4 Travel Hacks You Should Know
Traveling is a dream for many, but one that many think is out of reach. The cost of traveling rises every year, whether you want to stay in the country or go overseas for a month-long dream trip to Paris. However, you don't have to win the lottery or find out you inherited a lot of money you weren't expecting to make these travel dreams a reality.
There are many ways that you can save on travel if you think outside the box or use the system to your advantage. Here are 5 of these so-called "travel hacks" that you should know about:
Get Free Airfare
There are many credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles for your purchases, including a rare few debit cards. You can start getting the benefits from these cards by using them for everyday purchases instead of paying cash. Then take the cash you would have used to pay the bill at the end of the month. Some cards offer a bonus stash of miles when you sign up for the card. You can cancel your cards at the end of the trial period and sign up again to keep getting the bonus, a practice known as "churning."
One little-known method that a lot of travel hackers use is to order coins from the Mint on these cards, collect the bonus miles, then deposit the coins in their bank accounts to pay the costs.
Get Discounted Airfare
Chances are that you already know about the major comparison shopping sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity. However, even if these sites seem to be offering you a good deal, chances are the lowest price they offer is still much higher than you could pay. The first thing you can do is call the airline that offers the lowest price on the site. Often, if you contact the airline directly, they will offer lower prices for the same fare.
You can then check the site Which Budget (http://www.whichbudget.com/) to find airlines that fly into and out of your destination, as some of these smaller airlines may not be listed in the major search tools. You may find that these smaller carriers have even lower fares than the major carriers listed in the search engines.
Get Free Lodging
If you're willing to put in a little sweat equity or stay with strangers, you could get a free place to stay for anywhere from a night to more than a month. Services like Couch Surfing, Servas, and Global Freeloaders connect guests with homeowners who are willing to offer a spare room or just a spare couch for travelers.
Services like House Careers, Caretaker's Gazette, and WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) provide opportunities for travelers to get free lodging in exchange for things like house sitting, performing odd jobs, or helping out on organic farms. By researching ahead of time, you can find any opportunity to suit your interests in just about any part of the world.
Get Discounted Lodging
The best way to save money on lodging if you aren't interested in working for your stay or feeling obliged to a host is to stay at a hostel. Hostels aren't just for college students or young wayfarers. Travelers of all ages, including couples and families, stay in hostels all over the world. Though you'll likely have to share a room with some other travelers -- unless you are traveling in a large group, in which case you will share the room with your traveling companions -- you'll pay a fraction of the cost of a regular hotel. Many hostels can be had for as little as $10 a night.
There are many more travel hacks available for saving money on things like eating out, traveling in the city or country, and entertainment. The key is to think outside the box and to do a little more research. The time you spend could save you a lot of money and make any travel dream possible.
What other travel hacks do you use to save money on traveling? Share your tips in the comments!