Read Chapter of Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner

On January 2, 2021, I released my fourth book, Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner. This book was important to write because there are not enough resources focused on helping new homeowners adjust to their new financial responsibilities. What happens right after you purchase your first home? How do you avoid getting into credit card debt? How will your finances change? What are the most commons mistakes you should avoid? I explore all of these topics in my new book.

Here’s the introduction to Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner. If you want to read more, I invite you to grab a copy here. This book is for new and aspiring homeowners who are looking for simple ways to organize their finances and start their homeownership journey on the right foot. 

How To Manage Your Money As A New Homeowner


When purchasing a home, you have the support of a team: a realtor, a lawyer, a mortgage lender, inspectors, appraisers, and contractors. However, most homeowners are left to their own devices as soon as they sign on the dotted line. While many people talk about the home buying process, no one discloses what happens afterward: the financial worry and stress that often follows. 

Although I was fortunate enough to have my mom by my side, an experienced homeowner and a real estate investor, neither of us could have predicted the financial mess I would find myself in shortly after moving. Putting little thought into what life would look like after purchasing a home meant I spent the first two years struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. If you are a new homeowner, maybe you can relate. While it is assumed you understand what you are getting yourself into, it’s inevitable to have blind spots. 

As I write this, I have been a homeowner for over three years. The first two years were admittedly challenging. Let’s be real. It was a shitshow. Some say the way to learn is through experience. Although I disagree, if that’s the case, I have emerged wiser. But I wish someone would have taken the time to write a book on this topic or a detailed blog post. Call me crazy, but I would rather read about someone else’s mistakes than make the same ones, especially if avoidable. 

Despite all the blunders, I turned out fine. My finances are less turbulent, my spending is more consistent, and I even have money left over to save and invest every month. While I could not have written this book without the hardships, I recognize my life could have been less trying if I had known what I know now. Even though I have made mistakes, because of them, I picked up several money management skills.

This book will give you an overview of the simple ways to organize and optimize your finances as a homeowner. Specifically, a new homeowner with up to three years of experience. Use this guide to help you stay on top of your finances, protect and maintain your most valuable asset. By sharing what I have learned and the financial strategies I have since implemented, I sincerely hope you will feel more prepared to assume all your new responsibilities. 

In Chapters 2 and 3, I outline my homeownership story: the lessons I learned, and the most common mistakes new homeowners make as a result of not saving enough. This is important to highlight because the decisions you make as a first-time home buyer impact everything you do afterward. In Chapters 4-7 I detail my framework for managing your money as a new homeowner: the bank accounts you need and how to stash away cash for anticipated and unexpected expenses. This book is intentionally lean so you can apply what you learn as quickly as possible. 

The more informed and aware you are, the better. If you have a good handle on your finances, it will positively impact all areas of your life – happiness, physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Overall, managing your money as a new homeowner means being in control and creating a financial plan. It also means having peace of mind, even when things get stressful. 

Although buying a home is an enormous financial accomplishment, life doesn’t stop there. Your hopes and dreams do not disappear as soon as you purchase a home. If you’re like me, they get bigger.

Right after purchasing my home, I decided I wanted to retire early. To meet this audacious goal, getting rid of my mortgage as quickly as possible became paramount. No mortgage means less financial responsibility. This sparked me to get a better handle on my finances. I started budgeting again and scheduled weekly money dates: time dedicated to reviewing my finances, paying bills, and tracking the progress I’ve made towards my financial goals. I also planned to get out of debt. Later I funneled that money to make extra mortgage payments. As a result, in three years, I paid off $22,000. While I have a long way to go, I am proud. Scraping up extra money to put towards my mortgage is not easy. Besides, I still want to travel, build wealth, dine out, and have nice things. Before we get into the how-to money management portion of this book, gather around the campfire. Let’s start at the beginning. 

Did you enjoy this excerpt?

Read more by grabbing a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Rakuten Kobo, and more.

Learn more about Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner here.


Listen To The ‘Planning Local Trips During A Pandemic’ Playlist

The playlist to my newest release Planning Local Trips During A Pandemic is here! Check out the variety of songs I loved listening to while writing this book. Songs range from hip-hop to electronic dance music.

Fun Fact: I wrote this book during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.

Planning Local Trips During A Pandemic is a travel planning guide for U.S.-based travelers looking to navigate the complexities of traveling locally during the pandemic. Between social distancing, wearing masks, enhanced cleaning procedures, and changing state guidelines and restrictions, discover the lessons I learned along the way as I planned several close-to-home getaways.

From emerging travel trends to key factors to consider when picking a hotel or vacation rental, this book will prepare you for what’s ahead when you are ready to start traveling locally again.

Get your copy of Planning Local Trips During a Pandemic!

Planning Local Trips During A Pandemic Playlist

Click on any of the songs to play or click on the Spotify logo on the top right corner to open the web player.

Planning Local Trips During A Pandemic is available at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Did you enjoy this playlist? Or did you discover a new song?

Leave a comment down below and let me know!

Book Launch Party! Celebrating the Release of Traveling With A Full-Time Job & Our Money Stories

I have teamed up with Eugenie´George, the author of Our Money Stories to celebrate our book launch party. Join us Thursday, November 12th via Facebook (at 7 p.m. EST) and Instagram Live (at 7:30 p.m. EST).

Here’s how to join:

During these book launch party events, you can expect to hear what inspired our books, our favorite excerpts, what’s next on the horizon, and enter to win free copies!

Even though we are technically a few months late (oops!), Our Money Stories by Eugenie´George and Traveling With A Full-Time Job by Danielle Desir launched this past summer. It’s never too late to celebrate your accomplishments.

Fun Fact: Eugenie´and I have been online friends for years. We rekindled our friendship when we both realized we wanted to write a book. We have been supporting each other ever since. Currently, for NaNoWriMo, we have been keeping each other accountable as we write our non-fiction books.

Managing Your Money As A New Homeowner and Planning Local Adventures During A Pandemic have January 2021 release dates. Please order your copies today.

Meet Author Danielle Desir and Author Eugenie George.
Follow me @thethoughtcard on Instagram.

About Our Money Stories

In this book, Eugenie´George shares how to build a financial wellness plan by understanding your money story.

After reading this book, you will discover:

  • The historic landscape of laws and policies that have affected Women of Color.
  • Learn from 30 interviews with Women of Color (Latinx, Native, African, and Asian American).

Read Our Money Stories here.

About Eugenie´George

Eugenie´George is a financial wellness specialist and educator who attributes her success in personal finance to creating an unorthodox way of viewing money. From paying off student loans to navigating her family finances, she understands the old ways of building wealth doesn’t work for Women of Color.

Connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Traveling With A Full-Time Job

This book is full of honest advice, tips, and recommendations for making the best use of your limited time so you can see more of the world. 

After reading this book, you will discover:

  • Ways to travel without requesting time off.
  • Ways to travel using minimal paid time off.
  • Tips for negotiating to work remotely.

About Danielle Desir

Danielle Desir is an affordable-travel and personal finance author, freelance writer, and podcaster passionate about travel and money. While climbing the corporate ladder, Danielle Desir has traveled to 27 countries and four continents, such as Asia and South America. She’s putting to bed the old myth you cannot travel extensively with a nine-to-five job. You can and she will show you how!

Connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Tips For Traveling With A Full-Time Job Bonus Interviews with Omo Osagiede and Nicole Brewer

Similar to the business travel tips shared by Acquania Escarne, there are a number of interviews that I did not get to share in my new book Traveling With A Full-Time Job. Sharing these stories meant a lot to me because sometimes all it takes to realize your potential is seeing other people doing exactly what you want to do. With that said, let me introduce you to two frequent travelers (they also happen to be talented travel bloggers as well). Learn how Omoruyi Omo Osagiede and Nicole Brewer find time to travel the world with day jobs, their favorite weekend getaways, and more.

Tips For Traveling With A Full-Time Job

Omoruyi (Omo) Osagiede, IT Risk Management Consultant

Omo Osagiede from Hey Dip Your Toes In travel blog shares how he travels with a full-time job.
Omo Osagiede, one half of Hey! Dip Your Toes In.

What do you do for work?

Omo Osagiede: I work in Information Security/Cyber Security and currently work as an independent contractor in the financial services industry. I have worked in this field for the past 15 years. 

Keep up with Omo and his wife Eulanda Osagiede over at their travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip Your Toes In). I had a chance to meet Omo and Eulanda in London earlier this year. It was so great meeting up in person after connecting on Twitter.

Follow @dipyourtoesin on Instagram and Twitter @dipyourtoesin.

When did you realize you can do both, balance a full-time job and travel? 

Omo Osagiede: The first time I realized I could combine both was in 2014 when the company I was working for at the time decided to restructure, a process which resulted in thousands of people leaving/losing their jobs. Fortunately, I was kept on for another 2 years (until 2016) while my employers wound down their operations. I had a lot of time on my hands with no significant restrictions on my work location. I was able to begin to incorporate work and travel while still meeting my commitments.

What are some creative ways you’ve found to extend your vacation time? 

Omo Osagiede: I’ve been able to fly out on a Thursday evening or take an early red-eye flight so I can start Friday working from that destination. This way, I can squeeze in one more day at the destination while still working. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a hotel room for most of the day. It feels like a different type of workday by having a change of environment.

How Omoruyi (Omo) Osagiede travels with a full-time job.

What are some of your favorite day trips and weekend getaway destinations from home?

Omo Osagiede: Two of my favorites are Luxembourg City (Luxembourg) and Hamburg (Germany). Flights take less than 90 minutes from my closest London airports. Both cities offer a mix of history, culture, architecture, art, great food, and wine.

Read Next: When Should You Start Your Weekend Getaway?

How do you prepare for going on vacation at work (what do you do before you go)?

Omo Osagiede: If my vacation time falls within a busy period at work, I usually update my work email signature a few weeks in advance so my colleagues and internal clients know when I will be away. Other than that, nothing extra special. In the past, I have been known to log on to my work laptop while on vacation. That’s not something I plan to do again.

What would you tell anyone who is struggling with finding the time to travel? 

Omo Osagiede: Prioritize Y-O-U! As much as you love your job or your employer, put yourself first. If push comes to shove, and your employer has to cut your job, they won’t think twice about it. With you as a priority, you will find creative time management solutions and travel planning will come more easily.

Nicole Brewer, Teacher 

Nicole Brewer, co-founder of I Luv 2 Globe Trot, recommends to take your time and be creative.

What do you do for work?

Nicole Brewer: I’m an English language teacher in Oman and a part-time travel blogger. I am the co-founder of I Luv 2 Globe Trot, a travel site and online community. I am also the author of A Guide to Landing an English Teaching Job Abroad.

Listen Next: Teaching English In China and Living Abroad with Richelle Gamlam  

When did you realize you can do both, balance a full-time job and travel? 

Nicole Brewer: I realized it would be possible to balance both once I moved abroad to teach English in South Korea. Due to the proximity to other places, it was easy to travel around the country and beyond. You could take the bullet train up to Seoul for a day trip from Busan where I lived. Or travel to Japan on a long holiday weekend. A few years later I decided to move to the Middle East because I would be better situated to travel throughout the region and Africa. 

What are some creative ways you’ve found to extend your vacation time? 

Nicole Brewer: I am allocated 60 days of summer vacation days as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Oman. I request to break up my days so instead of using all of my days during the summer, I’d take a week or two during winter break. 

For example, if I use five days of leave in the winter, I’d combine that with the weekend prior and after to travel for a week and a half.

We also get a host of holidays during the school year. I would combine emergency days with those to extend my vacations. As a teacher, I get five personal/emergency days I can take throughout the school year. Unlike sick days where you need a formal doctor’s note, with emergency days you take them at your leisure.

What are some of your favorite day trips and weekend getaway destinations from home? 

Nicole Brewer: Since I live in Oman, next to UAE (United Arab Emirates), I love going over to Dubai for weekend escapes. I live in a small town, Nizwa which is 1.5 hours away from Muscat. I go to Muscat for day trips plenty of times on the weekends. 

What would you tell anyone who is struggling with finding the time to travel?

Nicole Brewer: I’d say when there is a will, there is a way. Take your time, be creative, and figure out a way to make it work.

Stay tuned for more tips for traveling with a full-time job in this interview series.

Traveling With A Full-Time Job is available wherever books are sold including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. You can also purchase a copy right here on my website. As a bonus, your copy includes a video that interviews four travelers who share additional time management tips and travel planning advice not shared anywhere else.


Read Free Chapter of Affording Travel: Saving Strategies For Financially Savvy Travelers

Do you want to travel more? Not sure how to make it financially feasible? My book Affording Travel is the solution. Available on my author website here (this website) as well as on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more, this book shares my best savings strategies for affording travel and how you can set money aside to make it part of your lifestyle, even if you don’t have a lot of money right now. While you can read a free chapter of Affording Travel, alternatively, press play and listen to the podcast version.

Preface of Affording Travel

Saving Strategies For Financially Savvy Travelers

After five years of writing about travel and money on my affordable travel and finance blog, The Thought Card, I wrote this book to encourage more people to explore the world by saving for it regularly. While I enjoy sharing creative ways to travel hack and find cheap flights on my platform, these optimization strategies work best if you already have money in the bank. But how do you save said money? I’m happy you asked. 

While you can find hundreds of articles catering to financially savvy travelers on my website and can listen to inspiring stories of people finding creative ways to earn and build wealth on my podcast, I have never before detailed step by step how I save for travel. Previously when I have written about affording travel I only mentioned one or two steps for the sake of time, but here I detail the strategies I use from start to finish. This is the book I wish I had years ago when I felt like travel was financially out of reach for me, especially during college and graduate school. And these are the exact savings strategies I hope to teach my kids one day. 

Recently I was at a conference and a listener of my show came up to me, sharing that one of my podcast episodes encouraged her to start saving for travel. After setting the intention and starting small, she told me that she is going on a week-long vacation to Hawaii this fall. She now plans to travel at least once a year. It is attainable for her. I want the same for you.

Check out my affordable travel and personal finance podcast, The Thought Card Podcast. Subscribe for free on your favorite podcast player.  

Another friend of mine took my advice and started a travel fund. She is now finding more of a balance between running her side hustle and regularly taking time off to fill her cup. These are just two examples of people who have shared with me how my saving strategies have helped them rethink affording travel.

This book is about taking control of your finances and using them to follow your passion. It is my hope that after reading, you’ll feel inspired and empowered to take action and get new ideas on how you can make travel a financial priority in your life. 

In this book I do not share how to save for a specific trip, but instead how to save for many trips thus fueling a travel abundant lifestyle. While everyone’s financial situation is different, give this framework a try and take it one step further by making it your own. I’m here to support, guide and coach you through the process. 

A special thank you to my mom, who laid the foundation for me to be the financially savvy traveler I am today. Your knack for financial planning and creativity inspires everything I do. Kyle, my love, your unwavering support of all my ideas, including writing this book, means so much. I love you endlessly. Lastly, thank you to Stephanie Perry, Faniesha Alexander, Melody Johnson, Tiffany Grant, and Acquania Escarne for sharing how they afford to travel.


At the age of 29, I have traveled to 27 countries and 4 continents, not by chance, but because I have been intentional with my money. Money impacts nearly everything we do, including our ability to travel. Like two sides of a coin, it can help or hinder.

I first made the connection between travel and money at a young age. I was in elementary school and my neighbors had just gotten back from Walt Disney World. Stephanie twirled around in her new sparkling yellow princess gown and Anthony couldn’t stop talking about all the fun roller coasters they went on. 

Looking through their photo album, they met dozens of Disney characters. They even took a photo with my favorite princess, Pocahontas. My eyes got bigger by the minute and I was sold on the idea of going to Disney World. I ran home that evening begging my mom to go, the sooner the better. 

Although my mom never promised to make it happen, with a warm smile and a big hug, she told me that she would do her best. She reminded me that my education was a top financial priority for us, and she encouraged me to look forward to spending next summer in Haiti with my grandparents. Despite never shooting down my dreams, eventually enough time had passed when I began to read between the lines. My private school education, the weekly dance classes and swimming lessons I enjoyed, and even summers in Haiti were financially more important than spending a week at Disney. As Paula Pant of Afford Anything Podcast so ingeniously says: “You can afford anything…but not everything.” 

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Travel has always played a big role in my life. From the age of three until I was a sophomore in high school I spent every summer visiting my grandparents in Haiti, a country in the Caribbean. In our hometown of Jacmel I retraced my family’s roots. This is where I learned how to speak Haitian Creole fluently, raised farm animals, grew fruit and vegetables, and the backyard is where I got thrown off a donkey (my grandpa never lets me forget it). 

I credit my love for different cultures, adventure, languages, food, and history to my early introduction to travel and living abroad for four months out of the year. Yet as I got older, I stopped appreciating travel. By the time I was a junior in high school, it became uncool. I stopped seeing travel as an opportunity to explore and saw it more as a burden. Not only was I tired of going to the same place every year, but being away all summer meant that I couldn’t hang out with my friends. Besides, I’d much rather make money with a part-time job at the movie theaters. Ugh, what was I thinking? Over a decade later, I would do anything to spend an entire summer in Haiti relaxing with my grandparents exploring the countryside, tasting the cuisine and sightseeing.

Wondering how committed I was to not traveling as a teenager? During high school, I had the chance to go to Disney with my graduating class, the same theme park I had begged my mom to take me years prior. But because my friends couldn’t afford it, I decided to skip it too. My mom even offered to pay for the entire trip, I still can’t believe I said no. In retrospect, I can admit that I missed out big time on this opportunity and I was too attached to my friends to even consider it.    

Fast forward to college when my friends were planning spring break trips to tropical destinations like San Juan (Puerto Rico), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), and Cancun (Mexico). I could not afford it. As a college student residing in New York City with limited funds, I made enough with a part-time job to live, but not enough to plan an international trip. FOMO (fear of missing out) started to set in.

Out of all these experiences, what really stuck with me was when I wanted to study abroad in college but I thought I couldn’t afford it. More on that later. 

Long before Disney, Paris was at the top of my travel wish list. The shimmering Eiffel Tower at night and the views from the top were etched in my mind from photographs and a long list of movies I enjoyed. Studying abroad would have been the perfect opportunity because not only would I earn college credit but I’d also learn French. Haitian Creole only gets you so far with French speakers and my pronunciation needed work. 

My excitement quickly faded when I realized that my financial aid package would not cover a semester abroad and it would delay me graduating on time with my class. If I wanted to go to France, I’d have to either take out more student loans (something I was unwilling to do) or pay for the summer program out of pocket. 

When I mentioned this to my mom, she generously offered to pay for the program, but this was during the Great Recession. She was struggling to make ends meet and we were about to lose our home to foreclosure. Even though my mom wholeheartedly encouraged me to go to Paris that summer, I felt guilty asking her to fund such an extravagant trip, especially when we were behind on our mortgage payments. I now know that I had a lot more options available to me to fund this trip. I could have applied for scholarships or crowdfunded my trip by asking friends and family to contribute. I could have even reached out to my guidance counselor to see what other study abroad programs were available for students in my major. But instead, I let it go because I thought I couldn’t afford it. Without putting in the effort, I prematurely limited my potential by not exhausting all available resources. 

Although I painfully tabled my dream to visit Paris, I promised myself that as soon as I graduated from college and got a “big girl job,” I would squirrel away enough money to plan an epic trip. In May 2014, after a year of saving, I boarded a plane headed to Paris. I have been traveling ever since. In retrospect, this was my “Come to Jesus” moment. This is where I realized that I enjoy traveling and I can save up for the experiences I want in life. It may take some time, I may need to be creative, but I can do it. Money doesn’t have to hold me back from pursuing my dreams. In summary, all of these experiences have shaped the financially savvy traveler I am today. I know what it’s like to want to travel the world but think you lack the resources and finances to do so. I also know what it’s like to take the ability to travel for granted – to squander the opportunity and not appreciate it. I have come full circle. 

Thank you for reading this free chapter of Affording Travel, I hope you enjoyed it. To read the rest, order a copy here or purchase it on Amazon. I appreciate you!


Business Travel With Acquania Escarne, A Chapter Not Included in Traveling With A Full-Time Job

One thing that’s inevitable when writing a book is that not all of the chapters you write or the interviews you conduct will make the final cut. Nevertheless, this chapter on business travel featuring Acquania Escarne was too good not to share. If you want to learn how to make the most of your time and resources when traveling with a nine to five, order a copy of my latest book Traveling With A Full-Time Job. This book is jam packed with tips including how to become your company’s vacation policy expert (and why it’s important), ways to travel using minimal paid time off, and more. Let me introduce you to Acquania Escarne, a business travel expert, a blogger and podcaster over at The Purpose of Money.

Acquania Escarne is a U.S. Diplomat who contributes to the formulation and implementation of the President’s foreign policies. As a U.S. Diplomat, she lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for three years. After working in Dubai, she returned to Washington, D.C. where she has traveled all over the United States for work. From small towns like Pine Bluff (Arkansas) to big cities like New York, she was on the road as much as two to three days a week. She used this opportunity to see the United States, explore our country’s best restaurants and museums, and secure status with the largest hotel chain in the world. She shares her favorite travel tips for business travel with us.

How To Make the Most of Business Travel

With Acquania Escarne of The Purpose of Money

How do you plan for fun on a business trip? 

Acquania Escarne: On business trips, I plan my lunch and dinner meals based on the best restaurants in town. If someone I was working with wanted to come, we could enjoy the experience together. If not, I would go alone. I don’t have any issues eating a good meal solo.

My job paid a set amount for meals depending on the travel location. I could eat for cheap or splurge, my reimbursement amount would not change. If I spent less on food, I could keep the difference. Plus, when I traveled with my family, the food perks would cover another adult too which meant more savings for my family.  

If I had meetings for most of the morning, I’d visit the local museums in the afternoon. When I had recruiting events on a Saturday, I would try to arrive on a Friday and use that day as my free day since I was working over the weekend.  

Although I had an idea of where I wanted to go, I also asked locals about places to visit as well. Sometimes the internet points you in the direction of the fun, touristy stuff. Locals will show you where the real fun spots and good food is. Try the new suggestions you did not find on Google. 

Traveling With A Full-Time Job is on sale now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You mentioned securing status with the largest hotel chain in the world, how did business travel help you do that? 

Acquania Escarne: Before you start to travel all over the world, pick a hotel chain and airline you love and stick with them. Sign up for the member loyalty programs immediately, they are free. 

Here are factors to take into consideration when choosing your brands:

  • Are you required to fly a certain airline or book a certain hotel if your job is paying for it? For example, some companies only reimburse employees for flights on U.S. airline carries. 
  • What airline flies to the places you want to go to?
  • What hotel has the most partners in the travel industry and the most international locations?
  • Which company is willing to give you the best bang for your buck on personal trips?
  • Does your job let you keep your points and miles earned? 

Fortunately, my job lets me keep my points and miles even if they pay for the trip. Secondly, I have to pick hotels and flights based on a price limit. That dynamic gives me the flexibility to choose the best brands that work for me as long as I don’t go over budget. 

If I was going to visit a place that did not have my favorite hotel chain or I had to fly a new airline, I signed up for their loyalty program. This way I would get credit for the flight or stay. And if I ever used them again, my trips would add up. 

While recruiting, I was on the road for more than 75 hotel nights a year. Since I used one chain for most of my hotel stays, I was able to reach Platinum status with Marriott in a few months. When Marriott merged with SPG, I hit the jackpot. I found myself a member of the world’s largest hotel chain. That is huge because when you have status, you get more perks whenever you travel. For example, platinum members get access to the hotel lounge during trips. The lounge provides free meals, appetizers, and sometimes drinks throughout the day. Free meals and drinks meant I spent less money on food for personal and business trips. 

My status also allowed me to get free upgrades to suites if one was available at check-in. When traveling alone, the extra space didn’t matter. However, when traveling with my family, extra space meant we had room to spread out. In the past, I have had rooms with dining room tables for eight, two to three bathrooms, and office/working space too. 

Acquania Escarne exploring Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia while on assignment.

Many business travelers swear by credit cards to earn additional points and miles on their business trips. Would you recommend getting an airline or hotel-branded credit card? 

Acquania Escarne: Not only did I sign up for the free Marriott loyalty program, but I signed up for the credit card too. This meant I got triple points for hotel stays and meals at hotel restaurants and other seasonal promotions and bonuses throughout the year. 

Translation: More free travel for myself. 

The faster I racked up points, the faster I got my next vacation booked and paid for. My job did not require me to use a particular credit card and reimbursed for official expenses, as long as I submitted my travel receipts after the trip. I submitted my receipts immediately, never incurred interest, and watched my points grow. It was a win-win if you ask me.

A special thank you to Acquania Escarne, the host of The Purpose of Money Podcast for sharing her business travel tips. Her blog and podcast is an excellent resource for living a purposeful life and building wealth. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Did you enjoy this bonus chapter? Read the introduction to Traveling With A Full-Time Job here.


Read Free Chapter of New Book, Traveling With A Full-Time Job

Ahead of my newest release, I wanted to share the introduction of my new book Traveling With A Full-Time Job. Currently, this book is available for purchase on my author website here (this website) as well as on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Rakuten kobo, and more. This book shares how to travel more with a full-time job, how to advocate for remote work, and tips for ways you can excel in your career while traveling often.

Introduction to Traveling With A Full-Time Job

How To Make the Most of Your Time

With close to 5,000 photos and videos on my phone, I scrolled back as far as I could and landed on my photos from 2017. It was an extraordinary year because I jumped on every opportunity to travel. I booked solo trips, weekend getaways, and planned a couple of week-long vacations with friends. I visited Chicago, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Iceland, and Barcelona. That was the year I proved to myself I could travel extensively with a full-time job. I visited 11 countries, bought a house, and adopted a dog.

Feeling nostalgic, a smile must have appeared on my face because my fiancé asked me what I was thinking about as my alarm went off. Big bold letters appeared on my screen, T-Minus 10 Minutes Until Showtime. Frantically running up the stairs, I burst into my bedroom. With a few minutes to spare, I needed to find something to wear. I was hosting a virtual book release party for my second book.

Sharing in my excitement, my fiancé offered to join, and together we prepared a short outline for the event. He would share his favorite takeaways, and I’d discuss why I wrote the book. Later I’d read a chapter and share the behind the scenes of my writing process. Little did I know the idea for writing this book would come to me during that live stream.

Right before signing off, I shared details of the new book I wanted to write. However, there was one problem. Deep down I wasn’t sure if it was going to resonate.

Nonfiction books typically solve a problem and offer a transformation of some sort. Although my solution was clear, I was having a hard time articulating the problem. I also wasn’t sure if readers would care enough about the topic.

Not wanting to waste time writing a book no one would read, I brainstormed alternatives on the spot. As a new author, I was on a roll. Last year, I wrote two books: an Iceland travel guide and a how-to about saving for travel. I enjoyed the writing process so much I wanted to continue writing more books.

Thinking out loud, I mentioned wanting to write another book about traveling with a full-time job. I was well-versed in the topic, and it is a pain point for many. Since the initial response was overwhelmingly positive, I knew I was onto something. By the way, 357 million results show up when you search for “traveling with a full-time job”. Thank you, Samara D., for planting the seed. Check out Samara’s personal finance blog Budget To Be Free.

With a demanding job, limited vacation time, and a big appetite for travel, I have traveled extensively over the last six years. I have poured the perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin (Ireland) twice, I have walked behind a waterfall in Iceland, and I climbed to the top of the Castle of San Giovanni in Kotor (Montenegro), all while holding down a full-time job. If I’m being honest, it’s not enough that I travel a lot. This is half the story. During this time, I have also grown in my career. I have gotten two promotions, and my responsibilities continue to increase. Overachiever is my middle name. It’s really Cassandra, but I digress.

A Grants Manager by day and an avid world traveler in my free time, I learned how to balance travel and work through trial and error. No one gave me the blueprint in college or graduate school. I did not have a mentor who I could look up to or ask questions. If I wanted to travel and grow professionally, I would have to figure it out on my own. That is exactly what I did.

For a long time, I felt alone in wanting to lead a travel abundant lifestyle with a nine-to-five job, until I started my affordable travel and personal finance blog, The Thought Card five years ago.

By reading other travel blogs and getting to personally know the authors, I discovered I wasn’t alone in my experience. I met many savvy travelers who were crushing it in their careers and also accumulating a ridiculous amount of airline miles. Wanting to share our success stories, tips, and lessons learned, I began writing this book. It was important to write because we are bombarded with messages that say: “Quit your job to travel the world,” or “Quit your job to pursue your passions.” While this may be an option, it is not the only way to go.

Perhaps you love what you do, or you have financial responsibilities that make it difficult to pack up and go. Or you’re like me and realized your nine-to-five is helping you reach your financial goals sooner than later. Regardless of your reasoning, I’m not here to convince you to keep your nine-to-five job. Instead, I want to show you how to creatively plan so you can explore the world without sacrificing your career.

If you’re feeling stuck or believe you can’t travel with a day job, think again. By sharing what has worked for me and many others, you will:

  • Become familiar with your workplace vacation and holiday policy, 
  • Learn how to travel more without taking any time-off,
  • Optimize your vacation days so you can go on longer trips.

While all of this is helpful, there’s more. If you have concerns that traveling often will negatively affect your work, this book is for you as well. Keep reading to find out how you can plan and be proactive so your time out of the office doesn’t negatively affect the quality of your work or reputation. If you want to travel the world without sacrificing your career, there are things you can do at work that will help you be seen as a thoughtful, reliable, and dependable team member. The last thing you want is for your boss and colleagues to get the impression you are distracted by all of your travels. Right? I’m confident that when we are done, your team will sing your praises and admire your ability to do both.

If you’re wondering who I am and why I am qualified to write this book, let me introduce myself. My name is Danielle Desir. I work full-time as a research administrator in New York City, and I’m a part-time world traveler, affordable travel and personal finance blogger, and podcaster. I usually travel on the weekends, during public holidays, and I make it a point to use all of my vacation days every year. On my blog, ‘The Thought Card’, I empower financially savvy travelers to make informed financial decisions. From finding the best travel deals to discovering wealth-building opportunities, I am passionate about pursuing financial independence and living a fulfilled life.

I am also an advocate for not waiting to travel. While many have adopted the idea that you have to wait to start living your life, or you have to quit your job altogether, I refuse to limit my potential. I’m guessing you’re reading this book because you do not want to limit yourself either. If you want to have a career and travel, you do not have to pick between the two. You can do both, climb the corporate ladder, and have a passport full of stamps to match.

Will it take effort? Absolutely.

Will you need to prioritize? Certainly.

However, as Acquania Escarne of ‘The Purpose of Money’ blog and podcast says: “Traveling is for anyone that wants it. Period.”

Life Is Short

Over the last few years, I have had several deaths in my family. Three of my great uncles passed away shortly after reaching retirement age. While sad, this loss inspired me to seize more opportunities.

Why wait until retirement to pursue the things you want in life especially since there is no guarantee you will get to enjoy your golden years? And if you are blessed to make it over the hill, who is to say you will be in good health? Will you be able to climb to the top of the mountain or have the energy to spend the day walking around a new city? My uncles had big plans for their retirements, but sadly they never realized them.

Writing this book, I am also home around-the-clock practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in my adult life, I cannot travel. Not because I can’t afford it or because I don’t have enough vacation time, but because a dangerous virus has spread across the globe. At this time, the United States Department of State advises avoiding all international travel, the highest travel advisory the U.S. government can issue. Airports are shut down, flights are suspended and the borders are closed to nonessential travelers.

Canceling our travel plans for the year and not knowing if or when we will be able to travel again as we used to, has put things into perspective. It reminds me to always do what you can while you can because tomorrow is not promised. The world as we know it can change overnight.

Debunking the Myths

One of the most common travel misconceptions is you have to quit your job, become location independent, or wait for retirement to travel the world. Eliminating the constraints of a full-time job makes traveling easier. But plenty of people have full-time jobs and enjoy a travel abundant lifestyle. I am one of them, and you’ll be hearing from many others throughout this book.

After visiting 27 countries including Ecuador, China, Austria, Portugal, and Curaçao, I’ve found that when it comes to traveling with a nine-to-five, to balance it all, I had to become creative and strategic with my time.

Knowing time and money are the biggest factors holding people back from traveling the world, in my previous book, Affording Travel: Saving Strategies For Financially Savvy Travelers, I tackled the finance issue head-on.

I detailed how to save for travel, even on a tight budget. I challenged readers to ditch their limiting beliefs and get rid of the excuses that they can’t afford it. By planning and creating a new financial routine where money is put aside regularly (even if it’s $25 every other week), you can get serious about prioritizing travel without uprooting your lifestyle. If you want to incorporate more travel into your budget, grab a copy of Affording Travel. While my previous book covers the financial aspects of travel, this book addresses how to find the time to travel when you have a full-time job. Although the lack of time may have held you back in the past, by the end of this book, I hope you will walk away encouraged by all of the ways you can maximize the time you have, however limited you think it may be. If you’re ready to make lemonade out of lemons, let’s get started!

I hope you enjoyed the introduction to my new book Traveling With A Full-Time Job. Order a copy here or purchase it on Amazon.