So before I get into the juicy deets, I want to put out a disclaimer that all the knowledge I’m about to share with you is already public knowledge somewhere out in the web universe. There is no particular step that I followed, as I gathered all the information and worked with what worked for ME.
As some of you may or may not already know, I love traveling. I’m still a college student, so I really have to work around a budget! I’ve always traveled for FREE or VERY VERY CHEAP! Even if I didn’t have a budget, I would still continue to use the following methods because, why not save some extra cash to go towards my spendings!
All right, this may be a long post.. but I’ve spent many, many, countless hours searching the internet for how to travel for free. This is just my shorter version of the IMPORTANT BITS that I used to get my free travel.
Before I begin, let’s define FREE. Free does not mean you’re going to book these flights and hotels by not doing any research whatsoever.
Free means little to no monetary but it comes in the price of your time.
So please remember that!
Points and Credit Cards: Contrary to peoples’ beliefs. Credit cards are not a bad thing! If you manage your finances correctly you can utilize the great benefits that credit cards hold! “Oh, but I don’t want to pay interest fees..” Well, you don’t have too! If you pay off your balance each month before your bill statement arrives, did you know there is no interest fee! For example, if you are a firm *debit card user* or *cash is King*. You’re missing out on the benefits of what CC can bring. Opening a CC with a great introductory offer, spending your USUAL SPENDINGS can bring you one step closer to your next dream vacation. WHY NOT?
Let’s be real here, my monthly expenses rack up to be $1k or more. Here’s a short list for you.
-Car Insurance/Car Payment $400
-Dining out $300
– Rent (x)
All of those add up per a month, and do you not already pay those bills off with the cash wired in your account ? So why not open a credit card, charge most of whatever you already spend on a monthly basis to that CREDIT card. Keep the cash in your debit account until it’s almost the end of the month. Before the monthly statement comes in, pay off that balance on your CC. &&&&& There you have it, you’re one step closer to your next FREE VACAY. NO INTEREST, NO DEBT, ESSENTIALLY MAKING YOUR VACATION FREE.
(If you’re curious about what credit cards to apply for or what would work better for you, feel free to DM me on Instagram. I am delighted to share my recommendations and thoughts with you)
- Be open to what destinations you want to go to.
I like to make a top 3 or top 5 list of places I’d like to visit that time. For me, I always have specific dates in mind because of my education time conflict as well as my hubs scheduled vacation times. So we tend to pick out dates in mind, well in advance. So when you’ve got your TOP 5 and you’ve got a date frame in mind, you can start looking for deals! I personally like to use this website to find deals. I set alerts from flying out of LAX.
(Ta da! Whenever I am alerted for one of my TOP 5 destinations, I book!)
If you don’t have points and miles, you can utilize just that option alone to book your cheap fare. Any international flight most likely under $500 is a deal, anything below $350 is a STEAL. I’ve seen Asia flights for $350 occasionally.Now for those of you who are curious for the COMPLETELY FREE option, then you’d need points and miles to book. International flights can range from 20k-200k points depending on class, airline, etc. Here’s a link to show you a range of route and how much in points it would cost + the factor of what class you want to fly in.
By using those two links I’ve added above, I found this flight:
My flight to Hong Kong was a one way ticket which only costed 35K points in Premium economy and $22 in taxes and fees.
My flight home from SINGAPORE costed me 80k points in BUSINESS CLASS.
Total for flights = 115k points
Total Value = $11,200 PER A TICKET!
Now I totally could’ve just flown back in economy for another 35k in points. Which would’ve brought my total to 70k for flights and used the extra points for my hotel too. BUT, I had enough saved up to splurge a little…
2. PLAN AHEAD
So I left for my trip on April 20, 2019. I had started LOOKING in Dec, and finally booked my flights in JAN. That was about 3 months ahead. I think it’s important to note that in finding a good deal, it’s always good to scout out the price range a few months ahead of your desired time frame. This was one of our top 5 destinations and it was the cheapest route that fit our schedule.
We flew from LAX–>HKG–>SHANGHAI–>SINGAPORE–>LAX.
Now sadly, I had to pay out of pocket for my flight from HKG to SHANGHAI. Only because the airlines that flew that route were all Asia airlines which I didn’t have points or miles for. It was some janky ass airline, but the service was great. The 3 hour flight was about $50 a pop. (Which was also ONE-WAY). So we had to pay out of pocket $100 for this flight for the both of us. Which isn’t too shabby, it’s less than if you were to take a LYFT ride from LAX to MY HOUSE. That costs $60 by the way, LAX airport to my house … -__-
The business class I booked with Singapore airlines through miles, actually allowed me to add a stop. So initially that ticket was for SHANGHAI–>SINGAPORE (22 hour layover) –>LAX. So the layover was free, as we wanted to roam around the airport and see because we read it was like an amusement park.. (which it was).
My total cost out of pocket for ALL flights was $144 which includes taxes and fees!
In case I missed anything, feel free to leave a comment below.
Hopefully I explained all of this O-K. It’s my first time trying to type this all out.
So that’s all I have for you on flight deals.
Interested in how I book hotels? Leave a comment below letting me know!