• LIFE,  marriage

    The Best Wedding Decision We Made

    Yesterday we went to our second wedding of the year and it made us think about our wedding. There are lots of things we wish we did differently as we look back, most notably hire a videographer, but there are many things we are very happy about. One decision in particular was by far our best.

    We’ve been married for three and a half years so far. Yes, it has gone incredibly fast thus far.

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    When we were getting married we planned it right around the time we knew that my board exam was going to be. To become a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) in BC you have to write a board exam which is an exam given by the governing body of all the RMTs in the province. That exam happens twice per year, in March and September. We had planned our wedding for September 5th so we knew there was a risk of the exam falling within our honeymoon time. Historically, the exam has been in the last two weeks of September so we took our chances and the odds were good.

    We planned for an ten day honeymoon, September 5th – 15th. So as long as the exam was the 16th or later we would we okay. The date the exam was scheduled for? September 13th. Well, that sucks. So we had to cancel our honeymoon, flights and hotel, and rebook. Luckily, we only lost on a few bucks as the airline gave us a credit for almost the full amount of the flights and the hotel gave us all of our money back. We still wanted to have some time away during our first few days of marriage so we decided to just go to Whistler for the weekend (we got married on a Friday) and reschedule our honeymoon for a later date. We could have just done a week holiday somewhere so I was back in time for the exam but delaying our honeymoon was by far the best decision we ever made. Plus Sam started school that Monday so logistically it made sense to delay it.

    We didn’t rebook the honeymoon right away but after my exam was over we started looking. If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time you’ll know we’re always on the hunt for a good deal. And a good deal we found. Groupon is one of our favourite apps, we recently went overour favourite apps for travelling families and it made the list, because it always has a deal. If you aren’t familiar with Groupon, it is a website where companies market themselves by providing their product or service at a discount.  There are hotels, restaurants, nail salon, etc on there. For our honeymoon, I found a deal where we would pay $99/night for a King apartment at a resort in the Dominican Republic. Our apartment had a full living room, king size bed, full bathroom, kitchen, and balcony. In our little section of the resort there were about 25 apartments that shared a pool.

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    The resort was massive. It took at least a half an hour just to walk from one side to the other. One of the perks of booking through Groupon was that we got VIP status at the resort. That meant we got access to private pools and private beaches. The private pool was right near our apartment and was where we spent most of our time. There was always a private cabana available which was perfect. The private beach has private cabanas too, but those were only available if you got there early enough to reserve one. The resort has eight different restaurants that you could make a reservation at and we ate at all of them plus the buffet a couple of nights.

    That honeymoon was twelve days in the Dominican Republic at an all inclusive resort where we paid $1,800 total. You can do the math and realize this was a steal of a deal. And we went in December.

    So why was waiting three months after the wedding to have our honeymoon the best decision we made? Two reasons:

    • it gave us something to look forward to
    • it gave us time to build our relationship with one another

    The first reason is pretty self explanatory. After getting married, most couples go on a honeymoon for usually two weeks. That’s definitely something worth looking forward to but what about after the wedding? There’s nothing left to look forward to. In the time before the wedding you’re looking forward to the wedding. After the wedding you go straight into the honeymoon and then it’s over.

    For us, we obviously were looking forward to the wedding then we got to go on a mini-honeymoon after the wedding for a weekend. Then we had something in the future to look forward to. For all of the spring and summer of 2014 we had the wedding to look forward to then for the fall of 2014 we had the honeymoon to look forward to. For us, it worked well because we had something to get excited about for almost the whole year rather than doing it all at once and having nothing but regular life to look forward to (not that that’s bad but most people would agree vacation is better).

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    The second reason might need some explanation but for anyone who is married you’ll know that married life isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies right off the bat, if ever. If yours was, please let us know your secret. Ours took a while to get used to how the other person does things and you quickly realize how different the other person is than you are. It’s usually the little things like how your spouse loads the dishwasher, what their bedtime routine is, where they store things in the kitchen, stuff you never would have considered being an issue before the wedding. But trust us, it can take some getting used to.

    Also, the sex is better after a few months. For those who have never had sex together before the wedding, wedding night sex will feel like the best sex ever by default but as time goes on you soon realize it isn’t even close. Research has shown that the best sex usually comes after ten years of marriage. Yes, ten! That being said, it will hopefully be better after three months of marriage than it is after three days of marriage.

    Now, if you’ve lived together before and been sleeping together before the wedding then the second reason doesn’t really apply but the first one still does and giving yourself a vacation to look forward to is always a good idea.

    Having something to look forward to, knowing your partner better, and having time to build all aspects of your relationship made delaying our honeymoon the best wedding decision we made.

    What was the best wedding decision you ever made? Let us know below in the comments.

    Never stop adventuring!

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    The Best Apps for Traveling Families

    Like most people, whenever we travel, our smartphones always come with. It’s like a personal travel agent in your pocket. With all the millions of apps in the App Store you can have everything you need to make your travels go smoothly all on one device. We are going to share with you some of the apps that we use all the time when we travel and maybe help you make your travels go a little easier.

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    Google Maps

    We looked long and hard for a good map app and honestly there just isn’t anything that can beat Google Maps. Google Maps can even be used offline if you plan ahead and download the area you are concerned with ahead of time. To download maps offline here are the steps:

    Open Google Maps > click the three horizontal lines in the top left > click offline maps > click custom map > move screen to the area you want to download > click download

    When traveling in a new city this is especially helpful when wanting to find landmarks, facilities, or just get directions. If you have something that beats Google Maps let us know, we’re always open to trying new things.

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    LoungeBuddy

    Being the points family that we are, we are often in airports with lounges that we have access to. Lounges are great because they provide you with a space to relax and get away from the chaos of the airport prior to your flight. They also usually provide complimentary food and drinks (sometimes alcohol is included) which is always appreciated rather than buying the overpriced, poor quality food on the flight.

    LoungeBuddy is great because it will tell you exactly what lounge you have access to whether it’s before you take off or after you land. After you create an account you will have to provide some basic personal information like your name, home airport and email address. The best thing about LoungeBuddy is that you can also input your airline elite statuses, lounge memberships, credit cards you have, and whether or not you’re an active US Military member. This is where LoungeBuddy really shines because after you put that information in it will always tell you exactly which lounge in which airport you have access to and whether the access is free or paid and whether you will be able to bring in guests or not and if they are free or paid.

    Basically, any time we are traveling, I always look up the airports we will be in to see which lounges we have access to because, especially traveling with kids, they can be a life saver pre-flight.

    If you are interested in knowing more about getting lounge access, it’s very easy and comes as a perk with some credits cards. Check out the Business Platinum and Platinumcards from American Express for unlimited lounge access as long as the card is active.

    TripScout

    Okay, in all honesty, we just got this app today and it’s already a favourite. For being a LoungeBuddy member we both got codes to download up to $9.99 worth of TripScout cities and we love it.

    How it works is you download the app for free then just pay per city map that you want. In each city map you will have all the popular shops, parks, restaurants, monuments, even Instagrammable locations mapped out for you already. Plus, you can download everything so it is available offline including directions from your location to whatever destination you choose (has to be one on their map). Sam got two codes so for our trip we downloaded Paris, Athens, and Santorini. There are some things on here that we didn’t even know about from our Google searches so it seems to really be worth it.

    Sam’s favourite feature is that you can sort what you want to see on the map through their filters. If you only want the map to shore restaurants you can do that. If you only want to see the monuments you can choose that. This way it doesn’t get overwhelming. This app is quickly making our trip planning a lot easier.

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    AirBnB

    We don’t always stay in luxury hotels when we travel so it’s really nice to have the AirBnB app on hand. Often times, depending on the city you’re in, you can get some really awesome deals staying in other people’s places and AirBnB is the best way to do so.  When we traveled to New York City last year, we stayed in a basement suite in Brooklyn for only $108/night when everything else was easily over $150/night and hotels were well into the $200+ range. Plus, it’s really cool to use AirBnB for your accommodations sometimes because you can get some really unique places to stay in that a hotel would never offer.

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    WD My Cloud

    WD My Cloud is how we store all of our photos. Taking photos is one of the things we love to do, as you can tell from our Instagram account, so rather than taking up all the space on our phone or our laptop, we needed somewhere to store all of them. Enter, WD My Cloud. This device plugs into your WiFi router and acts as a cloud storage device. Since it’s connected to WiFi (by being connected to your router) it can be accessed from anywhere that you have an internet connection. Even in our day to day living we upload to the device often to minimize the space our photos take up on our devices. Since the WD My Cloud is 2 Terabytes of storage, we are not worried about running out of space anytime soon.

    This device is great because all we need is internet to move photos. So, even when we’re abroad, once we get a WiFi connection, we upload the days worth of photos. The device doesn’t just store photos, it can store anything you upload to it whether that’s videos, documents or other information.

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    Lightroom CC

    Before we post to Instagram, most of our photos get an edit. Lightroom CC is our favourite app to do that with. In our opinion, it gives the widest variety of things to do with your photo. For those with a little bit of experience in photo editing, the one thing we love most about Lightroom CC is the ability to edit hue, saturation, and luminance of colours. We have found that this is not available as a free option on any of the other photo editing apps. Adobe is by far the leader in photo editing, so why not use their app for that as well?

    If you want to do things like edit RAW photos or sync with your desktop version of Lightroom, you’ll need to have an Adobe Creative Cloud CC membership. That is not free, but for what we use it for, it is a great app and it does everything we need and it does it the best.

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    Groupon

    If you aren’t already aware, we love deals. Any chance we get to save money we take. Groupon is a company that allows businesses to promote their company by offering their services at a discount on Groupon. As a consumer, this is great because you often get activities, restaurants, and services at a great rate and the quality is often still very high. Whenever we travel to a new city we always check out what that city has on Groupon. More often than not, we find a great deal on something, usually a restaurant or a local activity.

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    Spotify

    We love Spotify. We use it all the time. We use it in our house. We use it in our car. We use it whenever we need a musical fix. We have the paid version because we like to be able to download playlists and have them available to us offline. This is great when you’re on a plane or in a city where you don’t have WiFi/data to use. There are many apps out there that allow you to play music, Spotify is our favourite.

    Then there are the apps we only use sometimes:

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    Google Translate

    It seems like Google has their hand in everything these days and whenever they have their technology in a sector they seem to do it really well. This is the case with Google Translate as well. We will soon be in Europe where not everyone will always speak English, though most tourist cities you can usually find someone who does, and this app will likely come in handy.

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    Lyft/Uber

    Lyft and Uber are the two most well known ride share companies. Since we don’t have Lyft or Uber in Vancouver, we don’t keep these apps on our phone. But when we travel, we’re usually in a city that does have them so we will download them. Whenever we need to get somewhere, these are our go to. We seem to use Lyft more only because they usually have more coupon codes that we can use but we have used both and they both get the job done well.

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    SeatGuru

    This is a program that we mostly use on desktop but they do have an app that works just as well. SeatGuru is great because it tells you where the best spot to sit on your plane is. Are you going to be too close to the lavatory and have lots of foot traffic go by? Is your seat missing a window? Is your seat cramped because of the curvature of the airplane? All of these questions are answered on SeatGuru. When booking a flight, it is our go to before we decide which seats to reserve.

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    HotelTonight

    HotelTonight is an app that allows you to book a hotel room last minute at a discount. You can book anytime between that day and 7 days out. The hotels they offer are usually very quality hotels and almost always are at a discount compared to rate directly through the hotel, sometimes as high as 50% off. This is a great app if you’re in a city and need a hotel room last minute. The only downside of the app is that it does not offer any hotels in Asia, but other than that we can’t find anything negative about the app.

    Lastly, there are the apps that we are yet to try but sound really helpful:

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    PackPoint

    PackPoint is a packing list app. You input your destination and dates of travel and based on your information it will provide a packing list specific to your destination and time of year that you are in that destination. You can also add information like why you’re going there or what you plan to do there and it will make suggestions to add to your packing list based on what you’ve said. We haven’t tried it yet but this could be a great app to try on our upcoming Europe trip.

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    Citymapper

    While Google Maps is usually pretty good at finding the best route on transit sometimes it’s better to use an app that strictly does one thing and hopefully they do it well. Citymapper is a transit app that gets you from A to B only using transit. This can be especially helpful when in another city and are looking to use transit. Think of cities like New York City, Boston, Paris, Tokyo, cities with large and expansive transit systems that can seem overwhelming. We will be putting it to the test for the first time when we head over to Europe, Paris specifically, and hopefully it does the job well. Citymapper is also available offline which is extremely useful when you don’t have WiFi or don’t want to eat your data.

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    SitorSquat

    Have you ever really had to go but didn’t know where the closest free washroom was? Or better yet have you ever had a kid who really had to go but didn’t know where to take them? On our recent trip to Bali, we first encountered having to pay to use the washroom. While it was usually only cents to go, it was still a paid service which we weren’t used to. SitorSquat shows you where the public washrooms are around you and whether they’re “sit” which means they’re clean or “squat” which means you might just wanna squat.

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    WiFi Map

    WiFi Map is a lot like SitorSquat except for WiFi. Sometimes you just need access to WiFi whether it’s to lookup where you’re going, find a place to eat or just catch up on your Instagram. WiFi Map shows you all the networks around you that you can access. They are either free or if a password is required, the app will tell you what the password is. This is very very useful when you’re in a foreign city and the only WiFi you have access to is the one at the hotel. Now, you can access everything you need from wherever you are. You can also download the WiFi maps of the cities you will be in ahead of time if you don’t have internet access to check where the free WiFi is.

    Those are the apps we use and the ones we are looking forward to using.

    What are your favourite apps to use when traveling?

    Never stop adventuring!

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    How To Do Disneyland In One Day

    Since we’ve been married we’ve been fortunate enough to go to Disneyland 3 times. Each time we’ve been we’ve never had more than one day in Disneyland. Needless to say, we’ve become really good at getting all of Disneyland done in one day.

    This one day plan will give you a detailed guide on how to do all the main rides and attractions of Disneyland in one day. We won’t cover food because realistically you can eat wherever you want whenever you want. Plus, Disneyland let’s you bring in your own food so pack lots of snacks and water.

    There are also a few optional things you can do to make your day in Disneyland longer, if something is considered optional, we will make that very obvious as it usually comes at an additional cost or involves cutting something else out of your day.

    Last thing before we get started, during our times at Disneyland we’ve learned some fun facts and throughout this post we will share some of them with you.

    Fun Fact: Disney Cast Members are not allowed to point with one finger (considered rude in some cultures so they always use two fingers) or say “I don’t know”.

    Here is everything we want to accomplish when we go to Disneyland:

    Ride (for sure):

    • Space Mountain
    • Astro Blasters
    • Matterhorn Bobsleds
    • Indiana Jones
    • Splash Mountain
    • Haunted Mansion
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    • Peter Pan’s Flight

    Ride (if time allows):

    • Mad Tea Party
    • It’s A Small World
    • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
    • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
    • Autopia
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Mark Twain Riverboat

    See:

    • Mickey Mouse
    • Disney Parade
    • Disney Fireworks

    Eat:

    • Dole Whip
    • Mickey Beignet

    Now, in order to get everything done in one day you’ll need to start your morning early.

    Optional Choice: If you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian, or Paradise Pier you get a free Magic Morning. Magic Morning allows you into the park one hour earlier than regular park guests. These hotels start at about $300 per night so this is definitely optional. If you choose to do this, we suggest riding Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean then getting an Indiana Jones FASTPASS as soon as the park officially opens to everyone. These mornings alternate between Disneyland and California Adventure, Disneyland’s days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday which means you should stay either Monday, Wednesday, or Friday night at the hotel.

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    We have never actually been there right at opening and have still been able to get everything done that we wanted to. If you want to get everything done then we suggest getting there at least a half hour before open. This means getting there at 7:30am or 8:30am depending on the morning you go.

    The first thing you need to do is get a Space Mountain FASTPASS. Space Mountain is almost always the ride with the longest line. We’ve seen it as long as 3 hours!! We will assume this FASTPASS has a return time of 1:10pm – 2:10pm. This means we can not hold another FASTPASS until 1:10 pm. Since we’ve never actually been at the park right at open, the line is usually already over an hour by the time we get in and that is going to really cut into our day.

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    Optional Choice: do the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. It is usually a short line so you won’t wait long but you can definitely skip it as it is more geared towards the kids. It is very close to Space Mountain so it won’t take much to tack it on.

    One of our favourite rides, since we’re a competitive family, is Astro Blasters. Astro Blasters is a Toy Story themed ride where you need to shoot lasers at targets to receive points. The nice thing is it’s really close to Space Mountain so you don’t have to go far. By now the line should be around 30 minutes which we can wait in.

    Fun Fact: The high score on Astro Blasters is over 2,000,000. Out of our family the best we’ve ever got was 248,000.

    After getting the new high score (send us a screen shot if you did because that’s amazing), we might want to take a quick break and grab a snack. We always bring our own food but there are two things in Disneyland that are must-buys. Unfortunately, we only just learnt about one of them so we have never actually tried it, the Mickey Beignet. These usually are sold out by noon and are only available at the Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans. Now would be a good time to go and grab one of them.

    After eating our delicious treat, we want to go to one of the rides which usually has the longest rides. Since it will still be morning, we want to get in line for a ride that has a short line but usually has a really long line. For us, it’s always a decision between Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain. Whichever of those two rides has the shorter line, we get in that line. We will use our next FASTPASS that we can get at 1:10pm on the other ride. So, if Splash Mountain only has a 40 minute wait and Indiana Jones has a 60 minute wait, get in line for Splash Mountain and then at 1:10pm we will get an Indiana Jones FASTPASS.

    Fun Fact: Mad Tea Party has tea cups with varying speeds. The orange teacup with diamonds and the purple one are the fastest spinners. The two teacups with hearts are the slowest.

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    After Splash Mountain we will head to Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride has no FASTPASS and it is nice and close to both Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain. It also does not have FASTPASS so if we want to do this ride, which we do, we will have to wait for it no matter what. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Haunted Mansion both have FASTPASS so we will use our last FASTPASS of the day on whichever of those has the longest wait time. Remember, though, we can not get another FASTPASS until the start time of our Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain FASTPASS time has started. This means whichever of those two we don’t want to FASTPASS, we will wait in line for right after Pirates of the Caribbean.

    Let’s take a break and recap where we’re at so far:

    • Got a Space Mountain FASTPASS for return between 1:10pm – 2:10pm
    • Rode Astro Blasters
    • Ate a Mickey Beignet
    • Rode Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain (whichever line was shorter)
    • Rode Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Rode Haunted Mansion/Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (whichever line was shorter)

    Now let’s look at things we still want to do:

    • Ride Matterhorn Bobsleds
    • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad/Haunted Mansion
    • Ride Space Mountain
    • Eat Dole Whip
    • Get Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain FASTPASS
    • Ride Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain
    • Ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    • Ride Peter Pan’s Flight
    • Meet Mickey Mouse
    • Watch the parade
    • Watch the fireworks

    Let’s assume now it is 1:10pm, which means we should go to Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain, whichever we haven’t rode yet, and get a FASTPASS for that ride. Let’s assume our return time is between 5:10pm – 6:10 pm which means at 5:10pm we can get our next FASTPASS.

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    To get to the ride we should do next we have to go right by the Tiki Juice Bar, which means it’s time for Dole Whip. This is a must for us because it is the most delicious thing to eat in all of Disneyland and you can’t even argue with us! 🙂

    Fun Fact: Club 33 is a private club in New Orleans Square. Club 33 is also the only place in Disneyland that sells alcohol. Club members pay $10,000 a year plus a $25,000 non-refundable initiation fee and there’s a 14-year waiting list to join.

    After eating our Dole Whip, we need to make sure we use our FASTPASS so we will go to Space Mountain and ride it. The FASTPASS line is usually still long and in our experience we still wait about 10-20 minutes which is significantly shorter than what the normal line will be.

    After Space Mountain, we will head over to the Matterhorn Bobsleds which is in Fantasyland. This ride is another one that is notoriously long to wait for but we have always had really good success going in the single rider line. The reason this works so well is that the bobsleds for this ride seat 5, that means when a family of 4 or 2 pairs get in there is always a leftover seat for you. Sometimes you even get lucky like my family did this past trip, my dad, mom, and brother all got on the same bobsled. If you really want to ride together then you’ll have to wait in line and who knows how long that will be. Taking the single rider line is one of the best ways to cut down on waiting in line and we’ve always had the best success at this ride.

    Fun Fact: Walt Disney had an apartment above the Disneyland Fire Station. When he was at the park he would always have the light on in the window. Since his passing, the light has been permanently on.

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    We will skip all the rides in Toontown because they’re very “kiddie” rides and aren’t something that will give us a ton of enjoyment. We still go there and walk around because it’s such a cool place to be and the best place to see Mickey Mouse, at Mickey Mouse’s house, which we’ve done the past couple times. This wait is usually 30-60 minutes and since you’re in Disneyland, you gotta see Mickey. After that we should head to finish the rest of Fantasyland.

    In Fantasyland, the rides we like to ride are Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Peter Pan’s Flight. These rides do not have FASTPASS available so we will have to wait in line. We’ve never waited much longer than 30 minutes for either of these rides so after an hour or so these rides will both be done.

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    Optional Choice: You can add It’s A Small World to your day but the wait is usually much longer there, although FASTPASS is available there, but remember the FASTPASS rules, which mean you’ll have to wait in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or skip it and do It’s A Small World instead.

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    Now, the Disney Parade times vary by the day so you will need to check that before you go. Usually the parade is either 3:30pm or 6pm and on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday it’s usually both. We’ve always been there over a weekend when both times are available so what we do is we watch the parade at the 6pm and make sure we get good seats that have both a good view of the parade but also a good view of the castle so we can stay in the same spot for the Disney Fireworks. By now it’s probably close to 5pm. This means we should start looking at getting seats for the parade. The parade route can be found on the Disneyland Map but it basically runs from It’s A Small World to the end of Main Street so anywhere along there is a good seat for the parade, but we want to have the same seat for the fireworks which have projections on the castle so we want to be on the north side of the Walt Disney statue between that and the castle along the right hand side to see the parade best. An hour should be enough time to get the seats you want.

    Fun Fact: Disneyland has about 200 feral cats that they release at night to catch mice within the park.

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    Now that we have the seats we want, we need to use our Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain FASTPASS, but we don’t want to lose our seats either. Since we’re saving seats for the parade and fireworks we will have to take turns riding Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain in groups. Not a big deal because good seats for the parade and fireworks are definitely worth it. Also, we can now get another FASTPASS for another ride. So, on our way to Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain, we will stop by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad/Haunted Mansion and get a FASTPASS for whichever one we haven’t done yet. Hopefully they are still distributing FASTPASS tickets for whichever ride we are yet to do because if the day is really busy they might have run out. Make sure you take everyone’s park tickets (including those saving seats for the parade and fireworks) to get the FASTPASS so everyone can return as early as possible. Once the first group has ridden Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain the other group can now go and be back just in time for the parade to start.

    As of now, the Pixar Fest parade is fantastic. This last time we went was the second day of Pixar Fest, both the parade and the fireworks, and as always, Disney did a fantastic job with them and it was spectacular.

    Time for another recap of what we’ve done:

    • Got a Space Mountain FASTPASS for return between 1:10pm – 2:10pm
    • Rode Astro Blasters
    • Ate a Mickey Beignet
    • Rode Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain (whichever line was shorter)
    • Rode Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Rode Haunted Mansion/Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (whichever line was shorter)
    • Ride Matterhorn Bobsleds
    • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • Ride Space Mountain
    • Eat Dole Whip
    • Get Indiana Jones/Splash Mountain FASTPASS
    • Ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    • Ride Peter Pan’s Flight
    • Meet Mickey Mouse
    • See the parade

    We still have to:

    • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad/Haunted Mansion
    • Watch the fireworks

    We are making good time so far because as soon as the parade finishes we can go ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad/Haunted Mansion while waiting for the fireworks to start. Again, since we want to save our seats for the parade, we will have to go ride in groups. If our FASTPASS return time is good for anytime between 8pm – 9pm, then we can use those. Otherwise, we will have to wait in line. The line shouldn’t be too long and both groups should be able to wait in line, ride the ride, and get back to our seats in time for the fireworks.

    Fun Fact: The Dream Suite is a luxury apartment above Pirates of the Caribbean. It is meant to entertain VIP guests but Disney selects random park guests to stay there, too!

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    The Disney Pixar Fest fireworks we saw while we were there this past time were amazing. We won’t give a lot away but there was a flying object in the sky that was very Pixar. It may or may not have involved balloons, sorry if that gave it away.

    After the fireworks it is time to get some sleep after a very long and exhausting, but hopefully fun, day.

    One last recap of everything we did:

    We rode:

    • Space Mountain
    • Astro Blasters
    • Matterhorn Bobsleds
    • Indiana Jones
    • Splash Mountain
    • Haunted Mansion
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    • Peter Pan’s Flight

    We saw:

    • Mickey Mouse
    • Disney Parade
    • Disney Fireworks

    We ate:

    • Dole Whip
    • Mickey Beignet

    IMG_9996

    Hopefully the next time you are in Disneyland you have more than one day to enjoy it, but if you’re crazy like us and have to get it all done in one day then this plan might just be a lifesaver for you as it was for us.

    Fun Fact: The Matterhorn has a basketball court inside it for cast members to play on their break.

    Next week we will go over how to do all of Disneyland in one day with kids so look out for that post.

    Never stop adventuring!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Uncategorized

    Vancouver Travel Hacking Meetup

    We have some very exciting news to share with everyone! We will be co-hosting a second Vancouver Travel Hacking Meetup for all of you. We say co-hosting because we have decided to host with our favourite local travel hacking bloggers, PointsWise!

    We want to take a minute and talk about them because if you don’t want to come to the meetup for us, you sure want to come for them. There is no Canadian Travel Hacking blog that we love more than theirs. Their blog is so full of information which comes in great detail. I (Kyle), frequent all the big blogs that talk about award travel and travel hacking and PointsWise is by far my favourite. Tyler and Brad have traveled extensively on many airlines, have stayed in many hotels and have relaxed in many lounges that whenever I need a review, they’re my first stop. Let’s just say it’s an honour to be hosting this meetup with them.

    The travel hacking meet-up will take place at The St Regis Hotel in Vancouver BC on April 29th from 4-6pm and will cover a variety of topics. Rather than having a traditional ‘speaker/audience’ format, we hope to keep most of the evening informal with plenty of opportunity to network and share ideas! At the meetup we will be talking about a range of topics including the following:

    • Marriott/SPG program changes
    • Manufactured spending
    • Credit card churning
    • Leveraging referral programs
    • Identifying goals and creating a plan
    • Program sweet spots and high-value redemptions
    • Tips to stay organized
    • & more!

    There will be prizes at the Meetup, PointsWise will generously be giving away a one night stay at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver for 2. Also, those who attend the event will receive a special invite to a private group chat (hosted on Slack) as a way to keep the conversation going.

    If you are interested, the event is FREE but you will require a ticket as space is limited. You can get your ticket here. Those who attend the event are asked to support the venue by ordering food and/or drinks as there is no cost for attending.

    If there is something specific you would like us to talk about, please leave a comment in the comment section below and we will cover it at the meet-up. We hope to see you there!

    Never stop adventuring!

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  • FRUGAL FRIDAY

    Frugal Friday: Always Make Extra

    One of our favourite things to do together is cook. We love making food together and Sam has recently decided to start meal planning. This has been a huge money saver for us in a couple of different ways:

    First, we always know what we’re having and the nights of this conversation are gone:

    Sam: What should we have tonight?
    Kyle: I don’t know, wanna just order pizza?
    Sam: Sounds good to me.

    That doesn’t happen anymore because we plan our meals for the week and shop for the week. Plus, every time we make food we always make extra. This way after we make enough food for us two and some for Nixon, we always make sure there is enough left over for both of us to have lunch the next day. Even though we’re usually on cooking for 2 adults, we always cook as though we’re 4 adults, that way we guarantee leftovers.

    It’s no secret that eating out is one of the easiest ways to spend money. We all do it, spend $10 on lunch a couple times a week here, a few dollars on a snack there, but it adds up. If you can cook leftovers and take that for the lunch the next day along with a piece of fruit or veggies and another snack, you should be good to go for the day until you get home for dinner to do it all over again.

    This has been a huge money saver for us and while we still do eat out on occasion, we at least know what day it is and usually where we’re going rather than scrambling and settling on pizza every time.

    What have you found to be a big money saver in regard to food?

    Never stop adventuring!

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  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Simply Delicious

    Overall Rating 6/10

    4316 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 875-9866

    7 Days A Week 4pm – 1 am

    img_9667-1

    After our amazing night at Ogenki Sushi we saw that we had another Japanese restaurant coming up, Simply Delicious, and were curious how they would compare. Though not the most Japanese name for a sushi restaurant, it was clear by their menu that they were. They describe themselves as a lounge type restaurant serving up casual Japanese fare. By the vibe we got from the place this seems very accurate.

    img_9662-1

    Simply Delicious was laid out unlike any restaurant we’ve ever seen on this journey thus far. After climbing the steep staircase to get to the restaurant, you see that the tables are lined up parallel to each other across the whole restaurant. It was like a big picnic with these tables all touching each other and running parallel to one another. It was very unique and seemed to work for them although we’re not sure how private it would feel having your meal here. If they seat groups beside each other we felt like it would feel intrusive being so close to the next party and take away from any private moments you wanted to have with your group. If they’re going for the casual lounge experience where people are often standing and mingling then this doesn’t seem like it would be a problem, however, if your group wants any sort of privacy this seems like it would be a big turn off. One last thing about the layout of the interior, the patio seemed like it was the best part of this place; it looks right out onto Main Street and it was covered which is nice for all the rain we get. They also had a cool little bar height table outside their front door that gave it a cool casual feel before you even entered which we though was a nice touch.

    img_9663-1

    We ordered take out from them and the service was excellent. We were told it would be ready within 15-20 minutes and when we arrived 15 minutes later our order was ready. The lady who gave us the food was friendly and happy to allow us to take some photos before we left. There wasn’t anything she could have done differently to make us feel better about the short moment we encountered with their service.

    Simply Delicious does not have an updated website, there is one from years ago but it is very old and has no menu on it, so the best we could find was this menu from a Yelp review.

    The food was good. Not great, not terrible, just good. If we had to compare it to Ogenki, it’s not even close but it definitely wasn’t the worst Japanese food we’ve ever had. We ordered the following:

    • Spicy Tuna Roll
    • Assorted Tempura
    • Gyoza
    • Chicken Teriyaki
    • Crispy Crunch Roll

     

    As we mentioned last week we prefer the tuna in our Spicy Tuna Roll to be marinated in the spicy sauce rather than just have the sauce poured on top as this was. The amount of sauce on this roll was almost too much and that’s coming from people who love sauce. Note, we said almost. The other thing we didn’t like about the Spicy Tuna Roll was that it was made maki style. We prefer our rolls to be uramaki style, in fact this was the first time we have ever had a Spicy Tuna Roll maki style. As you can see from the picture, this roll is just rice, seaweed, tuna, and sauce. In our experience, there is usually something else in the roll, most of the times something green like avocado or cucumber. This roll didn’t have that and it left it feeling cheap. It tasted fine but was nothing memorable.

     

    The tempura was solid. The crunch of the outside was, well, crunchy, as it should be. There were, however, two issues with the tempura: first, one of the vegetable selections was avocado. This was the first time we’ve ever seen avocado in a tempura and while we both love avocado it was basically just a mush when we tried to eat it which was unfortunate. It seemed like an odd choice to us because this seems like it would be expected if you deep fry avocado. Second, there were big pieces of tempura that were fish. The fact that they were fish was not the problem, the problem was that the fish portion sizes were massive. Most of us can usually eat a piece of tempura in about 3 bites, right? Well, this fish tempura as as if it had been taken off an entree order and battered with tempura. It was way too big which threw off the batter/fish ratio and  it was full of bones. The other vegetables pieces of tempura were excellent but the fish and avocado not so much.

     

    The gyozas were the second best tasting thing we had all night but they too had an issue. The filling, which is why we order gyozas, was severely lacking; what filling there was tasted excellent but the outside/inside ratio was way off in favour of the outside. But again, the taste was excellent which made the lack of filling that much more disappointing.

     

    The chicken teriyaki was the most disappointing thing we ordered. The chicken itself was seasoned and cooked well but the teriyaki sauce was non existent. Usually with a dish like this there is a decent amount of sauce that you can actually see. Well, in the photo above you can’t see anything really. It looks like a very mild glaze if anything. With a dish like this we usually have sauce running off onto the rice below. Look at that rice, it’s bare. This was extremely disappointing as chicken teriyaki is such an easy thing to do well. The salad that came with it was delightful though.

     

    The bright spot of the meal was the Crispy Crunch Roll. It had the perfect amount of crunch and spice on the outside to compliment the filling on the inside. Every bite was delicious and this is the best thing we ate all meal.

     

    In terms of value, this place was a little low on value in our opinion. The total bill for the 5 dishes came to about $40. If we say each dish is about $8 on average then, I think we can see it’s a little bit overpriced. We ordered two spicy tuna rolls and each one only came with 6 pieces, for $4 per roll on average, that’s high especially since there was nothing else in the roll. $8 for a specialty roll like the Crispy Crunch Roll is fine as that was our favourite dish, but $8 for 5 gyozas seems high to us especially since the filling was lacking. $8 for assorted tempura which only gave us 5 pieces total? Yeah that seems high too. And then $8 for an order of chicken teriyaki seems fine but again the sauce was an issue. If everything tasted as we expected it should have then we may have had less of an issue with it, but we would not be happy to pay that price for these dishes again.

    Simply Delicious is probably a place we wouldn’t sit down with the kids as it does have a very lounge like feeling where kids usually aren’t the most welcomed. In the end, we were happy this was a take out restaurant for that reason. There were also no high chairs in sight and, though we didn’t expect one, no kid’s menu.

    Though the service was extremely friendly and welcoming, the food did not live up to any expectation. We would be more than happy to walk a few steps down the street and get our Japanese food at Ogenki. If we had to return we would definitely order the Crispy Crunch Roll again but wouldn’t be very excited for anything else.

    Have you been to Simply Delicious? What was your experience with the restaurant and food?

    Food 5/10 – everything had an issue with it except the Crispy Crunch Roll

    Service 9/10 – the short encounter we had with the server was pleasant and without issue

    Kid friendliness 2/10 – no high chairs or kid’s menu and in a lounge-like setting we would avoid bringing the kids here to sit down

    Decor 8/10 – a cool vibe and all the wood tabletops were very neat

    Value 6/10 – overpriced for the quality of food

    Never stop adventuring!

     

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  • Uncategorized

    An Aeroplan Luxury European Vacation: Booking Part 3 – Hotels

    This is Part 3 of a 3 Part Series about booking a European Family Vacation on points. In this part we will go over the details of booking hotels with points.

    Most of us know how to book a hotel. You go to whatever your favourite search site is, lookup the city you want, input your dates and select the hotel you want to stay at. It’s a very simple process for those that have done it at least once before. The unfortunate part about points is that the process is not necessarily that easy.

    The obstacle we come across when booking on points is mostly the same as booking flights on points, availability. For couples travelling as 2 people, this is a relatively easy process and availability is usually easy to find. When travelling as a family of 4 or more, things get more complicated as we learned when going through this process ourselves.

    Europe is very strict with their room occupancy limits and rarely will you find a room with 2 queens as you would in almost any city in North America. In Europe, most room occupancy limits listed are adhered to to the tee. The worst part is that most hotels include any person regardless of age as a person towards the room occupancy limit, including kids, even infants. Most of this is due to their strict fire codes and enforcement.

    While you would be hard pressed to try and get away with 3 adults in a 2 person occupancy room, we’ve found some hotels are a little bit more lenient when it comes to kids and the smaller they are the better in your favour. As you read this please keep in mind if your kids are older, you will have a harder time getting hotels to bend the rules for you and you will have a much better time booking adjoining rooms for you and the kids. Yes, that means you’ll have to pay for two rooms with your points but the stress of the situation is gone then.

    Here’s how we searched hotels to fit our family’s needs and how to talked to the hotels to allow 4 of us in a 3 occupancy limit rooms.

    First off, we are big Marriott fans. We explained why is this post. Basically, their points are easy to get and the value you can extract from them for high end luxury hotels is incredible. And the best part? You don’t have to have the points in your account until 2 weeks before check in so you can plan way ahead and have time to earn the points. That being said, we always search for a Marriott hotel first before we go to any other hotel chain. Before we search Marriott’s site for hotels, we always check if they have any PointSaver hotels available where we are going. PointSavers are hotels that Marriott is offering for less points than usual, a discount if you will. If we go to the PointSavers page, we see that there are hotels on sale. If you scroll down you will come to this screen:

    PointSavers

    Here we see all the available places that have PointSavers. It is broken down into USA and Worldwide, since we’re going to Europe we will focus on the Worldwide side. Lucky for us, the there are 2 Greece hotels on PointSaver the time that we want to be there.

    Remember, we are in Greece from October 26th to November 5th. Now, based on the time of year we are flying, certain hotels in Greece are not open. Greece is a very popular place to go in the summer but not so much the rest of the year, hence why hotels close during the winter. The hotel that we are most excited about on our trip is Domes of Elounda. Domes of Elounda, which as far as we can tell, closes on October 31. Lucky for us we are there in time to make it to the hotel for 5 nights. Whenever possible, to get the most value for your points, try to book 5 nights at a time. Why you ask? Because both Marriott and SPG offer the 5th night free when booking with points. That means we save one whole night’s worth of points when you book that 5th night; sometimes that can be up to 45,000 points which is a big deal.

    The thing about Marriott that we don’t like is their website hotel search function. Their website itself is fine but the hotel search function is awful sometimes. For certain hotels, just searching the city they are in and putting in your dates doesn’t work. That is the case with this hotel. Instead, you need to go directly to the hotel’s Marriott page and search there. We’re not sure why this is but obviously this is some sort of glitch in the system. For this example, we went to www.domesofelounda.com and searched through there. Not all hotels have their own site so sometimes it’s best to just Google “_____ Hotel Marriott” and click on their page that way. After we put in out details, even searching 2 adults and 2 children, we see this room as an option:

    Elounda Points

    This is perfect for a family of 4. This is a “Family” room as they call it but which can sleep 3 adults and 1 child. We are 2 adults and 2 children so we assume swapping an adult for a child is okay. Here we also see the PointSaver discount applied. Originally, 5 nights here would cost us 180,000 points, but instead will only cost us 160,000 points. This room has a sea view, a whirlpool and a balcony. More specifically, that whirlpool is on your balcony. This sounds like a mighty fine choice for us.

    Elounda

    Now we have 5 days left to see some more of Greece. Our suggestion would be 3 nights on Santorini and the final 2 in Athens. With the options in Athens we will have a fantastic location and only need one day to see the main attractions. For Santorini, getting there from Crete, more specifically Heraklion, has to be done by ferry. In Santorini, there are only 3 options for points bookings, all SPG hotels and they’re very hard to find availability at and very expensive in points as well.

    SPG Santorini

    Whenever you see “Please contact us to redeem your Free Nights” you know that it is either because the amount of points is above normal or that the availability is only for rooms higher than the standard option (suites, etc). Regardless, this is an instance when paying with cash is the best option.

    Santorini has many good options for families looking to stay on the island. We like to use Trivago as it searches all the other online travel agencies and finds the best price. Here is what comes up when we search on Trivago for our dates:

    Santorini Trivago

    They all look very nice. We suggest reading a little bit about the island and what areas are the best to stay in. Here are what prices are like across the island for our dates:

    Santorini Map

    There are many reasonable options for us to choose from, it’s just our choice as to which we want and where we want to stay.

    Lastly, we need to find us a hotel in Athens for our last two nights. We suggest flying to Athens; it’s cheap, usually under $100 per person, and quickest considering we want to maximize our last two nights in Athens. There is a ferry option but it is hours long vs the flight which is under an hour.

    SPG Athens

    SPG has two very good options in Athens and a handful of other options. As we see for our dates there is availability at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a very nice hotel with great reviews. When we go, we will be staying at the King George, which as you can see in the photo says “Please contact us to redeem your Free Nights.” From experience, we know that this hotel is usually cheaper in points than the Grande Bretagne so it may actually be worth calling. Regardless, these hotels have reciprocal rights, which means you can use services at either except King George guests can not use the outdoor pool at Grande Bretagne, but can use the indoor pool, and either choice will be excellent.

    We now have to find hotels in Italy. We fly into Rome and have enough time to do 3 days in 3 cities if we want. We would suggest Rome, Naples, and Florence as they are all close to one another and will cut down on transportation time. We will start in Rome. As we always do, let’s see what Marriott has available. If we search for 2 adults and 2 kids we see there is an option for us:

    Rome Marriott

    Great! A hotel that allowed the 4 of us to stay in one room together. Wait, let’s look a little bit closer…

    Rome Marriott Shadow

    Upon further inspection the room is available on points but it’s a Points + Cash redemption where you can use points but you have to pay a cash addition to redeem the room for points. That 250 EUR works out to about $400 CAD. If you’re down with that then you won’t find a better luxury in a more ideal location. If, however, you’re more frugal like us we will keep looking. Let’s try changing the search from 2 kids to 1:

    Rome Marriott 1 Kid

    This time we see that we can have a room for the same amount of points but that cash portion has come down to 170 EUR ($272 CAD). This is better, but for our frugal selves it is still too much. Just for fun let’s see if we remove kids what we can find:

    Rome Marriott No Kids

    Now, we have options that don’t include a cash price but we will have to do some real sweet-talking to get a hotel manager to let us stay in the room with kids when only redeeming for 2 adults. One hotel we booked for our trip let us stay in the room with our kids after only booking for 2 adults because we are bringing our own travel beds for the kids. We use the KidCo PeaPod Plus Infant Travel Bed and since the hotel didn’t have to provide any extra beds for us they were okay with us using the room and our own beds for the kids. This is also something you could risk by booking the room for 2 adults and just bringing the kids without saying anything. The risk you run doing that is that you’ll have to pay a cash upgrade at check in if the hotel finds out. That or they ask you to leave.We aren’t willing to take that risk so we will always contact the hotel ahead of time. In this instance, if the hotel did not allow us to stay there, we would just get an AirBnB instead. Let’s check our what SPG had to offer in Rome:

    SPG Rome

    Again, we see here there may be something but it will likely cost a lot more points than normal. It is worth calling to see what the cost will be but our expectations wouldn’t be strong in our favour. Let’s search just 1 kid:

    SPG Rome 1 Kid

    Now this is something we can work with. The Westin is supposed to be phenomenal when it comes to kids so they are more than likely to allow the kids to stay there. It is up to you whether you mention to the hotel ahead of time that you are bringing two kids and not 1. Now that we have Rome figured out we need to check out our other two Italian cities. Let’s go to Naples first:

    No SPG Naples

    SPG has no hotels in Naples. Let’s check Marriott:

    No Marriott Naples

    Whenever Marriott and SPG are not able to meet our needs the next place we go is Best Western. If we search Best Western we see that they have nothing for 2 adults and 2 kids but if we change it to 2 adults and 1 kid we see there is something:

    Best Western Naples

    This hotel looks like a great location and can hopefully meet our needs if they allow the 4 of us in a room for 3. Again, we would contact the hotel to confirm this is okay. Lastly, we need to find accommodations in Florence. Let’s start with Marriott:

    Florence Marriott 2 Kids

    Okay there is a room available but look at the cash addition, no thanks! Let’s drop it down to 1 kid:

    Florence Marriott 1 Kid

    50 EUR, that’s much better and we would book this as that works out to about $80 CAD per night. At this point we wouldn’t even bother searching SPG because we’ve found what we’re looking for. We even get two options for the same cost. Since we travel with those kid’s travel beds we would choose the King option.

    Marriott Florence Rooms

    Now that only gets us to the 14th and we don’t fly out until the 15th, so this allows you an extra day somewhere, don’t forget you will be travelling between cities, likely by train so you could add a day in your travels that way. For us, we would just go back to Rome for the last day and get an AirBnB or hotel near the airport for that last night.

    If you don’t want to do 3 cities you could absolutely choose 2 cities at 5 nights each to maximize value with 5th night free.

    Now, we have our last country, France. We fly into Paris and we only have 8 days in this country so we suggest at least 5 in Paris to maximize value with 5th night free then the last 3 nights in another city. If you want to split it up 4 and 4 that is an options it just isn’t the greatest value.

    If we search for 2 kids and 2 adults we see this on SPG:

    SPG Paris 2 Kids

    Searching 2 adults and 1 kid shows us that there is availability at the Le Meridien Etoile and the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre. These are good options but always look at location. If we pull up the map we see 10 isn’t even on it and 9 is way out of the downtown core.

    SPG Map Paris

    Searching for 2 adults and 2 kids on Marriott shows this:

    Paris Marriott 2 Kids

    If you bring up the map you see this is way out of the downtown core. That’s because this hotel is at Disneyland Paris. We are staying there 2 nights on our trip and if you want to add this to your trip you can stay here for a couple nights. We want to spend at least a few nights in the downtown core so let’s see what happens if we search 2 adults and 1 kid:

    Paris Marriott 1 Kid

    Those are better options. In Paris, we definitely suggest contacting the hotel ahead of time as we found they are the most strict in following room occupancy limits. If that doesn’t work then try Best Western or as a last resort AirBnB. Best Western will always show no availability for 2 adults and 2 kids but we found they are more lenient when allowing infants into the rooms.

     

    For our last couple nights, remember we have a late morning flight on the 23rd so we will want to spend the night of the 22nd in Paris, we suggest the Best Western near the airport as it is cheap and offers a free shuttle.

    BW CDG

    For the last couple days let’s say you wanted to spend them in Nice, France on the south coast. It’s beautiful there and we wouldn’t blame you. Here is what SPG offers there (nothing for 2 kids):

    SPG Nice

    Both hotels are beautiful and we would likely stay at the cheaper one but check the map to see which location you like better.

    Marriott has this showing available (nothing for 2 kids):

    Nice Marriott 1 Kid

    Cannes is further west and south and Monaco is further north and east but all 3 locations are on the coast. It’s up to you to decide where you want to stay. Don’t forget to look at the cash additions.

    Our last night we will be staying at that Best Western near the airport so that means we now have all the hotels booked that we need.

    As you can see things are much more difficult when booking with kids in tow, but it is not impossible and if you’re a good sweet talker you can make it work in your favour, and by doing things like bringing your own beds for the kids, you can increase your chances of getting hotels to help you out. Of course, there is always the option of booking a room for 2 adults and just sneaking the kids in but we do not recommend that option as the consequences of getting caught don’t make it worth the risk.

    Hopefully this 3 Part series on booking a family vacation to Europe for a whole month was helpful to you and will make you planning and booking experience easier. If you have any questions or comments or need any help please let us know in the comment section.

    Never stop adventuring!

  • Uncategorized

    [Revised] One Year Churning Plan

    Disclaimer: Some links in the following post are referral links. We will get a bonus if you use the links. If you have found these posts helpful so far we would be very appreciative if you used our referral links. If you have not found them helpful you can sign up through American Express directly. Some of these referral links will provide you with a bonus that is greater than what we are receiving and greater than applying directly through American Express. We will never post anything that does not benefit you in any way or any product that we ourselves would not use or do not already have.

    As mentioned in the past on the blog, we will be going over a one year plan to get enough points to go around the world in first class. We will provide a yearly timeline at the end of the post.

    We will be sticking to the AMEX family only right now. If you want the blog post on the other AMEX cards you can click here and if you want the blog post on the non-AMEX cards you can click here. From now on we will refer to Membership Rewards as MR. Let’s begin:

    We will start by applying for the American Express Personal Platinum Card:

    American Express Personal Platinum Card

    • 60,000 MR after minimum spend is met (only 50,000 MR without referral link)
    • $3,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
    • $699 annual fee
    • $200 annual travel credit
    • 1.25 MR per $1 spent
    • Free lounge access to over 850 lounges worldwide
    • SPG Gold Status

    A $699 annual fee? Whoa! Let me put you at ease a little bit. Yes, it is a lot, but read the next line, $200 annual travel credit. Note the word ‘annual’, that means you get it once in the year you apply and then once again on January 1 the following year. That’s $400 in travel credit essentially making the annual fee only $299.

    To use the travel credit you can book travel through American Express directly, which is a good thing because they have amazing customer service and usually are very generous with hotel upgrades especially. Some people have had success in doing a little trick: You need to draw your ethical line accordingly, but you can book a refundable hotel room for months in the future, wait a few days, then cancel it and the refund will post as a statement credit. We suggest using the credit properly but you do whatever you want.

    The reason we changed to starting with the Personal Platinum from the Business Platinum is because is has a much lower minimum spend. If you decide to cancel the Personal Platinum before the second travel credit comes on January 1st, the annual fee is still effectively $499, the same as the Business Platinum with a lower spend and the same welcome bonus and referral bonus.

    After our minimum spend is met, we will have 3,750 MR from meeting the minimum spend and 60,000 MR from the welcome bonus giving us a total of 63,750 MR to start.

    Next, we will apply for the American Express Business Gold Card:

    American Express Business Gold Card

    • 40,000 MR after minimum spend is met (only 30,000 MR without referral link)
    • $5,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
    • NO annual fee for the first year
    • 2 MR per $1 spent at 3 retailers of your choice (Click here to see which retailers you can choose from)
    • 1 MR per $1 spent everywhere else

    This is the only card with a $5,000 minimum spend and the only one that has no annual fee for the first year which is very nice.

    We will assume you don’t spend any money at your 3 retailers for this card as some of the retailers are obscure and not everybody shops at them.

    Once we hit our $5,000 minimum spend we get our 40,000 MR welcome bonus. We have spent $5,000 on the card giving us another 5,000 MR. This card earned us 45,000 MR plus if we refer ourself from the Personal Platinum that gives us another 15,000 MR. So far, we have 123,750 MR from just two cards.

    Our next card to apply for is the American Express Personal Gold.

    American Express Personal Gold Card

    • 25,000 MR after minimum spend is met
    • $1,500 minimum spend in the first 90 days
    • $150 annual fee
    • 5,000 MR per referral
    • 2 MR per $1 spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, travel (flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc)
    • 1 MR on all other purchases

    There is a new Personal Gold offer through Perkopolis rather than directly through American Express. Perkopolis is a discount website from which employers can purchase membership and offer the program to its employees. Many employers and unions offer the membership. This Personal Gold offer is through them. If you’re a member you can apply through Perkopolis with your code here.

    If you’re not a member you’ll have to apply the regular way through American Express. The offer is the same except you don’t get the annual fee back as a statement credit.

    This card is a good card to keep around for an everyday spend card when you are not working on the minimum spend of other cards as it earns 2 MR per $1 in a lot of different categories (as seen above).

    Let’s assume you only use this card at 2x retailers to hit your minimum spend since many of us have to make those everyday purchases. So, you spend $1,500 all at 2x retailers. That gives us 3,000 MR. We now get our 25,000 welcome MR. From this card alone we get 28,000 MR and there was no out of pocket cost after the statement credit.

    After 3 cards, we have ourselves 151,750 MR. We are well on our way to flying around the world in premium seats and we still have one card left.

    This next part of the plan is optional. Due to the high minimum spend, we suspect many of you will want to avoid this card. It is a lot to spend on one card for the same amount of points as the Personal Platinum. That being said, there are ways to help you meet the minimum spend which we will share below. We still find value in this card as you can get points from it while you are waiting to reapply for the other cards. If you do not want to do this card, then stop here and you will cycle through the above 3 cards for your plan.

    Lastly, will applying for American Express Business Platinum Card:

    American Express Business Platinum Card

    • 60,000 Membership Rewards after minimum spend is met (only 40,000 MR without referral link)
    • $7,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
    • $499 annual fee
    • 15,000 Membership Rewards per referral
    • 1.25 Membership Rewards per $1 spent
    • Lounge access to over 850 lounges worldwide
    • SPG Gold Status

    This card has had some changes to it in the past month:

    • an increased minimum spend from $5,000 to $7,000
    • an increased annual fee to $499
    • a decrease in referral points from 25,000 to 15,000
    • a decreased welcome bonus from 75,000 to 60,000

    This card can seem daunting but here are some ways to help you meet the minimum spend:

    • use Plastiq to pay bills that you can not pay with credit cards. Plastiq is a service that allows you to send money to vendors who do not accept credit card payments. You pay Plastiq online and through the process you will tell them who to send the money to and when and they will send the money via cheque. As long as your vendor accepts cheque, Plastiq can be used to pay them. Through Plastiq you can pay bills like tuition, rent, taxes, car payments, insurance, etc. Plastiq does take a 2.5% fee for using their service but in our opinion the points you gain are worth the fee. The best part is that Plastiq is one of the vendors you can choose on your Business Gold card and earn 2x points on payments. We have used Plastiq for tax payments and to pay our rent to our landlord each month. If you use our referral code when signing up we both earn fee free dollars which means the next $500 in payments you make will incur no fees. The referral code is 588152.
    • buy gift cards from Ebates gift card shop for places you frequent that do not accept American Express. For example, Loblaw’s stores doesn’t accept American Express, so the next time you want to shop at Superstore, you use a gift card. To buy the gift card, you go here. The bonus is that you get cash back on the purchase. For those interested, we wrote a blog post about cash back that you can read here.
    • pay some of your bills ahead of time. Prepay your internet, phone or cable bills a few months at a time. If you always buy gas from the same place, buy a few months worth of gift cards to that gas station regardless of if they take AMEX or not.
    • extend the period of your minimum spend by purchasing a large hotel stay at a refundable rate. For example, if you know you are going to be $1,000 short on the minimum spend, book a refundable hotel stay for at least $1,000. You are now guaranteed to hit the minimum spend then as soon as you hit the minimum spend organically, cancel the refundable hotel stay.
    • manufactured spending. manufactured spending is where you spend money on your credit card but find a way to get that money back to pay off your credit card. This way you still earn the points from spending on the credit card but also get the money back that you spent. These methods are usually very hard to find and people are tight-lipped about them because the more people use them the more likely it is to be shut down. If you want some help with these methods shoot us an email at adventureneverenns@gmail.com

    After $7,000 minimum spend we will have 68,750 MR because our $7,000 spend turns into 8,750 MR. Once the minimum spend is reached we get our 60,000 MR Welcome Bonus giving us the 68,750 MR. If we include the 15,000 MR from self referring to this card we get a grand total of 235,500 MR. That is enough for two people to fly in Business Class to anywhere in Europe. After one year and doing each card twice, we will have 471,000 MR!

    Here is the timeline, you don’t have to use the exact dates but you get the idea:

    January 2, 2018 – apply for Personal Platinum and Business Gold.

    April 2, 2018 – apply for Personal Gold and Business Platinum

    May 2, 2018 – cancel Personal Platinum

    May 16, 2018 – cancel Business Gold

    July 2, 2018 – cancel Personal Gold

    July 16, 2018 – cancel Business Platinum

    September 2, 2018 – apply for Personal Platinum and Business Gold again

    December 2, 2018 -apply for Personal Gold and Business Platinum again.

    This is just a rough guideline. For example, if you cancel the Personal Platinum you’ll lose the ability to get the next $200 travel credit. That is why it is good to start applying for that card in the fall, get your $200 credit, then get the next $200 credit on January 1, use it, then cancel the card. You will have to adjust the above dates to work for you.

    You can also be more aggressive than the above and reapply after 3 months, or less aggressive and reapply after 6 months. We usually like to wait at least 4 months as to not raise any suspicion.

    To recap, we will have 471,000 MR after one year and will have only paid $1,796 out of pocket for these cards (assuming you got both $200 travel credits once and only one $200 travel credit the first time). That works out to 0.4 cents per point (cpp). For reference, most redemptions you will make will be around 2 cpp so paying only 0.3cpp is incredible! This is why welcome bonuses are the best way to get points.

    Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you are well on your way to understanding how valuable this can be for your travel dreams.

    Never stop adventuring!

  • Uncategorized

    An Aeroplan European Luxury Vacation: Booking Part 2 – Flights

    This is Part 2 of a 3 Part Series about booking a European Family Vacation on points. In this part we will go over the details of booking flights via Aeroplan.

    Now that you know what you want and the basics are covered, let’s look at how to actually get flights booked.

    For this example, we will book an itinerary that includes approximately 10 days in 3 European cities: Paris, Rome, and Athens. There is no way you need to spend all 10 days in those cities, but transportation to other cities will need to be organized outside of this itinerary whether it’s train or a cash flight. Let’s get started.

    First, we go to Aeroplan’s website and start searching dates. By this point you should know generally when you want to go and when you need to be back by so you know what dates you’re searching for. Remember, the more flexible you are the better so if you come into it thinking “sometime next summer works” vs “we have to leave around June 4 and be back by July 4” the former will likely be more successful.

    Always search your itinerary in one way flights because that way you know you’ll never miss a step or miss a stop. For example, on our trip knew we had to get to Paris and that it had to be through Zurich, Brussels, Warsaw, Cairo or Istanbul. We mentioned last time that going through Istanbul with Turkish and Zurich with Swiss are the best in terms of availability. So, instead of searching Toronto to Paris we search Toronto to Istanbul and Istanbul to Paris separately. As we mentioned last post, we always search the longest flight first, in this case Toronto to Istanbul.

    If you’re searching for economy the availability is usually very good whereas if you’re searching for business it’s usually more difficult. Most airlines only release 2 seats for business to be booked at a time so if you want more than that you’ll have to eagle eye that flight and make sure you get the next flight that comes available.

    We like to start with our ideal date and then search two weeks before and two weeks after when booking. This means you’re looking at a month’s worth of dates that could be available. For this example we used an October 20th departure and  November 20th return dates.

    Let’s start with searching availability to Europe from Toronto and Montreal.

    We started searching for Montreal to Zurich (YUL – ZRH):

    A lot of dates will have either mixed cabins (BUSINESS/ECONOMY), which we don’t want, or availability on itineraries that include an airline that charges a fuel surcharge. Remember, we want to avoid Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Austrian for that reason.

    Finally, we get to October 25 which has exactly what we’re looking for, a direct flight from Montreal to Zurich.

    LX YUL ZRH

    If we click DETAILS we see that the plane is an A330-300 which is an acceptable plane to fly on as it is one of the 5 planes that are usually the most updated like we mentioned last time.

    LX Details

    Great, now we have a flight there, let’s search for a flight back. We like to search for a different airline on the way home so we can try out the different airlines. We searched the whole month two weeks before and after our date but there was nothing available. Next, we decided to search LOT Airlines availability from Warsaw, Poland to Toronto because LOT doesn’t fly to Montreal.

    We found availability on November 23:

    LOT WAW YYZ

    If we open the DETAILS, we see that the plane is a 788, a Dreamliner, and one of the ideal planes to fly on.

    LOT Details

    Below is an example of a flight that we do not want because it involves Air Canada. SAS is fine, but we want to avoid Air Canada and since they have a part in this itinerary, especially the long part of this itinerary, the fuel surcharges will be higher than we wish.

    LOT Other

    Most of the time if you don’t see a direct flight with the airline that you want, you will often find that the other Business itineraries involve an airline that you do not want.

    Now that we have our long flight figured out, we need to find our positioning flights. Now, we know we said that we want to avoid Air Canada but we really don’t have another reasonable option to get to Montreal and home from Toronto. Plus, the charges and fees aren’t as high on domestic flights.

    Keeping the 24hr rule in mind, our flight from Vancouver has to arrive in Montreal after 16:50 on October 24. So, we will search both October 24 flights and October 25 flights. If you don’t want to spend a night in Montreal then you will choose October 25 and hope you get into Montreal around noon or at least with enough time to get to your 16:50 flight. Usually an hour minimum since this is a domestic flight and we won’t need to clear customs. We usually shoot for 2-4 hours depending on how much time we want to spend in the lounge.

    If you wanted to do a stopover (greater than 24hr layover) in Montreal then you would search for a departing date however many days before you wanted to depart Montreal. For example, the Montreal to Zurich flight leaves on October 25. If we wanted 5 nights in Montreal we would search for a departing flight on October 20. This would mean you would have to drop one of your Europe stops. For this example, we will just focus on Europe.

    YVRYUL

    The only direct flight we find on October 24 is this flight departing Vancouver at 11:30 and arriving in Montreal at 19:11. Montreal has many good hotel options at or near the airport so this wouldn’t be the worst. And this flight is on an A330, a good plane for us. Still, let’s see if we can avoid the overnight. A search for October 25 comes up with this:

    YVRYUL2

    This flight gets in at 19:11. This won’t work as our flight for Zurich leaves at 16:50. There are other options on this day but those options have connections in other Canadian cities and they are on worse planes. For us, we would spend the night at the airport in a hotel and be on a nicer plane for the almost 5 hour flight.

    Now, let’s make sure we can get home from Toronto. We start the search for anything late on November 23rd for those that want to get home right away and not have to spend another night at or near an airport.

    YYZYVR

    If you’re one of those people, you do have an option. There is a 22:55 departing flight arriving in Vancouver at 1:14 in the morning. This is on an A320, not a great plane, but if you want to get home ASAP and want to avoid spending money on a hotel for the night, this is a very viable option as it leaves you 2 and a half hours to connect. That is easily enough time for dinner and a drink in the lounge beforehand.

    YYZYVR2

    For those of you like us who would take the nicer plane option and spend the night in the hotel, we have some fantastic options the next day. First off, if you just wanted to sleep then get on a plane home and be in Vancouver by morning you have a great option of flying on the 07:00 flight on a 787-900, Air Canada’s newest plane with the most updated business class seats. Since I’m kind of a aviation geek about planes and products now, this would be my choice. However, if you wanted to spend the day in Toronto or sleep in, you have 2 great options departing at either 17:00 or 20:15 depending on how much time you need. The 777-300 will likely have a nicer product than the 777-200 but they should be very similar.

    One interesting note about the 20:15 flight to Vancouver is that it gives you the maximum amount of possible time in Toronto without breaking the 24hr rule. Our flight from Warsaw arrives in Toronto at 20:20 which means if we take the 20:15 flight home we would have a 23 hour and 55 minute layover, the longest possible layover (airlines always book flights on the 5 or 0 so 23 hours and 59 minutes isn’t possible).

    Great. We’ve now got our flights to Europe and our positioning flights to and from the east coast. Now, we need to get to our European destinations. Remember, Aeroplan has very generous rules that allow us long stays in 3 cities.

    Since Paris and Zurich are close together we will choose Paris next as it likely has lots of flight availability.

    ZRHCDG

    An Aeroplan search reveals there is a flight available, but it isn’t the best option. Montreal to Zurich will be an international flight where we will likely have to clear customs. The flight from Zurich to Paris departs at 07:35; our flight into Zurich doesn’t land until 06:15 which only gives us 1 hour and 20 minutes to connect to that next flight. If you’re willing to risk that, you have some other options that Aeroplan can put you on if you miss the flight but they have a connection. If you don’t want to risk it then we may need to rearrange the order of where we fly first. We would rather not risk it and just change the order. Instead, let’s fly to Athens first.

    ZRHATH

    Remember our flight arrives at 06:15, that means the two Swiss flights are most ideal because they have the shortest layovers. Aegean Airlines does charge a fuel surcharge, though intra-Europe flights don’t have very high fuel surcharges because they aren’t very long flights. Regardless, we know Swiss has no fuel surcharges so let’s choose one of their flights. If you want to get to your destination ASAP then choose the 09:05 flight. Swiss Airlines has their flagship Business Class Lounge in the Zurich Airport and it’s world class so you could spend the afternoon there plane watching, eating and drinking. This would be our choice but regardless you have good options either way.

    With 10 days in Athens, there is a decent amount that you can get done. We’ve heard a lot of people say you only need two days there. That means you have 8 other days to go wherever you wish. Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete are the popular choices though you can choose any island you desire. Aegean Airlines and their sister airlines Olympic Air fly within Greece for usually under $100 per flight.

    ATHFCO

    Getting from Greece to Rome we will have to fly on Aegean Airlines if we don’t want to have to connect through another country. It’s a short flight so the fuel surcharges will be low and a direct flight is ideal so this is worth it.

    With 10 days in Italy you can do 3 days in 3 cities with half days to travel and get back to Rome to fly out. The train system in Italy is supposed to be very efficient so you could do Rome, Florence and Venice with enough time to get back to Rome for the flight out. That might be a little tight on time so we would suggest sticking to Rome and one other city.

    Lastly, we will finish in Paris. Flying from Italy to Paris we will have to for sure connect through another country because no Star Alliance airline has France or Italy as their home country.

    FCOCDG

    We have two Swiss options to fly on from Rome to Paris. The only difference is in the layover time in Zurich. If you really enjoyed the Zurich Business Class Lounge then maybe you would pick the longer layover, otherwise you can pick the short one and get to Paris quicker.

    With 10 days in France you could easily do 5 in Paris and 5 in Nice. If you want to see more cities and spend less time in each you could even add the countryside.

    Lastly, we have to position ourselves for the flight from Warsaw to Toronto which means we need to get to Warsaw on November 23rd.

    CDGWAW

    We have two options, one early flight and one late morning flight. We would choose the late morning flight and get us some extra hours of sleep.

    Well, there you have it. All of our flights are scheduled and ready to go. This kind of complicated itinerary can not be booked online, we will have to phone Aeroplan and get them to book it on their end. The best thing we can do to expedite this process is to write down all the flights in order so that when the Aeroplan representative is ready we can just feed him or her flight numbers and they can book it quickly. You will have to pay taxes and fees right away on the phone as well as a $30 phone booking fee. Once that is done Aeroplan will send you your itinerary and etickets.

    The last thing you need to do is choose seats, Aeroplan’s system will automatically assign you seats and they aren’t always ideal. Depending on the airline, you may be able to use the Booking Reference and login to that airline’s website and do it yourself or you may have to contact the airline directly and get them to do it for you. We’ve found that contacting them through Facebook or Twitter is the fastest way to contact them directly when you can’t do it online on your own.

    When booking seats, we suggest using SeatGuru to find the best seats. We also like to read reviews that other’s have written about the airline and see what seat they had and what flight they chose. Our favourite Canadian reviewer is PointsWise. Tyler is a great guy and writes really good reviews as does his partner Brad. They have flown many different airlines and routes and I trust their judgement. If they don’t have your airline or flight route just Google “Montreal to Zurich Swiss Business Class Review” and read whatever comes up.

    Next week we will go over how to book the hotels and we promise it isn’t as complicated as the flights.

    Never stop adventuring!

     

  • FRUGAL FRIDAY

    Frugal Friday: Foreign Transaction Fees

    One thing some of you may or may not know is that every time you use your credit card in another country or spend in another currency online, your credit card issuer or bank charges you an additional 2.5% for doing the exchange from whatever currency you paid in to your home currency.

    For example, we fill up our cars in the States almost exclusively, a Frugal Friday post on it’s own next week where we will show you how it saves us lots of money, and we specifically use a credit card that does not charge us a foreign transaction fee.

    Now, the argument can be made, and is very viable that the 2.5% fee is so low that it doesn’t matter and you could be earning points on that purchase that make up for the 2.5% fee. If you’re that person then by all means go about your purchases that way, it is a great option and we will not fault anyone that decides to do that.

    On the other hand, if you would like to avoid the 2.5% fee there are a few good Canadian credit card options for avoiding this fee.

    Scotia_Passport_VisaInfinite_ENG

    Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

    • Earn 25,000 bonus points after minimum spend is met
    • Minimum spend is $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
    • Annual fee of $139
    • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 you spend on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases (including buses, subways, taxis and more)
    • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point on every $1 you spend on all other eligible purchases
    • Add a supplementary cards with the fee waived for the first supplementary card
    • You will not be charged a Foreign Currency Conversion mark-up on international foreign currency purchases made online or outside of Canada
    • Airport lounge access through your complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, which allows 6 free visits per year from the date of enrolment
    • Redeem for travel anywhere, anytime, with no travel restrictions

    This is in our opinion one of the best options when it comes to cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee. The big negative is the $139 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. However, we have it on good accord that this card will be on Great Canadian Rebates within the first few days of April and will offer you some cash back to offset the annual fee (see below). We talked about Great Canadian Rebates on last week’s Frugal Friday and how it can earn you lots of cash back, especially on credit card applications. If you don’t have an account you can make one by clicking here.

    img_9813.jpg

    Not only that, but the Priority Pass membership and 6 free lounge visits are worth at least $99 USD which basically offsets the annual fee on their own. Plus, the 25,000 points after meeting the minimum spend are worth $250 towards travel.

    In the end, this is a great option for a card that does not charge you a foreign transaction fee and gives you some other excellent perks.

    You can apply for the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite and get $50 cash back here.

    card_new-1-1

    Brim Financial Mastercard

    • Earn 1 point per $1 spent
    • No annual fee
    • Step-Up Loyalty program where you earn more points the more you spend at the same place
    • Mobile Device Insurance
    • Free Boingo WiFi membership giving you access to WiFi in airports, airplanes, trains, hotels and cafes around the world
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Earn 10,000 points when you refer 5 friends who activate their card

    Many people are very excited about Brim Financial. They offer 3 cards, the Brim Mastercard, Brim World Mastercard and the Brim World Elite Mastercard. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see the comparison of all 3 cards.

    The Brim Mastercard in our opinion is the best card because it has no annual fee and the main benefits are the same. The only difference is the earn rate, 1, 1.5 and 2 points per dollar spent, respectively, and insurance coverage, but if you have a different card and only use this card for foreign transactions, it is likely that you already have another card with good insurance.

    The unique thing about the Brim cards are their Step-Up loyalty program where you earn more points per dollar spent the more you spend at that store with participating merchants. Here is what Brim has to say about this program:

    While you continue to earn your base rate on all of your purchases sometimes we’ll replace it with something even better: you can take advantage of accelerated earn offers the more you shop at participating retailers – restaurants, coffee shops, travel and more. As an example, you could earn 2 points on every $1 spent on your first visit, 4 points for every $1 spent on your third visit, and 10 points for every $1 spent on your 6th visit. You can browse all available offers and track what level of earn you’re at on the Brim Marketplace – in the Brim Portal and App.

    This could definitely be an option for those who frequent the same places. For us, we feel there are better cards out there for everyday spend that earn points that can be better utilized for value if you value travel. For example, the American Express Cobalt Card earns 5x points on food related purchases, the highest bonus in Canada. If you don’t want to redeem for travel then Brim could be just for you.

    Regardless, they don’t charge you foreign transaction fees, have a unique loyalty program for earning points and give you free WiFi on planes which could be a big value for those who fly often as airplane WiFi can be very expensive.

    Brim is about to start rolling out these cards and those that are interested can get their spot in line by signing up here.

    platinum_card.en-81e0421b5630bffd8407d18fae1604e9a04a427bc75fa34597450923686ee3db

    Rogers Platinum Mastercard

    • $25 in cash back rewards after first eligible purchase
    • $29 annual fee is waived for the first year and every following year as long as your Rogers, Fido, or Chatr wireless bill is setup as a pre-authorized payment
    • 1.75% cash back on all purcahses
    • 4% cash back on all purchases made in a foreign currency
    • Redeem your cash back rewards towards anything Rogers including: Rogers, Fido and Chatr monthly bills, purchases in Rogers, Fido and Chatr branded stores, purchases at Today’s Shopping Choice, Toronto Blue Jays tickets, merchandise at Jays Shop online or in store, and at Rogers Centre concessions.

    This card technically still charges you a fee on foreign transactions but offers a higher percentage of cash back for those purchases made in a foreign currency. you earn 4% cash back on those purchases which means even after the 2.5% foreign transaction fee you still get 1.5% cash back. Most cards that earn cash back don’t offer cash back at this high of a percentage. For example, if a card offers 2% cash back and you make a purchase in another currency, after the 2.5% foreign transaction fee you still are paying a 0.5% fee rather than actually earning cash back on that card.

    This is a good card for people who use Rogers or Fido to avoid the annual fee and those who are Jays fans as you can use your rewards for tickets, merchandise, and Rogers Centre purchases. Even if you aren’t a Rogers or Fido user, the $29 annual fee isn’t that bad of an annual fee to have to pay.

    You can apply for the Rogers Platinum Mastercard here.

    In our opinion, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is our favourite and is the card that we use. We applied before the card was announced to be on Great Canadian Rebates but we suggest waiting until it is announced on Great Canadian Rebates before applying to help offset that annual fee. For those unfamiliar with Great Canadian Rebates, a reminder that we talked about it in last week’s Frugal Friday post.

    Is there a favourite no foreign transaction fee credit card that you love that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

    Never stop adventuring!

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