Save money by travel hacking
Have you ever wanted to make money while traveling? We have paid off debt in order to travel, however, I am new to the idea of travel hacking. I will share with you what I have learned thus far and continue to update you as I expand my knowledge. Without further ado, here is how to save money by travel hacking!
So far, travel hacking can be broken down into 3 parts: getting paid to blog, flights, credit mileage.
Getting paid to blog:
I have scoured the internet and self-help books alike trying to find the best approach to travel blogging and making money. As a blogger, I work more hours than I can show for it but I love what I do. Please note, I still work full-time and pick up extra jobs where they are offered because we are saving to move abroad, but I am diligent in my travel blogging venture.
Outside of Internet freelance jobs, I wanted to know how to get companies to pay you for blogging about them. Travel blog success has provided me with many insights. If you are interested in blogging, check them out.
How do you define “getting paid”
I’veI am already going to blog about a place when I visit. If I can offer my services to a hotel, hostel, restaurant, brewery, or tour company for something in exchange, that is a payment. Getting paid to me, other than money, is a free hotel stay, discount meal/beverage, perks from tour companies in the city I am visiting.
The way I do this is by researching everything I am interested in participating in while I’m there. I look at hotels, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and tour excursion companies. I contact them ~ months before I plan to arrive.
My email looks something like this:
I’m writing to you about my upcoming visit to Chattanooga, TN. I am an avid traveler living in the Southeast USA, and I document my travel experiences on my blog, Thewanderlustdietitian.com. I like to highlight the ease of travel around the World for visitors and expats alike, and my audience is based primarily in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
For my upcoming weekend in Chattanooga, TN, I plan to document, via articles, videos, and photography, how best to experience the city in a short time. Given my professional background (I am a registered dietitian of 5+years with a Masters degree in Public Health), I like to focus on cultural highlights, outdoor activities, and local flavors.
Given this project, I am reaching out to inquire if you provide support to bloggers in return for mentions in my blog? Our visit is the weekend of October 14-16, 2016. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Maegan White, MA, RDN
(Please note I got this template idea from blogger Julie Smith of Drive on the Left and made changes that support my goal)
For this trip in particular, I contacted well over 20 companies and heard back from 6. I received a discount stay at a very nice and historic hotel downtown and was sent a gift card for a trendy restaurant I was eyeing. Does this pay for my trip? NO. It does open the doors to make contacts in the city I am venturing to. A few freebies and discounts make the trip more enjoyable because as I said, I was going there anyway.
Flights for Travel:
We get better flights and save money by travel hacking multiple search engines. Research flights on as many websites as possible. Don’t just stop at Expedia, Travelocity, or Delta etc. For international flights, book your ticket 4-6 months in advance. Domestic flights within the USA can be booked 2-4 months prior to take off. Don’t wait too long for the price to drop because it may not. If you begin to notice the price going up or less seats becoming available-go ahead and book. It helps to also be flexible on the days of travel if possible.
Here are a few of my favorite travel flight sites:
By using the above sites, I have been able to save anywhere between $200-500 for a round trip ticket by avoiding name brand sites.
We use credit cards to save money by travel hacking them. For the longest time I have been against credit cards because I feared the interest rate volatility! To safeguard our money, Michael and I sit down at the beginning of every month and fill out our budget. We budget everything from bills, groceries, dog stuff, clothes, gas costs, travel savings, and date nights. Credit cards can be a trap, but if you are responsible and only spend what you have previously budgeted (from your bank account) then you are safe. Always pay off the card(s) before the end of the month so you never have to see that interest rate.
Next, set your goal for why you’re getting a credit card. My goal is to build airline miles for travel. I don’t want cash back or hotel kickbacks-just mileage. That is just MY priority and yours may differ. We travel to Europe annually and those tickets are pricey!
I look for cards that provide bonus miles of 30,000-50,000 (that’s free miles they give you) after you spend $1,000-3,000 within the first 3-4 months. It is fairly easy to spend this amount in 3 months from rent alone. I also make sure the first year annual fee is waived. It will usually vary between $40-90 each year afterwards.
NOTE: We are not going to open and close credit card accounts left and right. You want to space out the time frame in which you get a new card. For example, we have had our Capital One Venture card for 3 months. I recently applied for a different card this week and will begin using it predominantly over the next 3-4 months in order to get my bonus miles.
We plan on keeping the Capital One card because there are no international fees for use abroad and we get 2x miles on every purchase! YAY! We will close our other card after we have cashed in our miles. I hope this post helps you to save money by travel hacking!
Be well and travel often!
Please like, share, and follow my blog for more tips and trips to come.
*please note I get a modest commission from travel blog success as courses are purchased. The commissions keep the site running. As usual, all thoughts are my own.
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