Are you tired of hearing travellers tales from friends and family and feel the urge to explore the world for yourself? If so, the world is truly at your fingertips, because the internet has made it incredibly easy to combine hotels, flights, attraction tickets, and extras like car rental.
And seeing the world doesn’t have to come with a gigantic price tag, either. As we’ll see, there are plenty of travel hacks available to globe-trotters which can cut huge chunks of the cost of anyone’s trip.
Follow these tips when you book your next trip and you’ll have no shortage of cash left for making the most of your vacation.
1. Learn how to work around travel geoblockers
The first piece of advice in our travel hackers’ guide is the most technical. Many flight and accommodation booking sites now use geographical filters to segment their audiences. By logging IP addresses, using mobile tracking or implanting cookies, flight comparison sites can get a really good idea of where (and who) you are. This allows them to deliver different prices to different locations – leaving people in richer areas out of pocket.
This may be fine for super-rich people in New York or LA, but what about the rest of us? However, salvation is at hand. By anonymizing your online identity and routing traffic through servers across the world, travel fans can beat these annoying restrictions.
To do so, you’ll need a good Virtual Private Network. Check out ExpressVPN review on VPNpro for the low-down on one of the best around. When you’ve signed up, route your traffic through Mexico or Indonesia, and see how the prices fluctuate at sites like kayak.com.
2. Use free stopovers to see more of the world
When you come to book your flights, why not choose flights which pack in extra destinations? That way, you can still head to your primary destination, but sample the atmosphere in other global cities for a few days as you travel.
If you’re flying from the USA to Europe, you can often pick up free stopover deals in Reykjavik (Iceland’s capital), which has an outstanding dining scene, while Finnair offers a similar service for Helsinki. If you love Scandinavian design and culture, why not add some Finnish dates before jetting off to Greece or Italy?
The beauty of these stopovers is that they are free add-ons. So you can visit places you never would have thought of, adding nothing extra to your main vacation budget.
3. Pimp your credit card for the travelling life
when you travel, having a credit card is absolutely essential – but not all credit cards provide the same perks for travellers. In fact, some are pretty awful, coming with hefty charges to use them outside the USA.
However, there are some travel-oriented credit cards around, which come with a very low commission for currency exchange. For instance, Chase Sapphire Reserve has an outstanding reputation and bundles in $300 in “travel credits” to spend overseas.
Others come with the ability to accumulate “points” with hotel and car rental purchases – which can defray the costs of seeing the sights. With these in your pocket, you’ll find the eventual cost of any trip is much, much lower. So don’t stick with your old card. Switch before you travel.
4. Max out on frequent flier points over the long term
If you intend to travel to numerous destinations over an extended period of time, it’s essential to learn how to rack up frequent flier points. These points will eventually translate into free flights, but they need to be accumulated cleverly.
For example, you’ll want to stick to airlines with generous customer loyalty programs, then use them as your preferred provider. Don’t be tempted to switch to budget airlines for the best short-term prices. If you pick wisely, you’ll find that the long-term savings from free flights tend to outweigh spur of the moment savings.
And this tip can also be combined with #3. Many loyalty programs include airline credit cards which deliver plenty of points. These are often the best cards for money exchange, too, so use them as much as possible before and while you travel.
5. Don’t assume that price comparison sites are great value
On the face of it, comparison sites like Booking.com should deliver the best value, right? When every hotel room is listed and compared, great deals should leap out at you. And that seems to be the case, but looks can be deceptive.
Actually, it can often work out cheaper to contact hotels directly, rather than going via price comparison sites. Many hotels will have rooms that they need to sell following cancellations, and the booking site always takes a cut. So a phone call can work wonders.
Hack away the cost of travel with savvy shopping
By using travel hacking techniques, anyone can drive down the cost of getting away. Find a way to accumulate frequent flier miles, source a credit card which works for travellers, check out our ExpressVPN review to work around geo filters, and don’t be afraid to contact hotels directly. That way, you can see the world for much less than everyone else. So why pay more?