Traveling on Credit Card Miles or Points


Thinking of Rome maybe a weekend in Paris or just a exotic cruise in the Caribbean. One of the best benefits a credit card has to offer consumers is the ability to Traveling on Credit Card Miles or Points. Some credit cards offer travelers miles for every dollar spent, while other cards offer cardholders points for every dollar spent. Here is a quick guide to using credit card miles and points to book a fabulous vacation.



Credit card miles are given for every dollar spent. These miles can then be exchanged for airline tickets. It typically takes somewhere between 25,000 to 50,000 miles to get a ticket good for domestic air travel. More miles need to be used for business class, first class or international tickets.
Travel the World on Credit Card Miles and Points
The problem with credit card rewards in the form of miles is that there are not always seats available on flights customers want to take. This forces them to use extra miles to get a seat on the plane. This is why many people are turning to points instead of miles for their credit card rewards.


The great thing about point rewards is that they can be used for many more purchases than simply airline tickets. They can be used to get hotel reservations, airfare, electronics and many more amazing rewards. It makes it really convenient when a traveler can use points to obtain all the components of the travel package with credit card rewards.

Where They Can be Used

Credit card miles and points can be used to get travel arrangements for nearly anywhere in the world. Travelers will need to book ahead of time to ensure they can use points to get to where they wish to go.

A Nice Perk

Because many credit card holders have been switching to the convenient points scheme instead of the traditional airline miles package, the airlines have added an inducement for using one of their rewards cards. Many airlines allow passengers who have their credit card reward program to check a bag for free. This is a real bonus in these sad days of baggage fees.

Earning Extra Miles and Points

For travelers who use their credit cards wisely, they can often pay for their entire vacations just by using rewards. Instead of using debit cards for purchases, travelers should use their credit cards to earn as many travel points or miles as possible. Travelers should check for the best credit card offers for both miles and points awarded. Consumers who do this should be sure to pay off the balance every month to avoid paying any interest or fees.



Cruise Destination – Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Comprised of eight major islands and many smaller uninhabited keys, the Turks and Caicos have become a hot spot for cruise travel in the southern Caribbean. The capital of the country is Grand Turk, an island that is only seven miles long and 1.5 miles wide, with a local population of 4500 people, most of whom speak English.  With 365 days of sunshine and average temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees, Grand Turk is the ideal Caribbean vacation location.

Carnival Cruise Center

The Turks and Caicos Islands, located in the Caribbean, are part of the British Overseas Territories and are approximately 500 miles southeast of Miami and 30 miles south of the Bahamas. In 2006 Carnival Cruise Lines built their own Cruise Center at the port on Grand Turk, eliminating fighting for space at busier ports.  This facility can accommodate two ships at a time, handling 7000 passengers a day.  At latest count 625,000 passengers a year make this a favorite cruise destination.Grand Turk Cruise Center Turks and Caicos

Just a half minute walk from the ship this 18 acre facility is sort of like one stop shopping and fun combined. Don't worry, this island is small enough that you are not missing anything by spending your time relaxing right here. There is something for everyone including a beautiful white sandy beach, a state of the art Flow-Rider Surfing attraction and   even air conditioned cabanas near the pool. The Flow-Rider is offered through the cruise ship as a shore excursion and is the only one of its kind at any cruise facility.

Margaritaville sign Turks and CaicosJimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

The main attraction is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, the largest in the Caribbean, which is attached to the complimentary swimming pool, which is only three feet deep and has its unique swim up bar.    Fifty-two Margarita flavors are available, so there is no excuse for not enjoying yourself. The 16,000 foot outdoor thatched-roof restaurant has seating for 500, and everyone, including yours truly was having a great time.

Carnival Elation at Grand Turk port Turks and CaicosOther Features

Snorkeling and water sports activities as well as oceanside massages are just a few choices available here at the Cruise Center in Grand Turk.  There is also the quiet South Beach nearby with its own Turkoise Beach Bar for those passengers who want to get away from it all. Duty-free shops and local residents with handcrafted items are close by for those who want to shop till they drop.


I only had a day at Grand Turk but would gladly return any chance I would get. I recommend this destination for a relaxing day in the southern Caribbean.


Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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A Day on Barbados

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Barbados has to be one of the most beautiful islands in the southern Caribbean. Having heard about it so much I finally had the opportunity to travel here on a cruise and I loved it. The beaches are extremely clean and pristine and the water is crystal clear. I could spend the entire time relaxing on the beach, but Barbados offers plenty more to see and do. Two of these draws are Harrison's Cave and a rum factory visit.

Caribbean Beach BarbadosBridgetown is the capital of Barbados and is the port of call for cruise ships. The pier provides easy access to disembark and walk to the beach which is very close to the pier. Although there are many beaches in Barbados, we walked to the closest one, Brighton Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. Not commercialized at all, the beach was perfect for a day of relaxation. Not far up the beach is the Malibu Beach Club where you can rent beach equipment and get something to eat or drink. There are also restroom facilities.

Mount Gay Rum Factory in BarbadosAlso a short walk from the cruise port is the Mount Gay Rum Distillery where you can take a 45 minute tour if you are interested in the rum-making process. For over 300 years they have been making rum here from the sugar cane which grows so abundantly on this island. For only $7 (children are free) adults can tour this rum factory and taste two of their popular brands. Tours leave every hour.

Mount Gay Rum Factory in BarbadosAnother interesting place to visit in Barbados is not so close to the cruise port but easily accessed by taxi. Harrison's Cave is an underground limestone cavern complete with stalactites and stalagmites, streams and waterfalls. Tours are available on a tram and they last an hour. You may see some bats or a green monkey if you are lucky. Prices are $30 for adults and $15 for children. There is also a 45 minute Bat Program for kids 7-11 available on request for $7.50.

One of the other beaches that appeal to surfers is in Bathsheba on the eastern side of the island and is called "Soup Bowl."  This side of Barbados is not touristy and considered the rough side but surfers consider this one of the world's best beaches for surfing the giant waves. The beach is exposed to the open Atlantic and nothing is in the way to break the waves here.

Sunset in BarbadosBarbados is a beautiful island and I hope to return here one day to check out some of the places I did not have a chance to see. A day simply is not enough here.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Nassau’s Straw Market – A Bahamas Tradition

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The Straw market in downtown Nassau is part of the culture of the Bahamas, and no matter how many times I have been here I still find myself at the straw market. It's sort of a tradition for tourists, and certainly for the local Bahamians. Nassau is one of the most visited ports for cruise ships with Caribbean itineraries, so millions of people visit the straw market each year.  Just a short walk from the port is Bay Street where you will find Nassau's famous Straw Market,

Nassau straw market, Nassau, BahamasWeaving straw by hand and selling the products in this organized marketplace is one of the country's oldest industries. Although the Bahamians have been using dried leaves from palm trees and sisal plants to weave baskets and other items since the 1700's, it was not until the mid 1940's when it became an organized industry. Today it is a major business not only in Nassau but other islands in the Bahamas chain.

Some of the items sold here can be tacky, like a wallet made out of pink straw with the words Nassau or Bahamas, weaved into it in green straw, yet a visit to Nassau doesn't really seem complete without a visit to the Straw Market.

I always enjoy watching the local women and some men weaving their straw and usually they are happy to let you take a photo while they are working their craft. If you take the time to look around you may find a sleeping baby behind some of the displays, or a toddler holding on to her mamma's dress. These ladies work here all day while the market is open from 9 to 5 and they even eat their lunch while they work.

Nassau horse with hat, Nassau, BahamasThis is definitely a place where you are expected to bargain with the vendors, and if you purchase several items you can always count on a discount. The Bahamians are happy and not too bad with high pressure tactics. They all know each other and if they don't have what you want they will guide you to one of their friends' stalls nearby who will most assuredly have it or make it for you on the spot. Even the horses that pull the tourist carriages are adorned in straw hats from this market. It is all part of the atmosphere here.

The items can range from straw hats to beach bags to belts to puppets and dolls made from straw. The vendors sell clothing (not made from straw) here as well, for both adults and children. Some of the stalls even have fitting rooms to accommodate the millions of tourists who visit here. Hair braiding is available here as well as other souvenirs made of wood and shells. Some of my favorite items are the Christmas ornaments made from seashells.

Fire damaged the straw market in 1974 and again in 2001. A makeshift temporary Straw Market under a large tent is the one I have shopped at on Bay Street. In August of 2011, the Straw Market was badly damaged by flooding after Hurricane Irene and was moved to an area near Prince George Wharf. In early December of the same year another fire destroyed the rest of the Straw Market.

Prince George Wharf Nassau, BahamasTwo weeks later a brand new and improved Straw Market opened on Bay Street and I am looking forward to seeing it on my next cruise. With space for 500 vendors the new Straw Market consists of two levels of air-conditioned space, with the first level covering 37,000 square feet and 4500 sq ft on the mezzanine level. Built to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour, this 12 million dollar structure should last forever. Public washrooms, an ATM machine and Wi-Fi technology are available here so the vendors can take credit cards. For fire safety an overhead sprinkler system has been installed and the building is equipped with a generator.

On your next stop in Nassau, enjoy the new Straw Market in air conditioned comfort and see if they still make the pink wallets.  As the locals say, "it's better in the Bahamas."

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Swimming With Whale Sharks, Cancun, Mexico

As the summer season was coming to a end it was time to squeeze in a long awaited adventure, Swimming With Whale Sharks. Being laid up with rotator cuff surgery this summer I had to delay this adventure.

Peak season for swimming with Whale Sharks off of Cancun is the last 2 weeks in July and first 2 weeks of August with the season ending on September 15th, so it was time to make a move and get this adventure going.

Arriving from Sao Paulo into Miami on the morning of September 7th it was a quick flight out on the first flight to Cancun Mexico. Arriving in Cancun around 11 it was too late to do the swim, so it was planned for the next day, Saturday.

Swimming With Whale Sharks  In Cancun you will find a dozen tour groups offering day trips to Swim With The Whale Sharks. These tours are regulated by the Mexican Government, Season being from May 15th till September 15th and the size of boats,  In Cancun they use "Pangas" as they are called in Mexico. A Panga is a high bow outboard motor boat that holds about 14 to 15 people. Being regulated the tour companies limit the tours to 10 people per boat. Prices will range from around $140 to $200 depending on the tour company and what they offer. Only snorkeling and no scuba diving allowed.

For this particular adventure we hooked up with Eco Color Tours of Cancun, we were picked up within a minute of our scheduled time at the hotel, 7:40 am. With a 20 minute ride through Cancun to the Eco Color Tours dock, Juan, our guide for the day gave a brief informative history and habits of Whale Sharks. Not only did Juan give this brief in English, but in Spanish and French for the 10 members of today's group.

Juan explained when we got in the water to stay with the head and swim with the shark, because losing the head it would be hard to keep up with get back in front. We were also told that for regulations we were required to wear a lifejacket for the boat ride and Swimming With The Whale Sharks. He informed us, if we would like, for the swim we could rent a shorty wet suit so you would not have to wear a lifejacket.  Have you ever tried to go under water with a lifejacket on? I chose the shorty wetsuit.

Arriving at the dock we were given and fitted with snorkels, masks and fins provided by Eco Color Tours. We were then introduced to our water guy, the one that would actually swim with us, "Buda" it was explained that Buda would take 2 of us at a time for the swim then we would rotate to the next couple.

Off we went, destination about 1 1/2 hours out from Cancun, about 20 miles past Isla Mujeres into the Gulf of Mexico. After about 10 minutes we noticed several other boats joining us. Pretty soon it was like a cannonball race out to the whale sharks.

Arriving on the location of the Whale Sharks, there must have been about 40 boats, with a group of 20 to 30 Whale Sharks.

This trip I was able to get 3 swims with the Whale Sharks. The first swim, my wife and I slid off the side of the panga with Buda, adjusting my mask and clearing the fog, I lowered my head into the water and was surprised to see the Whale Shark coming right at me. In the neighborhood of , I guess 20 to 25 feet long, looked like 50 feet for the fish story, I was mesmerized. With my GoPro camera I filmed as the Whale Shark approached and started to pass, filming the entire body with gills flapping and then getting bumped by the tail, the tail had to be at least 6 to eight feet in height, I started to swim to catch up to the head. Remember back to when Juan the guide said "stay with the head" well for me it was a all out sprint to catch up, by the time I caught up I was exhausted. After what seemed like forever(actually less than 10 min) I gave up and headed to the boat.

Second dive, left my wife on the boat and head out with one of the French people, not that it matter, we weren't going to be doing any talking. The captain positioned us in front of the oncoming whale Shark that we could see just below the surface. Sliding in again and looking to where I had last seen the whale shark, I noticed that it had descended to about 30 feet. Not to waste my turn I dove down about 20 feet to be able to film and get a closer look. After several minutes the whale shark rose back to the surface, a very impressive sight. Again 10 minutes out but totally exhausted.

Third trip, Buda, our water guide offered to film me with the Whale Shark. Jumping in there was actually 2 Whale Sharks. I swam to the closest one, which out of the 3 dives I think was the largest, at least 30 to 35 feet looking like 60 feet. Swimming along and keeping up with the Whale Shark I tried to dive down to come under and up the other side, with the Whale Shark being down about 10 feet and about 4 to 5 feet thick and me fighting the buoyancy of the shorty  wetsuit I was unable. Once again I returned to the panga totally exhuasted.

Eco Color Tours provided us with drinks and sandwiches out at the swim area. Finishing everyone's swims we headed back .

A stop was made just off Isla Mujeres where we were able to swim in shallow water. The crew from Eco Color tours made us ceviche  and more sandwiches.

Overall , we could not have asked for a better day, perfect weather, fantastic crew and numerous Whale Sharks to see. I think all 10 people on this tour agreed that this was a well worth trip. Another boxed checked off on things to do in one's lifetime.

On arriving at back at the hotel I quickly looked at the video, seeing that I had some great shots, I was pleased. One thing that I did notice in the video was the plankton and bubbles passing by. In what I thought was the Whale Shark swimming fast was actually the current making it hard to keep up with the head. Looking at the video I am guessing the current was going about 4 to 6 knots.


A Visit to Soufriere, St Lucia

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

St Lucia has become a very popular destination for cruise ships and the capital city of Castries is the main port where the cruise ships dock.  Not far from there is the area of Soufriere, home to "the world's only drive through volcano," the giant twin volcanic pitons, and a magical rainforest with waterfalls.

An excursion to the area of Soufriere turned out to be the highlight of our Caribbean cruise, thanks to a very friendly and knowledgeable local guide who calls himself Yellowman. For a reasonable price which we negotiated near the port, Yellowman took five of us in his van on a personalized tour which lasted close to five hours.

Port of Castries, St LuciaAbout St Lucia

St Lucia is part of the Lesser Antilles island chain and is not very big, measuring only 27 miles from north to south and 14 miles from east to west. The Soufriere area is located on the southwestern side of the island. The entire country only has a population of 162,000 and tourism is its main industry.

Sulfur fumaroles at SoufriereDrive-Through Volcano

We actually drove on a road right to the now dormant Qualibou volcano, and we kept driving right through the middle of this volcano. On both sides of the road we could see and smell the many sulfur fumaroles all around.

 This area is also called Sulfur Springs because of the odor emitted by the gaseous sulfur fumes popping out of the rock. It was quite amazing, and reminded me of the section of Yellowstone National Park where the mineral spas emit sulfur like this.


Twin Pitons at Soufriere, St LuciaTwin Pitons

Waterfall in St LuciaNamed a UNESCO world Heritage site, the twin pitons are actually two volcanic mountains that rise up dramatically from the ocean. Petit Piton is the smaller one, measuring 739 meters, or 2461 feet high. Gros Piton is 786 meters, or 2619 feet high. These peaks can be seen from quite a distance away and naturally together, are one of the most photographed landmarks in St Lucia.

These mountains are not rocky but full of lush green vegetation. This area is also home to a rainforest, so it is easy to understand why everything here is so green. Yellowman even stopped at a banana plantation along the road so we could pose for pictures.

The actual town of Soufriere at the base of Petit Piton is a small fishing village, although at one time Soufriere was the capital of St Lucia, when the country was still under French rule.

Diamond Botanical Gardens

This is the rainforest known for its waterfalls and mineral spas. Yellowman told us that the water here supposedly has some medicinal properties and many people bathe in it regularly. In fact we saw  someone bathing under one of the waterfalls. The entire area is very beautiful.

We also stopped where some of the locals were selling handmade jewelry along the road and these were apparently friends of our guide. The jewelry was beautiful and very inexpensive so I came home with a bracelet and necklace made from local coral shells.

Marigot Bay, St LuciaMarigot Bay

On the way back to port from   Soufriere, Yellowman stopped so we could get a glimpse of the beautiful Marigot Bay, home to luxury yachts. It is a postcard photo opportunity for sure, and the famous author James Michener described it as "the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean." This was also the filming location for the original 1967 Doctor Doolittle movie starring Rex Harrison.

An Extra Bit of Information

One of the benefits of seeing an area with a local guide is learning something that you cannot read about on Google.  Yellowman informed us that marijuana is very common here, and although it is not considered legal, no one enforces the laws regarding marijuana, and its usage is more or less tolerated.

If you are going to St Lucia and would like a great tour of the Soufriere area, ask for Yellowman on the dock. Everybody seems to know him, and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Scuba Diving the British Virgin Islands

If you are planning a scuba trip, and you are looking for the perfect place to go that has beautiful, pristine waters for you to dive in, you should consider going scuba diving off the coasts of the British Virgin Islands.  The British Virgin Islands are home to over 100 world class scuba diving sites that attract visitors from all over the world, so you will never have to wonder about where to dive.  You will be able to have great encounters with beautiful shipwrecks and reefs that are teeming with a wide variety of ocean life that you will be able to experience up close and personal.

Off The Coast Of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin IslandsYacht Charters

If you want to get the most out of your scuba travel to the British Virgin Islands, you should consider chartering a scuba diving yacht in order to give you access to the most remote, hidden scuba diving locations possible. By planning a scuba trip using a scuba diving yacht charter, you can engage in courses that are suitable for both beginner divers as well as scuba experts.  In fact, many of these yachts not only know where to dive so you can have the best experience possible, but they also contain all the diving gear that you will need on board the boat.

Local Dive Companies

However, if you are planning your scuba vacation somewhat more casual, you might not need to charter a yacht for the express purpose of showing you all the best hidden places to dive, but instead work with a local dive company that specializes in scuba travel.  Many of these businesses offer a service that is known as rendezvous diving, where they will meet up with you, take you out to your dive location, guide you around the dive site and then make sure you return safely to shore so you won’t have to worry about navigating around the British Virgin Islands.

Scuba Diving British Virgin IslandsDive Sites

If you have decided to travel to the British Virgin Islands for a trip you will never forget, you should be prepared to know where to dive for optimal planning.  One of the most popular destinations for diving is the shipwreck of the RMS Rhone.  The RMS Rhone was an ocean steamer that sank during a hurricane in 1867.  Even after 117 years, this remarkable wreck is still mostly intact, and you will be able to see a great deal of decking and rigging as well as the steam engine and propeller, not to mention the variety of marine life that now calls the RMS Rhone home.

Another popular destination for scuba travel is off the southeastern coast of Cooper Island, to a place called Markoe Point.  Here, adventurous scuba divers will encounter a sheer rock wall that will plunge to depths of 70 feet to the ocean floor.

Best Time to Travel

While the best time for a scuba holiday to the British Virgin Islands is between December and May, the fact that the water is warm and the temperatures are mild all year long make the British Virgin Islands a great location for scuba travel no matter what time of the year.


Travel Photo Of The Day- Roatan, Honduras

Tropical Secluded Beach, Roatan Honduras

Photo By Adeliepenguin

Tropical Secluded Beach, Roatan, Honduras

Clear turquoise water and blue sky with big billowy white clouds set the scene for a secluded beach along the coast of the island of Roatan, Honduras, a popular tourist, vacation, and cruise destination on the Caribbean Sea in Central America.

For more information and destinations in Honduras check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Honduras


Travel Photo Of The Day- Smith Cove, Grand Cayman

Smith Cove, Grand Cayman

Photo By Jo Ann Snover

Craggy ironshore formation limestone rocks at the edge of Smith Cove, Grand Cayman


 Although Grand Cayman is a low lying island, it is actually the summit of a massive, barely-exposed, undersea mountain. This mountain is part of an undersea chain known as the Cayman Ridge which extends westward from the island of Cuba.

For more information and destinations in Cayman Islands check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Cayman Islands


Travel Photo Of The Day-Coastline on Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas

Coastline on Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas

Photo By Enzo Minchella

Coastline on Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas

Grand Bahama Island, fifth largest island in the chain of Bahamanian Islands, is one of the most northern islands as well as closest island to Florida's coastline. West End to just past Sweeting's Cay the island stretches 96 miles through the turquoise blue waters of the Bahamas.

For more information and destinations in Bahamas check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Bahamas


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