Day 3391 – How To Travel For Free – Travel Hacking 101

A few months ago, I completed an AWESOME course about travel hacking. I learned the tips and tricks of getting free flights, tracking what you need to do, all told in an easy to digest format. One thing I loved was that the videos started right where I left off.

You all know I’ve gotten a number of free/cheap flights through Southwest and have shared about that a few times. But I only knew Southwest, there was SO much I didn’t know. I don’t think I realized how much I had to learn until I took Aaron and Zephan’s Travel Hacking 101 course* (this is an affiliate link, see below for a little more about my experience!)

Since I mostly focus on road trips, I asked Aaron if he could share his experiences with travel hacking and road trips.

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“How to Apply Travel Hacking tricks to your Road Trips with Free AirBnB

I remember the justifications that used to come to mind –

“Aaron, you don’t have the money.”
“You can’t afford that right now.”
“When you get your income to $100,000, you can do that.”

These kinds of excuses used to cripple me. I’d scroll through page after page of travel photos or read through articles on world travel.

All I had to do was decide, but instead, I was full of envy.
I quit my job in 2015, and finally found my freedom. I partied for a week.
Reality set in, and I panicked for the ensuing week.
After calm lapped over me, I sat in the same chair I always did. But this time I had a new thought.
I was FREE. It was time to go.
But how?
Enter, my brother’s travel hacking push. Not long after, he and I were using a travel hacking method to trek the world for free. Even better, flights, hotels and airbnb’s were free too!

If you’re more of the road trip type, there’s a natural tendency to look for disconnection. The hills, the open highway, fresh country air. So much better than an airport lobby.
Most would assume travel hacking is about flying places but that’s only one piece. In simplest form, travel hacking is about removing barriers. It’s about eliminating those “No,” reasons that we shared above. It’s about taking our freedom now, while we are young, free and mobile.

Over the last year, I’ve perfected a simple system and used it to provide thousands in travel dollars at no expense.

Imagine staying in a custom built glass cottage overlooking the hills of California. Here’s an example of one.

For those that want to travel hack their way to free AirBnBs, pay close attention:

Credit cards like the Barclay Arrival Plus offer a 60,000 mile bonus when you spend $5,000 in 90 days.

The travel hacking system revolves around smart use of credit and points. But I want to share the overview so you can use this to your advantage in your road trippin’ adventures.

Once you amass the points, you can book an AirBnB with a card like the Barclays card. From the credit card dashboard, you can redeem points for those charges. For every 10,000 points, you get $100 to redeem. So on a 60,000 mile card, you get $600 worth of AirBnB booking to waive.

There’s no better feeling than paying for your weekend getaway in the open mountains and then waiving all fees.

WHISK- here comes a weekend of total liberation – physically, financially, and spiritually.

But before you go making mistakes (like I have), let’s make sure you know the rules before you take on free AirBNBs.

There are three rules to this travel hack:
Never pay late fees
Never pay interest
Pay on time
You can use your credit card, the one listed above (or others) to pay for things you normally would. Things like gas, food, rent (yes, there’s a way), and your other basic expenses. But you have to follow the rules.

If you play well with your cash (i.e. spending below your means), you’ll be on your way to that dream road trip.

I made a lot of mistakes in this process, so part of what I’ve developed is a system, so that I avoid breaking the rules. I’ve also created over $18,532 in free travel in 2018, after about $5,783 in 2017. To start travel hacking, you can take a course that I launched with fellow travel hacker Zephan B.

When you get started, be mindful of the rules, and let the open air, natural habitats and allure of a comforting home at no cost to you guide you forward. Travel hacking awaits!”

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If you want to learn more, check out theTravel Hacking 101 Course.*

* For full disclosure, I will get a small % if you decide to purchase the course. You won’t pay any more and my sharing policy is to ONLY share things I have personally used or done myself. I learned a lot about travel hacking in this course, and the course will pay for itself with your first bonus. I recently signed up for the Southwest Business card and I will be getting 60,000 bonus points, which translates to about $900 worth of flights. This course will answer all your questions about travel hacking! If you have any questions about the course itself, let me know!

View from one of my free (save for the $5 tax fee) flights!!

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget.
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Day 3261 – How I Got $621.96 In Free Flights And Am Going to California For $521.96 And How You Can Too

Y’ll know I love Southwest. I’ve blogged about them a lot but I wanted to share about a recent experience I had with Southwest and a new experience with Allegiant free travel as well.

Now first, my biggest piece of advice when using a rewards credit card is to know your limits. We use our credit cards like cash and pay them off about once a week or every other week, depending on our income. The cool thing about both credit cards is I can pay off the card before the transactions post. Previous cards I used did not let me do this, maybe this is a newer feature and those cards now offer it, but this is a big feature to me. On some of my previous bookings, I purchased the tickets, then hopped over to pay them off right away. If you don’t think you can control yourself with a credit card (i.e. buy more than you normally would without a credit card), then use it to autopay some bills and keep it in a place where you won’t use it. We pay our cell phone and car insurance through our cards. I had a friend who put a large one time purchase on the card to get the bonus miles and paid it off right away. We use both cards for everything except rent.

Where we travel to in California is not a Southwest airport. That has caused us to do a few creative things like renting a car and driving from Vegas or sucking it up and paying for an expensive flight from Vegas to Fresno. Seriously guys, for a 45-minute flight, you’re looking at roughly $300+. A few years back, a new airline started flying into Fresno and it has made travel there SO much more affordable. That airline is Allegiant. It’s a very “you get what you pay for” and you do pay for what you want. If you’re traveling with checked bags and large carry-ons, it might be a little less affordable (you pay for each piece), but we’ve learned that our backpack and duffle bag work at personal items (i.e. they fit under the front seat). So we’re looking at a $40-80 (+taxes and fees) flight. You have to pay for drinks too (but you do get a free drink if you have the credit card).

On our last holiday trip to California, I signed up for the Allegiant credit card. I got a statement bonus of $50 after only six weeks of using the card. We then earned the signup bonus of 15,000 miles not long after. The cool thing about Allegiant’s miles is they translate miles to dollars (whereas Southwest’s miles fluctuate by the time of year and location). So 15,000 miles is $150 of travel. We used that card exclusively until we earned enough miles that I thought it would cover our next flight, then we went back to Southwest.

While both cards have a yearly fee, Southwest at least gives you 6,000 bonus miles on your anniversary. So a $99 fee that ain’t bad.

So that brings us to yesterday, where I booked flights from BWI to LAS to FAT (and back again). Here’s what my costs would have been for two people:
BWI -> LAS (roundtrip) via Southwest – $983.92
LAS -> FAT (roundtrip) via Allegiant – $160.00
Total cost – $1,143.92

I had enough points to cover Allegiant completely and I had enough points to cover one way on Southwest for each of us. That left me with paying for one way.
Total cost after points – $521.96
Total savings after points – $621.96

Over HALF of my flights were covered. What’s cool is that $521.96 will get me 3x the miles, which I’ll be able to use for later flights. If we end up staying in a hotel during our trip, if I book through Rocketmiles, I can get as little as 1,000 bonus miles.

I wrote a whole post on the ways you can earn miles, so make sure to check that out.

Do you have a Southwest card? Do you love it?

p.s. This photo is from a trip I took to Florida to visit a friend and flew for free and the whole trip only cost $139.99.

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Day 3241 – Love To Travel, But Don’t Have The Money? – or – How We’re Flying To California For Free (Almost) – repost

We LOVE to travel!! I don’t think we realized how much until we had more money to do so!

Before this Christmas, we tended to take the super cheap ways in travel. We’d have to get a lower grade room or sleep in our car. We even had to cut our honeymoon short. Being in debt for so long, finally paying it off and Bret landing a teaching job has radically changed our financial situation.

We’ve splurged a little over the past few months with travel and eating out. I told you a few days back that we’re taking a weekend trip to go to a concert. While booking the hotel, I realized, you know, I just learned a LOT of great tips for saving on flights…I should share that!

A few months back, we finally signed up for a Southwest credit card. I think it’s one of the better rewards credit cards out there…especially if you fly even a little.

I lucked out and signed up during a promotion; if you spend $2000 within your first 90 days, you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles.

We hope to hit that number pretty soon. What I love about the Southwest Credit Card so far is how easy it is to earn miles and opportunities for bonus miles.

A particularly awesome way to rack up the points is Rocketmiles. This is a way to earn rapid rewards through booking hotels. I just booked our hotel for the concert and will get a bonus 5,000 miles! I mean, that’s like spending $5000 on my credit card! So, just by booking a hotel through the website (which we needed anyway), I’m getting miles.

Let me give a practical example.

You earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on your purchases. You’ll get 2 miles for every dollar spent through Southwest and their travel partners (hotels and car rentals). I’ve noticed they send a ton of other ways to get bonus miles too. Before Valentine’s Day, they had an offer for bonus miles if you ordered flowers through 1-800 flowers.

Now let’s break down your potential based on your normal cost of living expenses. Since this can range depending on a million factors, I’m going to just use $2000 as a starting point. I’ll also use our typical travel as well.

Yearly expenses amount – $24,000 i.e. 24,000 points
Our bonus for signing up and spending the amount required on the new credit card – 50,000 miles
Our bonus for booking a hotel through Rocketmiles – 5,000 miles
Rough estimate of cost of tickets to California at Christmas time for two – $1,100
Rough estimate of points for California at Christmas time for two – 76,578 miles
Rough cost of tickets to California at Christmas time after using points – $22.00

Total miles earned – 79,000
Miles left over after booking flight – 2,422
Cost to visit family for Christmas – $22

What about you? Do you have any money saving travel tips??

day_01820b

originally posted 2/27/15

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget.
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Day 2057 – Love To Travel, But Don’t Have The Money? – or – How We’re Flying To California For Free (Almost)

We LOVE to travel!! I don’t think we realized how much until we had more money to do so!

Before this Christmas, we tended to take the super cheap ways in travel. We’d have to get a lower grade room or sleep in our car. We even had to cut our honeymoon short. Being in debt for so long, finally paying it off and Bret landing a teaching job has radically changed our financial situation.

We’ve splurged a little over the past few months with travel and eating out. I told you a few days back that we’re taking a weekend trip to go to a concert. While booking the hotel, I realized, you know, I just learned a LOT of great tips for saving on flights…I should share that!

A few months back, we finally signed up for a Southwest credit card. I think it’s one of the better rewards credit cards out there…especially if you fly even a little.

I lucked out and signed up during a promotion; if you spend $2000 within your first 90 days, you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles.

We hope to hit that number pretty soon. What I love about the Southwest Credit Card so far is how easy it is to earn miles and opportunities for bonus miles.

A particularly awesome way to rack up the points is Rocketmiles. This is a way to earn rapid rewards through booking hotels. I just booked our hotel for the concert and will get a bonus 5,000 miles! I mean, that’s like spending $5000 on my credit card! So, just by booking a hotel through the website (which we needed anyway), I’m getting miles.

Let me give a practical example.

You earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on your purchases. You’ll get 2 miles for every dollar spent through Southwest and their travel partners (hotels and car rentals). I’ve noticed they send a ton of other ways to get bonus miles too. Before Valentine’s Day, they had an offer for bonus miles if you ordered flowers through 1-800 flowers.

Now let’s break down your potential based on your normal cost of living expenses. Since this can range depending on a million factors, I’m going to just use $2000 as a starting point. I’ll also use our typical travel as well.

Yearly expenses amount – $24,000 i.e. 24,000 points
Our bonus for signing up and spending the amount required on the new credit card – 50,000 miles
Our bonus for booking a hotel through Rocketmiles – 5,000 miles
Rough estimate of cost of tickets to California at Christmas time for two – $1,100
Rough estimate of points for California at Christmas time for two – 76,578 miles
Rough cost of tickets to California at Christmas time after using points – $22.00

Total miles earned – 79,000
Miles left over after booking flight – 2,422
Cost to visit family for Christmas – $22

What about you? Do you have any money saving travel tips??

day_01820b

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget.
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel