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Wanderlust Wednesday - A Tropical Escape

Wouldn't you rather be sitting on a beach sipping a margarita? Or how about snorkeling on a Caribbean reef? These are things we can cheers to. Let's start planning your tropical escape to Cancun and make those dreams a reality. 

Cancun is a popular beach goer getaway. With easy access to flights from most major U.S. airports, it's a relatively quick flight for world class beaches, great food, history, and yes - margaritas. Whether you're looking to see Mayan ruins, get your dance on, or just relax beach side, Cancun has something for you.

Vacations are fun, but they are also expensive. Don't get caught up with your bestie's Instagram posts and try keeping up with the Joneses. 74% of Americans admit to going into debt to the tune of over $1,000 in order to take a vacation. Don't be that guy. Airline and hotel perks can be a great way to help supplement your travel budget. Most travel credit cards will come with a bounty of travel reward points for new customers. You can also amass your stockpile of points by using shopping portals. Almost every major airline has a shopping portal that allows you to earn airline points just by shopping online. Since you're already shopping online, this is a great way to shop smarter and add some points to your travel piggy bank.

Want to get to Cancun on the cheap? Southwest is your friend. Not only are Southwest points easy to accumulate through their shopping portal, you can also earn a healthy amount of points through their RapidRewards credit card, which often offers bonuses of between 40,000 - 60,000 points after meeting a minimum spend requirement. 60,000 points could get you 3 round trip flights from Chicago to Cancun on a Wanna Get Away Fare and that's just for getting a new credit card. Use the shopping portal for your online purchases throughout the year and watch your balance grow. We always check portals before shopping online to make sure we are getting to our next vacation sooner rather than later.

But where will you sleep? We're not here to judge, but if you need a hotel room we can point you in the right direction. We're going to turn back to travel rewards cards and shopping portals to fill this budgeting gap. Hilton is kind of our go-to and they have a pretty robust shopping portal. Starwood also has some great Cancun redemption opportunities. For 28,000 points you can live it up for 5 nights at the Westin Resort & Spa in January (it is under reservation through March). Starwood doesn't have a shopping portal, but they do have an AmEx credit card that offers a welcome bonus between 25,000 - 35,000 points depending on the year.

Signing up for credit cards to get cheap travel isn't for everyone, but with smart shopping over the course of a year you can earn enough points to supplement your travel budget. Alternatively, 2 credit cards can get you and a partner to Cancun in January for 5 nights as well. The best part is, you have options for cheap travel based on your spending patterns. Either strategy is smart and you can already feel the sand in your toes. We know it.

If you're interested in learning more about flexible travel rewards, check out our post on Chase's Ultimate Rewards program.