It's easy to see from my instagram that I've been bitten by the travel bug – hard – this year. It started with my first (and totally impromptu) international trip to Rome last Fall, but I really didn't become interested in traveling on the cheap ( “travel hacking”) until my 30th birthday trip to Mexico. The entire trip just cost $500 (for airfare and a few incidentals) for a long weekend at a four-star all-inclusive resort for a long weekend.
“This is what I want to spend my days doing,” I thought. I mean, who wouldn't? What's better than traveling? Uhm….traveling for free!
While the stay in Mexico was sponsored, I soon found there are other ways to explore the world on a dime….no blog or following required.
Travel Hacking is the Art of Using Credit Card Rewards to Earn Free Travel
Full disclosure – I am still largely a novice, and only recently (think – September 2016) signed up for a business credit card with rewards that can be used for miles. (I got the Chase Ink at the time they were offering a 50k “points” sign up bonus.) This card is used for all of my business expenditures and with my spending + the 50k bonus points I was able to largely cover my airfare for my trip to Italy. I also recently covered my airfare to Miami for a last-minute trip with my college buds! Free travel, FTW!
There's still a lot to learn, memorize, and keep up with if you want to “hack” for free travel. Fortunately for me, I'm plugged into the FinCon network, which features a group of super smart financial whizzes who are far, far, more experienced and knowledgeable than me on this subject.
I bring you the best posts from these experts below.
Best-In-Class Resources for Those Who Want to Start Travel Hacking
The Complete Beginner Guide to Travel Hacking – By Eric Rosenberg of Personal Profitability. Eric educates on the best cards and programs, the best free tools to use to track everything, and how to protect your credit while travel hacking.
How to Travel for Free with Travel Rewards Cards – By Holly Johnson. Oh, you haven't heard of Holly Johnson? You may have seen her course, Earn More Writing, in some of my articles, followed her mega-popular blog, Club Thrifty, or seen her writing on a number of big-name sites. She's also a big deal travel writer and frequently “hacks” her way to free travel. The post linked above highlights some of the higher level strategies for those who want an overview and quick tutorial on how to get started.
How Your Good Credit Can Help You Travel for Free – By The Frugal Travel Guy. I like how in the nav there's a “Rookie Guide” for beginners. Click on it, and you'll find a TREASURE TROVE of articles that teach you how to put together a basic beginners travel hacking strategy.
Beginner's Guide to Points and Travel Hacking – By Johnny Jet. Offers a lot of other considerations for when you start travel hacking like how much time to invest and which shopping portals to use.
How to “Level Up” Your Travel Hacking Game
Any Article by The Points Guy – Chances are if you've done the bare minimum of research on how to get free travel, you've run across The Points Guy. This is a simple, easy-to-read site that lets you know about all things points and how you can maximize your programs for more travel. Definitely, a blog to bookmark when starting out!
The Rockstar Finance Directory of Travel Hacking Coaches – Didn't know there was such a thing as a Travel Hacking Coach? Well, there is. (If I can blog coach, people can definitely coach you on how to travel hack.) If you feel better about signing up for multiple cards with someone to hold your hand through the process (and you know, make sure you're not completely screwing it up…) I recommend getting a coach. Many will do it for free!
What are some of your favorite travel hacking sites, articles, and resources?