are you open-minded? If so, finding accommodations will be easy-peasy. There are a plethora of options other than the typical big-brand hotels and resorts including the widely popular Airbnb, bed and breakfasts, hostels, and those quaint local motels. Again, do your research so that you do not end up in a dump or an unsafe location. Reading reviews has proven the most helpful when booking accommodations. TripAdvisor and Google reviews have been extremely helpful for me, but don’t limit yourself. Use what works best for you.

If you want to stay for free, it will take some time and effort but is a huge payoff. Imagine staying in a water villa, at a luxury resort, on a private island in the Maldives, free of charge. Not to brag, maybe just a little, but we did that and words cannot properly describe how amazing that experience was.

Ready to get started? First, you will need to sign up for a hotel rewards program. This is always free and allows you to earn points for your stays. I would suggest choosing one brand you prefer or choosing one high-end brand and one mid-level brand that are popular around the world. Most brands have a credit card that will allow you to earn points through everyday purchases. If you have already decided to obtain a credit card that earns you flight miles, stay with that or decide which rewards program would be more beneficial for your travel style. Companies tend to award signup bonus points, so be sure to browse around looking for their advertising. Most of these cards do come with a yearly fee, but some of them also offer a free stay on your anniversary. When you do the math, you will end up prepaying a discounted rate for a stay, so it is no loss to you. If you’re worried about not being able to build up enough points for free stays, start thinking about every time you use your debit or current credit card for purchases. Those could be points. Just be sure not to go bananas with purchases and pay off your card every month. The goal is to earn points, not go into debt.

Now it’s your turn! Get out there and explore. Post those #wanderlust worthy pictures. And don’t forget to pass along your own advice.  

08 February 2015

Text from Steve James

05 April 2014

Text From Steve James

14 December 2013

Sometimes the cart people get wild...

Cart people: transients that wander the streets of Portland pushing shopping carts full of bottles and cans that they have collected to cash in for money.

One night, there was a very angry and amusing cart person screaming at our building. I gathered from his ranting that he stashed his guitar next to the dumpster so he could go collect cans down the street. When he returned, it was gone. Here is a clip from what I recorded. Enjoy!