The MapleMoney Show » How to Spend Money Wisely » Travel

Travelling with Kids as a Single Parent, with Ben Luthi

Presented by Wealthsimple

Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of MapleMoney, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.

Travelling with young children can be exhausting, especially as a single parent. With the kids requiring so much attention, it doesn’t always feel like a vacation for the parent. However, with the proper preparation, and a little travel hacking, your next trip can be both affordable and relaxing.

Ben Luthi is a money and travel writer who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs the travel blog, The Thrifty Wanderer, co-hosts the Just One More Trip podcast, and helps run the Freelance Writer Academy. Ben also happens to be a single parent who loves to travel. He joins me on The MapleMoney Show to discuss everything from maximizing credit card travel rewards to tips on travelling as a solo parent with kids.

Ben and I spend a lot of time discussing how he earns free flights and hotel stays by taking advantage of sign-up bonuses on travel rewards credit cards. Ben says that he’s owned more than 80 rewards credit cards over the past five years. He acknowledges that it can be challenging to keep track of all of those cards, so he’s not as active these days.

As for travelling with kids, Ben’s advice is to prepare but don’t over-prepare. Consider the aspects of a trip that you might not ordinarily think about, like air travel. You might be wary about handing your child a tablet for the duration of a flight, but in the grand scheme of things, a couple of hours of peace may be worth the compromise.

Our sponsor, Wealthsimple, believes that financial independence should be available to anyone. That’s why they have no account minimums, meaning that you can get started investing for as little as one dollar. Don’t delay any longer; invest online by visiting Wealthsimple today.

Episode Summary

  • Travelling with kids as a single parent
  • Using credit cards to earn travel points
  • Ben has owned more than 80 credit cards in the past 5-6 years
  • The challenges of credit card churning
  • Are your credit card perks worth the annual fee you pay?
  • Tips for earning points for hotel stays
  • Why hotel ‘elite status’ is overrated
Read transcript

Traveling with small children can be exhausting, especially as a single parent. With the kids requiring so much of your attention, a fun trip doesn’t always feel like a vacation for the parent. However, with the proper preparation and a little travel hacking, your next trip can be both affordable and relaxing. Ben Luthi is a money and travel writer who lives in Salt Lake City. He always runs a travel blog, The Thrifty Wanderer, co-hosts the Just One More Trip podcast, and helps run The Freelance Writer Academy. Ben happens to be a single parent who loves to travel. He joins The Maple Money Show to discuss everything from maximizing credit card travel rewards to tips on traveling as a solo parent with kids.

Welcome to The Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Our sponsor, Wealthsimple, believes that financial independence should be available to anyone. That’s why they have no account minimums, meaning you can get started investing for as little as one dollar. Don’t delay any longer. Invest online by visiting today. Now, let’s chat with Ben…

Tom: Hi, Ben. Welcome to The Maple Money Show.

Ben: Thanks for having me on.

Tom: I wanted to have you on because you’re a single dad and you travel a lot so one thing I wanted to discuss with you was what that’s actually like. We had a past episode where we discussed what it was like traveling with a large family. And, to some degree, it almost feels like it would be the same thing except for the numbers—with the kids to parent’s ratio count.

Ben: I got divorced a couple of years ago and haven’t taken both of my kids on many trips together just because it’s kind of overwhelming, to say the least. I just took them on a trip down to southern Utah and everything went really well so right now I’m looking at planning more things with them. But what I have done right (and really like doing) is taking my kids on solo trips. Just me and my son or me and daughter, that kind of thing. It gives us some one-on-one time.

Tom: That already answers one of my big questions, how you pull this off. If you’re just taking one at a time, that seems like much more controllable and probably much more enjoyable for you.

Ben: Yeah, it is, honestly. Actually, I haven’t done anything with them since the pandemic started other than this one trip down to southern Utah. Last year, in February, we were in the airport lounge on the way home when the news started on how serious (the virus) was. It was in the U.S. now. I started freaking out because we were in LAX airport—this gigantic airport. I had taken her to Disneyland, just us two. And honestly, that was one of the best days of my life, just us two spending that time together.

Tom: Yeah, that’s great. One of the other things I heard while prepping for this show was some of the things that can get in your way. Here in Canada, and I believe it’s the same in the U.S., do you need a permission letter from the other parent to leave the country?

Ben: I don’t know, actually. I haven’t taken the kids across any borders yet. We don’t have anything in the divorce decree. I’m sure people have included something like that in their divorce decree where they can’t take the kids to different countries. I probably will do that just to be on the safe side but we basically have an agreement that I let her know in advance where we’re going to be. When I took my daughter last year, I listed off, this is where we’re staying. This is where we’re going to be. I shared my location with her so she knew just for her own anxiety—just to make her feel okay with everything. I’m not actually sure whether there is any requirement from the government. I think that would be more if it’s in a divorce decree.

Tom: Maybe. It may truly be a border question. Maybe it’s about getting into certain countries rather than leaving. I’m not sure. But the other big “con” I saw—and you may not have had to deal with this yet is, with a lot of all-inclusive resorts, they often charge what’s called a “single occupancy” fee or single supplement charge. And the way I understand it is, basically, say you’re one parent with kids, they want to charge you for a second adult instead of one of those kids. They want to make sure they get the right money amount for that room. It looks like something where you really need to look at what you’re booking to make sure there are options for “kid friendly” so they’re not going to charge you that fee. That way you’re not paying the adult fee for your child.

Ben: Absolutely. And even if you go to any all-inclusive resort by yourself, you’re paying for the full room—for two people, basically. I did that a couple of years ago in Turks & Caicos. It was expensive. At the time, with everything that was going on, it was great. Normal hotels that take kids, it’s not an issue. But if it’s an all-inclusive resort, which I feel would probably be wasted on my children, I definitely imagine they’d charge adult prices.

Tom: One of the things I looked up—and this is not a plug in any way, here out of Canada we’ve got Sunwing with their Smile Resorts program. It sounds like a great deal because, for one, kids get to stay and eat for free up to age 12 and they don’t charge you that parent supplement. a single parent traveling with a couple of children out of Canada has one parent. And that sounds like they’re doing fairly good in that case.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely.

Tom: Now, if you’re on an all-inclusive resort, would you want to spend the time with your children exclusively or do you see some benefit in these kids’ clubs and everything like that?

Ben: Oh, absolutely, the kids’ clubs. Obviously, I want to spend time with my kids. The same thing goes with a cruise because they do similar things. I would want to spend time with my kids, but I would definitely want some alone time because all-inclusive resorts provide certain amenities that work best when you’re not around children. I think having a good mix between those two would work really well for me.

Tom: And you want it to be a vacation for you as well. When we’ve taken our kids to Disneyland and everything, it’s great. We have a great time, but it doesn’t feel like a relaxing vacation. It’s constant go-time, constantly supporting what the kids want. It’s hard to feel like you’ve just come back from a refreshing vacation if you’ve done a week of Disneyland.

Ben: Yeah. When I was married, my ex-wife and I traveled a lot with them. My first time on an airplane was when I was 19-years-old. My son and daughter’s first time was when they were 3-months-old so they have frequent flier numbers and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, these trips are not vacations. They’re just trips because they’re not relaxing in any sense of that word. They can be fun and really enjoyable, but there’s nothing laid back about it. Nothing relaxing. You always have to be mindful of what your kids need you. You have to prepare for every potential thing that could happen beforehand, all that kind of stuff. And there’s also the stress of having your child (or multiple children if you’re a solo parent traveling with more than one kid) of not being in a familiar place. What if one of my kids runs off? I have a friend who kids all have autism. They’re all on the spectrum. He said, for a long time, one of his boys, if he started feeling overwhelmed, he’d just bolt. He’d just takes off running. He said for years that was a constant fear, being in public with his children and them doing that kind of thing. My kids do that too, sometimes. When they see something they want, they take off running. It can be hard to kind of make sure you’re keeping track of all your kids when something like that happens.

Tom: Yeah, I’m thinking back to Disneyland, too. We had the “if found, please return” stickers on their backs. And we made sure we had pictures of them that day too. Just take a cell phone picture of them when you’re leaving the hotel in case you end up in a situation where you’ve lost your kid. That way you can say, “This is my kid. This is what he’s wearing, 100 percent,” so we’re good to go rather than in a stressful situation trying to figure all this out.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. On Amazon, you can buy these little bracelets to put on your kids that have the same information—the parents phone number, their name and all that kind of stuff. We actually once tried one of those child leashes where they’re wearing this little backpack and it’s connected to something you wear around your wrist. I don’t know if that’s really all that helpful because I just learned that it’s really hard, especially the small kids, because they do whatever they want so, it’s really hard. It’s basically like trying to walk a cat. The cat’s not just going to just go with you. They’re going to kind of do their own thing. And sometimes that’s just stopping and not doing anything. But it’s definitely important to think ahead on stuff like that.

Tom: You mentioned your kids have their own loyalty numbers for airfare, I assume. Can you tell me more about you traveling on points? Now, there could be slight differences between the U.S. and Canada, but in general, it’s still the same. You’re earning points towards your flights as a frequent flier. How do you do that? Is it all through a connected credit card? Or are there other ways you’re earning points towards all this?

Ben: Mostly through credit cards. I have had close to 80 credit cards over the last five or six years. Not just through signing bonuses. Now, I’m to the point now where I just I usually pick cards that I’m going to use for the long-haul. That’s the biggest part of it, credit cards. But you can also typically earn points or miles through dining programs like online shopping portals. Every program—if you go to their website, they’ll list all the different ways you can earn rewards. And there’s usually quite a few.

Tom: I’ve been trying to find cards more for the long-haul. What’s going to actually give me my highest percent on my spending. You mentioned how many cards you had and I’ve never come close to that. But even in the little bit I’ve dabbled in with this credit card turning, it seems like a lot of work. Maybe too much of a game to play where you’re going to get this card and make sure you spend this much in the first three months to get the bonus. When you were doing this, were you trying to keep track of all this? Did it ever feel out of control?

Ben: Yes, and yes. For a long time, when I had a lower salary, I was obsessive about it because there was no way I was going be able to travel unless I did those things. I was working on so many different credit cards, getting sign up bonuses, I would keep a spreadsheet of which credit cards I had and when I opened them, because most of these travel cards have annual fees. And, before that hits, I have to make that decision, “Is this something I want to hold on to? Is it something I want to cancel?” Over time, I’ve gotten lazier about it where I don’t spend as much time on it. I think I applied for maybe one new credit card last year, which for most people, is good. But for me, it was hard to not apply for more cards. I didn’t want to spend that time managing all that stuff because I have been hit with late fees. There are so many different credit cards I’m managing that I just forgot about one of them. My annual fee hit and I didn’t pay it and I didn’t pay it and I didn’t pay it. Then I ended up getting three late fees.

Tom: You had the annual fee hit so it’s an expense you weren’t expecting? And it was the late fees on that?

Ben: Yeah. I used a budgeting software that imports all of my transactions from all of my cards and into one place. But there are some cards that don’t sync well. And this is one of those cards that just didn’t sync well. I had to check that one manually and I just I just forgot about it. That was kind of a wake up call so I decided to chill and pull back. It was beyond what I could manage at that point.

Tom: Even if someone is just going to get that one or two cards for the long-haul, they’re going to find the highest benefits for them. You mentioned the annual fee. This was something I had a problem with early on. I thought, “Why would I pay an annual fee when there’s these other cards that don’t have an annual fee?” But I never really did the math of, “This is why… I’m going to get much more.” If your annual fee is $100 or $150 and you’re getting at least $200 with the benefit, you’re already ahead compared to some of the really weak cards that don’t have any annual fees.

Ben: Exactly. A lot of it is based on your travel habits. I have five different credit cards that charge $400 plus every year. It works for me because, based on the perks that I get—I use them often enough. I travel a lot so I can use them. For somebody who is just trying to get into the travel rewards from the get-go or they can’t travel that much, it doesn’t really make sense. Basically, you have to do a cost benefit analysis with every card that you consider. I don’t even consider rewards in the picture. It’s just basically from the perks. Does this travel card provide enough perks to make it for the annual fee every year?

Tom: I find I’m often looking at the rewards. I’ve always been a big fan of cash-back credit cards because it was clear you were getting this percent and this other card gets this percent. But even as I move more into travel cards, now I’m trying to look up what the average value of that point is and figure out the percent. I’ve always focused on that more myself, but I definitely like the perks. If I have some lounge access or things, I’ve never had to use purchase insurance and things like that. With the travel insurance, it’s nice to know it’s there, but in a way, I’ve slightly ignored it just because I’ve never really needed it.

Ben: Yeah, I definitely look at the rewards. I guess I should adjust that a little bit. With travel credit cards, I only consider the perks when I’m looking at the annual fee, and when I’m comparing. Like what you said about cash-back credit cards, here in the States, we have a travel credit card from Capital One. It gives you two miles per dollar. Each mile is worth one cent apiece. So, it’s basically two percent cash back. Then we also have a bunch of two percent cash-back credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee. So, why would I choose this card for the rewards when I can get that exact same rewards rate and not pay an annual fee? But actually, when you’re looking at the cards you actually want to use on a regular basis, definitely look and see which card is going to give you the most value based on what you spend money on.

Tom: Especially when you have multiple cards and try to make the minimum spends in the first month, three months, or whatever the rule of that card is. Do you go out of your way to change things? I hate when my credit card number changes. Even if I lost a card and have to replace it, I’ve got many things set up as auto billing and it’s a hassle to change credit cards. So, I can’t imagine constantly having a new card.

Ben: Typically, I don’t. I’ve always tried to choose credit cards I know I could meet the minimum spending requirement without changing what I’m using to pay my health insurance with or what I’m using to pay my cell phone with and all that kind of stuff. If you really want to do that and you don’t think you could spend enough just with your grocery shopping and such, you can certainly do that but it will get exhausting over time. I generally keep three or four credit cards that I use regularly. If I get a new credit card, I focus on just using that card solely, until I reach that bonus. But I keep all of my recurring charges on those other cards because that is that is a pain to have to do that.

Tom: I do have multiple cards. It’s not that I just have one. It’s probably two or three. The reason I do it is because the categories. I have a two percent cashback card which, here in Canada, since our cards are a worse deal, a two percent card does have annual fees. You have to pay for that benefit. I know you mentioned the two percent shouldn’t have annual fees in the U.S., but that’s a decent card with annual fees here. So, I’ve got that as my general spending. But then I’ve got a card that gives me four percent at grocery stores. I’m just kind of being category aware. You’ve got to know which card to pull out and when to make sure you’re making that annual fee worthwhile.

Ben: Also, having multiple credit cards, you have to make sure that you’re not constantly forgetting. I have been in that situation where I’m at a gas station. I look at my wallet and I think, “Oh, wait. Which of these cards gives me the best rewards?” Here in the States, we have some cards where bonus categories change every three months. You have to be even more on top of things. It’s absolutely a good idea to have more than one credit card because different cards offer varying rewards rates on certain categories. Just don’t go overboard because it can be hard to remember.

Tom: I got this tip from someone. It wasn’t my idea but I’ve been thinking about it which is to put labels right on the credit cards.

Ben: I have seen people do that.

Tom: Yes, like, this is the grocery card. I guess it depends on how many cards you’re actually headed out with. If you have two main cards, it’s probably a little easier than if you have five or something like that. What about the hotel side? The hotels are very universal. Most of our chains apply throughout the world. First of all, I’ve made my own mistakes twice with this. One, booking my hotel through Expedia and putting in my loyalty number. But apparently when you do that, you don’t actually get the loyalty points. At least with this one program I was on. They wouldn’t give you points if you were booking through something else. They were kind of getting my information, I guess, by having that number but they weren’t giving me the benefit. The other mistake of mine… Well, I don’t know if this is a mistake. Using Expedia, I would often book the best deal. Sometimes it’s location-based, making sure it’s near where I need it to be. They’re loyalty points after all, so if you’re truly being loyal to a certain hotel chain, does that sometimes not work out? It seems like you’re obviously restricting your choice quite a bit.

Ben: Yeah, I am very much a free agent when it comes to hotels. The loyalty programs, sure, you’ll earn points when you stay. You can earn points in other ways. They have elite status and all that kind of stuff. But it really limits you. And some of the hotels like the Hyatt, for example, just announced they have 1,000 properties around the world. IHG has over 9,000. Hyatt actually has a really incredible program but if you go all-in on Hyatt, you’re going to have a really hard time finding a hotel anywhere close to where you want to be, unless you’re in a major city. I actually have probably eight or nine different hotel credit cards. It’s just so I can earn free nights and all that kind of stuff with all these different hotel brands. It gives me options. When I went to southern Utah, my kids and I stayed in this hotel that was in this really small town. I just went through every single one of my rewards programs and finally found that was a brand new Holiday Inn in this small town. If I didn’t have IHG points, if I put everything into the Marriott, then I definitely would have to pay for that in cash instead of using my points.

Tom: You mentioned IHG. I noticed that, too. They have so many different hotel chains as long as you look that up and know what the different actual names are. There is a lot there compared to probably a Hyatt. I don’t know if they have a lot of sub-brands like that. They do.

Ben: They do. All of them do. But IHG definitely has more than most. And Marriott as well.

Tom: You said you’re a free agent and you’ve got all these cards, but not everybody’s traveling as much as or maybe spending as much as you. If you’re just more of a normal person just trying to get a good deal on a hotel and get that loyalty, it sometimes it seems a little tough. I’ve read some of the things… I don’t know them the top of my head, but it felt like you’d have to spend 14 days just to move up one tier. And you think, “Well, maybe I only do 14 days in a year in hotels.”

Ben: Yeah. Hotel elite status is not that impressive. It’s just not. I’ve had hotel elite status with multiple brands for years. I very rarely get room upgrades. In fact, I was at a conference in DC a couple of years ago and I have executive status with Hilton. They did not upgrade my room. I’m never going to complain because it doesn’t matter to me that much. But then a friend of mine shows up and talks to the exact same person that I talk to and they say, “Oh, you’re staying for so long… Here, let me upgrade you to an executive room,” and I thought, “What the heck?” She didn’t have status at all. She and I were staying the exact same number of nights. It’s kind of like your mileage may vary whether or not you get upgrades. If you are putting all of your efforts into getting points, earning nights and getting status with one program, you typically have to have the highest tier for anything to really matter. But even then, some of the perks—sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. With the lower statuses—even for someone who doesn’t travel a ton, they can be easy to earn. With those, you get a bottle of water when you check in. that’s about it. And they’ll say you get premium Wi-Fi but it’s not that better than regular Wi-Fi. So, from that standpoint, it doesn’t make sense for me. I get all my status from my credit cards so I don’t actually have to do anything other than pay my annual fee.

Tom: Now, what you said about the FINCON conference in Washington, I had the same happen to me in the opposite way in Orlando the year before. I got a nice room upgrade. I was one of the first people to check in. Maybe they thought they’d get rid of them ahead of time because they didn’t know what they had reserved already. I would have thought it would work the other way around—that they’d give it to you because they have nothing else left. But I ended up getting an upgrade. And a few people that had status complained to me (not to the staff, of course) that I got that upgrade.

Ben: I don’t think I got upgraded in Orlando either. I traveled a couple of times last year doing Covid and I got upgrades because nobody else was traveling. But under normal circumstances, it’s pretty rare, even if you have one of the higher tiers, to actually get the upgrade.

Tom: One thing I’ve been doing with no status at all is in when you’re booking, there is a section where you have requests. I just put something in there like how it would be great if they had a higher floor with a nice room. I don’t actually say an upgrade because I have no reason to really ask for that. If I wanted something more, I should just book it so I just say, “If you have a nicer view or a higher floor, that would be great.” I’ve only done that a handful of times, but I’d say it’s probably working about 50 percent of the time. They’ll see that note there and say, “Okay, we’ll put you up here…” It’s a nice way to do it for an introverted person. You just put it in the notes when you’re booking. That way you don’t have to feel like you’re begging for something.

Ben: You don’t have to actually ask them. And you can, whether or not you have status. When you check in, you can say, “Hey, do you have any upgrades available?” I’ve heard stories of people handing the person who’s checking them in, cash (discreetly) to try to encourage that. It makes me feel icky even thinking about that. So, I would not recommend doing that. But you can have a good conversation. Be polite and everything. If you’re nice, that goes a long way. A lot of people are willing to help you out. I went to Napa and spoke with someone at one of the restaurants who said something like 80 percent of the people who come through there are just terrible. They’re very demanding. So, just being a nice person, often you can get things.

Tom: Yeah, that’s a great point. I’ve seen that where people go on these vacations and feel like everyone’s just their servant. They’re there to be served and they can’t talk to them like human. I find it much more enjoyable—maybe because I’m seeing some of these perks and things too. Not that I was doing it for this reason but it’s like a karma thing. When you’re just being nice to people, you’re going to end up enjoying your trip too.

Ben: Absolutely.

Tom: We mentioned credit cards and how with the annual fees you’ve got to make sure it makes sense for your spending and where you’re spending. The other thing that a lot of anti-credit card people will bring up is things like how you’re increasing your debt and paying interest. I just wanted to mention, don’t do that. You mentioned you had late fees. It wasn’t a huge deal. I doubt it wrecked the value of the card for you. But if you’re someone that’s putting thousands of dollars on to meet a minimum spend and they’re not able to pay that card right away, it’s going to pretty quickly defeat the whole point of getting these rewards.

Ben: Absolutely. And up until that point when that happened, I had never paid credit card interest. I had never paid an annual fee, which was why it was such a wake-up call for me where I needed to adjust how I’m doing this because I am getting overwhelmed. But yeah, even if you just want to use one credit card, I would only recommend it if you have plans to pay off the bill in full, every month. Use a budget so you can make sure you’re not spending more than you earn because it’s hard. The credit card is not tied to your bank account. You log into your bank account and that money’s not coming out with every purchase so it can be easy to just spend, spend, spend. And only like when the statement closes, you get that bill and then you think, “Oh, shoot! I spent too much.” So, having a budget and tracking your expenses throughout the month are crucial.

Tom: Yeah. You mentioned you use a budget program to bring in all those cards. Because otherwise, that would be just too many things to track. You spend $100 here and $200 there. Especially with all those extra cards that would become awfully hard to predict what you’re spending throughout the month if you’re not aggregating that together. Is there any other advice you have as a single parent, traveling with kids—especially that you’re looking forward to doing? I know most of your time as a single parent you have been, during Covid. But as things start opening up, what’s your advice? And what are you looking forward to doing with them?

Ben: My advice would be to prepare but don’t overprepare. When my kids were really young, my ex-wife and I were taking two giant suitcases full of stuff because we had to have diapers, toys, books. We’ve got to have all these things they need. But the problem is, you end up not using most of it because you don’t need most of it. So, it’s important to prepare for that kind of stuff, but not go overboard because then it hurts your experience on the trip. Also, prepare for certain aspects that you normally may not think about, like airplanes. I have had horrible experiences with my kids on airplanes. Now it’s to the point where I give them a tablet. They’re on the tablet for the entirety of the flight. The whole screen time thing and hurting kids—it’s okay. It’s not going to kill them if I do it a few times a year when we go on trips. It keeps them entertained and it also keeps the people around you happy. And, obviously, give them headphones. I have been on flights where parents will give their kids a tablet and the kid turns it all the way up where everybody has to listen to Barney playing in the background. So definitely don’t do that. As far as with my kids, I’m planning on buying a camper trailer. I have lower back problems so I can’t really sleep in tents anymore like I used to. And so, I want to take them more around Utah, because Utah is such a beautiful state. There are so many different places you can go. When travel becomes more, okay, I want to start taking my kids on solo trips again to different places as they grow older. For awhile I’d just take them to Disneyland and the beach. It’s just easy for a two-year-old or three-year-old. That’s going to be perfect for them. But now my son’s six. Now, I could potentially introduce him to things that are maybe more meaningful to him at this age. I’ve got a friend who actually has taken his six-year-old international trips. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that but I’ve got some ideas. I actually just looked up whether I would need a permission letter for travel and the US Customs and Border Protection recommend it, but it’s not required. It’s kind of the same thing when you fly. If you’re going to have a two-year-old child sit on your lap, the airlines would like you to have a copy of the child’s birth certificate to prove they are your child and you’re not just trafficking them. It’s a good idea even though regulators are probably not going to be on the plane asking you for that information. But again, with permission slip, having that that letter from an ex-spouse is definitely a good idea.

Tom: Yeah. My various interactions that the Border Patrol, I’d prefer to have it because it sounds like it could come down to what that agent at that border might ask you or say. I’ve had some guys in or out of different countries that are very friendly and some that are very tough. It might depend on who you get.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely better to be safe.

Tom: You also mentioned you went to Disneyland. When your kids were older and you’re looking to do other things, don’t discount the value of Disneyland. It’s so much more fun. You can go on rides that you might prefer to go on so it’s not just the slow moving little train rides. You can actually go on the faster rides with them.

Ben: You mean going on the Winnie the Pooh ride 20 times in a day is not fun?

Tom: Yeah, and the 15 other rides that are all kind of the same. You just travel through the story. Go back to Disneyland, though, you’ll like it. Can you let people know where they can find you online?

Ben: I co-host the podcast, Just One More Trip. It’s a travel podcast. I also help run the Freelance Writer Academy. I am a freelance writer. We have some courses where we help people learn how to build that business.

Tom: Great. Thanks for being on the show.

Ben: Thank you.

Thank you, Ben, for sharing so many great tips on collecting travel rewards and for your insight into traveling with kids as a single parent. You can find the show notes for this episode at Did you know you can watch videos from our past episodes on YouTube channel? If you’re interested, you can check them out at Make sure to hit the subscribe button while you’re there. Thanks as always for listening and we’ll see you back here next week.

I have 5 different credit cards that charge like $400 plus every year. And it works for me because, based on the perks I get, I use them often enough. I travel a lot, so I can use them. Click to Tweet