Travel Hacking: When Budgeting isn’t Enough
Rediscovering my passion for wanderlust was lifechanging. Finally, I found a hobby that makes me feel alive again. There was only one very big problem – my wallet. Raising a bunch of preteens who eat a week’s worth of groceries in two days isn’t cheap. Forget about the cost of my medical expenses with surgeries and everyday care. A solution was needed ASAP. My searches went a little like this:
- Budget traveling for families
- Cheap vacations for large families
- How to spend less on vacationing
I am the queen of budgeting. The issue is when it takes years to save up for flight tickets, hotel stays, and activities with seven people. Sacrificing quality for our vacations isn’t an option. My husband’s job only offers two weeks of vacation per year; so, we have to make every second count. Budget accommodations and airlines tend to offer the quality that you pay for.
Following the rabbit hole of travel advice, I stumbled upon travel hacking. Flying to far away places while staying in luxurious accommodations for nearly nothing.
Are you an individual or a family looking for a way to travel the world without breaking the bank? If so, look no further than travel hacking. Travel hacking is the art of using points and miles to get premium experiences such as free flights, hotel stays, and more while spending as little money as possible. This blog post will discuss why travel hacking is such a great way to save on your travels without sacrificing quality.
The Benefits of Travel Hacking
Have you ever dreamed of sipping champagne and having a gourmet meal on a first class flight? From the moment you check in, you are treated with luxurious service. You have access to private lounges and priority boarding, allowing you to get settled quickly before the flight takes off.
Once on board, the seats are wider and the legroom more generous than those in economy class, providing maximum comfort while you travel. Once you have, you will never want to fly economy again. You arrive at your destination and the smell of Tahitian Gardenia fills the air. You are given a beautiful kukui nut lei while the valet takes your car and your bags are taken to your room overlooking the lush, tropical garden.
Vacationing like this on points and miles is a great way to explore the world without breaking the bank. With travel rewards programs, you can accumulate points or miles to use for flights and hotels, allowing you to book your trips at a significantly reduced cost. Additionally, many rewards programs offer bonus points when it comes to booking with certain partners or staying at specific hotels, so always make sure to look out for these opportunities to maximize your savings! This means more money for experiences like sightseeing, dining out and shopping.
Travel hacking can be a game changer when it comes to traveling. It allows you to experience more places without stretching your budget. Are you ready to plan the vacation of a lifetime, but don’t have the cash in hand? You can make it happen by harnessing the power of miles and points. Here’s how you can start hacking your way to your dream getaway!
4 Tips to Get Started with Travel Hacking
1. The key to successful travel hacking is finding the right credit cards and loyalty programs for your needs.
You should research different cards and make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck in terms of rewards earnings. Also, make sure that you understand any fees or restrictions associated with each card so that there are no surprises down the road. Once you have chosen a card, sign up and start collecting points/miles!
Personally, I have found great value in Chase credit cards because they have great sign up bonuses and benefits. All of the vacations I have taken above have been done with points from Chase cards. The other reason I started with Chase was because of their 5/24 rule. To be approved for a new credit card from Chase, you must not have opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks within the past 24 months. This means that you must be under five personal credit cards to be approved. This rule only dictates your approval for credit cards from Chase. However, credit card accounts with any bank count towards the five-card limit. Loop-holes and special circumstances do occur though. That is why it is best to start with Chase and then expand to other programs later.
2. Making the Most Out of Your Points & Miles
Make sure you understand how many points/miles will be required in order to book certain trips or experiences before setting out on your adventure so that there are no surprises along the way. If possible, try to combine multiple loyalty programs and credit card points in order to maximize rewards earnings—you’ll thank yourself later!
Be sure to check out all the details and do the math on rewards programs. Many cards charge an annual fee, so be sure it’s worth it based on how much you’re using the card and how much you’re actually saving in return.
Credit Card Portals
Credit card shopping portals are an easy and convenient way to shop online. Through these portals, you can earn rewards points or cashback on everyday purchases at stores and websites of your choice. All you have to do is log in with your credit card details, select the store where you want to shop, and then make your purchase as usual. Bonus categories give you a lump sum of points on top of the points per dollar that you are earning.
You automatically receive cashback or rewards points for every purchase you make, allowing you to save money and get the most out of your shopping experiences. Remember that all purchases will go toward earning rewards; so no matter how small or big, every swipe adds up!
3. Maximize Your Rewards for Maximum Savings
Once you’ve signed up for a rewards program, start planning your purchases strategically. Use your card for everyday expenses such as groceries and gas expenses—but don’t forget to track special purchases that may net more points such as gift cards or airline tickets. Play around with different combinations until you find one that will get you maximum savings—you might be surprised at just how much money you can end up saving!
Keeping track of all of the different categories with higher point values can be confusing. A few of my favorite resources for finding the best point value for shopping are Cashbackmonitor.com when shopping online and the MaxRewards app when I am on the go.
The top 3 tips for getting the most value out of your travel credit card points
- Use multiple cards: Having multiple credit cards can help you maximize your points and rewards. Spread your spending across multiple cards that offer the most generous benefits and sign up bonuses.
- Make big purchases: If you have a large purchase to make, use your rewards card and reap the benefits. Large purchases are often worth more points than smaller ones, so it pays to be strategic with when you whip out your card. The best part? The extended warranty protection!
- Sign Up for Special Programs: Look for extra incentives like bonus miles for signing up for certain programs or events. This is an easy way to boost your points balance without even trying! My most recent win was a bonus of 1,800 points for trying Green Chef!
4. Get Ready for Your Vacation!
It’s time to turn those spending habits into travel bargains! With just a little bit of research and planning, miles and points could take your dream vacation away from a far-off fantasy into reality—happy travels!
Find out how to get the most value out of your travel points!