Easily Earn 1,000 American Airlines Miles.

If you are a member of the American Airlines travel rewards program you can easily earn 1,000 miles by watching 6 short videos. It took me about 10 minutes. Plus you can enter for a chance to win 2 first class round trip flights.

american airlines

This is all part of the US Airways and American Airlines merger.  Take advantage and easily earn these points here.

Learn more about how to earn travel points and travel for free here.

To stay up to date on the latest budget travel trips and deals like us on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest.

Happy Travels!

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

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Why I Love The International Biscuit Festival

Congratulations to Mama’s Farmhouse on this years winning biscuit! I am in love with chocolate gravy now!

Winning biscuit- Biscuit Feat 2015

There are some advantages to living in the South and having The International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN is one of them. The event includes lots of activities like the Southern Food Writing Conference, an after hours Biscuit Bash, an art exhibit and the, I wish I wasn’t a penny pincher and could afford it, Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch.  I have dreamed of signing up for the writing conference just so I could go to BlackBerry Farm and all of the other great events and mingle with foodies but you know there is that whole saving pennies thing…

biscuit sign

After years of attending the festival I have learned the best way to enjoy the The International Biscuit Festival. It just requires a little effort but the reward is spending less money and enjoying more time eating instead of waiting in line. Because I want you to enjoy the Biscuit Festival as much as I do I am going to let you in on my secrets. To start with you want to focus on Biscuit Boulevard.

Biscuit-Street-Sign-300x123

Biscuit Blvd is held on Saturday and is the main event in my book. This is where you can taste all the amazing biscuits along with samples of jam, candy, fruit tea, and many other foodie treats.  Follow these easy tips and I am sure you will have a great time. And don’t forget to have your photo taken with the Biscuit Queen!

biscuit queen

1) Get there early!  I can’t not stress enough that this is the key factor in your enjoyment at this event. This is a big event with stated crowds of 20,000 people. You should plan on pulling into a parking garage no later than 8:15 am.  By getting there early you will spend less time in line and have a more relaxed morning and be ready to go by 11 AM if you want or stay for the baking contests and other planned entertainment.

Tomato Head Biscuit Fest 2015

Tomato Head Biscuit Fest 2015- Benton’s Sausage & kale.

2) Buy your tickets at the Market Street Booth. Most people will be coming to the festival from Market Square and will get in the ticket line that they see first located near Krutch Park.  Resist this ticket line and walk down Biscuit Boulevard towards Market Street.  There is another booth there and the lines are always much shorter. Ask one of the biscuit volunteers for help if you have trouble finding it. You goal is to be in line before the tickets go on sale at 8:30 AM. Tickets cost $10 and are good for 5 biscuits of your choice.

Whole Foods Biscuit Fest 2015

Whole Foods Biscuit Fest 2015 – Friend chicken with tomato bacon jam.

3) Bring Friends! I strongly encourage you to come with at least one other person.  The key here is to each get a ticket then each person can stand in one of the lines then meet back together and share.  This way you can try many biscuits and stand in line as little as possible. Most of these are regular serving size and 10 biscuits (2 tickets) for 2 people is really too many so you can get away with 2 tickets for 3 people and save a little money.

 biscuit

Strawberries and chocoate gravy Biscuit Fest 2015

4) Scout out your top choices. Since you got there early and you have your ticket you have a few minutes to take a look at the offerings before they start serving at 9 AM.  I recommend you take a walk along Biscuit Blvd and decide which biscuits you think will be the best. I will tell you there is always a long line at Tupelo Honey so you may want to do this one first. Once you have decided on your favorites split up and go get in line for your top choices before they start serving. Then plan to meet back with your friends and share.  We use this split and meet up plan until we have used our ticket (each ticket is good for 5 biscuits).

Always a favorite.

Tupleo Honey Orange Jalapeno jam with whipped butter. Always a favorite.

5) Don’t miss the free stuff. After you have made it though your ticket there is still more to do.There are lots of booths offering samples of candy, jams, hot sauces etc.  Along with free biscuit mix, a small cheese try from Murray’s Cheese and Lipton bottled or canned tea.

My favorite this year from Gourmets Market.

My favorite this year from Gourmets Market.

I love trying all of the new biscuit creations each year and really enjoy this southern food festival. After we stuff ourselves we enjoy browsing the Farmers Market for some fresh food to take home for dinner.

farmers market

TOP TIP- I have learned through my travel experiences that in many cases it is well worth getting there early (even before a place opens) and that is for sure the case with this festival.

Like us on Facebook  and follow us on Pinterest to learn about travel deals and seeing the work on pennies!

Happy traveling and eating my friends!

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

5 Tips to Getting the Most Out of The International Biscuit Festival

There are some advantages to living in the South and having The International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN is one of them. The event includes lots of activities like the Southern Food Writing Conference, an after hours Biscuit Bash, an art exhibit and the, I wish I wasn’t a penny pincher and could afford it, Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch.  I have dreamed of signing up for the writing conference just so I could go to BlackBerry Farm and all of the other great events and mingle with foodies but you know there is that whole saving pennies thing…

biscuit sign

After years of attending the festival I have learned the best way to enjoy the The International Biscuit Festival. It just requires a little effort but the reward is spending less money and enjoying more time eating instead of waiting in line. Because I want you to enjoy the Biscuit Festival as much as I do I am going to let you in on my secrets. To start with you want to focus on Biscuit Boulevard.

Biscuit-Street-Sign-300x123

Biscuit Blvd is held on Saturday and is the main event in my book. This is where you can taste all the amazing biscuits along with samples of jam, candy, fruit tea, and many other foodie treats.  Follow these easy tips and I am sure you will have a great time. And don’t forget to have your photo taken with the Biscuit Queen!

biscuit queen

1) Get there early!  I can’t not stress enough that this is the key factor in your enjoyment at this event. This is a big event with stated crowds of 20,000 people. You should plan on pulling into a parking garage no later than 8:15 am.  By getting there early you will spend less time in line and have a more relaxed morning and be ready to go by 11 AM if you want or stay for the baking contests and other planned entertainment.

Tomato Head Biscuit Fest 2015

Tomato Head Biscuit Fest 2015- Benton’s Sausage & kale.

2) Buy your tickets at the Market Street Booth. Most people will be coming to the festival from Market Square and will get in the ticket line that they see first located near Krutch Park.  Resist this ticket line and walk down Biscuit Boulevard towards Market Street.  There is another booth there and the lines are always much shorter. Ask one of the biscuit volunteers for help if you have trouble finding it. You goal is to be in line before the tickets go on sale at 8:30 AM. Tickets cost $10 and are good for 5 biscuits of your choice.

Whole Foods Biscuit Fest 2015

Whole Foods Biscuit Fest 2015 – Friend chicken with tomato bacon jam.

3) Bring Friends! I strongly encourage you to come with at least one other person.  The key here is to each get a ticket then each person can stand in one of the lines then meet back together and share.  This way you can try many biscuits and stand in line as little as possible. Most of these are regular serving size and 10 biscuits (2 tickets) for 2 people is really too many so you can get away with 2 tickets for 3 people and save a little money.

 biscuit

Strawberries and chocoate gravy Biscuit Fest 2015

4) Scout out your top choices. Since you got there early and you have your ticket you have a few minutes to take a look at the offerings before they start serving at 9 AM.  I recommend you take a walk along Biscuit Blvd and decide which biscuits you think will be the best. I will tell you there is always a long line at Tupelo Honey so you may want to do this one first. Once you have decided on your favorites split up and go get in line for your top choices before they start serving. Then plan to meet back with your friends and share.  We use this split and meet up plan until we have used our ticket (each ticket is good for 5 biscuits).

Always a favorite.

Tupleo Honey Orange Jalapeno jam with whipped butter. Always a favorite.

5) Don’t miss the free stuff. After you have made it though your ticket there is still more to do.There are lots of booths offering samples of candy, jams, hot sauces etc.  Along with free biscuit mix, a small cheese try from Murray’s Cheese and Lipton bottled or canned tea.

My favorite this year from Gourmets Market.

My favorite this year from Gourmets Market.

I love trying all of the new biscuit creations each year and really enjoy this southern food festival. After we stuff ourselves we enjoy browsing the Farmers Market for some fresh food to take home for dinner.

farmers market

TOP TIP- I have learned through my travel experiences that in many cases it is well worth getting there early (even before a place opens) and that is for sure the case with this festival.

Like us on Facebook  and follow us on Pinterest to learn about travel deals and seeing the work on pennies!

Happy traveling and eating my friends!

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

Deal Alert: NYC to Mexico for as Low as $337 Round Trip!

Dreaming of a trip to Mexico?  Now is your chance to do it on the cheap, every budget travelers dream!

mexico

Now through December, there are some great deals from New York to Mexico City starting at $337 round-trip on major carriers like Delta, United and AeroMexico. The easiest way to search for these flights is to head over to Google Flights or Orbitz, where you can enter your desired city pairs and dates to get a calendar view of the different prices for each date.
Here is a sample flight:

New York (JFK)-Mexico City for $337 round-trip on Delta

Screen-Shot-2015-04-21-at-12.48.21-PM-530x347

When booking, be sure to use a credit card that maximizes your airfare purchase so that you earn more travel points. Learn more about earning travel points for free travel here.

Follow us on Facebook to stay update on the latest deal alerts and other travel tips!

Let us know if you get in on this deal.

Happy Travels,

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

How to Travel for Free Using Travel Points – Part 2

This is part 2 in our series on how to earn travel points for free travel.  You can learn more by reading Part 1.

Hopefully by now you have signed up for a few loyalty/rewards programs and are working on meeting the spend for the bonus on your new travel credit card that I taught you about in Part 1.  There are plenty of more ways you can earn travel points so that you can travel on a budget. So let’s get started with the rest of the steps.

points

Step 4-Sign up for Dining Programs

Travel rewards dining programs are free so why not sign up? Just like with the shopping programs many of the programs offer a sign up bonus. Once you sign up and link your credit cards (hopefully it is travel points earning card),  you will automatically earn miles/points every time you use your linked credit cards at participating restaurants. From what I can tell there is one company who runs this program but you an sign up through different brands (Delta, American Airlines etc). This company is Rewards Network. Once registered they will automatically give you miles and points every time you spend money at a participating restaurant. Registration is free so what are you waiting for?

The participating airlines are: American, Alaska, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. The general earning is 3 miles per dollar spent, but once you hit 10 dines you get VIP status where you earn 5 miles per dollar. And of course, you should use a mileage/point earning credit card so you get the double dip – miles from the dining program plus the miles earned on your credit card.

Learn more here.

dining

Step 5 – Use Social Media

Some of the most enthusiastic adopters of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the airlines and hotels themselves. There are always bonuses and promotions being offered through these media — anywhere from earning a few extra miles for liking a Facebook post, to entering contests with prizes of thousands of points on Instagram, and everything in between.

Not only that, but airlines such as American and Southwest, regularly offer thousands of bonus miles for signing up for their various newsletters (a few annoying emails is worth it, in my opinion!), and from time to time, airlines like Delta and hotels like Starwood offer travelers who download their Smartphone apps thousands of extra points for using them to do anything from check in for a flight like Delta has, to tagging their location on Foursquare during their stay, like Starwood offered last year.

I have earned numerous points by participating in social media campaigns from both Marriott and Club Carlson. So go like and follow those brands whose loyalty cards you signed up for in Part 1. And if you are have a particular destination I would suggest like some hotels in that area.  If you get lucky you just might win some free nights like I did.

social media 1

Step 6 -Travel

This one seems like a no brainier but before I was playing the points game I had no loyalty to any brand and would just stay where the best deal was.  Now I will find the best deal among the brands that I am currently working to earn points with. I also find that usually one of them is offerings some sort of bonus by either booking during a certain period or even booking via their app which I factor in as value when deciding where to stay.

rewards credit card

So how well has this worked for me?  I started working to earn points about 2 years ago.  I started with the Delta Amex and quickly followed that up with the Club Carlson Visa. About a year later I added the Starwood/SPG Amex. (My favorite points earning travel credit card-learn why here.) I have used these cards and these 3 cards only for the last 2 years.  When I flew (3 or 4 times in 2 years) I used Delta and my Delta Amex for extra points.  When I stayed somewhere it was at a Club Carlson or Starwood property.  We did go on a quite a few collage visits so I did earn some travel points this way.  I also signed up and got both the shopping and dining bonuses mentioned in Part 1 and did most of my Christmas shopping the last 2 years via points earning shopping sites.  I also won some points for posting a photo to the Club Carlson Instagram.  I other words I just lived my life and when I could I tried to earn points and stay loyal to these brands.

These efforts have enabled me to plan a dream trip for my daughters graduation.  This June we will fly round trip from Knoxville, TN to Paris and visit London and Amsterdam.  I was able to get this flight for a couple of hundred dollars in taxes thanks to the travel points/miles I earned with Delta.  Thanks to all of the points I earned with Club Carlson and because I have their credit card I was able to stretch those points to cover 6 nights. Learn how I did so here. However, this deal is ending soon, details here. I was able to use my SPG/Starwood travel points to stay an additional night.  For a total of 7 nights and airfare for $200 in taxes. The value of the items I have gotten for free for this trip is $5,688.  The plane tickets alone are currently selling for $3,428.

paris

I hope that you now see that if I can do it so can you.  Sure it took 2 years but I think it is worth it as otherwise I would not be able to afford to take my daughter on this trip. Now that I have used these brands to their max with my credit card sign up bonus and the other travel point earning methods I have mentioned I am turning my focus to American Airlines and Hilton. I hope to have enough points to take another almost free trip in one year.

If you follow these steps and make an effort to be aware of when you can earn more travel points (I will even do the work for us, just like us on Facebook to keep up to date.) you too can be a master of travel points and traveling on a budget.

Happy Traveling,

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

5 Ways to Get Discount London Theatre Tickets

I am planning a trip to London with my daughter to celebrate her high school graduation.  One of the items on our list is to see a show while there.  As a budget traveler I of course set out to find a discount. Through my research I found several ways to save some money. First thing to know for Americans, floor seats are called “stalls” in England; balcony seats (sometimes in a “grand tier” or a “second tier”) will almost always cost less than stall seats.

london tickets

#1 TKTS-The first and possible best way is to visit the TKTS booth based at The Clocktower in Leicester Square for great value theatre tickets to dozens of West End shows.  They are known for excellent day of show deals and half price bargains. They offer tickets to the best shows in London 7 days a week, with many at a discount. Run by the Society of London Theatre, any profit made from the theatre tickets you buy goes straight back into supporting the theatre industry. Just remember, theatre tickets can only be purchased at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square, they don’t sell by phone or web. Learn more at http://www.tkts.co.uk

tickets discount

#2 Standby-Are you over 60, unemployed, full-time student or theatre union member? Then there is a discount for you. Most theatres have a standby rate selling unsold seats for about 70% discount an hour before the show to personal callers at the box-office with valid ID like student cards or pension book / entitlement card. Generally cash only is the rule. It is worthwhile as an overseas visitor to bring your ID with you as theatres will often allow, say, an American Senior Citizen on vacation the same discount as a London resident.

A bigger range of shows offers this discount than one imagines. Even top shows often fill their front row with standby users. Best of all, many theatres will take a pre-booking a day in advance and allow credit card payment. For midweek matinees, Senior Citizens can often book ahead even further – check with the box office as this varies according to sales and season.
It is also worth visiting the box office early in the day as standby tickets can go on sale early. I even read about that if one person is say a student or senior citizen they may be able to buy tickets for their party using the discount.  It’s worth trying.

theater tickets

#3 Afternoons- Sometimes tickets for midweek afternoon performances are being sold more cheaply. Sometimes this is a reduction in price; at other times the seating plan is “re-drawn” to place more seats in a lower than usual price.

#4 Online- Discount websites like timeout.com/tickets and https://cwett.ltdtickets.com/ are a good start for finding substantial discounts to shows in the West End proper and a few larger theatres elsewhere. Keep in mind that it is worth checking out the normal prices of seats for the shows you are interested in, you will find that there are a large range of prices for every show depending on the position of the seat in the theatre. Often it is the more expensive seats that are made available at the discount kiosks and it might be cheaper to buy a normal price cheap seat to a discounted expensive seat. Learn more about the best budget travel sites here.

theater

#5 Day tickets-If you are willing to take the risk you can get a good deal on day of tickets.  However, you will need to get there early and wait in line.  For example I learned that you can get same day discount tickets for the front row of Wicked, but you have to line up early or they sell out, and each person can only buy 2. Before waiting in line I suggest you contact the theatre to see if they have “Day tickets” which they only sell at their own box office.

I hope that you are able to find a discount to the show you want to see.

To learn about more ways to travel on a budget like us on Facebook.

Happy Traveling,

The Penny Pinching Globetrotter

Deal Alert! NYC to Africa for less than $500!

Would you like to head to Africa later this year or early in 2016?  Flights are on sale from New York to Nairobi for under $500 round-trip! And some deals have been found out of Chicago. A big thanks to The Point Guy for alerting us to this deal.

africa animal

I was lucky enough to get a deal like this Christmas day and will be headed to Africa this fall.

Head over to Orbitz right now.  In my experience it may take some time to find a deal that will work for you but don’t give up as it is worth the effort.  Here are sample fares others have found:

February 2016 – New York-Nairobi(NBO) for $392.11 round-trip

airfare

New York-Nairobi (NBO)
Dates: Decent availability in October, November, and early December; Select 2016 dates

New York-Johannesburg (JNB)for $597.40 round-trip

africa

Dates: Decent availability in October and November

There are also some flights out of Chicago Chicago-Nairobi (NBO) for the first three weeks of November but they are running about $750 (still a great deal)!

About Nairobi 

Nairobi is a perfect jumping off point for East African tourism and safaris. You’re only a short drive from amazing safari destinations like Tasvo East/West, the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti/Masai Mara National Parks, and many more.

Nairobi is a regional hub (and is the home base for SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways) and is a short direct flight to popular tourist destinations in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam, Arusha / Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar), Ethiopia (Addis Ababa), South Africa (Capetown, Johannesburg, and others) and many more.

Don’t delay these will not last so get on it now!!!

Follow us on Facebook for more deals like this!

Happy Traveling,

The Penny Pinching GlobeTrotter