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The not-so-secret travel hacking 'game' that allows you to travel the world for free

The not-so-secret travel hacking 'game' that allows you to travel the world for free
Photo by Serey Kim on Unsplash

The points and miles game is free to learn, complex to play, but totally worth it.

If you have friends who post drool-worthy photos of luxury resorts in beautiful, tropical places and you wonder how on Earth they can afford such amazing vacations, there are four main possibilities: 1) They're rich; 2) They saved up for a long time and splurged; 3) They went into debt to make it happen; 4) They spent far less than you think—perhaps close to nothing—because your friends know how to play the travel hacking game.

If No. 4 intrigues you, buckle up, because I'm about to take you on a mindblowing trip through Travel Hacking Land.

Luxury travel is far more doable than you might think. Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

But before we embark, I want to make something clear: Everything I'm about to share with you is legitimate, legal and honest. I say that upfront because often people's initial response when I describe how travel hacking works is, "That sounds sketchy." They usually respond with 1) This is a scam, or 2) This is unethical. Neither is true. More on that shortly.

Okay, off we go!

Welcome to Travel Hacking Land, where if you learn to play the game well, you get to travel for free.

A few things to keep in mind as we take this tour:

1. Think of travel hacking as a game rather than a "hack." Like any game, the more strategies you master, the better you get at playing.

2. The game is simple in concept, but complex in practice. Don't expect to walk away from this article knowing exactly how to book a free trip to Europe. There's a fairly steep learning curve, but speaking from experience, it's 100% worth the time to learn it.

3. (Almost) anyone can play. If you have a good credit score, you can play this game. (That being said, people with more spending power will be able to play it faster. No way around that really.)

4. Be ready to unlearn some things. Most of us come into the game with major misconceptions about how credit card points and airline miles work.

5. It truly is as mindblowing as it sounds. Yes, the people who play this game really do travel the world regularly—often in luxury—for free or nearly free. No, it's not an exaggeration. (I'm not selling anything here, by the way—I love to travel, I love saving money and I love strategy games, so this hobby just hits all my happy buttons.)

Also, I didn't make any of this up or figure it out on my own. I learned it from Bryce Conway, founder of 10xTravel, a website where anyone can learn all the ins and outs of this game and see how other people are playing it. (10xTravel Insiders is also the largest and most active Facebook group dedicated to this game, with more than 113,000 members, so Conway definitely is the go-to expert in this space.)

As we take our tour through Travel Hacking Land, I'll share what Conway says about how the game works and what anyone who's interested in it needs to know.

The travel hacking game is played with three main pieces: credit card points, hotel points and airline miles.

On a basic level, the goal of the travel hacking game is to optimize credit card points, hotel loyalty points and airline miles and make the most of how those award systems work and interact with each other. You have to understand these pieces of the game to strategize using them.

The first thing to understand is that credit card points are the most powerful pieces in the game. Everything else stems from there.

Each credit card grouping (Chase, American Express, Citibank, Capital One, etc.) has its own points-earning system. You earn points by spending with a credit card (i.e., "earn 1% cash back on purchases") or by signing up for new cards and qualifying for sign-up bonuses ("spend $4000 in the first three months and get 100,000 bonus points"). Most of us most likely have points-earning cards of some sort, because they're so common.

Generally speaking, the cash value of a credit card point is one cent, so 100,000 points would have a cash value of $1,000. If I have 100,000 Chase points, for instance, I can trade those in for $1,000 cash back.

That's exactly what I used to do—get cash back for the points I earned on my Chase cards—and I thought it was pretty awesome. Now I kick myself for it because those points are sooooo much more valuable when used in the points/miles game for travel.

Credit card points become more valuable when they are transferred to travel partners.

Transferring credit card points to airline or hotel partners greatly increases their value.

Photo by Trac Vu on Unsplash

As I said, the game is complex, and there's no way to explain it all in one article. But here's one example of what it means to optimize the points and miles systems.

Recently I wanted to buy a one-way ticket on Southwest airlines. The cash price for the ticket was $88, but I could get the exact same ticket for 4,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards miles.

Southwest is a travel partner with Chase, which means I can transfer my Chase points to Southwest and they count as Rapid Reward miles. 4,400 Chase points would be worth $44 if I got cash back for them, but if I transfer them to Southwest to purchase that $88 ticket, I've just doubled the value of those points.

Double the value is pretty good, right? But that's just scratching the surface. As another example, with 100,000 Chase points, I could get $1,000 cash back or I could transfer those points to Hyatt and get four nights at the Grand Hyatt resort in Kauai—which, on the dates I just looked up in August, would cost $900/night cash. So for $1,000 worth of points, I could get a $3,600 stay at a luxury resort. Almost quadrupled their value.

But keep in mind, I'm not actually even paying that $1,000 out of pocket. These are points I earned for free, just by signing up for and using my credit card (on things I'm spending money on anyway) to earn points.

When people say they're traveling for free, this is what they mean.

If you want to play the points/miles travel hacking game, you can learn how for free.

I had a vague understanding of airline miles and credit card points before taking Conway's 10xTravel course. I'd used frequent flyer miles before and my husband and I have used credit cards for everything (paying them off every month—that's vitally important) to earn points for cash.

I don't even remember now what made me click on the course, but I'm so glad I did. There are multiple travel hacking websites and courses out there, but I appreciated the way Conway laid the whole thing out and that he was totally upfront about how he makes his money with a free course. (Basically, he asks that course participants use his credit card referral links if/when they start getting into the game, which is beyond fair for the amount of knowledge the course provides.)

Conway started puzzling out the game himself when he was in college, when there were only a handful of online forums and Reddit discussions about how to optimize points and miles. His friends would see him traveling all the time and ask him how he was doing it, so he'd explain it. Eventually, he got tired of having to go through the whole game with new people over and over again at parties, so he wrote it all down in an email that he could just forward to whoever asked.

Finally, a friend told him he should turn it into an ebook. That ebook eventually morphed into the course and the 10xTravel website and a full-fledged win-win business. We win by getting free knowledge about how to game points and miles to travel for practically nothing. He wins by earning credit card affiliate income each time people use his referral links to start playing.

The biggest travel hacking hurdle to get over is our misconceptions about credit cards.

Credit card points can be incredibly valuable for travel.

Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

One big key strategy in this game is regularly signing up for new credit cards to take advantage of sign-up bonuses, as that's the quickest way to accumulate a lot of points. But most people think that's nuts.

"When I tell people that I generally open 10 or more credit cards a year, almost every single person … their eyes get bigger and they kind of freak out," says Conway. "And the next question is always, doesn't that destroy your credit score?"

No, it doesn't.

"It's very straightforward how that works, but of course, people have a bad association of credit cards with debt and bad credit," he says. "So you have to kind of get past that."

But won't credit card companies get wind of people doing this and shut it down? Conway says nope.

"They know that this exists. In some ways, they kind of encourage it because most people aren't able to make points work or are not willing to put in the effort to make points work in a way that is really advantageous to them," he says. "So it's kinda like the banks are making a bet like, 'Hey, we have this cool point system. You probably won't figure it out. It's profitable for us anyway.'"

"Credit card companies make a lot of money when people use their product, both on interest charges and fees—kind of the negative side of credit cards—but also just on swipe transaction fees," says Conway. "People forget that credit card companies make a large portion of their money on people who don't even ever pay interest or have credit card debt."

Credit cards are profitable for banks, so they incentivize people opening them. And banks compete to get you to open their cards, so all we're doing here is making the most of that competition and the incentives that come with it. No one is getting swindled. You have to spend on the cards to earn the points—even the sign-up bonuses—so banks are still making their money.

The key is to use your credit card for every transaction possible, pay off the balance each month before any interest posts and keep getting new cards for the sign-up bonuses.

Here are some examples of people who have learned how to play the travel hacking game and won big.

The places travel hackers go for free or nearly free is mind-boggling.

Photo by Ittemaldiviano 🇲🇻 on Unsplash

One of the things you start seeing after you take the 10xTravel course and join the group on Facebook is people sharing the amazing trips they've taken for free or close to free. Some of those stories get posted on the 10xTravel site, too.

For example, one couple took a two-week, five-country, $17,000 trip to Europe for just over $1,500 out of pocket. Another family detailed how they saved $14,000 in travel costs on trips to Puerto Rico, Europe, Costa Rica and Canada—not to mention getting a ton of free travel domestically—over a two-year period.

Some people in the Facebook group have shared trips where they've gotten redemption values of 10 or 20 cents per credit card point or more (essentially turning what would be $1,000 cashback into $10,000 or $20,000 in travel value). Those are exceptionally amazing, but it's not unusual at all to see 3x, 4x or 5x point values being redeemed by travelers in the group.

Often the only cash people have to shell out on their trips is for food and a modicum of taxes on flights, which don't get covered by points. At all-inclusive resorts, food is covered, so all they pay for are any extra activities.

And we're not talking cheap places or terrible traveling conditions. You know those over-the-water bungalows you see in the Maldives? I've seen people fly first-class there and stay in those places, all on points and miles. It's bonkers what people can do if they play this game well.

Why don't more people play the travel hacking game if it's really so great?

Again, the game is simple in concept but complex in practice. There's a lot to learn and a lot to unlearn at first, and how the various points and miles systems intertwine and interact can make your brain hurt until it all starts to click. But a lot of what stops people from even starting to learn is simply not believing that it is what it is.

"I think it doesn't really make sense to most rational minds," Conway admits. "Because things don't just kind of come for free in life. There's always gonna be some sort of catch down the road. So when you can show them how easy it is to book a meaningful amount of travel—and good travel—using simple tactics with points and miles, it seems too unbelievable."

This is especially true with business or first-class airline travel. The redemption values for points on those seats can be simply astounding.

"People assume that I'm gonna do a bunch of work just to be able to get a three-stop red-eye flight to Vegas—is that even worth it? And that's just not the case," says Conway. "My wife and I have flown first-class all over the world and can do so pretty much whenever and wherever we want, thanks to this."

The only thing better than hanging out in paradise is hanging out in paradise for free.

Photo by Serey Kim on Unsplash

Travel hacking (a term Conway bristles at because it makes the whole thing sound sketchy) is a long game—and more chess than checkers for sure—but for those who wish they could afford to travel more, it's definitely a game worth learning how to play.

Thanks for coming along on the tour of Travel Hacking Land! And hey, if you see your friends sunning themselves in Fiji or exploring Machu Picchu or galavanting around Europe, don't assume they have gobs of excess wealth. They may have just learned to game the points and miles systems in a way that lets them travel for ridiculously little money.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Joy

17 Gen X memes for the generation caught in the middle

Gen X is so forgotten that it's become something of a meme. Here are 17 memes that will resonate with just about anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

SOURCE: TWITTER

"Generation X" got its name in the early '90s from an article turned book by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland. And ever since, they've been fighting or embracing labels like "slacker" and "cynic." That is, until Millennials came of age and all that "you kids today" energy from older generations started to get heaped on them. Slowly, Gen X found they were no longer being called slackers... they weren't even being mentioned at all. And that suits them just fine.

Here are 17 memes that will resonate with just about anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

Gen X basically invented "Whatever."

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER



Until recently, Generation X has been sitting back and watching as Millennials and Boomers eat each other with an amused, non-confrontational attitude. But recently, Millennials and Gen Z became aware of their presence, and dubbed them "The Karen generation."

They seem to be embracing the Karen thing.

SOURCE: TWITTER

While I"m pretty sure the "Karen" thing is not complimentary — as BuzzFeed puts it, it's meant to communicate someone who is "the middle-aged white mom who is always asking for the manager and wondering why kids are so obsessed with their identities," lots of people landed on a different Karen to represent the generation: the martini-guzzling, wise-cracking Karen Walker.

Get it right!

SOURCE: TWITTER

Well [expletive] me gently with a chainsaw, she's right. The 1980s cult classic starring Winona Ryder and Shannen Doherty really is the Mean Girls of the '80s and a much better term than Karen

The disdain is mutual...

SOURCE: TWITTER

Most of my Gen X friends have Gen Z kids and they are intergenerationally very chill with each other. However, Gen X is the generation most likely to have Boomer parents and younger millennial kids, and this meme seems to be resonating a bunch with Xers of a certain age.

A lot of Xers are enjoying the "OK boomer" squabble.

SOURCE: TWITTER

The media tends to ignore Generation X as a whole — as a few tweets coming up demonstrate — and this pleases Gen X just fine. After all, they're used to it. They were latchkey kids whose parents both worked long hours, so they're used to being somewhat neglected.

A whole mood.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Gen X: "Look, don't pull us into this. You'll make me spill my beer."

Gen X: Get used to it.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Perhaps Gen X's blasé attitude to the generation wars has something to do with being called "Slackers" for a full decade.

Pass the popcorn.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Aside from this whole "Karen generation" blip, Gen X continues to be largely overlooked, and that fact — as well as their silent delight in it — is possibly one of the most Generation X things to happen to the class of 1965 to 1980.

Pay no attention to the man behind the venetian blinds.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Back in the '90s, Gen X bore the same kind of criticism Boomers tend to heap on Millennials and Gen Z now. It's not necessarily that they want to watch a cage match. It's just they're so relieved it's someone else being called slackers and downers for a change.

See?

SOURCE: TWITTER

Although this chart doesn't list the generation names, the approximate age ranges are all there... except for a big gap between the ages of 34 and 54 where apparently no humans were born? Poor Gen X (and some elder Millennials) apparently don't have political beliefs worth examining.

Don't you forget about me...

SOURCE: TWITTER

If Millennials are the "burnout generation," I guess Gen X is truly the invisible generation. I'm starting to feel inspired to write a science fiction novel where everyone born from 1966 to 1980 inhabits a totally different dimension.

There are perks to being invisible...

SOURCE: TWITTER

Being overlooked can be an advantage when you just want to sit in the corner and be immature. Gen X spent all of the 90s being told they were immature slackers, and in their 40s, a lot of them are really leaning into that description, because what does it matter?

"No one cares what we think anyway..."

via GIPHY

This GIF of Janeane Garofolo mocking her classmates at the high school reunion is basically a whole Gen X mood and definitely captures how a lot of this generation caught in the middle feels about the "OK boomer" wars.

Party on.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Before Brené Brown was telling us all how to dare greatly, Gen X got their inspirational advice from a different kind of TED and his pal Bill, who taught us all how important it is to learn from history and be excellent to each other.

Too late and yet too early.

SOURCE: TWITTER

Romance — or getting lucky — was never easy for Generation X. They were the generation most impacted by the AIDS epidemic when it comes to anxiety about casual sex. Whereas Boomers had the free love of the late '60s, Gen X was about safe sex, which usually meant less sex. And even when having safe casual sex, singles in the '90s had to meet people the old-fashioned way or, if they did meet online, they felt shame over it. Now online dating is the norm.

When Gen X replaces the Boomers.

SOURCE: TWITTER

This is probably an optimistic view — because the truth is there are "Boomers" in every generation, and many of them tend to find their way into powerful positions. Let's call this a best case scenario, though.

The Nihilism Generation

SOURCE: TWITTER

There is no generation more over it than Gen X. They are ready for the apocalypse, but don't expect them to, like, help or anything!


This article originally appeared on 3.18.20

@a.millennialmama/TikTok

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.


Even for those who love the thrill of making vacation itineraries…it’s work. And obviously when the planning has to be done for an entire family, there’s even more effort needed to be put in. Imagine going through all the rigamarole of booking flights, hotels, rental cars, restaurant reservations, entertainment venues, last minute store runs for toiletries…without getting so much as a “thank you.”

Odds are you’d be a little miffed, even if planning is your thing.

This was the scenario that a mom Alexis Scott found herself in after planning a summer vacation for her husband and two teen children. Thankfully, the now-viral TikTok post venting her frustrations inspired several folks to give her some much deserved support.

In the video, Scott began, “I'm on a family vacation right now with my two teenagers and my husband. We flew in late last night. We think we got in at like 12:15 a.m. and headed to get a rental car and then got to our Airbnb. And I am frustrated.”

Scott had tried and tried to get any input from her family about what they might want to do, and each time got the same reply: “‘Whatever you want, mom. I don't care. Okay. I don't care.’”

“Great. Glad I'm planning this vacation for everybody to not care,” Scott lamented.

Still, she did the planning—cause someone had to do it. But as soon as the vacation started, all her decisions were met with complaints. From being called “cheap” for getting too small of an SUV rental car to being told “Mom is never going to be in charge of booking the Airbnb again. She can't even this, that and the other,’” after the family found out their AirBnb was three stories with quite a few stairs.

@a.millennialmama Gratitude goes a long way - especially on family vacation! #momsoftiktok #millennialmom #millennial #familyvacation #familyvacay #sos ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama

“Then this morning, we wake up and it's an urban setting. We live in a very quiet suburban setting and my husband's saying how he barely slept and this and that. And I'm just like, enough!” she said.

All of this happened within the first 24 hours of the trip. It’s easy to see why Scott needed to vent.

Her video concluded with:

I have been the only one to put in all the effort in planning this trip. And I know there's videos on mental load, but this is prime time example of me. I'm shouldering the mental load for my entire family and everybody has something to say about it. So, yeah, I'm frustrated. Please pray for me that we can all turn our attitudes around and have a great day.”

Down in the comments, viewers could totally empathize with Scott for feeling burnt out and disappointed.

“Oh gosh the mental load of planning every detail and then knowing is something goes wrong or isn't’ perfect it’s all on you. Been there,” one person shared.

Another added, “I tell my husband that I haven’t been on vacation since I was a child and he’s alway confused bc to him, ‘we’ go on vacation every year. Only other moms would understand what I mean.”

Many suggested that she do something for herself instead.

“Just Irish goodbye one morning, go to brunch alone, hit the spa or a pool and come home after dinner,” one person wrote.

“Go and do whatever you want to do!! Spa day sounds perfect and take yourself out for fabulous meals!!” echoed another.

On a positive note: this story does have a happy ending. In a follow-up video, Scott shared how she showed her family the TikTok video she made, and it did turn things around.

@a.millennialmama Replying to @thisisntaboutme 🍉🍉🍉 absolutelt no apology video… but they listened to my feelings and we have had a good day so far ❤️🙏🏼 #momsoftiktok #grateful #teenagers #millennial #millennialmom #vacation #travel ♬ original sound - a.millennialmama


“We have actually had a really, really great day today,” she said. “Everyone has had positive attitudes. I've heard a lot of thank yous and my kids have been buying their little side purchases with their own money and not even asking me to pay for it... but they have been really self-sufficient in that space.”

All in all, Scott recognizes that her family is “human,” and a big part of being human is apologizing when a mistake is made and moving forward.

“We love each other. This was a learning experience.”

By the way, Scott's entire TikTok is dedicated to relatable mom content. You can follow along here.

Science

She tattooed half her face and you'd never know it. Her skills are just that good.

This incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims.

All images via the CBS/YouTube

Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts...


Meet Samira Omar.

The 17-year-old was the victim of a horrific bullying incident.



A group of girls threw boiling water on her, leaving her badly burned and covered in scars and discoloration.

tattoo shop, hate crime, artistry

17-year-old Samira Omar

All images by CBC News/YouTube

She thought the physical scars would be with her forever — until she met Basma Hameed. Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts — but her tattoo artistry doesn't look like you'd expect. Basma is a paramedical tattoo specialist. Instead of tattooing vibrant, colorful designs, she uses special pigments that match the skin in order to conceal scars.

It looks like this:

human condition, diversity, equality

Basma looking at Samira’s facial scarring.

assets.rebelmouse.io

disabilities, health, reproductive rights,

Basma talking over the procedure.

assets.rebelmouse.io

body image, scarring, community

Visible scars and discoloration of the skin.

assets.rebelmouse.io

humanity, culture, treatment

Tattooing the visible scarring on her hand

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With Basma's help, patients like Samira can see a dramatic decrease in their scar visibility and discoloration after a few treatments. She even offers free procedures for patients who are unable to afford treatment. That's because Basma knows firsthand just how life-changing her work can be for those coping with painful scars left behind.

Check out the video below to find out more about Basma's practice, including how she became her very first patient.

This article originally appeared on 01.12.15


Dads are ridiculous. But perhaps, in the world today, there is no dad quite so ridiculous as Rob Lopez:


Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.


On a morning not too long ago, Lopez apparently had the following thought: "I'm going to dress up as Darth Vader and wake up my 2-year-old."

Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.



Clearly, the correct follow-up thought is, "No. That's silly. Why would I ever wake up a 2-year-old. Like, on purpose."

But not for Rob Lopez. Oh, no.

After suiting up...

GIFs via Rob Lopez/YouTube, unless otherwise noted.

...and receiving the mission critical sign-off from his wife.

He grabbed his lightsaber and gave it a go. The results ... pretty much speak for themselves (fast-forward to 1:05 for the main event).

There are a couple of things about Lopez's son's reaction that we should talk about.

(First, this child is objectively the hardest core human on the face of planet Earth right now.)

He grabs the lightsaber he keeps next to his bed (just in case) and it's game on, Dark Lord of the Sith. Game. On.

Think about how you would feel, as an adult person, in complete control of your faculties, with a firm grasp on the difference between fiction and reality, being aggressively prodded awake by a six-foot-tall man in a full-body Darth Vader mech-suit complete with voice modulator and terrifyingly heavy breathing.

Think about how loud you would scream and the volume of pee you would pee into your pants.

Meanwhile, this toddler — who is probably no more than three feet tall, groggy and vulnerable, with no cognitive ability to discern this is not the real Darth Vader — didn't even think twice about taking him on.

GIF from "Return of the Jedi."

Perhaps the most impressive part? At a mere 2 years of age, he's already learned, perhaps, the single greatest lesson of "Star Wars."

You don't defeat the dark side with mad lightsaber skills (although they are fun to show off).

You defeat it with compassion.

...which, in this kid's case, involves casually grabbing a book and asking Darth Vader to read him a story.

Empathy for Siths — with an assist from curiosity and literacy: That's a lesson we could all use.


This article originally appeared on 05.06.16