Travel Hacking

Travel Hacking

In this section I will pull together all that I can for travel hacking. I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel but will point to all the useful resources I can find and also attempt to build a coherent article around these links.

What is travel hacking?
In the best case scenario you find a way to travel for free, but in many cases you will simply find ways to make travelling cheaper (heavily discounted). At one end of the spectrum are people trying to find the cheapest way to travel such as hitch-hiking and camping, while people at the other end are using credit card sign up bonuses and trying to figure out how to fly business, or first class, for the cheapest price possible. I will broadly put these two camps into the low end of the market and the high end of the market.

travel hacking
What is travel hacking?

There is no right / wrong way, but making sense of it all can be a little overwhelming. I will spend more time on the latter group of people and their ‘hacks’ since it is challenging in an intellectual way (quite mathematical!) and there is a lot to talk about. I will touch on some things which are relevant to the former group but the content will be less numerous and less often. Many people are probably willing to have a mix of the two.

As this isn’t intended to be a travel blog then I don’t want to weight all of my articles to this area either. There are many many good blogs out there that cover this already. Therefore, my intention is not to repeat all the content they provide but to bring clarity to these topics by providing a coherent narrative that pulls everything together. A set of rules and a process. So far I haven’t found this. I’ve seen hints of what to do, but not a coherent process.

High End: Credit Cards and Reward Points
If you want to fly first class for free* and stay at five start hotels for free then you need to sign up to all the reward schemes you can and get into the credit card ‘game’. This type of travel is far removed from the low end of the market, but it is worth reviewing some of the content from the low end of the market too.

Essentially, there are two components to succeeding here:

  1. Collect Rewards.
  2. Spend Rewards.

Collect the rewards that credit cards provide and from other forms of targeted (part 1), then spend those rewards wisely to maximise your travel (part 2). Some of the tricks that form part of the second component can be equally applied to the low end of the market. Let me give you some inspiration and get you excited with the following video of one ‘travel hacking’ pro:

I read an interesting article about credit cards and benefiting from the bonuses a couple of years ago but I wasn’t in a place to do anything about it. My recent interest was inspired by the article that Wired shared on its Facebook wall. The article is about Ben Schlappig (the guy in the video above) and was actually published in Rolling Stone in July 2015. View it here: “Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free

So after doing a lot of reading and watching videos of the pros I’ve tried to distil their wisdom into the following articles:

* the price of the ticket is essentially zero, but you still have to pay taxes. For an economy flight often the taxes are the greatest cost anyway.

Low End: Finding what you can for as cheap as possible
Some tricks and tips for the low end of the market. It will cover some of the best advice I can find from across the web. This isn’t comprehensive by any means but it isn’t intended to be. Check out my separate article on this topic:

Travel Hacking: The Low End