The most important ingredient when making Pho

Hien – one of my best friends of over 40 years is an amazing cook. He taught me to make authentic Vietnamese Pho (Which is pronounced like the first part of a certain 4-letter f-word, without the “ck”).

Anyway… thanks to $39 round-trip flights, I was recently able to escape the Colorado cold, and visit he and his brother’s family outside of L.A. While there, we fixed a big pot of Pho and had a big gathering of with their whole family.

Instead of his normal process of taking 4 to 6 hours to cook the broth over medium heat, we decided we’d try to get more flavor by lowering the heat & cooking it overnight.

Best. Phocking. Soup. Ever!

It turns out the most important ingredient when making a good pot of pho is time.  Low & slow baby. Low and slow.

 The recipe is actually pretty simple: 

  • 4 to 5 lbs beef bones
  • 2 tbsp ground cardamom
  • Handful of star anise
  • 12-15 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 1-2 onions – grilled & carmelized
  • 1 piece of ginger – sliced & charred
  • Put all of the above in about 2-3 gallons of water and simmer on medium-low for a minimum of 4 hours. (Although low for 12-24 hours will get a better result)
  • After several hours, adjust ingredients to taste, and continue to simmer.
  • When done, strain broth through cheesecloth. Add rice noodles and protein of your choice.
  • Garnishes include Vietnamese basil, bean sprouts, limes, siracha sauce, or hoisin sauce to taste.

Want to pay the best price ever for your next vacation?

Hunt for your vacation the same way; Low & Slow.

  • Rather than DRASTICALLY limiting your options by trying to squeeze a vacation to a specific place at a specific time into a pre-determined amount of time, start looking for a trip sometime 6 to 9 months from now. By planning long ahead, you can figure vacation time out AFTER you find the right deal. (Don’t worry – It doesn’t usually require that much adjusting.)
  • Pick a minimum of 10 destinations you’d want to go to and set up a fare-watch on Airfarewatchdog.com for each of those destinations.
  • Check out prices every morning, but don’t plan on booking anything for at least a couple weeks.
  • You’ll see a couple good deals that are tempting, but trust me – you’re not just looking for “good deals…” You’re looking for “Are you phoking kidding me?” AMAZING deals that you think are a mistake.  When you find one that looks good, there’s no need to wonder if you should wait for it to go down any lower… You snatch that fare up before someone else does, and you do everything in your power not rub it in the face of every other sucker on the plane who paid 3 to 10 times as much as you.

By having the patience to plan well ahead, and the discipline to look daily for the deals that are out there for the taking, you’ll be shocked at how much less you’ll have to pay for a vacation (or weekend trip) to a place you never even thought you could justify going to.

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Have a friend you know would like to travel more and spend less?

Word of mouth is our best form of advertising. Please share this post with them.

They can try JGOOT free for 30 days and they can look over  daily “Are you phocking kidding me?” travel deals in less time than it takes to sip their morning coffee.
JustGetOutOfTown.com
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PS – My wife used to be a 2nd grade teacher and hates that I use the F word. But hell – when you’re REALLY trying to get a point across, “effing” just doesn’t cut it.  Besides, when it comes to travel… Do you want an “effing good deal” or an “un-phocking-believably good deal?”

Take our 30-day challenge & get $300 toward your travels

Have you taken our 30-day challenge?  It takes as little as 30 seconds a day, and when you complete it – you’ll receive this savings card (which happens to be worth more than double the cost of your JGOOT subscription.)

As you (hopefully) know – there are only two simple rules to “The JGOOT Way” of travel, and rule number one is to check for deals every day.

To demonstrate how powerful simply checking for travel deals daily can be, we’re having a 30-day challenge.

The rules are simple.

  1. If you’re already a JGOOT subscriber, simply forward any daily trip-alert to “Challenge@JustGetOutOfTown.com” saying “I’m in”.  (If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial here and you’ll receive instructions with your welcome email.)
  2. After telling us you’re in for the challenge, simply email us once you’ve opened 30 days in a row & we’ll send your savings card to you!

No purchase required. You don’t even have to click on any of the trips. Simply open your email once a day & tell us after you’ve done so for 30 days.

Simple right?

PS – Even if you don’t plan on flying for the next year, you can apply this $300 savings card toward any local activity, car rental, or luxury staycation that you can find on major sites like Travelocity or Expedia. (And considering you can take the challenge every year – you actually MAKE money every year you remain a JGOOT subscriber.)

 

Chase Sapphire: 80,000 point signup bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred has some of the most valuable and most diverse points in the industry – and they’re currently offering an 80,000 point signup bonus.

If you haven’t explored the world of point-hacking, this is a great way to start. For simply signing up, paying the $95 annual fee, and spending $4000 with this card, you can get enough points to:

  • Book two round-trip flights anywhere in Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe ($1000 to $3000 value)
  • Book one round-trip to Europe in Business class ($4000 to $10,000 value)
  • Book as many as 8 domestic flights on Southwest ($1600 to $2400 value)
  • Get 3 to 5 free nights at a luxury resort anywhere around the world (including all-inclusives.)
  • If you REALLY learn how to hunt-down point-bargains – you can book a one-way flight in a first-class private suite. ($10,000 to $15,000 value)

But most importantly – having a stash of points is like having monopoly money you can use any time you don’t like the cost of a flight you’re looking at.

If you’re not familiar with point-hacking, try this quick-start guide (but don’t use the referral link in it. That only gets you 60,000 points.)

Seriously – this is a great value.

  • Already have a travel card? Spending $4000 on it will get you 4000 points. Get this card, spend $4000, and go back to your old one after collecting your 84,000 points.
  • Already have a Chase Sapphire card? Have your significant other get one.
  • Loyal to Delta? You can do more with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points than 200,000 Delta points (and “Delta One” doesn’t hold a candle to a private suite on Singapore Air or Emirates.)
  • Prefer cash-back? 80,000 points is worth $800 in cash or statement credits ($400 if they’re Capital One points). 80,000 points with this card can be redeemed for $1200 to $15,000 in travel benefits.

Have questions? Here is a recording of a Facebook Live discussion I did in JGOOT Village.

Happy Travels,
Joel “We flew home from Singapore in a $7000 lie-flat business seat for less points than Chase is giving away just for trying their card.” McDonald

PS – Don’t want to mess with frequent flyer points? Most of the trips we share at Just Get Out Of Town – are actually better  deals than redeeming frequent flyer points. You can see for yourself at JustGetOutOfTown.com

7 quick-and-easy trip customizations

Have you ever decided to research a trip and been disappointed at the price? So you play with different options to see if you can get the price down, right? Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don’t.

Well researching a JGOOT trip-alert is the same thing, except instead of trying to whittle the price down – you play with options to find something that works better for you.

7 quick and easy trip customization options:

Whenever we send you a trip-alert, your flight options look something like the screenshot above.

Here are 7 quick and easy changes you can make to see if you can find a trip that works for you at-or-near the prices we found:

  1. Round-trip vs one-way. Every trip we share is based on a round-trip price, but you can easily change that to a one-way flight for roughly half the price (sometimes even less than half the price!)
  2. Change the number of passengers: (This is especially important if traveling with 3 to 6 of you.)
  3. Flight plus hotel packages: Once you find dates that work for you at a price you want to pay – it’s always a good idea to click on “packages” to see what kind of a deal you can get on the hotel. (Hint – these discounts can be massive. On rare occasion it can even mean getting the hotel for free.)
  4. Change your travel dates: Although it’s never guaranteed how many alternate dates will be available at the same price, you can almost always adjust the dates and find something that can work for you. (sometimes months earlier or later, so it never hurts to check.)
  5. Don’t want to deal with too many layovers? Check this box to find the cheapest nonstop options.
  6. Sort by “quickest” “Best” and “Shortest” – For just a few dollars more, you can sometimes find far more convenient options. These options help you find those options very quickly.
  7. Don’t like a certain airline? You can exclude certain airlines, or scroll down the list until you see one you like. Sometimes, a much better option is only negligibly more expensive. (Don’t like Spirit? Note that in the example above – spending $25 more not only gets you a different airline, but it also gets you a direct flight.)

PS – Don’t forget one other very important thing when looking up flights on Kayak: Make sure to wait for the page to fully load, so you get to see all pricing options available!

“Travel leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

My wife and I have amazing friends.

Smart friends.

Caring friends.

The one downside to that is that whenever we get together in a group – I’m often forced to be a fly on a wall as they have these in-depth talks about anything from faith & religion, to economics, to sports (I’m a fair-weather sports fan at best.)

But last weekend, we had a gathering with 4 other couples and as the girls were socially distanced in the back yard, the guys were gathered around the kitchen.

I was the normal bystander, listening passively to as my super-smart friends talked about the Broncos. Suddenly, a commercial about travel brought up our last trip to Asia.

For about a half-hour I was the center of attention among a group of guys who are infinitely smarter than little-ol-me. All because they wanted to know all about our first-class flights, our visit to the Great Wall, how the “reflection pool” in Bali isn’t actually a pool at all, glamping in the jungle (oh… my… GOSH!!!), how you get your choice of Dom Perignon or Tattinger in first-class, and of course – how we were able to take the whole trip for under $3000.

Want to travel more without spending more?

Want to create stories you can tell your future grandkids about?

Stop looking for deals two or three times a year when you get a hankering to go somewhere.  Flights at 50% to 90% below normal market rates are out there every day, but those prices will not wait around for the two or three times a year when you decide you need to plan a trip.

Search every day for bargain flights – whether you’re planning a trip or not.  There are plenty of sites you can search for free. When you see a deal that intrigues you – book it, plan your calendar around that trip – and you’ll stretch your travel budget two to five times farther.

But you can’t tell yourself you’ll start looking tomorrow. You’re on your computer reading this now, so…

  • Go visit Google Flights right now.
  • Pick a date that works for you, leave the destination blank, and see if any trips inspire you.
  • If you don’t see anything today – look again tomorrow (because most of today’s good deals will be gone tomorrow, but rest-assured – more amazing deals will replace them.)

It really is that simple.

Don’t have the time to search for trips every day?

Click here. For about a quarter a day, you can start your search for your next story now.

 

Positioning flights (Advanced travel-hacking strategy)

A positioning flight is a flight someone takes out of a different airport than their own when they can fly for cheaper from that airport. It’s a bit of an advanced strategy experienced travelers use to get cheaper international flights.

The advantage: Someone living in L.A. might only be able to find flights to Paris for $1000 out of their area, but they might find flights out of D.C. for $300. If they’re a family of four, it could be VERY worth their while if they can get themselves to D.C. for under a couple hundred dollars.

The disadvantage: It requires two separate bookings – so if flights are delayed on either end – and you miss a connecting flight – you’re on your own.  Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to add in plenty of time (if not an overnight stay) to make sure you don’t miss your connecting flights.

The JGOOT difference: At JGOOT – dealing with the hassle of positioning flights is a lot less necessary because – when you travel “The JGOOT Way” – the difference between flying to Europe from the West Coast and the East Coast is negligible. (The same goes for Asia, Africa, or anywhere else.)

For example – For the most part – we publish fares from the East Coast to Europe that are an average of about $350.  We share fares from the West Coast to Europe that are an average of about $400.  As you can see – the difference between East & West Coast flights to Europe is less than $100 (which is hardly worth the expense of getting yourself to the opposite side of the country to take advantage of a cheaper fare).

Photo Courtesy of Robert Cross Fishing Tournament

One exception (Mexico): There is one exception to this – where positioning flights could be very worth your while and that is if you like Mexico. If you don’t mind jumping through a couple extra hoops to save $150 to $200 per passenger on your flight anywhere in Mexico, here’s an option to consider:

  • Since flying across an international border costs an extra $100 to $200, and walking across the border costs about ten, Tijuana airport (which has a bridge connecting directly to San Diego) represents a very unique opportunity.
  • A round-trip flight to Cabo that might cost anywhere from $200 to $500 from San Diego – might only be $59 from 20 miles away in Tijuana.
  • Warning: All of the other rules when dealing with positioning flights apply – if not more so because you have to actually change airports.

The easy solution is to keep an eye on your trip-alerts for cheap flights to San Diego from your home airport. When you see one that might work, hop on Kayak or Google flights and see what flights to anywhere in Mexico cost from Tijuana. If you find something, plan for some extra time in San Diego and when the time is right, take the $20 uber ride to the (US based) parking lot and walk across the border to the TJ airport.

The more advanced solution: If you’re a die-hard Mexico traveler, AND  you like the idea of gaming the system a little, AND you have plenty of “backup plan” points (rule #3 of the JGOOT Way of travel), AND you can easily get yourself to San Diego to take advantage of a cheap fare to Mexico, AND don’t mind hopping on an Uber to get yourself from San Diego airport – to the TJ airport bridge on the other side of San Diego) – Watching fares out of our San Diego territory is a great option.

If you are a JGOOT subscriber, simply reply to any email and tell us if you’d like us to send you fares from up two additional territories.

If you are not a JGOOT subscriber, you can click here to try our service out free for 30 days.

The territories we currently cover include:

  • AZ – Phoenix
  • CA – San Diego (including SNA options)
  • CA – L.A. (Including flights out of LAX, SNA, BUR & ONT flights)
    CA – San Francisco (Including SFO, SJC, and OAK flights)
  • CO – Denver (Including DEN & occasionally COS flights)
  • FL – Miami (Including MIA & FLL flights)
  • FL – Tampa
  • GA – Atlanta
  • IL – Chicago (Including ORD & MDW flights)
  • IN – Indianapolis
  • LA – New Orleans
  • MA – Boston
  • MI – Detroit (Including DTW & FNT flights)
  • MN – Minnesota
  • MO – Kansas City
  • MO – St. Louis
  • NV – Las Vegas
  • NY/NJ – New York (Including LGA, EWR & JFK flights)
  • NC – Charlotte
  • NC – Raleigh/Durham
  • OH – Cleveland
  • OR – Portland
  • PA – Pennsylvania
  • TN – Tennessee
  • TX – Dallas
  • TX – Houston (Including IAH & HOU airports)
  • UT – Salt Lake City
  • WA – Seattle
  • Washington D.C.

PS – there is another reason for considering positioning flights – and that’s when you can get business or first-class flights for less than the price of a coach fare (sometimes, when using rule 3 of The JGOOT Way of travel, a LOT less) – but that’s another post for another time.

Flying to Beijing in lie-flat United Polaris seats for less than $300 by departing from Washington D.C. instead of Denver.

Happy travels!

Joel

Please feel free to share any great positioning flight stories you’ve got in the comments below. Maybe we can even do an interview!

 

Can I get a refund if I change my flight?

I surveyed my subscribers this morning about their hopes/plans for future travels (more on that later), but one subscriber had a very good question along with her answer:

Great question Sharon!

There are a few variables involved with your question.

Your two best bets for being guaranteed a refund is to cross your fingers and hope the airline changes your schedule or cancels the flight altogether.

If the airline makes the change:

Cancelations:
If they cancel your flight, most airlines will offer a credit toward future flights. However, you are not required to accept that. They might not make it immediately obvious, but if you don’t want to spend hours on hold, you can usually find a place on the airline’s website to request a refund for canceled flights And this holds true – even for “non-refundable” flights.

Significant changes:
If the airline makes a significant change to your flight schedule, you are also entitled to a refund in full. (Airlines vary on what they consider a “significant change”, and that amount of time varies between 30 minutes and 6 hours.  If you find out that your airline’s schedule has been changed, it’s always a good idea to look at their change/refund policy and insist on a refund if the change was significant enough. That way, you can take your money elsewhere if a different airline has a better deal.

When you make the change.

The good news:
In reaction to Coronavirus issues, nearly all airlines have started offering extremely liberal change policies. If you decide not to take the trip you booked,  you will most likely be able to change your flight with no fees or penalties whatsoever.

The bad news:
Although most airlines aren’t charging fees if you want to make a change to your schedule, you will have to pay any difference, if fares are higher for your replacement flight. But don’t worry – when you search for flights using “The Triangle of Travel” – that shouldn’t be a problem. (Two of the “corners” of the triangle of travel are to 1) go where the deals are, 2) and be flexible.) Here is another post covering my concept of “The Triangle Of Travel” in more detail.

When you make the change (vs the airline making the change) – Most airlines are only offering credits toward future travels vs giving cash refunds, so if in doubt about whether travel restrictions will be lifted, it’s best to book it as far in the future as possible.

Tips

Given the uncertainty about when/where we’ll be able to travel, be sure to check each airlines’ change policies in advance before booking any flights.

If at all possible, we recommend booking directly with the airline. That way, if you have to change or cancel, you don’t have to deal with a third party to get your refund.

Your options are a lot better if the airline changes your flight than if you change it. So if you’re thinking about changing or canceling a flight, be sure to look up your airlines’ individual change/cancel policies, and wait until as late as possible to make that change. It’s a bit like a game of “chicken”, but it’s well worth waiting to see if the airline changes or cancels your flight.

 

Webinar Recording: JGOOT Lunch and Learn

Watch this member-only video where we discuss various ways to travel for 50% to 95% less with a few simple changes (I call it the “Triangle of Travel”, and I reference it quite a bit in the webinar. Here is a link to that blog post.)

Don’t want to watch the whole video?  Feel free to click a link to skip around to topics that interest you most:

  • 1:15 Watching close-by airports that JGOOT to increase odds of finding the best deal.
  • 3:46: How to get to deal for all-inclusive Mexico or Beach vacation (Here is a blog post about the Triangle of Travel I mention)
  • 8:05: Question from San Diego Subscriber: How to watch Mexico flights originating from across the border. Here is the blog post I reference about how to do this.
  • 11:56: How do I decide what travel credit card is best?
  • 24:53: Simple advice on getting started with point-hacking without getting overwhelmed
  • 27:40: How do I plan a trip to Barcelona/Portugal/Italy?
  • 30:22: How important is it to book flight & hotel at the same time?
  • 33:40: You gave me a $100 discount card as an incentive for signing up for your service, but it doesn’t seem to save me any money.
  • 34:50: Do you ever publish direct flights, or do they require multiple layovers to get that rate?
  • 42:00: How do you collect so many frequent flyer points?
  • 43:47: We mostly fly on AA and have 600,000 points on AMEX. Should we transfer our points to AA so we can use them there?
  • 45:24: I don’t have much time so I like quick weekend trips. How do I find those on your site?
  • 50:05: Why do some of the trips I look up say “error” or “not found”?
  • 52:55: Advice from a listener: Chase sapphire reserve gives perks
  • 54:38: Advice from listener: Just use one card for everything (and my response – including how we used two cards to fly in a first-class private suite)
  • 56:21: My response to “I’ll kiss your feet if you can find anything to Vienna or Bonn”
  • 57:13: Thinking out of the box: How one of our subscribers flew to Portugal for $290 round-trip, and took a $12 ferry to get to Morocco.
  • 58:30 We have a cruise in Hawaii May 7. What are average prices?
  • 61:00: We had a nightmare while traveling and had our cards frozen.
  • 62:05: Where do I find your point-hacking resources?
  • 62:54: Why can I never find the same fares you find – even when clicking the link you provide? (And here is a link to a blog post/video with more info)
  • 66:09: Shout-out to the amazing Brooke Merkle – who is the one answering all of your email questions!
  • 67:40: What is the best way to get to Maui this Summer?
  • 69:40: I’ve heard about travel sites falsely raising prices to get you to buy. Is this true, and do you do this?
  • 72:25: I’m going to Manila, PH. How do I find those fares?
  • 73:45: In Summary: If there is nothing else you take from this webinar, I hope it’s this. (And here is a quick-start guide to help you get started on preparing your backup plan.)
  • 75:30: One last question: “Why can’t I find anything for Christmas of 2020 on your site? [11 months from the time of this webinar]

 

A lesson that had NOTHING to do with travel, but EVERYTHING to do with travel

I’m sitting here on a plane returning from my last trip of 2019 thinking what an awesome year it has been (and was so impacted – I had to share so I typed most of this post out on my phone.)

As 2019 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on how my family’s traveling life has changed because of a simple little lesson I learned over 7 years ago.  Although it had NOTHING to do with travel, it had EVERYTHING to do with how my family travels (and how many of our subscribers now travel) for about $.10 to $.20 on the dollar.

When I was going through difficult financial times in 2012, one of the best things I did for my mental-health was to take up new affordable hobbies.

One of those hobbies was photography. I had a decent eye for composition, but I really struggled with things like my kids’ basketball games, band performances, or just about anything in low-light situations (and relying on a flash almost always seemed to make it worse.)

It wasn’t until I took a few classes that I learned how much I DIDN’T know about how to take a good shot in less-than-optimal lighting conditions.

One of the most revolutionary things I learned was a concept called the “Triangle of light.” (And man – did learning about it ever make a difference with my photos.
 
Once I learned those 3 basic rules – I had all the knowledge I needed to get the best shot possible – no matter what lighting conditions I was working with.
 

For example:

Blurry action-shots at your kid’s indoor basketball game? Crank up your ISO, open up your aperture, & your action shots will be crisp & clear.
 
Want a clear picture of a still object at night? Slow down your shutter speed & take the shot on a tripod.
 
Don’t have time for a tripod because it’s nighttime and you’re hoping to catch a shot of a celebrity walking into a donut shop to sell to The Enquirer? No problem. Crank your ISO as high as it will go, and you’ll get the shot without even needing a flash.
 
In fact – I’d be willing to bet that if you ask ANY photographer when they learned about the concepts of “the triangle of light” – they could tell you the exact time and place they learned about it.
 
IT’S THAT POWERFUL

Want to know something funny?

I applied a similar philosophy to my travels, and despite being broke – I traveled more than ever before.
 
I call it “The Triangle of Travel” and when you implement all 3 rules – there isn’t a single travel problem you can’t solve. (And you’ll be able to do so for pennies on the dollar – every. single. time.)
 
A word of warning though: It’s best to forget EVERYTHING you know about travel if you want these seemingly simple concepts to work.
 
Seriously – try to apply the 3 tips below to the way you’ve always traveled and you may as well quit reading now.
But ignore your old travel habits and give the triangle of travel a try???
 
There isn’t anything you can’t do.
 
  • So broke you can “never” travel? The triangle of travel will help you more than people who travel 6 or 8 times a year.
  • Last minute flights? No problem.
  • All-inclusive resorts for less than what you’d expect to pay for a Motel 6? Done.
  • Take a whole family on a trip for less than what the solo traveler cramped up in the middle seat behind you paid? Piece. Of. Cake.

 

Ready for the 3 magic elements of “The Triangle of Travel?”

 

Ok – but don’t forget… You MUST forget everything about how you’ve always traveled. 
 
Here they are:
1) Consistency
2) Flexibility
3) Backup plan

Let’s break them down:

1) Consistency

This probably sounds simple, but it is the biggest thing most people miss (and is the biggest reason your old habits are getting in the way of bigger/better/more travel.)
 
You see – most people decide to take a trip, and then spend hours on end (for days at a time) looking for a good deal. What they don’t realize is that half a dozen AMAZING deals came-and-went in the weeks/months before they started looking.
 
Look every day whether planning a trip or not and you’ll be AMAZED at the number of options you’ll find (many that fit quite nicely with the plans you have for a vacation that is months down the road).
 

2) Flexibility

Note that I mentioned that many of the trips you find ”fit quite nicely” with your vacation plans and not ”fit perfectly.”
 
Want an ok deal that allows you to take a nice vacation every year or two? Great. There are plenty of mediocre deals out there that fit PERFECTLY with your Friday to Sunday nine-day vacation.
 
Want a deal so good – you can take two to five vacations for what everyone else is paying for just one trip? Plan on being a little bit flexible.
 
Don’t worry though – it’s not as hard as you think, and the amount you save will almost always be exponentially more than the changes you might have to make to your schedule.
 
*Sometimes that might mean a Thursday to Thursday vacation.
*Other times it might mean going to Costa Rica instead of Cabo.
 
But either way – a little bit of flexibility goes a LOOOONNNG way when it comes to stretching your travel budget to unfathomable lengths.
 
Combine rules 1 & 2 by looking for good deals and planning vacations around the good deals you find? You’ll be amazed at how much less your vacations will start costing. (Or how much more you can spend on stuff that matters – like seat upgrades, room upgrades, or activities/excursions.)

3) Have a backup plan

The best part about rule number 3 is that the more you implement rules number 1 and 2 – the less you need rule number 3.
 
But when you need it? Trust me – you’ll be REEEAAALLLLY glad you have it in place.
 
The idea is to have at least 50,000 frequent flyer points readily available for when rules 1 & 2 don’t work for you.
After all – Murphy’s Law says that when you
1) don’t have time to plan ahead and
2) don’t have the ability to be flexible…
Other than occasionally getting lucky – paying cash is going to be EXPENSIVE.

Why rely on luck when you can put a backup plan in place that will be there to rescue you whenever you need it?

When you have a backup stash of points available – that family emergency that you need to fly 4 of you out for and can’t find flights for less than $750 each – goes from “unexpected $3000 travel nightmare” to “This was so cheap – let’s fly aunt Sallie out too!”
 
Want to travel more in 2020? Put the concepts of “the triangle of travel” a try. You can implement all 3 tips yourself for free and I guarantee if you do them:
 
You’ll travel more…
 
You’ll spend less time hunting down deals…
 
You’ll travel more comfortably…
 
All for a budget so low – you’ll wonder what took you so long to start traveling more.
 
Here’s to an adventurous travel-filled 2020!
 
–Joel
 

PS – If you’re a premium subscriber – you can find help with rules #1 & #3 in the trip-alerts you receive every day. (Rule #2 is up to you. 😉

Not a premium subscriber? Give JustGetOutOfTown.com/upgrade a try risk-free for 30 days.

We eat, sleep, and breath “The Triangle of Travel” and are certain once you give it a try – you’ll never go back.

Tips for Traveling with kids who have Food Allergies

“Wow, your kid has such severe food allergies, that must be SO hard.”

“How can you possibly travel with a kid with those allergies?”

“Wait you’re taking him out of the country to a country where you don’t speak the language and he has food allergies?”

Yep. We are!

As a matter of fact, we take him everywhere.

Nope it’s not hard.

Yes, we travel to lots of countries where we don’t speak the language.

We have never let John Paul’s food allergies limit us. While it’s not hard, it does require a little bit of extra planning. Below are some tips for how we travel with our kiddo who has severe food allergies:

  • Take an epi-pen everywhere. Put one in your purse, one in his backpack, one in your carry on, one in your checked luggage. 
  • Take Benadryl (in a travel-sized bottle). 
  • Tell the flight attendants. They’re more than happy to help! If your kiddo cannot be on a plane that serves nuts tell the airline ahead of time, then tell the gate agent, then tell the flight attendant. 
  • Bring snacks! As a fellow JGOOTer David once told me at a local JGOOT gathering; “when traveling with kids never travel with less than 5,000 calories.” According to him we could be stranded in the Amazon and survive a week based on our snacks alone. Bring snacks that your kids love. I don’t do a lot of sugar in my house, but I always pack some kind of special treat for the plane. I pack things that my kids might not get at home. I always pack a sandwich and a protein bar. I also pack something chewy to help with their ears as the elevation changes in the plane. 
  • Order groceries in advance and deliver them to your hotel room using Amazon Prime Shopping.
    • Not only does this allow you to control the food you’re bringing in, it also helps save a ton of money. We always request a mini-fridge in our room. We have small staples delivered for breakfast and picnic stuff for lunch. 
  • Know the menus of every fast food restaurant. They’re posted online. Look them up before you go. Know what things your kiddo can and cannot have at McDonald’s Chick Fil A, Taco Bell etc. Knowing these things means I can always have a fall back if we’re delayed in an airport or running short on time.
  • Use an app. There are lots! If your kiddo (or you) have Celiacs there’s an app that can tell you all the local restaurants that have Celiac friendly menus. It gives it a rating from 1-10, so if you’re kiddo has severe celiacs you would want to pick a level 10 that has zero gluten crossover. There are similar apps for nut allergies.
  • Know your go-tos. I know that Chiptole will always have options for John Paul. I know that Applebees does not. 
  • Ask, then ask, then ask again. Can I see the ingredient list (U.S. law requires all restaurants to have an ingredient list available to the public)? Just to be clear are you sure there are no nuts in this? That it has never come into contact with nuts? Can you double-check on that for me?
  • Print a card ahead of time. When traveling to a foreign country print out a card ahead of time. We made one that was business card sized and made several dozen. John Paul always has one in his pocket. In Germany we could hand the card to the server that says (printed in German): “My son is allergic to milk and eggs. Does this item contain any milk or eggs? Can you suggest something that does not have milk or eggs?” In the Dominican Republic we could use the same card printed in Spanish. This was our standby when our phones weren’t with us or we didn’t have wifi. John Paul always had one in his pocket. 
  • Use Google Translate! Use it both ways. Have the baker, or the server, or the restaurant owner speak directly into the google translate app (Using speak to text) and press translate. Use it yourself to ask questions in the local language. If the server seems unsure double-check. If the baker can’t remember ask again. If there’s nothing on the menu dive into that bag of snacks that you always have with you. 

This article was contributed by Brooke Merkle.

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Brooke is a mother, wife, teacher, JGOOT subscriber, and after her 10th JGOOT trip – our director of customer support. She used to travel to visit family, and, if it fit-in, take a vacation every two or three years. Now, she and her family travel 8 to 12 times a year, and she is a regular contributor to the JGOOT blog.

Comment below & let her know what other travel advice you’d like to hear from her.
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“Squish like grape”

Remember this scene from Karate kid?

 

Walk right side road – Safe.

Walk left side road – Safe.

Walk middle of road – sooner or later… Squish like grape.

Want to find a pretty good deal every once in a while? Stick to the right side of the road & go to kayak.com. Sometimes you’ll get lucky on the price you’ll pay and sometimes you won’t, but you will find a flight to anywhere you want to go, any time you want to go there.

Want to spend 50% to 98% less every single time you travel? Cross all the way over to the left side of the road.

My family and I travel exclusively on the left side of the road and we average about 12¢ on the dollar for every trip we take. Thousands of JGOOT subscribers do the same, and you can too… But you have to stick to the left side of the road (read: You have to learn “The JGOOT Way” of travel.)

There are 3 simple rules to The JGOOT Way and they’re very simple.

  1. Look every day – whether you’re planning a trip or not, and schedule trips around good exceptional deals when you find them. (Our trip-alert service allows you to do this over your morning coffee.)
  2. Plan on being flexible on when/where you want to go to maximize savings.
  3. You MUST have a backup plan for the times when you can’t apply rules #1 & 2 (Because there will always be trips where you 1) don’t have time to plan ahead, and 2) don’t have flexibility on when/where you want to go.

Don’t want to follow all 3 of those rules?

Sooner or later… Squish like grape.

 

Want to try the left side of the road risk-free for 30 days? Click here.

My favorite scene from Good Will Hunting

Do you remember the bar scene from Good Will Hunting?

I LOVE that movie…

Every time I watch it, it makes me want to go out and read a ton of books, and get me some of them “smarts” for myself.

But then I don’t.

I settle back into my normal life, and whenever I go and hang out with my REALLY smart friends or family members, I say to myself “I wish I read more.” 

And the funny thing is – It really would be that simple. If I just started a daily ritual of reading even half as much as that – I really would be a lot smarter.

The key is consistency. It’s as simple as that.

(I could say the same about exercise and that I wish I was a lot more fit, but that’s a whole different story.)

Do you wish you traveled more?

Just like a daily gym regiment that will make you more fit, or a daily reading ritual that will make you smarter…

If there was only one thing you could do to ACTUALLY travel more – it would be the same, simple, thing:

Look. Every. Day.

Whether you’re planning a trip or not, by looking every day, you’ll regularly find travel opportunities that are too good to pass up. They’ll be 80% 90% less than you were expecting to pay, and the more destinations you keep an eye out for – the more often you’ll find those deals.

Many of them will be months in advance and will fit nearly perfectly with your schedule.

But there is one thing that is for sure… Those travel deals won’t wait around for when you finally get around looking for them.

So if you want to stop saying “I wish I traveled more”, and start actually traveling more, just start looking every day.

Don’t want to do all of that work yourself?

Click here. For as little as 26¢ per day, we’ll do the looking for you and we’ll send a daily summary email of travel deals that you can review over your morning coffee.

Just for fun – Here is another great scene from the movie.

Your move, chief.

The “Hail Mary” Method of Travel

In football – a “Hail Mary” is a desperation-play at the end of a game.  Although it’s great on the rare occasion event it works, it’s rarely successful.

Unfortunately, most people rely on “Hail Mary” methods with their travels. They wait until a month or two before a trip, they search unsuccessfully for days and reach out to someone in the business in an act of desperation hoping to get help… And, just like the Hail Mary, it rarely works.

Want to save 50% to 98% every single time you take a trip? Do these three simple things:

  1. Forget the concept of “planning ahead”

    • Just start looking for good deals every day and plan around opportunities when they present themselves. (It can sometimes be 1 month in advance, and sometimes 10 months. The key is to realize that it’s impossible to know when those deals will pop up or how long in advance they will be. The only solution? Look for them every day – whether planning a trip or not.)
  2. Plan on being flexible.

    • Sometimes, that might mean leaving a day earlier or going to Belize instead of Costa Rica, but the more flexible you’re willing to be – the better a deal you’ll get when you find the right trip for you.
    • Here is an example of one of our subscribers who has taken over a dozen ridiculously affordable trips she couldn’t have taken if it weren’t for being slightly flexible.
  3. Accept the fact that Rules #1 & 2 won’t always work and establish a backup plan long in advance.

    • It takes 3 to 4 months to put your backup plan in place, and the most expensive problem you can have is trying to find cheap flights within the next month, so you may as well get prepared now.
    • Here is a free quick-start guide. Implement this ASAP and you’ll have a bullet-proof system for finding the absolute best price possible – no matter what your travel circumstances are.

Don’t want to do those 3 things?

That’s fine, but those are the rules of The JGOOT Way and they are the ONLY way you can save 50% to 98% every time you travel. If you don’t want to follow them, you may as well unsubscribe from my service and go back to the major travel site you’re most comfortable with.

Of course, if you’d like to learn a consistent and reliable SYSTEM allowing you to travel for 50% to 98% less – every single time you travel, without fail – click here.

With the JGOOT system of travel, you’ll be traveling more, spending (way) less, wasting less time trying to hunt down travel deals that don’t exist, and when YOUR friends start telling you “I wish I could travel like you” – you can teach them the 3 rules you’ve learned to live by, and they can start traveling with you.

Happy Travels!

Joel

Travel tips from our awesome subscribers

Photo credit: Amirul Siyaidi

We’ve got the most awesome travelers in our JGOOT Facebook community. I asked them about their favorite travel tips, and I got huundreds of great ones, I thought I’d share just a few of them here.

Happy travels!

–Joel

PS – Are you a part of our free Facebook group? In addition to video travel tips and a place to discuss your travels with others, we often give away travel discount cards, restaurant discount cards, and occasionally even vacations! Follow us here and join in on the fun!

Saving money tips:

Safety tips:

 

Preparedness tips:

 

And finally, a couple of tips all travel addicts need to keep in mind as we addictively check so many destinations off our lists.

 

Awesome community, eh?

You should see the discussions in our private member-only Facebook group! It’s full of thousands of super-savvy travelers and is dedicated exclusively to sharing the most guarded secrets to traveling on points.  You can join us for as little as $8/month.

(If you’re already a member, you can find your invitation at the bottom of any daily trip-alert email you receive.)

 

Don’t have good credit? Try this:

As you (hopefully) know by now – “The JGOOT Way” of travel says that there are two (and ONLY two) kinds of flights:

  1. Flights you can take for 10¢ to 50¢ on the dollar.
  2. Flights you use points to pay for.

Using those simple rules, I haven’t paid more than about 25¢ on the dollar for any flight my family and I have taken in the past several years. Other than having less than average credit, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do the same.

Don’t have points? As long as you have a credit score of 690 or above **and have responsible spending habits**, there is no reason you can’t have 100,000 points at your disposal to use whenever you can’t find trips that are more expensive than 50% off. May as well get started now. (You know what they say about the best time to plant a tree.)

Don’t have a score of at least 690?  Take a look at this chat I had with a premium subscriber for the quickest fix possible.**

 

Want help with both #1 and #2 above?  Click here.

  1. We’ll take care of #1 by sending 100+ trips you can choose from every month – with every one being 50% to 90% below market value.
  2. We’ll help you get your “emergency stash” of points with webinars, training materials, and most importantly – an exclusive member-only group of 2000+ other travelers glad to answer any questions you have along the way.

Once you start traveling “The JGOOT Way” – you’ll never pay full-price for a trip again.

Happy travels!

**Please note that this is in no way an endorsement for using credit irresponsibly. There is no need to run up credit cards with expenses you cannot immediately pay off. If you are buying a home in the near future, be sure to consult with your mortgage broker.