A $20,000 Vacation

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$20,000. On a 2 week vacation. Can you imagine? Me neither! Thankfully by using credit card points deliberately (“travel hacking“), we were able to take a dream vacation to Sri Lanka (post coming soon) and the Maldives with FREE flights and accommodations for all four of us. Wanting to go to the Maldives with points? Here’s the details on how we made our $20,000 vacation happen at a fraction of the cost.

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Conrad Rangali Maldives with Kids


(This was a pre-COVID era trip.) Like many of you, we had heard about the Maldives and seen the stunning pictures, but sort of imagined it wouldn’t ever be in the cards for us. When we realized it was, we gladly jumped on the chance, combining it with a week long trip to Sri Lanka. While many of the insta-famous destinations are overrated, I can say without a doubt, that the Maldives is not one of them. It’s truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and one of the very few I’d gladly return to again and again. So we earned the points, booked the trip, and off we went to Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives!

Thinking about taking kids with you to Conrad on Rangali Island in the Maldives? Check out our trip report below! Wondering how to afford a vacation to the Maldives? See the breakdown of how we used travel hacking to pay for it with credit card points

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Zanzibar with Kids


(This was a pre-COVID era trip.) Before and after our safari in Selous, we spent time exploring the island of Zanzibar. Now part of Tanzania, it was once a part of Oman, so we really wanted to explore it while it’s not too long of a flight away. Plus, the kids had not yet been to Africa, and we had not yet been south of the Equator. So, we packed up and away we went!

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Safari with Little Kids


Thinking about going on a safari with young kids? Looking at a safari in Africa but wondering what age is right? We just returned from a safari in Tanzania with our kids (ages 5 and 6), and I’m excited to share what we learned with you. Read more

Travel Hacking Primer

Points paid for our hotel in Thailand and my parents, too.

One question that is often asked is, “How do you afford to travel so much?” Travel has always been a budgeted part of our monthly expenses, however, lately we have also been using “travel hacking” strategies to get more for our dollars. Travel hacking is using credit card rewards (miles, points, benefits) to reduce the overall costs of traveling. Doing so smartly can even make travel free. New to travel hacking? Here is what you need to know.

To be clear, when I say reduce costs, I mean it. Free airport food, reimbursed TSA pre-check, free flights, free flight upgrades, free hotel upgrades, free hotel stays…the list goes on. Coming up we have 13 nights in Sri Lanka and the Maldives plus flights for 4 totally covered with benefits and points. Sound good? Read on to find out how to make your cards work for you, too. Read more

India with Kids (Part 2)


Miss part 1 of our trip to India? Catch up here.

After two nights in Ranthambhore we headed to Agra, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri on the way. Fatehpur was intended to be the capital city of the Mughal Empire, but was abandoned after 14 years due to lack of available water. It’s quite well preserved and isn’t crowded, a nice place to break up the drive. Our guide did mention sticking to the single site and not exploring the ruins around town. Read more

India with Kids

Spring Break tends to be a time of exciting travel for our family. Tuscany, Egypt, Israel, Germany…it’s a great time to get away, take a break, and explore new places. This year we decided to up the adventure and head to INDIA! Depending on what type of traveler you are this either sounds like a fantastic or terrible idea. (My husband and I were one of each.)

The biggest advice I have for India with kids is to make it as easy on yourself as possible. This is not the trip to do public transportation and hostels with children. It is easy and affordable to hire drivers and guides before arriving and to find excellent hotels. Well trained guides and smart hotels can help you choose ways to support the community that are helpful, rather than harmful. Read more

Pro Packing Tips

Looking for packing hacks? Let me share some of my top packing tips and travel products with you! PS, if you are looking for tips on how to pack everything for 98 weeks of travel in one bag, this is not the post for you. Gone are the days of washing a shirt in the hotel sink.

Alternate title: Packing like a pro who has children and needs stuff. 

Alternate title: Like Oprah’s favorite things but I only give you links.  Read more