Today's interview features Chris Tin from hktravelblog.com who lives in Hong Kong and illuminates an Asian perspective of the Miles& Points game.
How, why and when did you get started to blog your thoughts on travel?
I was in-between jobs when I started the blog and the idea came from my love of travel and trying to save a buck or two while doing it.
I've lived in Hong Kong almost 6 years now and felt there wasn't a good English resource for valuable travel tips for people traveling from or through Hong Kong.
What is your blog all about?
My blog is primarily about providing tips and deals for people traveling through Hong Kong. For example, in the US there's tons of information about making best use of award redemptions for US carriers, but it's very hard to find for Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles for example.
Also, I provide traveling tips, such as the fastest or cheapest ways to get to Hong Kong Airport or traveling to mainland China.
Are you a full-time blogger? If so, do you live a rich lifestyle? 🙂
No and No, though I wish I could be.
What has been your most popular post so far?
My most popular post is about pre-paid SIM cards available in Hong Kong, guess not too many other sites talk about that.
The weekly Cathay Pacific fanfares are also popular posts where I give my thoughts on the best deals of the week and summarize the destinations and fares for sale.
What's your favorite country/place you have traveled to and why?
Siem Reap in Cambodia was really phenomenal. I really enjoyed the warmth of the people and the culture there. Sure it's well traveled, but Angkor Wat is really an amazing sight to see in person and you can appreciate the temple in all it's glory. Plus Cambodia is really cheap compared with developed countries!
Where would you want to live if you'd have to settle on one place?
Probably in Los Angeles, the weather is amazing; beautiful people, cars, homes, and palm trees. I don't care whether or not it's fake or not. I also like the relaxing vibe, but you can still get the excitement of a big city.
If I would be looking for beaches, mountains, city life, nightlife – where would you send me?
See above. 😀 All of the aforementioned are available in L.A.
What places/countries are the most overrated?
I can't appreciate the attraction of Singapore. I feel it has no authentic culture of any ethnicity, they speak English, and the government controls almost everything. I feel it's too artificial, tiny, and very expensive these days.
If you want to experience the three main cultures, go visit Malaysia, China, and India separately.
What's currently in your TOP 5 list to go to?
I've been to most of the countries in Asia at this point. Here's where I haven't been yet:
Myanmar (Burma), just setting foot in the country would be an experience
Italy, Rome, Florence, Venice
Philippines, any nice beach island
Argentina, Buenos Aires
Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay
What was the most embarrassing travel situation you ever faced?
I went Karaoke the night before a 10 am flight until 6 am and had a ton of alcohol. I headed to the airport via bus around 7 am and was obviously still drunk. I would've puked on the bus if I were awake, but I actually passed out for the whole ride instead.
I was checking into a flight from HKG to LAX via NRT and could smell the alcohol on myself. Since I'm Asian I get that dreaded red Asian glow too. I'm surprised the check-in attendants and everyone else at the airport let me on the flight. Luckily I survived.
What is your most embarrassing travel pet peeve?
I use an eye mask when flying and traveling, it's girly but I don't care. It's not for eye puffiness, it's to block the light!
Did you encounter celebrities during your travels?
When I was in LA I ate a table away from Marlon Wayans and David Spade quite a number of years ago.
I also bump into many HK stars here locally, but I can't recognize them as well as my friends who read all of the tabloids can.
What's the most recent food discovery from your travels?
McDonalds in Milan had a mozzarella burger. It was the best burger I've ever had from McDonalds.
Almost ate dog meat in Kunming, China but it was sold at a roadside stall so I thought it would be dirty.
What is your favorite airline product you experienced and why?
Cathay Pacific long-haul Business Class. I like the hard product, where you have aisle access from all seats and the privacy level is high with the tall walls. Service on CX is always professional and consistent.
What is your favorite hotel you stayed at?
Prince D' Angkor in Siem Reap for their salt water pool and great price to value / service ratio.
What airline/hotel are you craving to try?
I have yet to fly any of the Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar, Emirate, or Ethiad. I have heard there products are very good.
What are your favorite travel websites and why?
Of course mightytravels comes to mind 🙂
Kayak.com is by far the best travel web site I use. The search engine is easy to use and quick. I love how you can basically compare most sites on the web by going to one place.
What gadgets help you out on your travels?
Electronics: My Nexus 5 smartphone suffices for most things these days. An iPad mini when I don't want to bring my laptop as well.
Non-electronic: Eye Mask, ear plugs, neck pillow.
Where do you earn the majority of your miles? Credit Cards, Online Shopping Malls?
Mostly from US credit card sign-up bonuses. Next from spending.
I have purchased from online shopping malls and received miles, but that's very limited. I also don't buy airline tickets much. I usually redeem my miles so it's hard to accrue my miles from actual flying.
Do you have a simple advice for a beginner – how to collect and use miles easiest?
Sign up for credit cards and hoard those bonuses. If you're not into that, then flying cross-country or long-haul is usually easiest.
Can you share a secret with mightytravels.com readers what's a less known way to earn miles?
Earn miles when checking into hotels or reserving car rentals. Usually you can get 250 – 500 miles per day.
What is your biggest learning from earning so many miles and points?
Cheap travel around the world is attainable, if you are willing to gain the knowledge and put in the effort.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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