Travel Hacking for Beginners

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First off, what is travel hacking? Travel hacking entails utilizing incentives and other simple "hacks" to save money on traveling.  Leveraging existing rules of airlines, credit card companies and hotel chains, make earning free or cheap flights, lodging, and upgrades possible. A big part of travel hacking is earning frequent flier miles, reward points, and statuses, but there are additional ways to save money while traveling as well.

Since you're aren't living under a rock, you know that you should start your hunt for cheap airfare with a site that searches for multiple fares. Some of our favorites are Kayak, Skyscanner and Momondo. Being flexible has its perks too. If you can leave a day earlier, or avoid peak travel times, you can definitely save big.

But here are some things that you may not know: 

SIGN UP FOR REWARDS PROGRAMS

A good way to go about this is to pick an airline you like, that you tend to fly frequently, and sign up for their rewards program. You should fly this airline whenever possible, even if the ticket price is slightly higher than its competitors. If you need to fly another airline at any point due to price or availability, you should sign up for their rewards program as well. The same should be done with major hotel chains. This is the slow way of earning cheaper travel, but it works and is an important first step.

SIGN UP FOR CREDIT CARDS

Airline credit cards, and generic travel reward credit cards through a bank, are great for accelerating the rate at which you collect rewards points. When used properly, credit cards can be a powerful tool. Be aware that there is always a minimum spending requirement to reach the bonuses, so this requires a bit of research and smart spending. Make sure you're able to pay off your airline credit card each month, because these cards tend to have higher interest rates.

CHECK AIRLINE AVAILABILITY AS IF YOU WERE IN THAT COUNTRY

If you're flying an airline based in a foreign country, check availability as if you were there. For example, if you are going to be traveling to Colombia and want to fly domestically from one city to another after your arrival, you should update the landing page to "Colombia - English" instead of "United States - English". If you can wait until you are in that country to purchase the tickets, this sometimes works even better. This hack is best for domestic flights within your destination country. 

CHECK YOUR DESTINATION AIRPORT TO SEE WHAT OTHER AIRLINES FLY THERE

You can often get an international flight, with a domestic leg purchased separately, for considerably cheaper than an international flight, with a layover. The trick is to search the lower budget, local airlines for cheaper domestic flights.

These basic travel hacking tips will go a long way to help save you money while traveling!

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