There are many sites nowadays that allow travelers to compare accommodation and travel prices. Still, there is additional work a person can put in to save a lot more money on attractions, hotels and airfares. Travel hacking includes all of these steps you can take towards saving even more money when planning a trip.
The phrase “Travel Hacking” is becoming quite popular and many people use it these days. If you look around the web a bit, you will see these phrase often, as travel sites try to explain to people how they can become ultimate travelers or travel ninjas. Travel hackers are people who are always looking to get reward points, chase miles and get the best status possible while traveling. They are constantly working on finding as many possible ways as they can for using the system to their advantage.
About Travel Hacking
The majority of travel hacking revolves around finding and using rewards and miles in order to get free accommodation or flights. Those real travel hackers that deserve this “title” collect status and points like boy scouts collect badges. For those people taking 15 flights in a month to acquire some elite mileage status is not a problem.
Getting triple miles on some brand new route? It’s not a problem. These people will fly tomorrow if they have to. Signing up for cards, entering contests or filling out forms? No problem. A travel hacker will do all of these things to get those valuable hotel points. Simple as that. These travelers have only one rule which they never break, they don’t do things that don’t benefit their mileage accounts and this is how they are able to visit all the places they want.
However, in my opinion travel hacking is so much more than these things most people do. For me, it is all about trying to lower the costs as close to zero as you possibly can. Since not all people are committed enough, or they simply don’t have the time to spend hours finding mileage routes that will grant them extra miles, or taking the time to read fine prints in order to find any loopholes that might exploited, I have created this guide for those casual travelers that want to travel cheaply, but don’t really want to invest so much time into becoming expert travel ninjas.
How you can hack yourself a flight
Given the fact that flights are the first main subject people focus on when they are planning a trip, I think it’s best to start from here. Finding a cheap flight is not so easy these days. The first thing you should do is find some travel websites and sign up there so that you can always get updated when some cheaper flight deals are available near your area.
When it comes to finding cheap flights the key is flexibility, since deals can be around for only a couple of months. One deal can be hundreds of dollars cheaper than another, however if you want to find cheap flights on a particular date you will have to work the system a bit further so that everything fits in.
The fact that most travel agencies use online travel agency software only means that there are many websites that can track their information and show you how prices change. Use these travel price cooperation websites regularly and you will find what you need, or at least something a day or two off.
How you can hack cheap accommodation
Next to flights, accommodation is the most expensive aspect of traveling. However, as opposed to getting cheap flights, you can easily find cheap accommodation with just a bit of effort put in.
Getting a really good deal when opting for hotel accommodation is, in fact, quite easy. This is especially true if you are looking for one somewhere in the United States. You simply have to go to websites such as Hotwire or Priceline and place a bid on rooms. A lot of those branded hotels with their credit cards give big sign-up bonuses that can help you acquire a lot of points, which you can redeem later for free accommodation. A lot of hotels also have promotions without credit cards, so look for them around the web and feel free to ask about some additional ones once you are in a hotel.
You can use sites such as Couchsurfing, Hospitality Club, or Global Freeloaders to search and find some locals who are willing to be your host when you visit their city. This is an easy way to get free accommodation, plus a local guide who can show you all the interesting parts of their city, while at the same time learning about different cultures and meeting new people. In my opinion, it is the best way to get to know a certain place and make some new friends.
Work for a place to stay
There are a lot of hostels around the world that will give you accommodation in exchange for a bit of work. All you will have to do is work in the kitchen or clean rooms for a couple of hours during the morning and you will get a place to stay.
How you can hack visiting attractions
Getting accommodation and flights are your biggest expenses when it comes to traveling, but if you want to go towards your goal of having the lowest expenses possible, it is crucial that you hack your visits to attractions as well.
Although they cost money, getting city tourist cards is a great way to save up money for people who want to visit a lot of attractions during their stay. If your plan is to visit a lot of attractions, museums, historical sights, art galleries and other similar places I would be really foolish not to get a discount card for yourself. In general, they will save you around 50 % of all the costs you would have to pay individually.
Get a free pass or discount
A lot of museums and similar attractions usually offer special discounts when their doors are open for everyone. When you are planning a trip you should check out the websites of your favorite attractions to see when they offer these free visits. See which ones offer these discounts during the time of your trip and visit them before any other. This can save you some money and it only takes a bit of organization on your side.
You should also remember that many attractions have discounts for students or military personnel, so bring your identification cards with you if you don’t want miss out on them.
How you can hack cheap food
The first thing you should be on the lookout for are outdoor vendors. They usually have small stands and sell things like sandwiches, sausages, hot dogs and similar food. These places are usually cheap and are good for grabbing a quick meal. Every country has its own thing; for example, you can find empanada shops in Spain that can get you full for around a dollar.
In some parts of the world there are various street foods you can eat, guess where? On the street, of course. The food is prepared on the spot and you simply grab a plate of your own and sit on some small chair and enjoy your tasty meal almost instantly on the spot. Contrary to what you might think this street food is one of the best things in the world, as it is tasty, cheap and it is one of the best ways to try traditional, local cuisine.
There are also a lot of restaurant, particularly those in Europe that offer lunch specials when the food on the menu is offered at great discounts. It is possible to get tasty meals for a small part of the real cost you would usually pay. These discounts are usually for afternoon meals.
How you can hack transportation around city
Apart from getting discounts on attractions there are a lot of city tourist cards that can also give you discounts on transportation or even for free. There is nothing better you can possibly find. If you don’t want to spend some money on that, then your best option is to go around cities on your feet. This is also one of the most interesting ways to experience the spirit of a certain location, but it is definitively not the fastest.
Another way to get around cities quickly for a cheap price is to rent a bike. Some cities are especially cheap for this kind of transportation. For example, Amsterdam is a city where every person owns at least one bike and most people get around town this way. It’s easy to find one you can rent and the city is designed to allow people to travel around it on a bike without any problems.
Let’s be realistic, no trip is ever going to cost you nothing or even close to zero. However, these things I mentioned above can cut your costs in many ways and you can save up to 60 % of the money you would usually spend on a trip. In my opinion, these are great numbers, don’t you agree?