When traveling becomes a lifestyle, Travel Hacking leads to a new kind of excitement.
Nowadays we don’t just travel to get away but many of us travel for work or to visit loved ones. I am not sure if one can quite call Travel Hacking a “hobby” but learning more about how the travel industry’s mechanisms work can make your journeys a little bit more glitzy and comfortable. If you are a little less experienced but wonder how travelers like me always manage to get a whole row to themselves, travel often and stay in fantastic hotels, than carry on reading….
SANDWICH YOUR SEATS
This is handy if you are traveling as a pair. Always “sandwich” seats by booking the window and the aisle in a row of three. Flights are not always full and therefore it is very unlikely that someone picks the middle seat. If it happens, simply ask them to switch seats.
If you are traveling solo, leave your check in for the very last minute as chances are that no one would have bought the expensive seats! Which means your chances of ending up with more legroom are highter! Anyone following my insta stories knows I’m a winner at this!
THE 54 DAYS IN ADVANCE RULE.
A few years ago I had read a survey conducted by cheapflights.com. According to their data, the best time to book a flight is 54 days beforehand. This research was based on over 3 million flights they had checked in a year. I am subscribed to a lot of mailshots (marketeers love people like me & I like them) and find that newsletters work better for me. I am an impulsive shopper so 54 days might be too far in advance to buy that ticket! My favorites at the moment are Kiwi, Opodo & Momondo.
LEARN HOW BOOK FLIGHTS BY CHANGING LOCATION OF YOUR COUNTRY
This is another hack that I learned, tried and tested. A domestic flight in Italy is more likely to cost less if you book it from “Rome”. Language and currencies might change but you can figure it out. Basically, you just need to use a VPN to shift between servers based in different countries to change to a different “Point of Sale” on your chosen airline’s website. It might take a bit of fiddling around but you will get there and it’s worth trying. Consider it like a game where you stand a good chance of winning!
You could say that I am enrolled with most of the leading hotel chains BUT MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITES ARE Expedia and hotels.com. Their points systems are easy and realistic. Most of these programs are free. When the person assisting you offer it, make their lives easy and just fill that form out, you have nothing to lose. You will enjoy seeing those points going up and will appreciate my suggestion more when you get your free upgrade. Most of these loyalty cards give access to good deals and cross-promotions with Airmiles and credit cards.
CLEAR ONLINE COOKIES
By now even If you’re not a Zennial or a Millennial, we all know what cookies are. They’re as bad for data collection as the ones who stick to our hips after a few minutes on our lips. Everybody who shops online must remember this, yet many of us forget. If you don’t clear your cookies, the sites will register higher demand and will take advantage of the increased interest from your location. Use private browsing or you will end up paying more!
RESEARCH IS KEY!
A little research pays off, as with everything else in travel. Most chains like Intercontinental Group promise to beat the lowest rates found online. Have a look on travel price comparison websites, then get in touch with the hotel directly to check what they are offering. Hotels prefer it if you book directly and you will stand more chance of getting the best room options
GETTING LUCKY WITH UPGRADES
I wish I can write about a guaranteed way besides traveling often to the same places. My first jobs were in hospitality and most of the things I know are all because I have experienced them first hand. We always remembered frequent travelers and my favorites always got upgraded if I had the right options. If they weren’t nice, they got the room they booked…. Simple! Being nice is key, collaborate with cabin crew. We all work long hours and customers have become harder to deal with. My suggestion is to dress the part, be nice and make lives of check-in staff easier. If there is an overbooking issue, volunteer to take a later flight. I have no kids nor a partner waiting for me at home so it is easier to extend. Rest assured that they are very likely to do their best to bump you up as a thank you.
AND FINALLY! PICK YOUR CREDIT CARDS WISELY
My darling friend Nicky, owner of Likemary.com suggested this last Christmas. She introduced me to Revolut a fantastic Finance Service which gives the best exchange rates and allows you to spend abroad with no hidden or extra fees. The transactions are instantly deducted from your account and I find that it has allowed me to have more control over my spending. I can send money globally for free, splitting bills have become as easy as sending a message and for those who are into cryptos they can buy and exchange. It has a top of the notch next-generation security where you can freeze or unfreeze your card via the app if it has been misplaced, lost or stolen! You can also order a contactless card, the benefits are endless and my days of dealing with banks are coming to an end