“Let’s just move to Europe and travel the world!!”
How To Travel Anywhere In the World For Close to Free. Lets just move to Europe and travel the world!…. I said through tears after a particularly stressful day of work. My husband looked at me and surprisingly said, “Ok!”And so it began. We moved to Germany and decided we wanted to see and travel the world before “settling down.” The problem? Well, the problem for us is most likely the same for almost anyone who wants to travel, whether it is domestically or internationally… Money.
The simple truth of the matter was that no matter how much we “budget travelled,” stayed in hostels, hitch-hiked, couch surfed and did whatever recent cheap method of travelling was, that we wouldn’t be able to afford seeing as much of the world as we had hoped. It was expensive! That is, until we learned about travel hacking. Now, four years, almost 40 countries, countless cities and close to 60 (yes, 60) credit cards later, we have had the most amazing and memorable experiences all over the world that we only once could dream about.
So, what is travel hacking? Who is it for? How can it help you see and travel the world?
Hacking often has a negative connotation with it. However, the original intent of “hacking” was any way to find a “workaround” to a problem. Therefore, Travel Hacking is really any way to find ways to travel cheaply that others may not know about.
The most common use of the phrase, Travel Hacking is using reward points from credit cards to book free flights and hotels.We could get way into the details of travel hacking, like we did in the original Travel Hacking for Beginners , which goes into who can travel hack and the minute details of HOW to travel hack, or we can break it down into 5, easy to learn and implement steps that anyone can follow.
1) Set a Travel Goal
In order to know who to earn points with or how many points you will need to travel for free, you first need to know where you want to travel to!
You’ll need a much larger pool of points if you want to travel halfway around the world rather than to Grandma’s across the country. Alternatively, some points can earn you free hotel nights as well. Knowing what you want out of your trip will help you plan accordingly on how to earn those points quickly and efficiently.
2) Sign up for a Credit Card
There are countless resources that explain what cards are best for travel hacking and no, not all cards are created equal. Look for cards that have very high sign up bonus points (we are talking 50,000+ points in sign up rewards alone).
Read the fine print to know what other perks are associated with the card, how much you have to spend and in what period of time in order to earn the points. Look around the travel hacking experts’ sites to find out what cards are best to get right now.
3) Spend Money Like you Normally Do
Many people are scared away from travel hacking due to the minimum spending requirements on the cards that give great rewards points. However, you would be shocked at how much you spend on a daily basis on things such as gas, groceries and daily expenses. If you really are worried about meeting your minimum spend, call your cell phone and utility companies to see if they allow you to pay via card. Alternatively, go to WalMart and purchase the Visa gift cards that you can use down the road just like cash. The key to this step of travel hacking is to never spend more money than you normally do.
4) Find the Best Use of your Points and Book
Just like credit cards not all being valuable, reward loyalty points are also not created equal. (To learn more about What Points are the Best to Travel Hack With). You can also quickly learn to stretch your miles and points for even more flights and hotel stays. If you aren’t sure how to use your points or how much a flight is worth in frequent flyer miles, use the FlyerMiler tool to get you started. Book your flight and hotel either through the company’s website or by calling them directly to redeem your miles and points.
5) Enjoy Your Free Trip!
It’s time to pack and get ready for a trip of a lifetime!
While you will still be paying taxes and fees, this minimal amount of spending is nothing in comparison to the cost of world- wide flights or 5 star resorts! LeAnna Brown currently doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, so to delay major life decisions, her and her husband, Andy, have decided to move to Europe and travel the world via Travel Hacking. After almost 40 countries down in four years and only a few thousand dollars spent a year on travel, they have learned to penny pinch their way to a bare minimalist lifestyle to help them see and appreciate the world.
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