Back in January, I took a vacation for 9 nights to the beautiful, culturally rich Caribbean island country of Curaçao. Typically, a trip like this would cost at least $2,000 in hotel and airfare alone.
My trip cost me about $800 for everything. That included airfare, airbnb stay, car rental, trip insurance, car insurance, local SIM card, all food/meals, diving and snorkeling.
I made this happen through a combination of points, some careful budget planning, and a little luck. In this post, I share the breakdown of what I did to find these deals, including the breakdown of all the costs.
You know how people say to "keep your money in different places" when you travel? You know, they say you should split it between your suitcase, your carry on, and even stuff some in your sock.
Well, turns out it's a DAMN GOOD IDEA! Even better, keep an entire wallet (with IDs and credit cards and money) separate from your other wallet. I did this and it saved me a huge hassle while traveling my second time to NOLA.
I also learned what happens when you don't have an ID to show the TSA at the airport. Apparently, this happens all the time and they have a simple procedure in place. Who knew?!
I had to book two round-trip domestic flights recently. One was from New York to San Francisco, California to visit my friend Erin. Erin recently gave birth to her first baby (I'm an Auntie!). The other flight I booked is from New York to Nashville, Tennessee. I'm heading to the famous "Music City" in 2 weeks to celebrate the 30th birthday of my friend Dasha of Dancin' Down Them Dirty, Dusty Trails.
Both Erin and Dasha are my closest friends from the USA and we all love to travel and go on adventures. I jumped on the chance to book flights to spend quality time with each of them. Of course, I did not spend more money than I had to because I used a combination of miles/points to pay for them. In this post, I give a brief overview of how I earn tons of miles and points to cover the cost of airfare. I also explain the exact process I went through to find available award flights and the best value for redeeming miles and points for these flights.
In my last post, I described some important questions you need to ask yourself to determine your readiness to start earning miles and points with credit cards. Below are some frequently asked questions I have gotten from people interested in the miles game. The information below is based on what I have learned and what has worked for me over the last 18 months.
Really, in comparison to other people in the miles-earning game, I am a rookie hacker/miles earner. But I hope that even my basic knowledge and experience will encourage others to get started and maybe even help some people who are already in the miles game. Seriously, earning miles to pay for the cost of flights is worth it even for the casual traveler. Why pay so much on airfare when you don't have to?!
Back in December 2012, I met up with my old friend Rob from high school to ask him how to travel hack. I saw that he had been deviating the norm by visiting and living in some pretty amazing places and doing it all with little to no money spent on airfare. I had to know how he did it.
When I made excuses in the past about why I couldn't travel, I made those excuses mainly because the cost to fly to all the countries I wanted to visit would mean spending an enormous chunk of my savings. It was money I just didn't have to burn as a graduate student on a small income with NYC living expenses. What was the best way to minimize this expense?