Travel Hacking - For UK Citizens One of the topics that we've seen crop up across the net recently is the increase of a term that until now has only been available to our American friends across the pond. It's a term which refers to the process of travelling the world via a system of collecting air miles, reward points, and loyalty schemes which allow some users to explore their dreams of world tours and distant locations for what seemed like very little. The reality seems that the majority of the schemes available to achieve this have been US-based and required amongst other things, a USA passport, address or credit card. So, all set to write an article on how travel hacking could get you free trips around the world, It was disappointing to realise that the majority of information online was geared towards the US market, and that holding a Switch card and having a Nectar rewards card wouldn't exactly get me to Australia. Or would it?
Reading up on MoneySavingExpert.com, a UK-based spendthrift site dedicated to saving you money, it appears there are some ways you CAN save money travelling the world. MSE Travel EasyJet FlexiFares - avoiding peak season travel fares on flights The concept here is simple - you book a fleixfare flight to the same destination you'd like to travel to in peak time, but book it a few weeks before you actually want to go. Then, you contact them, tell them you've got the wrong date, and move the flight date swiftly into the peak season without incurring any extra costs. There are a few catches, so watch out and do your research on this first. The Flightchecker on MSE also informs you the best time to book flights for cheap fares, as they will inevitably creep up nearer the time of departure. This facility appears to have saved people hundreds on their flight fares by booking on the day of release.
Of course, if you're not a fan of EasyJet, or you'd rather collect Air Miles and travel on your own terms, there are creidt cards that offer points systems that you can redeem againsts flights across the world. The Avios Credit Card is one such, but again there are a few strings attached. Income must be 20k minimum, with a fair credit score. Also, with air miles, you have to imagine how much you'd need to spend in £ to get the points, and how many points you'll need to actually get anywhere. Spending £6,000 on a credit card (and paying it back straight away to save you fees), would get you an economy flight to Paris. You'd still have to pay taxes of £35 on top of this though. Worth it?
There are loads of companies offering Air Miles as part of their reward schemes or loyalty cards, and finding them can be tricky.
The above companies all offer Air Miles schemes, and are well worth looking into to start your travel hacking.
Of course, there are other ways of building them up too, Tesco Clubcard offer a deal with Monarch Airlines to exchange your clubcard points for miles towards any of their destinations. You can find out more here. Tesco/Monarch Clubcard Rewards We worked out that £600 worth of clubcard vouchers would get you £400 towards your next Monarch flight. Seems a lot of shopping!
While, we're not in a position to offer you financial advice, there are a number of credit cards that may suit your budget should you be in a position to apply for credit. These companies offer miles with AAdvantage, Skywards, Avios, Flying Club Miles, Spend&Fly and Etihad Guest Miles. Most offer around 1 air mile per £1 spent. The concept being that if you spent £100, you'd be able to redeem your 100 air miles reward points towards a flight of 100 miles or more, therefore reducing the cost. Remember to read the small print.
Again, we'd recommend checking Money Saving Expert for the best, impartial advice on credit cards.
Wyndham Rewards, (note: whom we work with ourselves) offer some great bonuses for staying in a number of hotel chains across the world, giving their members 10 points for every $1 spent on room rates at participating hotels (theyre US based, but operate worldwide). Currently, this offer means that if you spent $50 (£35) on a hotel room, you'd earn 500 points, however some signup deals will earn you 1,000 points per stay minimum regardless of the cost of your room. well worth checking out!
Find out more at www.wyndhamrewards.com
If you're staying in the UK, but a littled phased by the cost of a train ticket, there are ways to cut the costs of travel on trains too. Using services that offer split ticket travel allows you to purchase multiple tickets from each stop, that strangely add up to less than the whole journey. This has been well-documented over the last few years and could save you a packet.
Rail Easy are one such train ticket website
In reality, nothing is free. You have to spend to accumulate, to be able to redeem. That's just what makes the world go round, but there are tonnes of ways you can make the most of your spending and be rewarded for it, without having to change much, and by travel hacking your way to a cheaper life!
Please note - we have included links in this article for reference and your perusal and have no affiliation with any of the sites mentioned, apart from Wyndham Rewards who are a partner of ours. Advice is offered as a suggestion only, and may not be the most competitive, comprehensive or best fit for your financial status.