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No, I didn’t use points from my amazing travel card, but I did try. I didn’t plan this trip weeks in advanced to take advantage of the best deals by using a carry-on and a few packing cubes to get the job done!

Whenever I’m allowed only a personal sized carry on bag, I use packing cubes. The compression packing cubes allows me to pack a weeks worth of clothing into a backpack. The packing cubes I use are by Suited Nomad. If you order through Amazon they’ll send you a coupon to get a second pair of packing cubes for free after leaving them a review.

Before we dive in, a little education on travel hacking is necessary to provide a game plan that fits your lifestyle and current financial state.

What is Travel Hacking?

Travel hacking involves working within the existing rules set up by airlines, credit cards, and hotels, and using them to your advantage to earn free travel including flights, lodging, and other upgrades.

Although travel hacking sounds sexy and dangerous, in actuality it’s pretty simple to earn free flights on a most basic level.

Building Your Arsenal

Some of the easiest things you can do are, sign up for travel credit cards, sign up for the free airlines loyalty programs, and download travel apps such as Hopper and SkyScanner

Sign up for travel credit cards

Sign up for travel credit cards and take advantage of their introductory promotions. You typically want to time the sign up around an upcoming big purchase. Always remember to never carry a balance or you won’t be taking full advantage of the free points they are giving you.

Sign up for the free airlines loyalty programs

I tend to fly with the same airlines when I can to be able to build airlines miles. Then I use the points I earn to purchase flights for free or at a discount.

Download travel apps

I download travel apps such as Hopper and SkyScanner to watch for the best flight prices before I take off. One of my new favorite ways to get discounts on flights is through this app called Service.

Service automatically detect flight disruptions and hotel savings opportunities based on travel reservations in your inbox. Service keeps track of your upcoming hotel reservations. If they detect a price drop they automatically rebook you at the lower rate and save you money! In addition, if your flight is delayed they will automatically reach out to the airlines for some compensation.

How I Travel Hacked This Flight

I took this service a step further and reached out my airline because I had an unpleasant boarding experience. My flight gate was changed to another terminal less than an hour before the actual flight. The airline didn’t have anyone at the gate to inform us of a way to get the other terminal without having to go through security again. I just so happened to run into someone at security who told me they had shuttle buses. If it wasn’t for this I would’ve missed my flight!

I sent the airline the following email:

They replied and credited me with a $50 credit!

Months later I was looking up flights to visit my friend in Gastonia, North Carolina. I used SkScanner to look up cheap flights and found a round trip fight for $95.10. The flight was with the company I had my flight credit with so I used my $50 credit I was able to book my flight for $45 RT! Talk about a steal.

I would’ve used my airline points at this point to cover the balance but they don’t allow you to use credits and airline point on the same purchase. Traveling can be fun and doesn’t have to be expensive you just have to be flexible and sometimes patient.

Hope you enjoyed. Comment below with some apps you use to travel hack!

Vania Nettleford

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