Looking for a creative way to fund that long-awaited vacation? With travel coming back full force in 2022, your funding answer may be a variety of discount websites, membership sites, and credit cards to earn travel rewards and points.
Those with good credit can also travel the world for free.
There are many discounted websites for travel deals—Priceline, Expedia, Hotwire, and Booking.com—common ones most have heard of and utilized for travel booking. From flights to hotels and car rentals, they are used for a variety of bookings. But there are others many people are unaware of – and might have even better deals for the trip you're looking for.
HolidayPirates – Based in Europe, this travel search platform and app was founded in 2012. The company has grown to 30 million monthly visits and has launched services in 10 countries, including the United States.
Its U.S. equivalent is TravelPirates which launched in 2016. According to their website, they find their deals by manually searching third-party websites and using an advanced algorithm system. These searches can include holiday homes, luxury stays, and weekend trips.
Budget Travel – Originally launched as a magazine in 1998, it has gone through many changes since then, but it still focuses on the core of its principle—how to travel for less. They focus mostly on domestic travel and the United States. Their tagline is “Vacations for Real People.” They also offer a club membership featuring deals as well.
“Another great way to find deals is to sign up for newsletters from airlines and travel websites. You can also follow travel bloggers and influencers on social media,” he says. “Many of them share great deals and tips on how to save money on travel.”
One of those travel bloggers is Matt Kepnes, known as Nomadic Matt. As a nomad for ten years and a best-selling author, he shares his favorite sources for travel discounted deals.
“A lot of people think travel is just expensive, but in reality, incredible deals are happening all the time. They usually don’t last too long, and you have to act quickly,” he wrote on his blog. “Most deals are for months in the future, giving you ample time to plan your schedule.”
Also, don’t count any employee perks that might be a benefit, such as Tickets at Work, which partner with larger employers to offer their employees discounts on anything from theme park tickets to plane tickets, hotels, and rental cars.
Earning Points-based Travel
Another way to earn discounted and free travel is to utilize credit cards that earn free flights and travel points. There are a variety of cards out there that offer great starter deals and even travel insurance. It is important, though, to manage credit responsibly and not carry a balance. By paying regular everyday bills on these point-earning credit cards, one can amass a huge amount of points to use for fun stuff like travel.
Sharon Curry-Fatnassi, of Oceanside, CA, has taken advantage of credit card points for travel for many years.
“I’ve been doing travel hacking for a while now and get hotels and flights for very cheap, if not free. I do this through credit card points,” she says. “Most of the cards have travel insurance benefits, and some have free hotel stays, lounge access, and the works.” She is always looking for and researching new card offers with different benefits and perks and does pay all of her regular bills on them to amass a larger amount of points faster.
“I used points to go to Tunisia and got to fly in business class and stay in the Air France business class lounge, which was really nice. Hotels were also free using points,” she says. “We also went to Disney World for three people for five days to three parks for a total of $360. That included airfare, hotel, and the Disney tickets themselves.”
Janell Poulette, the founder of the blog Saving You Dinero, traveled with her family to Paris by utilizing Delta frequent flyer miles with additional miles from her Delta American Express card and Priceline’s Express Deals. Her best advice is to get a credit card that gives miles, noting there are specials all the time and it’s possible to score a cheap trip.
“We looked at our Delta Frequent Flyer miles and realized we could take our whole family of five to Paris for free!! We have a Delta American Express card that helped us grow those miles quickly—plus it gave us free luggage for everyone on our reservation,” she says. “We only spent about $2200 for five people to visit Paris for five days and do pretty much everything we wanted to do in the city.”
Poulette also encourages signing up for e-mail deals on flights and hotels. Knowing that she wanted to stay within view of the Eiffel Tower at night, she used Priceline’s Express deal. These deals will reveal the area, ratings, and amenities, but not the hotel name until after booking.
“We paid about $1200 for four nights for two rooms at the Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel,” she notes. “It was amazing! Our room was on the upper floor, so we could see the Eiffel Tower twinkle every night from our bed.”
Here are some other sources for help in obtaining and utilizing credit card points for travel:
Budget travel is possible when one knows where to find the best discounts and other savings methods. It could be as easy as the credit card already in your wallet or procuring a new one with a points structure. Visiting discounted websites and using employee perks or memberships you already hold can help you find those deals. With a little legwork, that dream vacation is waiting to be taken.
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This article was produced and syndicated on Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Unsplash.
Kelley Dukat is a freelance writer, photographer, and event planner currently based in the United States. She has spent the last year as a nomad traveling and house-sitting. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously served as a trade magazine editor. Her favorites include dog-friendly travel, road trips, and nomad life. She is currently working on a memoir and a series of personal essays.