Travel Tips

Travel Hacking

Mexico Travel Hacking
Written by Trevor
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We can all agree traveling is expensive!

Travel hacking can change that!

Let us show you how you can make your next trip cheaper than any you have ever been on! Turn things that would normally cost you money into FREE perks!

What is Travel Hacking?

Travel hacking is the art of getting anything travel related cheap. Travel hackers are constantly chasing miles , elite status and reward points. Best part is consistently does not mean you have to work that hard. Using this guide you can have all of this faster than you think and save thousands of dollars.

If you want to be a true travel hacker you must acquire points and carry them like they are your second passport. Take challenges to get elite status while accumulating 5000 extra points for an additional flight. Get quadruple miles on a new travel route and fly out tomorrow. Sign up for a card for an additional 10000 miles. Why wouldn’t you spend a couple extra minutes a day to save tons of money on flights and accommodations?

I like to think of travel hacking kind of like extreme couponing(except less clippings). I want to get my flight or accommodation costs as close to zero as possible(while gaining points). Yes you spend hours on end researching and finding loopholes or you can use this guide to get what would take days in a matter of hours and save thousands doing so.

Getting Cheap Flights

Anyone and everyone wants a cheap flight so lets get started on how to do that first. If you are like me and want the deal no matter the time I would suggest signing up for Airfarewatchdog right now. Airfarewatchdog lets you receive alerts on amazing deals from your area as they happen. Being flexible on when to fly is by far the easiest way to get cheap flights.

A before searching within incognito/private mode in your browser. This makes sure that the price does not go up as you search within sites as they track you and sometimes increase costs after the first visit. Below is a quick guide on how to use incognito or private mode for Mozilla Firefox and Chrome browsers.

Getting started setting your base flight price

The best way to get a baseline price for a flight is to use Kayak. Kayak will search multiple sites and airlines so you can easily compare prices. A big benefit to using Kayak is that they allow you to not only search exact dates but also some days before and after the dates you set. If you are living in the US Travelocity is also a great option.

Here are the results I got for Los Angeles to Thailand

Comparing your base flight price

Now that you have a base price you must now compare using other global aggregators. Some of my favourites are Momondo, Skyscanner and Mobissimo. Using multiple aggregators will help you get a wide range of different booking sites and possible airline discounts. You should never book a site without at least checking 3 or more aggregators. Do so and you risk losing out on saving money.

Momondo results for Los Angeles to Thailand

Skyscanner results for Los Angeles to Thailand

Checking if the price is cheaper directly from the airline

Choosing the lowest fare(s) you find from the previous steps go directly to each airline and compare the prices. Sometimes an airline will list it cheaper for loyal customers who shop directly without using aggregators. This trick does not always work but it is still worth checking out.

Using foreign websites to get a cheaper flight

Some airlines have foreign websites which you can take advantage of. The prices may not always be different but sometimes due to currency conversion you might get lucky and will be able to take advantage getting a cheaper flight using your currency in the exchange process. This does work with many exchange rights so do not skip this step.

Finding alternative routes

Sometimes but not always major airports are more expensive to fly into. However since in some locations like Europe there are several airports close to each other it might be cheaper to fly into a different airport near by and take a quick flight/train into the area of your final destination. Remember this is about saving money and possibly not so much your time. I will let you choose which is more important in your situation.

Checking for less known or smaller air carriers

A lot of times aggregators do not have all air carriers listed in their search. This is especially true for shorter flights and small airlines. A simple check by going to the airports website and seeing if there are any carriers going to or from your destination may lead you to a less known cheaper price of your flight. No one wants to find out that there was a flight much cheaper that was not in the aggregator but was definitely available after the fact.

How To Find the Cheapest Day To Fly

This is one of my favourite ways of finding the cheapest day to fly when I do not care about when I leave. Go to https://matrix.itasoftware.com/ and enter your departure/arrival airports. Enter a date around the time you are thinking of leaving. The best time to make your booking is the Tuesday 3 weeks before your flight. Click the ‘search calendar fares’ button and fill in the rest of the information that suits you. You will be presented with a calendar of the cheapest prices for an entire month. How sweet is that? This is a fantastic way to see when to fly and which airport to choose.

Conclusion to getting your flight cheaper

While these tips may not save you thousands they can save you hundreds and not much time to invest in doing so. If you are a frequent flyer you will get this down pat in not to long and it will take you less than 20 minutes to get the absolute cheapest fight you can get. This may not be news to some of you but for the not so frequent or unsavvy travellers out there this is gold and will definitely help them have a few extra bucks to spend on a night out in their final destination.

Now that we have cheap flights out of the way let’s get into the good stuff. The FREE stuff, the goodies, the miles, the rewards and the AWESOMENESS of travel hacking!

Credit Cards, Frequent Flyer Cards and Loyalty Cards(Your bread and butter)

Credit Cards

Every large airline carrier has their own has their own airline credit card. Whether it be Delta, United, American Airlines, or British Airways. They all have one and give you reward points as soon as you sign up. Every card gives you a bonus on sign up or soon after , which if it’s less than 20 000 points I would skip it for now. Unless you are planning on flying with them in which case you may get those points from

Chase Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred – This card has received a lot of great reviews from travelers.
Reward Points on Signup – 40,000 after spending $4000 in 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Transaction Fees – None
Earnings –
Can I transfer points – Yes(Hyatt and United)
APR – 15.99%

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Reward Points on Signup – 30,000 after spending $1000 in 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Transaction Fees – None
Earnings –
Can I transfer points – Yes(Hyatt and United)
APR – 15.99%

Chase Ink Plus
Reward Points on Signup – 50,000 after you spend $5000
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Transaction Fees – None
Earnings – 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.
1X points per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount
you can earn.
Can I transfer points – Yes(Hyatt and United)
APR – 15.99%

British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Reward Points on Signup – 50,000 after spending $2000 in 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Transaction Fees – None
Earnings – 3x miles for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Bonuses – Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Signature card, you will earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years. Redeem your Avios for one reward seat for yourself and use your Travel Together Ticket to bring a companion in the same cabin even first class.
Can I transfer points – Yes(Hyatt and United)
APR – 15.99%

The Hyatt Credit Card
Reward Points on Signup – 2 Free Nights at any Hyatt Hotel Worldwide after spending $1000 in 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $75/per year after
Transaction Fees – None
Earnings – 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties with your Hyatt Credit Card.
2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies.
1 point for every $1 spent anywhere else you use your card – there are no limits to the points you can earn.

Can I transfer points – Yes(Hyatt and United)
APR – 15.99%

American Express Cards

American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Gold Card
Reward Points on Signup – 25, 000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – $120/year
Earnings – 1 Mile for every $1 in Card purchases up to $10,000
Bonuses – Baggage Insurance
Can I transfer points – Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific(limited), ANA, Qantas (limited), Air Canada,South African Airways (limited), Air TahitiNui (limited), Singapore, El Al, AeroMexico, AirFrance/KLM, Continental, Swiss (limited),Mexicana, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia (limited),
Alitalia, JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran

American Express® AeroplanPlus®* Card
Reward Points on Signup – 5, 000 points after first transaction
Annual Fee – Free for first year, $60/per year after
Earnings – 1 mile per $1 spent
Bonuses – Travel Insurance
Can I transfer points – Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific(limited), ANA, Qantas (limited), Air Canada,South African Airways (limited), Air TahitiNui (limited), Singapore, El Al, AeroMexico, AirFrance/KLM, Continental, Swiss (limited),Mexicana, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia (limited),
Alitalia, JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran

Starwood Preferred Guest®* Card
Reward Points on Signup – 20, 000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – $120/year
Earnings – 1 mile per $1 spent
Bonuses – Travel Insurance
Can I transfer points – Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific(limited), ANA, Qantas (limited), Air Canada,South African Airways (limited), Air TahitiNui (limited), Singapore, El Al, AeroMexico, AirFrance/KLM, Continental, Swiss (limited),Mexicana, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia (limited),
Alitalia, JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
Reward Points on Signup – 30, 000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Earnings – 2x miles on Delta purchases and one mile for each dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Bonuses – Priority Boarding on Delta flights, discount Sky Club, car rental insurance, travel insurance
Transaction Fees – None
Can I transfer points – Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific(limited), ANA, Qantas (limited), Air Canada,South African Airways (limited), Air TahitiNui (limited), Singapore, El Al, AeroMexico, AirFrance/KLM, Continental, Swiss (limited),Mexicana, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia (limited),
Alitalia, JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran

Mastercards

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®*
Reward Points on Signup – 30, 000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $95/per year after
Earnings – 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines and US Airways purchases
Bonuses – Priority Boarding on American Airline flights, discount inflight purchases

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Reward Points on Signup – 40, 000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $89/per year after
Earning – 2x miles per $1 on all purchases
Bonuses – Travel insurance, baggage insurance, car rental insurance
Transaction Fees – None

Capital One

Venture
Reward Points on Signup – 40, 000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee – Free for the first year, $59/per year after
Earning – 2x miles per $1 on all purchases
Bonuses – Travel insurance, baggage insurance, car rental insurance
Transaction Fees – None

Around The World Ticket Planners and Options

Downloadable Air Timetables and Apps: http://www.oneworld.com/tools/downloadable-timetables
View the latest flight schedules for all oneworld member airlines quickly and easily using a variety of downloadable tools, including desktop version, PDF, and iPhone App.

Around the World Travel Consultant: http://www.airtreks.com/
Learn about Around the World Business Class Airfare or submit your trip details to one of our Personal Travel Consultants and we will back to you with your custom airfare quote

Star Alliance RTW
https://www.staralliance.com/en/fares/round-the-world-fare
Star Alliance Book and Fly is a powerful booking tool to help you plan and book multi-destination fares online.

Air New Zealand RTW http://www.airnewzealand.co.uk/round-the-world-tickets-and-flights

Cheaper Hotels & other Accommodation Hacks

Hotel Hacking

It is actually easier than you might think to get cheaper hotel rooms. This is not limited to the United States, however is does work best within it. If you know your dates then first head over to Better Bidding to acquire a good baseline from what other people have bid and won rooms at.
Then go to Priceline or Hotwire and check out the dates you are interested in and place similar bids from your baseline. There you have it, $100’s worth of savings in less than a few minutes.

In addition to checking prices, just like airlines, hotels also have specific loyalty credit cards in which a lot of the time will include a free night or two at their hotel for signing up. Head over to the hotel you are booking at before booking and check to see which deals they may have.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to get a free stay at some of the friendliest people’s houses. A lot of people tend to avoid this type of accommodation for fear of their safety, however they are a lot safer than you might think. With the help of many sites such as: Couchsurfing.org, Global Freeloaders, and Hospitality Club you can find a safe place to stay all around the world. One of the best reasons to couchsurf is the fact that the person(s) offering up their place for accommodation free love to show you around. Imagine having a free place to stay and a free tour from who better than a local. Now this may not always be the case but even if it’s not you still have a place to sleep for FREE!

FREE Hostels

Ok, ok it’s not exactly free but how much is your time worth. Many hostels will allow you to work for your accommodation. All you would have to do is simply do a few hours of cleaning in the morning and have the rest of the day to yourself. If you are on a budget then hostels and couchsurfing are some of your best options. No matter your age do not shy away from these oppurtunities. These aren’t really the same as movies like to present them and all different types/ages of people frequent them. Some may even be on a very similar journey to your own, so naturally this is a great way to meet new friends.

Housesitting

Now I have heard several mixed reviews on housesitting and I am going to be honest with you here. From what I have seen most people talk about it to receive money to promote it and talk about it being so glamorous and easy. Lets put a stop to that right here. It’s hard, it’s not easy and it takes time. Think of it like applying for a job that has 100+ other applicants.

However if you want to give it a shot I don’t blame because if you do get chosen you can stay in some very nice places throughout the world. The sites that allow homeowners to connect with sitters require you to purchase a membership. Some of these sites are(but not limited to):
Mind My House
House Carers
Luxury House Sitting

Camping in The Garden

Personally I absolutely LOVE camping! So this is a great solution to accommodations for me. This one is relatively self explanatory, however I will explain. Just like couchsurfing people offer up their backyard or yard in general to any persons who would like to camp out. It’s free and if you are trying to travel on the cheap with a tent in your backpack I recommend doing this. Camping isn’t for everyone but if it is, give this a try. Go to Camp in my Garden. and see if there are any spots in your area.

Work for Room and Board

WWOOF is a fantastic way to go to the place you dream of going for FREE(minus flight cost of course). WWOOF connects you with farmers and businesses who will provide you with room and board for your hours of volunteering. I love to volunteer however this volunteer work comes with food! Check out http://www.wwoof.net/ for more information.

Hacking Attractions and Transportation

With a little research you can save a lot of money. Just like in your hometown or place you might frequent there are deals. Wherever you are heading look online for deals. Some places have free entrance times like museums and restaurants. So keep an eye for those daily and weekly deals.

Some cities especially thrive on tourist money so in order to promote they offer tourist cards. While these cards may not always be an amazing deal, they will save you money in the long run so it is definitely worth your time to look into.

Getting around can be quite expensive so it is also a good idea to keep an eye for transportation deals. For instance day passes, week passes or possibly even monthly passes depending on your length of stay. For Japan specifically an absolute must is a rail pass. If you don’t get a rail pass when you go that may be your worst mistake when going to Japan. Second mistake would be thinking Tokyo is the only place you want to go. There is plenty to see in Japan but transportation costs will kill you without the railpass.

Extra Resources

Travel Hacking Cartel
Flyer Talk
One mile at a time
Boarding Area

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Trevor

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