Sustainably Yours: The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands is a life list must for many people. And visiting the Galapagos Islands sustainably is an important part of making sure future generations can explore the area too.

The Sally Lightfoot crabs on a shore of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (photo: rawpixels)

Guest author, Justin Gibson, gives a few pointers to help make sure your time in the Galapagos Islands makes a check mark on your life list without leaving a mark on nature.

Justin’s first point is to make sure you visit the islands in small groups. The decision of how-big-is-too-big is made easier by the fact that mega-sized cruise ships can’t dock in the area and oversized guided tours can’t operate. But, focusing on companies that offer smaller, more intimate, experiences not only keeps less people from walking around the evolutionary landform, but it also offers travelers a more up close and personal experience.

Closeup of the Red-footed Booby on the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (photo: rawpixels)

The second point Justin makes is to use reef-safe sunscreen. This tip is important not only in the Galapagos but anytime you enter a maritime area. The article also suggests “wearing sun-protective clothing to reduce your need for sunscreen.”

Panga ride at the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (photo: rawpixels)

A third point in Justin’s post is to “take only photos.” Justin says, “do not pick anything up and stick it in your pocket. No seashells, coral, volcanic rocks, native wood or flora. Not even a little stone or pebble! Likewise, if you notice souvenirs like these being sold in nearby towns, don’t buy them!”

Likewise, he suggests to “leave only footprints.” This means, when you leave the Islands, there should be no trace that you were ever there– no markings, no trash.

The Galapagos land iguana on the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (photo: rawpixels)

Finally, Justin suggests to travel to the Galapagos with a company you trust. There are several good, eco-focused, companies that offer the Galapagos. If you’re interested in travel to the their, contact KaliKosmos Travel and let us work to find the company that is best for your travel goals.

Aussie Aussie Aussie

After more than two years of waiting, it’s exciting for Australia to be back open and receiving travelers.

One great way to see Australia is with a circumventing cruise. As a our guest writer, Amy Mutscher, said “[o]n a cruise around Australia, you can cover miles of territory and only unpack once.”

On a circumventing cruise you can see places like:

Northeast and the Great Barrier Reef which is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree National Park, the Gold Coast, and Byron Bay. Mutscher suggests travelers “[b]ring binoculars to watch the sea from your ship’s deck keeping an eye out for dolphins and whales, especially in summer when dwarf minke whales arrive from Antarctica to give birth.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Southeast and the Capitol Cities like Sydney’s Opera House, Bondi beach, and the nearby Blue Mountains or Melbourne’s European charm and tons of tasting options for foodies to enjoy.

Visit Sydney on an epic Australian cruise

South Australia full of wine and wildlife. Travelers can explore Kangaroo Island, one Australia’s top wildlife viewing locations. Mutscher suggests travelers “[b]ook a 4-wheel drive tour into rugged bushland to spot koalas perched high in the treetops and see one of the country’s most celebrated animals, the kangaroo.” In Seal Bay Conservation Park, travelers can see Australia’s endangered sea lions and in North Terrace, travelers and immerse themselves in Aboriginal culture.

Get up close and personal on Kangaroo Island

For those with extended travel time, Holland America Line can take you from San Diego around Australia with stops in Hawaii and French Polynesia. True luxury awaits you on the 69 day epic voyage.

Noordam in Sydney

Ready to make your travel plans to or around Australia? Contact KaliKosmos Travel and let us work for you.

Winter Travel is Around the Corner

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but winter is only 122 days away!

For many people this means the winter travel season, such as a ski vacation, is equally close at hand.

There are some excellent ski resorts near and far —-consider the big ski slopes in Colorado or the fabulous Whistler resort in B.C.

For something extra special—consider a ski vacation in spectacular Switzerland or the Tyrol and Arlberg regions in Austria. 

And life in the ski resort doesn’t stop at skiing — there are relaxing spas, outstanding restaurants and fun apres ski activities!

Skiing and snowboarding in Colorado is a truly unique experience. The unmistakable peaks of the majestic Rocky Mountains, the sheer variety, volume, and breadth of the resorts, and plentiful annual snowfall make this state one of the most coveted winter playgrounds. The pandemic has given us all a renewed appreciation for the outdoors, and what better way to experience it this winter than at one of these eight Colorado ski resorts.

Each destination offers something unique, like world class art exhibits in Aspen, backcountry cat skiing in Crested Butte, or whiskey tastings in Breckenridge, to name a few, but the best ski resorts in Colorado have two major things in common: great winter weather (allowing for a longer ski season) and exhilarating terrain that makes for an unmatched skiing experience for all skill levels.

Colorado is a Swiss army knife of winter activity, and the key to unlocking it is the Epic Pass, a single season pass that covers different resorts across the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan (including several on this list). At each of the Colorado ski resorts, you can push your skills, master the terrain, and even enjoy some charming non-skiing activities in some of the West’s most idyllic towns.

Whistler Resort, which includes Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, has the largest ski area and two of the longest vertical drops on the continent, as well as one of the world’s most advanced lift systems.

But there’s more to Whistler than skiing and snowboarding; each winter people flow into the resort with no intention of riding a chairlift, preferring to explore the many spas, shops, and restaurants, as well as the varied nightlife.

During the rest of the year, they come to play four championship golf courses, race down the world’s largest downhill bike park, and hike the hundreds of miles of trails. Then there’s horseback riding along mountain ridges, zip-lining across Fitzsimmons Valley, or hopping aboard a helicopter ride to have lunch on one of dozens of nearby glaciers.

Whistler Blackcomb is also now a member of The Mountain Collective, a ski- and perk-pass program that’s good for half a dozen other top-notch resorts including Aspen and Jackson Hole.

The frontier between Tyrol and the province of Salzburgerland to the east is defined by mountains; four passes routed over them are what make access possible. To the west of Tyrol lies Vorarlberg—“before the Arlberg”—the mountain range straddling the border between the two provinces.

In winter you’ll find unrivaled skiing and tobogganing. The famous Arlberg ski resorts are cult destinations for skiers from all over the world. In summer, Bregenz, the historic state capital of Vorarlberg, becomes the “Summer Capital of Austria” when the Bregenz Festival opens with a performance by the Viennese Symphonic Orchestra. Thousands flock to see operas and musicals by the likes of Giuseppe Verdi, Georges Bizet, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which take place on a huge floating stage with the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and the Swiss mountains as a backdrop.

Ready to start planning your winter travel experience? Contact us today and let’s make it a winter vacation to remember!

Celebrating Britain

This summer Britain will celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee June 2-5. If you’re able to visit during the celebration you’ll be rewarded with special events both in London and throughout the country. But, even if you can’t be in Britain during the celebration, there is still plenty to do and see in the United Kingdom.

In her recent Travel Leaders Network blog post, TLN writer Amy Mutscher gives examples of ways to spend time when jumping across the pond.

London

Amy’s top suggestions include visiting movie and TV filming sights of

  • Scotland for the Outlander’s fans,
  • Liverpool for the Peaky Blinders fans,
  • Cardiff Castle for Doctor Who fans,
  • and Bridgerton Hall for Bridgerton fans.
Cardiff Castle

For those wanting an active tour of Britain, Amy suggests

  • climbing the historic Cutty Sark and zip lining over the River Thames,
  • taking a speed boat on the River Thames,
  • exploring Britain’s rivers, coasts and canals on a paddle board,
  • or clocking speeds of 70mph while zip lining in Aberdare, South Wales
The Cutty Sark

And for those visiting Britain with kids, Amy suggests

  • spending time at the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground near Kensington Palace
  • and visiting The Shard for a special Peter Pan Afternoon Tea.
Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground

With Britain removing most of the COVID restrictions, now is fantastic time to hire KaliKosmos Travel to plan your British experience. Contact us today.

Travel Fore-Caddie: A Guide to Golfing

Now is the perfect time to start planning for your spring and summer travel. And, just as the fore-caddie goes ahead of golfers on the course to locate the shots, KaliKosmos Travel advisors are here to locate and plan your perfect golfing get-away.

While California, the Robert Trent Jones trail, and Georgia are the usual places to plan golfing experiences, there are also some fantastic choices along the East Coast.

This month, a Travel Leaders’ guest contributor breaks down top courses on the East Coast with information of courses like The Homestead, Pinehurst No. 2 Course, and TPC Sawgrass, to name a few.

And for the those who need a vacation to appease more than just the golfers, try Long Island, New York where the golfers can play the public Bethpage Black course, while the non-golfers hike the trails or play tennis or polo.

Ready to plan your next amazing travel experience? Contact KaliKosmos Travel and let us turn your travel dreams into amazing travel stories.

Travel is back … but is your passport?

Travel is back! We’re excited to see countries opening and to see protocols for fully vaccinated travelers becoming easier. But, now that global exploration is back on the table, it’s time to make sure the basics are covered.

Check Your Travel Documents

If you’re planning on traveling outside of the United States (including travel to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico), you must have a passport book that expires at least 6 months after your date of return.

For even the most seasoned of travelers, the last 15 months have meant no international travel at all. For many, those passport expiration dates could have gone by unnoticed and now, passport processing times are much longer than normal.

According to a recent New York Times article, “Routine passport service by mail, according to the State Department, can now take up to 18 weeks, compared to six to eight weeks before the pandemic.” And, the article goes on to say, “expedited service, which costs an additional $60 and took anywhere from a few days to three weeks before Covid-19, can now take up to 12 weeks.”

passport

Go. Now. Check your passport. Do you have at least 18 months left before it expires? If you don’t and if you have plans to travel in the next 12 months, begin your renewal process now.

And, if your passport is not valid through February 2022, that last minute, pre-school term, Mexican beach getaway- isn’t happening. Instead, contact your KaliKosmos Travel advisor and let us help you discover some great domestic travel options.

Buy Travel Insurance

Some places require travel insurance but it is still, mainly, up to travelers if they want to protect their investment with the purchase of travel insurance. We love insurance not only because it protects our clients when they have to cancel due to illness, job loss, or death; but we also love it because it helps with the unexpected costs associated with airline issues.

According to Bryan Del Monte, president of the Aviation Agency, “bad weather, a labor shortage and capacity problems” were to blame for the most recent disruptions of flights over the past month.

And, when events like weather cause delays, which snowball into timed-out crew and cancelled flights, and end with a passenger pile up that can take several days to iron out- passengers are often left with the cost of hotel stays and meals.

Flight Delayed

But when you have travel insurance, and you have a written statement from the airline about the issue that occurred, you can file for reimbursement of those unexpected costs.

Insurance pricing is based on several factors and some coverage has limitations based on the date of when you made your first payment towards your travel services. Contact your KaliKosmos Travel advisor for more details.

Arrive Early

There have been moments in the last 15 months when traffic at the airport was basically you and the one other person the next to you. Checking in at the airline desk was quick. TSA lines were short. You could show up without a lot of worry.

This is not then.

Airlines furloughed many check-in agents over the last 15 months and they haven’t all returned to work. There are also fewer TSA workers and more travelers. In some places three hours is now tight for making it through to the gate on time.

Some tips for helping the airport experience run smoother:

  • Plan to arrive at least three hours before your flight
  • Pack in a carry on (if possible) to avoid having to check bags
  • When you do have to check bags, use the skycap service (where available) to reduce the baggage check wait times
  • Use the MyTSA app to find average TSA line wait times
  • Enroll in TSA-Pre to cut down on time in line
MyTSA app
photo source: TSA App

Now is the time to check the basics and now is the time to plan for that next travel experience.

When you’re ready to turn your travel dreams into amazing travel stories, Contact KaliKosmos Travel and let us work for you.

What’s A Cruiser To Do?

It’s been a hard year for those who love cruising. Personally, I’ve had my Virgin Voyage moved three times. It’s now scheduled for 2022!

And, that’s a bummer.

sad woman

Cruising is a wonderful way to get a taste of several locations in short amount of time, enjoy Broadway style entertainment, have a spa day, taste new foods, relax by the pool, try your hand at a new experience (like rock climbing, wave running, go karts, or kickboxing), and only unpack once.

But, until the CDC gives cruising the green light, are those us who crave the ship-life without a travel plan?

No! For the cruise lover, this pause in sailing is a great opportunity to try all inclusive resorts.

In his recent article written for Travel Leaders, Jonathan Hermann discusses reasons Why Cruises Also Love All Inclusive Resorts.

Cruising and land-based vacations are inherently different, yet not without similarities. In fact, there are numerous ways that all-inclusive resorts are actually preferred over cruising. 

Jonathan Hermann

One of the best points Hermann makes is that with most cruises, travelers expect to pay more for speciality dining and alcoholic/carbonated beverages. But, with all inclusive resorts these are part of the package price. In fact, with many resorts, 24 hour room service and top shelf liquor are also included.

Another great point Hermann makes is that at a resort there is room to spread out, which is not often the case for cruise cabins. In the COVID era, KaliKosmos Travel clients are upgrading their resort rooms to suites with more space and private plunge pools. This allows our travelers to enjoy the property and relax without being near other people.

Depending on your resort, there will probably not be go karts, but there could be Sesame Street or Nickelodeon characters at family resorts or unique wellness experiences and spa treatments for the adult-focused resorts.

What about you? Are you a land-locked cruiser unable to travel in your favorite way? Contact KaliKosmos Travel and let us plan your cruise-alternative vacation.

Life List

Someone once said that work is how we fill our time in between vacations.

With COVID closures and reduced travel in 2020, work has been longer than most of us have experienced in a long time.

But work does not have to void of travel. This time is a perfect time to dream and plan for the travel that will come later.

One of the best dream to plan to go tools is the Life List (aka Bucket List). A Life List helps set the path to regular travel, big and small, far and near. Here a few practical tips on building your Life List:

1) Choose Your Method.

There are a lot of ways to keep a Life List ranging from a notebook, to a digital document, to even a jar full of notes. The important thing is that whatever you choose, you use. You will want to look at this on a regular basis so make sure it is something that will be easy for you to access. Digital documents (like Google docs are great because you can easily add things like images or links. And they are easy to share with your regular travel mate and your KaliKosmos Travel advisor.

2) Make a List of Where You Have Been

Thinking about past vacations and what you liked (and didn’t like) is a great way to get started. If you’re traveling as a couple this is even more important. You might want to share previous adventures with each other, or agree that exploring things that are completely new are the way to go. Either way, having this list will further the discussion. If you are a solo traveler, then this will help you determine what is really meaningful when it comes to your travel desires. 

3) Next, List Your Destinations

This is the fun step. Use your imagination. At this point, don’t hold back due to time or financial concerns, just list all the places you have ever dreamed of. Where did you want to go when you were 6 years old? Or 10, or 16? Or maybe just last week? Of course, you should make sure you include the places that have always been on your wish list. Remember, this is not the time to hold back. If you need advice, this is a great time to contact your KaliKosmos Travel advisor and ask her what the newly discovered destinations are. You don’t want to miss out.

4) What Do you Want to Experience?

Places are one thing. Activities are another. Have you always wanted to go Northern Lights hunting? Or maybe an African Safari? Is it swimming with dolphins in Mexico that calls to you, or diving with sharks in South Africa? Does visiting the Smithsonian in DC call to you, or maybe hot air ballooning over the dessert Southwest? This is the step where you get to list all the things you’ve wanted to do. As a couple this can be a fun step of discovery. Just like with destinations, your KaliKosmos Travel advisor can help by letting you know about some of the secrets that only travel insiders know about. 

5) Put Things in Order

Your list is probably getting a little long at this point. Now is the time to apply some practical thinking. Look through your destinations list and highlight the 4 or 5 places that mean the most to you. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever see the others, but you do need to start somewhere. Then look through your activities list. Are there any that fit one destination more than another? Add them to your list. Lastly, go through your list one more time to make sure you didn’t leave anything out. Once this is done, you have your basic list finished. Now to apply some action to it.

6) Establish a Timeline

Now you can begin making things happen This is where you begin to organize your dreams into plans. Consider the time and money you wish to invest in travel. Yes, it is an investment. Remember, travel is the activity where you spend money and return richer for it. 
Align your goals with the practical aspects of your budget and available time and, in short order, you will have a plan of where to go and what to do over the next few years. Share this with your KaliKosmos Travel advisor and she will be able to keep on a lookout for opportunities and deals that can get you checking these items off you list.

7) Check Them Off Your List

Of course, none of this really means much if you never go. Once you get started, you’ll find that wanderlust builds and builds. So the choice is yours, do you want to be one of the people who tells the stories of what they have discovered, or the one who listens? 
It’s important to remember that this is YOUR travel Life List. So if work gets in the way sometimes, no worries. You are the master of the list and can always adjust it as need be. But don’t forget it’s impolite to keep a vacation waiting if you can go. 

Ready to dream? Download a blank PDF Life List.

Ready to plan? Contact us and let KaliKosmos Travel show you the difference Professionally Planned Travel can make.

Wish You Were Where?

After months at home, we need something to look forward to again and nothing is more exciting than planning that next perfect getaway. So let’s play the game “If I weren’t here, I would be …”

Julie:

If I weren’t here, I’d be in Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa. Did you know that Pikes Peak in Colorado is not the original? In northeast Iowa on the outskirts of McGregor is the REAL Pikes Peak. The park (and close by Yellow River State Forest) are beautiful especially in late September when the fall leaves are changing colors. I love to hike, and the park offers both rugged trails on the northern portion or the southern portion has shorter trails that are highly maintained. It’s also a great place for photographers looking for that perfect nature shot!

Pike Peak State Park
photo credit: Travel Iowa

Katie:

If I weren’t here, I’d be in the Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks, Alaska. I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, and while Iceland and Norway are high on aurora hunters’ list, Alaska is a great spot to see the phenomena as well. And the great news, especially for someone like me who doesn’t want to be cold, the lights in Alaska are visible as early as mid-August!

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
photo credit: Explore Fairbanks

What about you? If you weren’t here, where would you be?


The journey begins the moment we decide to go somewhere. Let’s Go There. Book now to travel later.

Are you ready to go from inspiration to having your dream on the calendar? Then contact KaliKosmos Travel. Let us work to plan your perfect travel experience.

Let's Go There

Spend Now, Travel Later

We’re excited to have Luke Hartman as a guest blogger this month. He helps explain ways we can spend now and travel later.

For travelers interested in enrolling in or using their American Express points for travel, contact Katie Hartman, an authorized American Express Pay with Points agent (terms and conditions apply).


While travel does not have the appeal right now that it usually does, now is a great opportunity to consider ways to prepare for upcoming travel. Using a credit card can be a helpful way to save funds for travel while you are in-between trips (or waiting out a pandemic at home). 

There are three different types of travel-related credit cards with various pros and cons for each. Let’s learn more!

Airline-affiliated cards

Delta Credit Card

Airlines partner with banks to provide cards that allow holders to accumulate miles with that airline (Southwest calls them points). United Airlines and Southwest both partner with Chase; American Airlines with Citi; Delta with American Express; and smaller airlines (JetBlue, Alaskan, etc) have bank partners as well.

These cards credit your frequent flier account with miles for each dollar spent on the card. Most airline cards provide one mile per dollar with higher credit rates for certain categories and purchases with the airline itself. The value of these miles varies from airline to airline as each has different tiers depending on your destination and class of service and lower miles are generally required the further from departure that you can book.

Airlines also provide travel-related perks for cardholders. For example all but Delta’s free card provide free baggage fees for up to nine passengers on the same itinerary as the cardholder. The cheapest of these cards costs $99/year and with Delta’s domestic baggage fee currently at $30/first bag, the card more than pays for itself after only two flights a year with two passengers. Add Delta’s priority boarding and discounts on in-flight purchases ans the card seems more attractive. Delta’s highest card has a $550/year fee but also includes a free flight for a travel-companion (with certain rules and class of service), free entry into the Delta Sky Club, complimentary upgrades on flights, and reimbursement for TSA Pre.

If you have a preferred airline and will travel with the card enough to justify the annual fee, these cards can be a great way to accumulate miles for future trips as well as enjoy perks on the flight itself.

Pros

  • Allows accumulation with a specific airline
  • Airline-specific perks like waiving baggage fees

Cons

  • Miles can only be used with a specific airline
  • Better cards carry a high annual fee
  • Most charge fees for international purchases

“Travel” rewards cards

Banks also issue credit cards that offer travel rewards. These may be called points or miles depending on the bank. Miles is a misleading unit because they do not correspond to miles on any airline; the word is used to categorize the card as a travel card. Capital One will allow you to transfer your miles to airline loyalty programs, but they do not partner with any of the major American Airline.

These cards allow their points to be redeemed for travel purchases (broadly defined) but often will also allow statement credit for any purchase or as points on Amazon.com. This flexibility means you are not required to use the miles for an airline ticket purchase. The points can be used for travel-related purchases (hotel room, a nice meal while traveling, an extra suitcase to bring back souvenirs) or purchases unrelated to the trip entirely.

Capital One credit card

These cards usually have lower annual fees than the mid and upper-tier airline cards and a higher point-per-dollar accumulation rate. Capital One, for example, offers their Venture One card with no annual fee and 1.25 “miles” per-dollar for any purchase. For $95/year their Venture card provides 2 miles per-dollar. The card you choose would depend on annual spending (for example, it one would need more than $12,667 on the card each year for the Venture to make more sense than the Venture One) but either way it’s nice to accumulate money for travel while making purchases you’re already making.

Because the “miles” of these cards are not tied to any airline, they allow the holder to travel with whatever airline they wish at any amount you wish. You do not have to wait to accumulate the full mile price for a frequent flier ticket or wait for frequent flier flights to be discounted. However because they are not tied to any airline, they usually do not offer any airline-specific perks such as waived baggage fees or priority boarding.

Pros

  • Can be used to reimburse any purchase, travel-related or otherwise
  • Usually cheaper annual fees and more points/dollar than airline-specific cards
  • Not tied to any airline

Cons

  • Does not provide airline perks such as baggage fee reimbursements
  • Because miles are not tied to any airline, does not help with frequent flier sales

Travel Rewards Cards

The third category of cards are true travel rewards cards. American Express provides cards that accumulate Membership Rewards points that can be used for travel and travel perks. For example the Amex Platinum Card offers the following:

American Express credit card
  • Access 1,200+ airport lounges across 130 countries, including the amazing Centurion lounges.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • Up to $200 Airline Fee Credit.
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit

Additionally, the card offers earning bonus on select streaming subscriptions and wireless phone service, bonus points for hotel reservations, preferred seating for select cultural and sporting events (based on availability), and more.

These cards offer hefty rewards but often at a hefty price. The Amex card referenced above costs $550/year, but if you were to use the benefits it can pay for itself.

Pros

  • Generous travel-related rewards

Cons

  • High annual fees
  • American Express is not as widely accepted as the other card types

General Considerations

Whichever card type you choose there are some general tips everyone should be aware of.

Free Credit Monitoring 

Credit card acceptance is heavily dependent on credit scores; the semi-secret formula used to rank how effectively a person manages debt. Checking your score once a month or so allows you to see how creditworthy banks think you are and provides an opportunity to ensure your information is correct prior to applying for a card or a loan.

Each of the three credit bureaus offer free yearly score checks and there are some paid services that provide access to your score. I suggest using CreditKarma.com, a free site that provides weekly updates to your score with access from two of the three bureaus. The site is free because it provides solicitations for credit cards and insurance based on your score which is a small price to pay for the valuable information.

credit card protection

Signup Bonus

Most cards provide a one-time bonus for signup up. Currently Delta’s Skymiles cheapest card with the waived baggage fees provides a 35,000 mile bonus after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. Capital One’s free Venture One card offers 20,000 “miles” after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. 35,000 Skymiles is quite a bit with Delta and 20,000 “miles” with Capital One is worth $200.00. It is helpful to have an upcoming large purchase to meet the spending threshold, such as a yearly insurance payment or auto repair to qualify for the bonus without extra spending.

Automatic purchases

Look for opportunities to put existing bills on a card. For example our city allows us to pay utility bills via credit card. Our family cellphone plan and home and auto insurance, and cable company allow this also. None of these charge an additional fee for using a card. Setting these as automatic payments frees us from thinking about them and the credit card rewards us for the privilege.

credit card and computer screen with "Home Insurance" on the screen.

Research

Once you’ve decided on a card type you can learn more about the specifics, including limited-time increased signup bonuses, at websites like ThePointsGuy.com or UpgradedPoints.com. These sites include addition card information, comparison, and tips to maximize the value of various cards. 

The Danger of Credit Cards

Using a credit card for its rewards is only effective for purchases that would be made anyway. The rewards come from transaction fees (paid by the vendor) and fees assessed on those with trouble managing their card. Those who would spend more with a card than they might otherwise or who cannot pay the balance in full each billing cycle lose the value of the card and then some.