Miles and points, Forbes, Belize

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In the world of travel blogging, it’s very much affiliate bloggers vs. non-affiliate ones. It’s war!!! And the most hated of all are the top bloggers, who make a nice living doing it. No doubt, part of it is jealousy. The truth is, most small bloggers would give their right arm to be one of those guys. But not me.

Even if I had the ambition and the skills to accomplish it, I wouldn’t want to. Let me tell you why. Daily posts, sometimes several per day. And you better do it, because the other guys will. And then, who knows, the readers may switch to their site and use their links (gasp!).  So you see multiple posts announcing the upcoming announcements. Or long write-ups that should take  a maximum of ten words, just to fill the daily quota. And it makes sense, because very (rhymes with Gary) few can write 7 to 10 good posts per week year after year.

Also: trolls, trolls, trolls. You can’t go on vacation and turn it all off because you have thousands of readers depending on you for information, which comes in at all hours of the day. So when you see  glamorous photos of top bloggers in exotic locations, keep in mind, they are probably reading a message from a nasty troll as they smile away.

And the biggest thing of all. I am very fortunate  not to depend on the affiliate money. The same cannot be said of many bloggers.That commission feeds their kids(or pets). Some have employees, who in turn have to feed their kids. When I said that some blogs answer to shareholders, this was in no way an insult to those who run those sites. I am not an “Angry” and want nothing to do with that group or those, who promote it.

Would I hesitate to feature a non-affiliate card  if my family or employees depended on that money? Quite possibly. Does it mean the readers don’t deserve to know about all the choices out there? Absolutely not.

On a separate note, one of my posts was mentioned on Forbes! Not  as cool as Big Habitat shout-out, but still. I won’t name the post because I truly want to leave that chapter  closed. So, what’s my point? Your site can look like a caveman designed it and you can write like a dyslexic child, and yet one of the leading online journals may link to your blog. Oh, and all of your kids can be a president when they grow up!

Trip report.

2008, Belize

This was actually our last trip as a childless couple. Well, technically not, since I was 4 months pregnant at the time, as you can probably tell from the picture.

We took a tour  to Altun Ha, a major Mayan site. Our guide was a joke. First, I knew more about Mayan history than he did. Second, he took the whole group to his cousin’s store  to buy alcohol. We spent a good half hour there, which caused us to miss one of the tour stops. I demanded a partial refund and got it.

Do you see how I’m posing at the top of a a pyramid? This is an example of what not to do when you are pregnant. I don’t know what I was thinking, climbing those steps. Anyway, I love archaeology, so this was quite fascinating. Look at what one of the history sites, called Slickrock.com, says about the ruins:

“Inside the intact crypt a jade head representing the Mayan sun god was found lying on the right wrist of the body entombed there. This object weighs almost 10 pounds and is 6 inches tall. It is the largest jade object ever found in the Maya world.”  Our guide told us that the jade head is constantly on the move between the museums in Belize, for fear of it being stolen. Not sure if he made it up, though.

Miles and points

1)Via Just another points traveler, if you can make a booking today on AirBNB and reserve at least 2 nights, you can get one of them  free. Read more on it HERE

2)  You can once again transfer Aeroplan (Air Canada) miles to US Airways Dividend miles via Points.com at 1:0.84 ratio. It’s one of very rare decent deals on that site. If you happen to have Membership Rewards from Amex, Air Canada is a partner.  The minimum transfer amount is 15000 miles. Could be of interest if you are looking to redeem on US Airways or American routes. Read more HERE

3) You can find 2014 free entrance days to US National parks HERE

4) There is an  offer from Bank of America to sign up for their Virgin Atlantic credit card. Basically, you get 50000 miles after spending 2500 in 90 days and adding 2 authorized users. The annual fee is 90 dollars, not waived. More details in my “Best deals” page.  I get no commission on it.  Here is the application LINK

5) On a related note, for  a limited time you can redeem Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles from East Coast to London for only 12500 miles each way and about 130 in taxes. Virgin Atlantic is a partner of Ultimate Rewards program, and transfers are usually instant. A good deal for  summer travel.

6) A 20 percent off coupon for Living Social site, valid through January 20th.  Read more about it on Fatwallet HERE

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