Travel the World for Just a Few Dollars by Travel Hacking

This Meeting’s Highlights
Program: Travel the World for Just a Few Dollars by Travel Hacking
Speaker: Mitty Chang
Meeting for the week of September 26, 2016 to October 2, 2016

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page. 

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 60 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you; read it while on public transit, waiting in line for coffee, or even at the park! Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Message from President Mitty

On Traveling.


Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley! My name is Mitty, and I am president of this Rotary club. Every week we bring to you a new meeting and a new program on education, innovation, technology, or humanitarian service. We are a group of global and local leaders who love helping make our communities a better place.

This week’s program is about traveling around the world for just a few dollars by travel hacking. As a rare occasion, I am the guest speaker for this week! Traveling is one of my passions and my hobbies, and there truly is no other organization such as Rotary that makes traveling so much more fun. In the program at the bottom of this online meeting, you’ll learn about how I travel from San Francisco to Asia and San Francisco to Europe for only a few dollars each way. But before you get there, know that there are Rotary clubs virtually everywhere in the world.

When I travel to different countries, I always make it a point to look up Rotary Clubs or Rotaract Clubs in the area, and to see if I can connect with some local Rotarians or Rotaractors in the city I’m traveling to. Yes, sightseeing or business travel can be great on your own as an explorer — but there really is nothing like having a local show you around.

Members and returning guests, you know I have talked about traveling with Rotary before. There’s a Club Locator tool on that you can use to look up clubs, but you can also just use your favorite search engine. Club members, as one of our club perks you can connect directly with your fellow members to see if anyone has any contacts — or reach out to me via email!

For our visiting guests, thank you for joining us! Where’s the next place you’re traveling to? We’d love to hear more about it! Enjoy the rest of the meeting!

Yours in service,
Mitty Chang, President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley
[email protected]

Laughing Out Loud (L.O.L.) with our Lady of LOLs

yvonnebubbleWe believe that laughing a little every day keeps you healthier. Every week we try to share with you something that will make you smile! This section is curated by Rotarian Yvonne Kwan, our club’s “Lady of LOLs.”

“Hi everyone! Lady of LOLs Yvonne here! Here are two comic jokes for you!”





Weekly Inspiration: The Drinkable Book

Every week we bring you videos of innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurship. This week we are featuring a video about water. Thanks to members Heather Shaw and Rushton Hurley for bringing this one to us!


Member Spotlight: Heather Shaw

We are back this week with a member spotlight! Member spotlights feature one of our club’s members, and it’s an opportunity to learn more about what they are passionate about.

Meet member Heather,

 Heather, thanks so much for sharing that!

Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we hold regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley every month! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here.

Also be sure to join our Meetup Group for automatic calendar updates and to RSVP for our events! These are open to all guests as well!

Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley

Oakland, CA
74 Members & Guests

Calling all service-minded entrepreneurs, foodies, and community leaders! This group is for anyone interested in innovation, community service, education, business networking,…

Next Meetup

Volunteer at the Ed Fund Gala (Service Event)

Saturday, Oct 1, 2016, 4:30 PM
2 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

All events are marked in Pacific Time and are located in the San Francisco bay area / Silicon Valley.

Upcoming Events:

Ed Fund Gala Service Project – Sat. October 1 at Oakland Scottish Rite Center, Oakland, California

Ed Fund Gala Oct 1, 2016 4:30pm – 10:00pm Oakland Help us volunteer as event staff for a fundraiser for the A-Z Fund, a program that provides resources to schools in Oakland that don’t have strong PTAs to fund programs like music or sports. Duties may include help with registration and auction spotting. If you’re interested, please email Andrew at [email protected] please check out the link:

REGISTER/RSVP: RSVP on our meetup page by clicking here.

For Our Members: Reminders & Benefits

This section is dedicated for reminders to our members and for our members to report to us what service projects they have participated in recently. Members, please note this section will CHANGE every week!


This week’s program is a little longer than usual, so the rest of this meeting is being kept a little bit brief. Our goal is always to try to make sure you can complete one of these meetings within one hour.

Summary of Recent Announcements

  • Option to Pay Dues Monthly: Members, if you want to start using the monthly payment option, please complete the Pay Dues page and select monthly option and complete that form. Dues related questions should be addressed to Club Treasurer Allen at [email protected]
  • Leadership Development Grants: New! Our club will reimburse up to USD$150 per year per member for the registration fee of a Rotary leadership events or other pre-approved leadership development events. For example, you could use this grant to attend a Rotary District Conference or the Rotary International Convention, and we will cover up to USD$150 of the registration fee. Please note this only covers registration fees and cannot be used for food (that is not pre-included in registration), housing, travel, or other incidentals. For non-Rotary events, please email President Mitty at [email protected] at least 10 days in advance for approval. The leadership team has allocated enough money for 15 members to take part in this grant. After which our club’s Board of Directors will have to vote on whether or not to increase the allocation or not. Our goal is ultimately to see more members engaged! Please take us up on this amazing benefit! (That’s half your dues back! Wow!)
  • Request for more Member Spotlight Videos: Members, we are looking for more spotlight videos. These are short 2 to 3 minute introductions, sharing with the club something you are passionate about! Let our members get to know you better! Please email your video to [email protected]
  • Business Information: Members, if you’re interested in having your business or company featured on our website, please email [email protected] with your information and logo. We’ll have a public members page for this.
  • Members Only Dashboard Up: If you missed this announcement, we now have a members only dashboard available on this website! You must be logged in to your member account in order to view it. If you have not yet received your password information for your member account, please email [email protected] to request it. The members only section includes the contact information for all club members.
  • Members Education Videos Coming: Rotary Knowledge videos will be up in a few weeks that will help teach you anything and everything you want to know about how Rotary works!
  • Members-Only Facebook Group: Members, if you have not yet joined this group, you can request an invitation by going to
  • Youtube Channel: Yes, we have a Youtube Channel! Check out our official Youtube Channel here!

Tracking Service Hours

Hello awesome member! Have you been up to service lately? Please share what you’ve been up to, as it allows us to get to know each other better in the process!

The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey

Happy Dollars

Each week we ask our members to share news with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal for this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each other, while giving back to a good cause.

Last week the happy dollars contributions went towards a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Camp Okizu. Camp Okizu is a safe haven for children who have or are going through cancer. Here are our contributors from last week and their comments:

From member Mitty Chang ($10):

“Great cause, Nicole! I recently went to Australia because of Rotary. I’m grateful for all of the speaking opportunities Rotary has provided me! I’ll be going to Canada at the end of this month because of Rotary too!“

From member Tzviatko Chiderov ($10):

“Thanks for telling us about Camp Okizu Nicole!”

From member Rory Olsen ($15):


From guest Renee Zimmerman ($10):


From member Brian Liddicoat ($15):

Thanks, Nicole! Happy to donate to this great cause at Camp Okizu. Look forward to meeting you at a Rotary event sometime.

From member Rushton Hurley ($25):

“Great cause!”

From member Nate Gildart ($20):

“Good on you and Camp Okizu, Nicole. My brother is fighting leukemia at the moment. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a child.”

From member Heather Shaw ($15):

“Camp okizu”

From member Kristi Govertsen ($10):


From member Yvonne Kwan ($10):


Great job members and guests! Together we raised over $130 towards Camp Okizu! Thanks to Okizu’s sponsors, that money will be matched 3 to 1, effectively meaning an additional $390 for Camp Okizu’s efforts.


This week’s happy dollars are going towards WESTOP’s conference teaching educators who work with at-risk youth.

Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

So what are you happy about? Share with us below!

Fill out my online form.

Selected Six

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select six comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.

Here are six comments selected from the last meeting with Brett Kopf, Co-Founder of Remind:

From member Rushton Hurley (California, USA):

“Hardeep, it’s great to hear about your background, and I salute you for your involvement with suicide prevention efforts. Nicole, the story of Camp Okizu is such a powerful one, and I think it’s wonderful our members and guests can support its work. Finally, Brett, it’s totally good to “see” you again, and I so wish I could have made it to the recording! Your message about passion, connections, and problem solving is one that will inspire many young people, I know. Thanks again for taking time to speak with us!

From member Nathan Gildart (Tokyo, Japan):

Brett, excellent story and app. Like Richard, my school also uses Google Classroom. A plugin that connected the two would be great. We’re exploring a way to use Google Classroom for a student who has trouble organizing herself with homework, but Remind looks like it may be a good tool for her needs. I’m putting a lot more time into training teachers to use tools that support differentiation. Hardeep, I’m twice a suicide survivor as well and also volunteer with a suicide NPO in Tokyo. Your work is saving lives. Nicole, best of luck in your fundraising for Camp Okizu. My brother is on track to survive his battle against leukemia. I can’t imagine what it must be like for children. Your appeal for support was touching.

From member Ferheen Abbasi (Osaka, Japan):

Brett, THAT IS SO COOL! I’m so intrigued by your fascinating tool. I really love it when folks combine education and technology, and what better way than teachers being able to message their students at home with reminders! How phenomenal!! I hope my high school adopts it. I wonder, does Remind have a way for students to potentially message their teachers about bullying? That would be really interesting! Nicole and Hardeep, thank you for your videos! So great to connect names to faces 🙂

From member Nicole Pham (California, USA):

Thank you Brett for all your hard work and what you’ve done with remind! I am so impressed at how you’ve able to completely open and make communication more efficient between students, teachers, and parents. Thank you everyone for your support this week to Camp Okizu. It means so much to me but so much more to the kids who will be able to spend another best week of summer at work! (:

From member Linda Diekman (Illinois, USA):

“Brett! You’re living the MSU tagline “Spartans Will!”“

From member John Lozano (California, USA):

Brett, Thanks for spending time to present our club. Very exciting to hear your story and about the future of Remind. As a special education teacher, I use the application for my students and parents. Several other teachers at my school always ask, “What is this Remind thing you use?” So, it will be nice to show them the tools on the website. In fact, I remember when Rushton talked about Remind several years ago and I had Remind follow ME on Twitter (@mrjohnlozano), that was an exciting day. Also, thanks for sharing your personal story, several of my students with ADHD, etc, need to hear success stories, Thanks for a great presentation.

Thank you everyone for attending last week’s meeting!

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!

The Program

Every week we bring to you a program on innovation, education, entrepreneurship, and humanitarian service. This week our program is proctored by president-elect Stephen Zhou, and features president Mitty as our guest. The topic this week is about travel hacking.

Our program topic this week is about travel hacking. Our guest is Mitty Chang, who many of you know as our club president. Mitty has been been part of the Rotary family for the past 12 years — 2 years as an Interactor, 8 years as a Rotaractor, and 2 years as a Rotarian. As a graduate of the University of California, Davis, Mitty got into travel hacking in 2009. Since then he has traveled to 24 countries in the span of just 7 years. Mitty currently is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Candeavor, a digital marketing and design agency based here in the Silicon Valley.

Members and guests, join us below for the world of travel hacking!

Related Travel Hacking Blogs & Tools:

Reach out to Mitty

If you have any questions for Mitty, please feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom of this meeting page.

You’re Almost Done! One last thing: The Attendance Survey..

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done. First, we have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you though. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

More importantly, for all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment below in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Fill out my online form.
  • Kristi Govertsen

    Mitty, thanks for sharing your knowledge– there are a lot of great ideas here! Heather, it was fascinating to learn a little bit about you. Thanks for all that you did at Ground Zero.

  • Raquel D. Juncal

    Mitty, like you, traveling is one of my passions and hobbies but I don’t have much experience within travel hacking. This weekend I was researching different loyalty programs and hacks, so this meeting is very useful! Thanks for your presentation! 😉

    • Great to hear! I definitely see some of your Facebook posts traveling around the world. I think travel hacking would work pretty well with the lifestyle you have set then. Besides…who doesn’t appreciate a free roundtrip flight to another continent? 🙂

  • Ferheen Abbasi

    Heather, really great to meet you! Thank you for your incredible story – I really appreciate people like you.

    Mitty, thank you for your presentation! I signed up from AwardWallet and realized I have over 70,000 AAdvantage points!! Help me plan a trip to Thailand? 🙂

    • YES! Would be happy to help! And nice!!! points! 🙂 Just make sure they don’t expire before you get to use them! Let’s chat more via FB messenger

  • Nathan Gildart

    Mitty, I’ve been an avid traveler since I came over to Japan in 1997. I’ve got my air miles but never really took it to your level. Really impressive! (I’ve got to get my act together) I travel a fair bit for school, but I’ve got to travel for pleasure more, like I did when I was your age – thanks for the reminder, and the food for thought.

    Heather, no doubt you helped many first responders to deal with the trauma of what they saw in New York. It’s a day that changed the world but you and people like yourself brought some hope.

    • I love how we have so many world travelers in this club! Nate, perhaps you’ll be able to make it to the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta next June for our club meetup!

  • Tzviatko Chiderov

    Mitty, this is great stuff – super helpful info. Thanks for the tips and I’ll be reaching out to you soon 🙂
    I belong to a few rewards programs but I haven’t really done too much with points in the past. I had no idea there are credit cards where you pay a bit of a premium up front but it seems like you also receive a ton of travel benefits. Thanks again for the great tips.

    • We can definitely have a conversation about this! I know you’re a seasoned world traveler yourself, so you might really be able to use some of these travel hacking strategies 🙂

  • ShagsCA

    Very interesting program, Mitty! Thanks for the good information.

  • Andrew Taw

    Great presentation, Mitty! Tons of info for the wanderlustful. Really liked hearing your story, Heather; thank you!

  • Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne

    I loved hearing the hacks you’ve used, Mitty! Great information and I like the links you’ve provided, too. I have used points for many years. Even using Safeway points for United flights, when they used to offer that. But, I need to look for that one place to manage everything together.

    • Great to have you with us, Monique! And yes! a fellow points enthusiast, I love it! 🙂 We’ll have much to talk about next time we get together

  • Rory Olsen

    I fly out of Hobby Airport on Southwest Airlines regularly. It is just about impossible at Hobby to avoid the Southwest employees pushing their Chase sponsored credit card. Got one years ago to keep them off my back. I have managed at least one trip a year off of the points since then. Never knew I was travel hacking, which sounds much better than being cheap.

  • BDL

    Sweet Feathery Jesus, that was a great program! This is the first time I’ve actually saved a Rotary program online at YouTube so that I can go over it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I got my application in for the Sapphire Preferred Card with Chase so drinks are on me next time the club meets so I can build up that spend. Thank you, Mitty. You just saved me a lot of money on travel in the next few years. I’ve been using the Chase United card, but this Sapphire Preferred is clearly much better.

  • Mitty thanks for the travel tips! I just used some of my points to bring my nephew to the Bay Area to start college so they are beneficial in many ways. You can also donate them I believe if they are going to expire and you can’t use them. I’m not quite as savvy as you that’s pretty impressive what you have done.
    Thanks everyone for the comments on my ground zero video. It was draining but very rewarding

  • Brett Sham

    The Drinkable Book sounds like it would make for a great project, to try and sponsor or supply some to areas in need. I know some Rotary clubs do projects with similar products, such as LifeStraw.

    Heather, great to hear from you and about your experience at Ground Zero. After the RI Convention in Brazil last year, I travelled to New York City on my way home and visited the memorial and museum and was very moved by what I saw there. I can’t fathom what it must have been like to be there at the time.

    Mitty, thanks for your tips. I wish we had offers and bonuses that good here in Australia. I was lucky enough to have enough points to travel to Asia for the RI Convention in Seoul this year, including returning via Singapore to Sydney on Singapore Airlines in their Suites which was an amazing experience. I’d definitely recommend a trip in Suites to anyone that is able to get the chance!

  • Martin Fox

    Drinkable water is a game changer. Will share this around my networks. Thanks Mitty – love travel hacks.

  • Love travel hacks. ! Thanks for sharing

  • Yvonne Kwan

    Love the Drinkable Water clip! Such a game-changer for clean water.

    Heather, thank you for sharing your story with us! I can only imagine the storm of emotions that ran through you during your work. That’s so great that you were able to use your skills to help people who were there to help others — what an awesome chain of giving.

    I was so hesitant to get into travel hacking a few years ago (mainly because of concerns about how it would affect my credit score), but I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s allowed me to travel to so many difference places affordably and takes away the excuse that traveling is too expensive.

  • Heather, I’d forgotten about your experience serving the 9/11 teams. I think we talked about that several years ago, and it was cool to be reminded. Mitty, great tips – thanks!

  • Nicole Pham

    Thank you so much Mitty for the advice. I’ve been working really hard on my first travel credit card to achieve my travel goals and I haven’t been able to do it without your guidance. You the best.

    I also loved the video about the Drinkable Book. This is the future of innovation and I hope it will be able to reach more populations in need.

  • Richard Knaggs

    How amazing is the Drinkable Book. Wow! Thanks for the travel tips Mitty. I am going to look into travel hacking and see how possible this is in South Africa. I just don’t believe we have the same credit selection as you do in the USA. I will let you know what I find out. Heather, I visited ground zero in 2011 and it was a really sad experience. We all bought an oak leaf keep sake as a keepsake.

    • Kenneth M. Oku

      Have to give big thumbs up for traveling to ground zero, it has a special place in history.

  • mahmood khan

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and travel trips. I have traveled extensively, but never got a ticket for $30 – wow! Will start “travel hacking.” Cheers.

  • Kenneth M. Oku

    My friend recommended the chase card to me twice but I haven’t moved on it yet, now this video made it clear, I am missing out on a good opportunity! Thanks Mitty for sharing your research, knowledge, and experience.

    Heather! Great video! It was very nice to hear more about you, I really enjoyed working with you in Half Moon Bay and am hoping to help in any way for your educational event. Please make sure to keep me informed so I can clear the calendar on days you need me to.

  • john lozano

    Love the video on Drinkable Book. Heather, thanks for sharing your story.

    Mitty, I have heard about travel hacking but never knew much about it. Thanks for giving a great overview and inspiration for my next travel adventure.

  • Heather, thank for your story! Love that you used your skills to support others at ground zero. The drinkable book is also incredible! All I can think about is the impact it can have around the world. Mitty, what a great presentation on how to get started hacking travel. I think many people would like to get started but don’t know how to begin. This video is a perfect resource for the beginner.

  • Paul Mosso

    Great meeting, I enjoyed the topic! This is a great life hack to make one’s money work harder. In the very changing financial environment having financial tools to make one’s life easier is important to open more doors to the world.

  • Kristofer Telfer

    Mitty- So cool to have you as our guest speaker this week! I was especially intrigued by the upgraded amenities of some of your flights. Speaking as someone over 6 feet tall, the first class leg room room would be a life saver on long trips. Yvonne, I thoroughly enjoy your LOL’s. Thank you for providing me with clean jokes to tell my clients every week 🙂 Thank you to all who contribute to the amazing content that comprises our meetings.


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Copyright Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley 2015-2017, located in Rotary District 5170 in the sunny Silicon Valley of California, USA. Rotary International club #86428. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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