Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is off to a great start. 8 years ago today (back on May 1, 2013), Travel with Grant was born! Even though I am not a full time blogger and writing this post from a secluded beach, I’m still very happy and grateful to still be writing and sharing my thoughts with my readers. Every year (when I remember), I like to write a birthday / blogiversary post about TWG. If you want to reminisce through the years, check out these old posts: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, Year 6, and I forgot about year 7 during the Coronavirus Pandemic (oops).
Before I share my top 8 blogging moments, I wanted to share some advice I learned about blogging:
- I feel like the traditional advice and reason for starting a travel blog is to “help friends and family travel.” That couldn’t be further from the truth for me. I was tired of telling my friends and family about all the cool credit card sign up bonuses, cool airline alliances, cool sweet spots, and having them not care at all. I started my blog because I wanted to help people that actually wanted to travel!
- Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme either. Most of the time (at least for the first few years), you will be working for free or working for less than minimum wage. Don’t start a blog for the money because you will run out of steam and enthusiasm very quickly.
- Anyone can start a blog, but keeping a blog going week after week, month after month, and year after year takes a lot of dedication. Which leads to my next point – write about the things that interest you. If you are not excited about a topic, chances are your writing will come off boring and your readers will be bored too.
Without further ado, here are my top 8 travel & blogging moments (in chronological order):
May 1, 2013 – Travel with Grant is born. I was between jobs at the time and thought that having a blog would help me get a job. A few months later, I started working at Panasonic Avionics (in-flight entertainment and global Wifi provider), so maybe my plan worked out. I had never started a blog, so I brainstormed blog names and chose Travel with Grant over Grant’s Trips because when you type out the URL, it looked like www . grant strips . com and I didn’t want people to be dissapointed when they clicked the link. Looking back at the first few months of blogging is like looking at your work from kindergarten now that you are in college. Thankfully, my writing, logo, and blog layout improved over time.
July 4, 2013 – I know a lot of people have a negative view of Million Mile Secrets, but my first big break and spike in traffic came when I was interviewed on MMS: If this 23 year old “without a real job” can travel the world, there is no excuse for you not to travel too! When I first started this blog, I would religiously check my pageview stats and comments to see if anyone “out there” was reading my blog. When you go from having under 100 pageviews a week to getting a few thousand pageviews in a day, you feel like you’ve won the lottery.
September 30, 2013 – For my first trip to South America, The Flight Deal had an airfare sale from Miami to Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands (MIA-GYE-GPS) for $382 round trip. I was already planning on going to the Frequent Traveler University (FTU) in Tampa, Florida, so I booked a short British Airways Avios flight from Tampa to Miami (TPA-MIA). I went with my friend Jim (who I had met at a previous FTU event at LAX). This was the first of many trips we took together around the world.
July 2, 2014 – In mid 2014, I was reading BoardingArea and read a post stating that BoardingArea was looking for new blogs to join their network, so I filled out the form and was invited to join Prior2Boarding (which I like to refer to as the minor leagues of BoardingArea). I also was able to attend the Boarding Area Conference (BACon) where I met Randy Peterson (the godfather of miles and points) and several other big name bloggers from BoardingArea. I felt out of place and underdressed.
February 9, 2015 – By shear chance and good fortune, I was called up to the major leagues aka promoted from Prior2Boarding to BoardingArea. I felt like I went from being a big fish in a small pond to a small minnow in a vast ocean. I stuck to my strategy of writing what I liked to read and it seemed to pay off. At that time, I was very fortunate to write about several of the major MS tools that were available like Bluebird, Serve, Redbird, Vanilla Reload Cards, and buying Visa Gift Cards at office supply stores and pharmacies. It was a great time to write about MS tools.
March 2, 2017 – Back in 2017, British Airways ran a promo with Match.com where you could buy a Match.com membership for a full year with all the bells and whistles to earn a ton of British Airways Avios. Long story short, I never received the British Airways Avios, but I did meet my wife on Match.com, so I guess I won in the end. If you are unfamiliar with the story, read My Love / Hate Relationship with British Airways & Match.com (LONG STORY). Spoiler alert, Laura and I got married in Sonoma in July 2019.
June 23, 2018 – Back when we were still dating, Laura and I went to Greece (Athens and Crete) and Malta. I spoiled Laura with our business class Turkish Airlines flight from San Francisco to Istanbul to Athens (SFO-IST-ATH). We had a great time on the flights and ate as much of the delicious food as we could. In Athens, we went on an awesome small-group culinary walking tour that still brings back great memories. While on Crete, we stayed at the beautiful Radisson Blu Beach Resort and went on a very cool ATV tour that stopped at a zoo where you could feed lemurs and monkeys.
June 7, 2019 – Even though we got married in July 2019, due to our busy schedules after the wedding, we decided to do a pre-honeymoon to Tahiti & Moorea. I found cheap premium economy seats on an airline called FrenchBee which flies from Paris to San Francisco to Tahiti (ORY-SFO-PPT). We spent a few days at a premium overwater bungalow at the beautiful InterContinental Moorea. Unfortunately, I think the resort closed in the last year, but the memories will last forever.
Picking the top 8 moments from the last 8 years was very difficult and I could easily pick another 8 amazing trips. Thank you for reading Travel with Grant over the years, thank you for the emails, the comments, the tweets, and Facebook messages. Without my amazing readers and supporters, I’m not sure Travel with Grant would still be around. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Always enjoy your site grant. 8 years flies quickly!!
I still remember your site was the one I came to because it had by far the most thorough step by step bluebird Walmart guide!
Anyway you have been awesome and such a positive person in the travel blogosphere ! Here’s to many more years of your site
Hi Alex, thanks for reading TWG over the years. I still have those bluebird posts and get the occasional comment, but it’s hard for me to help those readers since my bluebird card has been closed for several years.
Safe travels and have a great weekend :)
Congrats Grant! Like many people, I was reading MMS and FTG back when you started. I’m glad to see that you continue to create original content without selling out like so many others have!
Hi Brenton, thank you for the kind words. I enjoy writing and sharing my perspective on TWG, and I hope my readers enjoy the variety of topics that I write about. Have a great weekend :)
I like your unpretentious style and enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up.
Thank you Harv, I’m glad you like my writing style. Have a great weekend :)
Hi Grant – Congrats on 8 years of TWG!!! I really enjoyed your walk down memory lane. I truly appreciate all you do for the community, and I certainly recognize how much effort & dedication it takes. Here’s to travel opening up again & many more successful years of TWG!!! ~Craig
Hi Craig, thank you so much for the kind words. I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the years and chatting with you in person and online. Yes, I’m really looking forward to dusting off my passport and getting some new stamps in it soon. Say hi to Philly for me and have a great weekend :)
#1 – Ouch!
Thank you dad :)
I remember when you were just a frequent comment person with a gravatar over at TBB long before you started to blog. George advised you not to sell credit cards but turn out great copy. Too bad he did not follow his own advice………your a great kid….keep up the good work
Hi Leonidas, thank you for the kind words. I still read TBB, but not as often as I used to. I still enjoy talking to George. Thanks for reading TWG and have a great weekend :)
I have enjoyed reading your blog thru the years! I bet your parents took you on some fantastic international trips that sparked your early interest in travel! Keep on blogging and travel safe,
Thank you Marianne, yes, my parents did take me on a few great international trips over the years :)
Well done, Grant! I’m so glad to have been in your audience for these 8 years!I have a soft spot in my heart for Grant. I remember the start of his blog and have been reading ever since. Grant got a bunch of us together for dinner in San Diego during or after an FTU meet-up for a fun evening and chance to meet others. He was shining with energy and ambition. Here is to many more years of TWG!
Hi Pam, thank you so much for the kind words. I loved going to meetups and attending FTU events and meeting fellow travel hackers. I look forward to the day when we can do more meetups. Thanks for reading and commenting on TWG over the past 8 years :)
Congratulations Grant! I have been reading since 2015 and have always appreciated your detailed posts and most importantly your friendly and helpful attitude! It seems like the travel blogosphere has gotten so mean-spirited and your site and your readers are the opposite! The “I failed getting points from Match but got a wife instead” is one of the best stories in the points-obsessed community! Keep up the good work!
Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading TWG since 2015. I am a very positive glass half full kind of person and try to see the silver lining in most things. Yes, the Match.com / British Airways Avios love story is what I’m best known for and glad that is a story that readers remember and share with their friends. Have a great weekend :)
Congratulations Grant! I’ve enjoyed TWG from the beginning because you don’t try to be like anyone else; you let your blog and its content speak for itself. I admire the fact that you always respond to emails and comments from readers. I’ve learned a lot from your blog and I hope you continue to post as often as you care to do so. All the best!
Hi Robert, I really appreciate your kinds words. I tend to write about the things that interest me, regardless of whatever exciting thing is happening in the travel blogosphere. I have a few things I am working on, but most of them require time for credits to post and statements to close, but I hope to have the posts written soon. Thanks for reading TWG over the years and have a great day :)
Congrats! I still enjoy wearing your Tshirt when I travel. Hopefully it helps gaining more readerships.
Hi Ozzi, thanks for wearing your TWG shirt when you travel. I appreciate all the new readers you send my way. Safe travels :)
Hi Grant, do you think this resort is open during these days?
Which resort are you asking about, InterContinental Moorea? That resort is permanently closed :(
Great blog, but I would be in the doghouse if I flew my wife in premium economy TPAC.
Haha, we flew FrenchBee because the only other airline that flew nonstop from SFO to PPT is United and my wife really hates United. We enjoyed our premium economy seats :)