It’s never been easier to compare travel and accommodation prices using sites like Hipmunk, Kayak, or Google Flights, but a little extra legwork can save hundreds on airfare, hotels, and attractions. Career traveler Matt Kepnes explains his best travel hacking tips just in time for your upcoming travels.
“Travel Hacking is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days. You see it on many travel websites that seek to explain how to become a travel ninja or ultimate traveler. Travel hackers are the people constantly chasing miles, rewards points, and elite status. They are looking for every possible way to game the system.
Most travel hacking is about using miles and rewards to get free flights or accommodation. True travel hackers accumulate points and status like a badge of honor. Need to take 16 flights in 30 days to get a certain elite mileage status? No problem. Get triple miles on a new route? No problem, I’ll fly it tomorrow. Sign up for this card, fill out this form, or enter this contest to get 5,000 hotel points? Easy. These travelers remind me of that scene in “Up in the Air”, where the main character says, “I don’t do anything if it doesn’t benefit my mileage account.”
However, for me, travel hacking is more than that. It is about bringing costs as close to zero as possible. Since only the die-hards really want to spend hours and hours putting together mileage routes that might get them 100 extra miles or reading the fine print to find a loophole they can exploit, I’ve put together this guide for the casual traveler who still wants to travel cheap, but who might not have the time nor the desire to be a black-belt-level travel ninja.”