Every once in a while I stumble upon a blog or article somewhere that explains “travel hacking” as some clever tips about how to pack your bags, counteract that transatlantic jetlag, and maybe save money on snacks. If you think that’s what travel hacking is, you got it wrong. Watch my video here if you want to learn more about what travel hacking actually is and how I use it to see the world, for free.
Travel hacking to me is more about experiences, and the value I get from that experience, than money. That being said, there’s a misperception out in the world that travel needs to be expensive. It doesn’t. Travel on a shoestring can be just as much fun, if not more fun, than traveling on an all-expenses-paid company retreat. I’ve done both, and up until this day I don’t necessarily prefer one over the other. It’s getting to the destination that matters. Once you’re there, you can make your trip either really expensive, or really cheap. It’s one of the foundations of my own traveling life, as well as a guiding principle from my travel hacking book The Freedom Project.
Today, I’m excited to share some money saving tips with you, so, that once you make it to your destination, you’ll have some money to spend. If you have tips to add to the list, please share them in the comments below or share this post and tag me on Twitter.
Tip #1: Go on fewer vacations.
That might sound counter-intuitive for a travel blog. Vacations, in the traditional sense of the word, can be extremely costly. Many couples are unhappily in debt from all the happiness trips they took. Try to cut back on how much money you (think you need to) spend on travel. Even better – join the Travel Revolution and learn how to apply my travel hacking principles. You’ll be able to save money on flights, hotels, and much more. I fly for free all the time, and even get a number of free hotel stays every year.
Tip #2: Limit spending on vacations.
Whether you travel somewhere or go on vacation (not the same thing), try to spend less. Instead of wasting money on expensive hotel rooms, expensive dinners, and expensive drinks, try to reign things in and focus on being happy, rather than achieving happiness through luxury. I almost always book the cheapest room of the house, as most hotel chains will upgrade me to the best room available on checkin.
Tip #3: Go on cheaper vacations.
I’m always on the go, and typically go somewhere at least once a month. Since I often work from my home office, I’m not a big fan of “stay-cations”. Still, you don’t have to venture far to get the sense of “being away”. Trips closer to home can be just as much fun as a vacation to a far away place, but much cheaper. I go somewhere almost every month of the year, but it doesn’t always have to be a far, exotic destination.
Tip #4: Go to matinee shows.
Especially in Las Vegas, New York, or London you’ll have to see a show. Next time, consider skipping the 50% discounted tickets and head straight to the theatre box office instead. The discount booths will typically sell premium seating only, meaning that even at the discounted rates you’ll still spend more than a seat a little further to the back. Either way, you’ll still see the same show. Also, matinee shows are much cheaper than watching the same performance at night. Insider tip: from the comfort of your home it’s much easier to make an informed decision: get your show tickets before you leave. Or consider watching some of these free Las Vegas shows. Even better: travel hack Las Vegas and get your real show tickets for free.
Tip #5: Buy plane tickets far in advance.
In general, the further you purchase plane tickets in advance, the cheaper they will be. So don’t wait until the last moment. My sweet spot is usually 6 months in advance. Especially when you’re looking for free tickets, more time often means more options.
Tip #6: Don’t accept quoted hotel prices.
Instead, try to bargain. If you’re booking with the property directly, just politely ask for an upgrade or discount. Hotels are often willing to bargain as long as you’re willing to ask. Be nice about it, but don’t stay silent unless you want to pay extra. Here’s my page with insider tips and resources on the best hotels around the world.
Tip #7: Bring snacks for flights.
Instead of paying $5, $10, $20, or more for snacks on flights, bring your own snacks and save some money. The miles you may or may not get on your on-board purchase aren’t worth being ripped off. Just keep in mind, consuming personal alcohol on board of a plane is not allowed, so depending on the length of the flight I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine, or two. Don’t hesitate to be efficient and ask for two drinks in one transaction.
Tip #8: Consider a hostel.
Hostels are great, but not my style anymore. However, hear me out on this one. A hotel is nothing more but a place to sleep. You can save a lot per night if you’re willing to share a bathroom. These options exist in many other cities around the world if you’re willing to look for them just a little beyond the beaten path.
Tip #9: Don’t get rental car insurance.
Rental car insurance is often not worth it. Instead, simply use your own insurance. Most premium credit cards will cover insurance, as long as you pay for the rental with that card. However, legal disclaimer: whatever you do, make sure you’re protected and don’t drive uninsured.
Tip #10: Actually learn travel hacking.
To get started, get yourself a copy of my travel book The Freedom Project. For a limited time and while supplies last we’re giving paperback copies of my book away here… but depending on when you read this post that deal may or may not be available. Either way, the book is available anywhere they sell books (like Amazon).
If you’re really serious about wanting to learn how to travel hack, check out my Travel Revolution program at www.travel-revolution.com. It’s the online travel hacking program that will change your traveling life forever. I share step by step how I implemented the travel hacking principles from my book The Freedom Project. Using screen recordings of my own accounts, I show you exactly how I go about booking free airfare, getting upgraded in hotels (including Las Vegas) and how I’m currently able to get a free Bahamas trip every year.Join The Revolution