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10 Travel Hacking Tips For Beginners (Like How To Travel For Free) | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Summary

  • Sign up for hotel rewards programs to cut down on or eliminate accommodation costs. Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and IHG One Rewards are examples of beneficial rewards programs.
  • Choose the right credit card that offers the best value of points per dollar spent and allows flexibility in redeeming the points. Accumulate points to pay for flights, accommodation, and car rental.
  • Be financially responsible when applying for credit cards with big welcome bonuses.

Packing and flying with ease is, of course, one of the best ways to ensure traveling goes as smoothly as possible. But what about being able to go jet-setting more without paying more? Indeed, there’s another type of travel hack dominating the internet: travel hacking. Travel hacking is no longer a secret thanks to the many newsletters, YouTube channels, and Instagram accounts dedicated to sharing this art form.

The art of traveling for free (or heavily discounted to cut travel costs in half) is the key to many travel creators’ success. Travel hacking unlocks doors for the average traveler to see more of the world without having significant financial means to do so. It might sound too good to be true, but travel hacking is a legal way to make money go further when booking flights, hotels, and more.

Travel hacks are great for helping students, broke backpackers, and even aspiring luxury travelers see more of the globe. For those eager to take advantage of traveling more for less, here are some useful travel hacking tips for beginners to try!

Related: 15 Hacks That Make Car Travel Feel Like First Class

10
Sign Up For Hotel Rewards Programs


Photo courtesy Marriott

AC Hotel by Marriott Bella Sky Copenhagen

Signing up for hotel rewards programs is one of the many money-saving travel hacks; it’s a simple way to travel for less (or for free). Examples of top hotel rewards programs are Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and IHG One Rewards. These rewards programs are beneficial because these chain hotels are located in countries around the world.

Through the rewards programs, travelers can earn points towards free or discounted stays, get an additional night free, or transfer points they’ve earned towards flights on specific airlines.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Cuts down on or eliminates accommodation costs

9
Choose The Right Credit Card



Three credit cards in leather credit card holder

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Three credit cards in leather credit card holder 

Earning points on a travel credit card is a key aspect of travel hacking. This means researching which credit cards offer the best value of points per dollar spent. Travelers should also look at which cards allow them the most flexibility in redeeming the points they’ve earned.

For example, some travel credit cards only allow travelers to book flights through the bank’s booking portal or redeem points as cash. Others are more flexible and allow them to transfer points towards specific airlines or hotels.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Accumulating points to pay for flights, accommodation, and/or car rental

Related: Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip To India Run Smoothly

8
Earn The Welcome Bonus (But Be Responsible)



American Express credit Card

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

A person reading a book, while holding an American Express credit Card

To benefit from travel credit cards, travelers often need to sign up for a card that has a big welcome bonus. In order to qualify for the welcome bonus points, they often have to meet a minimum spend within the first month (or months) of opening the card.

It’s critical for travelers to be financially smart and not apply for credit cards where they can’t afford the welcome bonus. The benefits of credit card points for travel are negated by carrying any debt that cannot be paid off on a credit card.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Makes it possible to get immediate redeemable points on a new card

7
Get A Fourth Or Fifth Night Free



A Hotel Room With A Couch

Photo by Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd. on Unsplash

A Hotel Room With A Couch

One of the important things to do before any trip is to check accommodation rewards programs. Hotel rewards programs like the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program allow travelers to enjoy perks like earning the fifth night of their stay for free.

These sorts of promotions are among the best travel hacks for saving money and making a big financial difference when one night at a hotel costs $200 or (usually) more.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Increases the value of a stay at a hotel

Related: Safety Hacks All Female Travelers Should Know

6
Be A Frequent Flyer



Glasses of drinks and plates of food on a table in the VIP section of an airplane

Photo by Oskar Kadaksoo on Unsplash

Glasses of drinks and plates of food on a table in the VIP section of an airplane

A key to travel hacking for beginners is becoming a frequent flyer on a specific airline. This doesn’t have to mean flying often – it just means that whenever a person flies, they book with the same airline and earn points towards future travel, perks, or upgrades.

These programs incentivize booking with the same airline for all trips, so it’s a good idea to do some research about which airline has the most routes and best prices from your home airport.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Loyalty to a particular airline can include perks like points, upgrades, and lounge access

5
Prioritize Travel



An airplane flying through fog, mist, and clouds against a sunset or sunrise sky at Hannover Airport, Germany

Photo by Eric Masur on Unsplash

An airplane flying through fog, mist, and clouds against a sunset or sunrise sky at Hannover Airport, Germany

Travel hacking is most lucrative when a person prioritizes travel in their life. This means that they funnel their disposable income into trips and travel wherever possible.

Because most travel credit cards earn the most points back on travel purchases, this is a cycle that helps committed travelers travel more!

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Cut down on other unnecessary costs in everyday life (like going to the movies or going out for dinner) to reallocate funds for travel

4
Stick To One Airline Alliance



An American Airlines plane

Shutterstock

An American Airlines plane

Choosing an airline to become a frequent flyer doesn’t have to mean never flying on a different airline again. Travelers should become aware of the concept of an airline alliance.

This is a group of airlines that come together under one umbrella to offer benefits to travelers who fly in any of the airlines that are part of that alliance. The three main airline alliances are SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Flying on a different airline can still earn you points towards your preferred airline if they are part of the same alliance

SkyTeam has 20 airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Air France, Aeroméxico, and Korean Air. Star Alliance has 26 airlines, including Lufthansa, Air Canada, United Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), and Thai Airways. Oneworld includes American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and many more.

3
Book Last Minute Flight And Hotel Deals



Person typing on a computer

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Person typing on a computer

Travelers can book last-minute hotel and flight deals by searching sites like Hotwire. This is where companies post discounted deals and last-minute reservation opportunities.

Roomer is another marketplace for discounted hotel rooms that people post reservations they can no longer use and need to get rid of quickly.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Affordable prices when hotels are desperate to fill rooms the day of or the night before, or people are selling their bookings they can no longer use at discounted rates

2
Start The Search On Skyscanner Or Kayak



A  traveler waiting for his flight at the airport

Source: Unsplash

A  traveler waiting for his flight at the airport

Using travel search tools like Skyscanner or Kayak isn’t always the cheapest way to book, but it’s a great starting point for finding out which routes and dates are most affordable from one’s departure airport.

Using Skyscanner’s flights to “Everywhere” tool provides a quick glance at destinations that are most affordable to most expensive from a specific airport.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Provides a baseline for what destinations and dates are cheapest

1
Bundle Flight And Accommodation Bookings To Save Money



Hands holding a smartphone

via Shutterstock 

Applications on a mobile phone 

Using booking engines that allow travelers to bundle their flight and hotel reservations is an affordable travel hacking tool for saving money.

A great option is using Booking.com’s flight and hotel bundle tool to book a flight and hotel for basically the same price that just a flight would cost on another platform.

  • How It Helps Fund Travel: Reduces the overall cost of these most expensive aspects of booking a trip

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