Traveling the world feels like it should be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s plenty of articles that offer “100 ways to save money for your next trip”, but it can be overwhelming. There’s too many choices to know where to start. Don’t worry, I’m going to share three travel hacks that have worked the best for me. They will work for you, too. Read below to learn about travel hacks that can help save you money.
Note: I don’t have any affiliate links and don’t get any money from these recommendations. Things are just things we love!
choose one hotel group to stay at (and get their credit card!)
One of our most successful travel hacks has been to stay with the same hotel group. Our favorite is IHG, as it has high end brands like InterContinental and more budget-friendly hotels like Holiday Inn Express. And we are loving Holiday Inn Express lately!
But that’s not really a travel hack alone, is it? To save money, it’s key to create an account with the hotel group of your choice and to get their credit card. Credit cards don’t necessarily mean more debt. I would encourage you to only put expenses you can pay off each month on the credit card, like gas or groceries. A little goes a long way!
Let’s look at IHG for example. As of the time of this writing, IHG offers a IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card with an $89 annual fee. Don’t shy away yet; the benefits you receive are worth much more than $89. With this card, you can receive a free night stay every year (yes, FREE!), a $100 reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee, and a free night on all 4 night stays and above when you redeem points. The free night stay alone is worth more than $89.
Let’s talk about redeeming points. Included with the credit card is 140,000 bonus points if you spend $3000 within the first three months. Look at your monthly budget and see where you spend money to see if this is a viable option for you. Remember – don’t go in debt to get these points!
And what can 140,000 bonus points get you? I took a look – you could stay at the Holiday Inn in Times Square (New York City!) for 21,000 points a night.
That equates to a FREE seven night stay in New York City. Ready to thank me, yet?
transfer your hotel points to airline miles
Did you know that you can transfer your hotel points to airline miles? You do now! It’s not one of the more well-known travel hacks, but it can help to save money.
Let’s continue to use IHG as an example for this one. IHG, like many hotel groups, partner with airlines and let you transfer your miles to a partner airline. Here’s a few partner airlines that you can use your IHG points with.
- United Airlines
- British Airways
- Air France
Are you convinced yet?
You can transfer 10,000 IHG points to any of these partner airlines and receive 2,000 airline miles in return. It’s unfortunately not a 1:1 ratio, but it’s still a great choice if you are looking to offload some hotel miles to help pay for a flight.
Remember those 140,000 bonus points? Let’s see what you can do with those. If you don’t need them for a hotel stay, you could transfer those miles to Delta and receive 28,000 airline miles. If the timing is right, that’s enough for a round-trip domestic flight for two people.
Want to see the proof? I went to Delta‘s website so you don’t have to. I found a round-trip flight from Atlanta, GA to New York City for a long weekend for only 14,000 points per person in June. Pack your bags. We are going to New York City!
subscribe to receive flight deals
If points aren’t your thing, that’s ok. There’s plenty of ways to save money with other travel hacks. One of my favorite ways to save money (or just have wanderlust about where I could travel) is a service called Scott’s Cheap Flights.
I will tell anyone about this who will listen!
Scott’s Cheap Flights tagline is “never overpay for flights again”, and they deliver on this promise. They offer FREE flight alerts, delivered straight to your email inbox.
It’s an easy service to set up – you can enter your target airlines that you want to fly out of (I chose my main airport, and 3 others close to us). Then, you wait! When Scott’s Cheap Flights finds a good flight deal, they will send you an email with all the details on destinations, cost to purchase, dates that the deal works, and how long they think it will be available.
The key for this travel hack to work is to be flexible! Be flexible on your destination and the dates you want to travel. This service allows you to be more spontaneous, and who doesn’t love that?
Scott’s Cheap Flights also offers a premium version. When I lived in the United States, I subscribed to this for about $50 a year. The premium version gets you more deals – including mistake fares and peak season options. It was well worth the cost in my opinion.
The best part of Scott’s Cheap Flights is that you don’t have to book your flights on a third party service. You book your flight directly on the airline carrier’s website.
Here’s what an email for the Premium version of the service looks like:
Find more tips and tricks on our travel page.