For what seems like years, JD Roth  has sung the praises of one Chris Guillebeau , author of the Art of Non-Conformity blog. For months, I’m pretty sure every conversation we’ve had (and we talk almost every week in preparation of the Personal Finance Hour ), the Guillebeau name comes up. I don’t really know much about him but I do know he has the audacious goal of visiting every country in the world. Every single one of the 192 countries in the world… and he’s already scratched 122 off the list .
Knowing nothing else about him, other than scanning his blog a few times, I knew that at the very least he’d be an expert on travel and squeezing every bit of value out of his dollar. You see, Chris isn’t rich. He makes a living as a blogger but he’s not the heir to a vast fortune he taps to fund an extravagant lifestyle. He’s someone who has decided what he wants to do with his life, designed it in a way that makes his goals achievable, and explains the whole mentality in a totally free ebook called A Brief Guide to World Domination . I think it gives you great insight into who he is and a taste of his writing style, which takes me to his latest piece of work – Frequent Flyer Master .
So what does someone without bags of cash lying around need to do to visit over a hundred countries? You have to be very resourceful.
Chris sent me a copy of Frequent Flyer Master (for free and at my request) because, as I’ve admitted many times before, I’m a fan of travel. I favor experiences over things . After hearing JD gush about Chris and after learning Chris’ goal was to visit every country in the world, I wanted to know what this guy knew.
After reading the forty page ebook, I was impressed both by the “hacks” Chris has been able to find and his overall approach. The hacks will change every year, since companies will try different promotions and offers, but if you have a solid approach then you can adapt to the changing environment. The first half of the book is spent discussing the “strategy” Chris uses, the second half discusses the tactics he uses to earn more miles.
For example, one of his best pieces of advice in the book is to have a travel goal in mind. His is to visit every country in the world, he has about seventy left. If you don’t have a travel goal, you won’t get as much value out of his book because you don’t have a purpose in mind. It doesn’t have to be as ambitious as his, but it has to be something you’re working towards. A laudable, though less ambitious, goal is to get one free flight home every year or a free weekend hotel stay. Having a goal in mind is crucial because it puts the tactics within a context. Miles have value since you’re working towards something tangible, rather than just “racking up more miles.”
If you’re a well seasoned traveler, the ideas in this book might not be mind blowing, especially if you’re done a lot of the analysis yourself. However, if you’re new to travel or wondering if there are tricks you don’t know about, take a look at this book. The book itself is $49 and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. “Using the information in the guide, you’ll earn at least 25,000 Frequent Flyer Miles, enough for one free plane ticket ($300+), within 90 days. If not, I am obligated to give you your money back—even if you love the guides.”