…the Frugal Travel Guy blog and the world of “travel hacking.”
The goal of this blog is teach others to see the world at prices we can all afford. You are welcome to join us — young and old, part time or full time, as a hobby, a passion, or an obsession (as it is to many of us who have been playing this game a long time). The choices are yours. Play a lot or a little and reap the rewards either way.
What exactly is travel hacking? It’s about finding the best deals for travel worldwide. I’m not talking about 10 percent off here and five percent off there, but real significant savings — like flying for free, other than the taxes, or staying in hotels at half price or less. Imagine booking a first class ticket to Europe for free. Imagine staying in a five-star hotel for free or nearly free. It can be done. We travel hackers do it all the time!
Is it legal? Yes, it is. Many of us have been using travel hacking techniques for over 10 years, often traveling to places we’d never dreamed we could afford. My best trip was literally around the world for 61 nights, where my Business Class ticket was only $360 in taxes and 58 of the 61 nights in hotels were either free or at greatly reduced rates. I’ve been to South and Central America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand using these tips and tricks — all at prices we can all afford.
Link to article about ABC Nightline show and a note from John Donvan at ABC – “Thanks Rick, for cracking the door a little. And thanks to the fellow members of the ‘fraternity’ willing to share their stories. Doubtless, travel hacking will not be for everyone, but for some, the Nightline piece will be a start, and then getting to learn from folks like you will be the next step.”
Looks like we’ve got one of us in John.
The Frugal Travel Guy maintains a certain posting schedule that you’ll want to know:
- I post travel hacking tips, tricks, techniques, and deals on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Howie “the Geek” (the blog’s tech guru and a true road warrior) posts about business traveler issues on Tuesdays
- My son Andrew posts on Wednesdays, taking you into many fascinating corners of the world through his observations and photography. Andrew is a true world traveler. He’s slept in the Sahara and Antarctica, he’s worked in a medical mission in Africa, and he visited all seven continents before he turned 30!
- Friday is devoted to Rookies to the travel hacking / frequent flier game. My daughter Shannon serves up Rookie Tips and Tricks every Friday
- Sundays are devoted to Reader Success Stories. Check out just a few of those in the blog archives to see what’s possible with this hobby. I promise you’ll be amazed.
- Every weekday afternoon we posts “Deal of the Day” around 3 p.m. Eastern time. They are the new tricks or deals we have found on that particular day.
What’s the catch? Just one: You need to study to learn the techniques we use. They are all listed in the 1700-plus posts in the blog archives, or I can give you a shortcut:
Last year I published the Frugal Travel Guy Handbook, outlining the techniques we use in travel hacking, such as:
- Taking advantage of airline fare wars
- Mistake fares (at airlines and hotels)
- Using Priceline.com, BiddingforTravel.com and Tripadvisor.com
- Best Rate Guarantees
- Getting “The Bump” for travel vouchers
- Customer Service Vouchers and Miles
- Rewards Network Dining Bonus Miles
- Rental Car Promotions
- Online Shopping Portals
- Financial Services and Banking
- Credit Card Sign up bonuses
Some techniques you’ll like. Others you may pass on. Again, the choices are always yours. And all the profits from sales of The Frugal Travel Guy Handbook are donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. This little book may save you some time and get you up to speed quicker than reading all the past posts. You can buy the handbook for $6.99 in Kindle version or $8.97 in paperback on Amazon.com. It will take you about four hours to read cover to cover.
Everyday you’ll find travel offers, promotions, and tips on this blog and on several others that will help you learn the ropes. I read four to six other travel blogs, including ThePointsGuy.com by Brian Kelly. I also read two specialty blogs: Mommypoints.com, which covers, among other topics, traveling with children, and I’m a proud grandpa; and TravelForBoomers.com because I am also a productive and active Baby Boomer.
Other blogs to consider are View from the Wing by Gary Leff and One Mile at a Time by Ben Schlappig. In these six blogs, you’ll find all you need to know to start traveling comfortably and inexpensively from experts in the field.
For those of you inclined to visit the two major online communities for travel hackers, they are: Milepoint.com and Flyertalk.com. I find Milepoint to be softer on “newbies,” but it is also a newer site with less content. Check them both out and don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of content. There is a lot to learn. I’ve been at this for 10 years now and I still need the “community” to help with some of my questions. We are a helpful and happy group, seeing the world, while others just sit and dream.
My fellow travel hackers and I welcome you to this fascinating hobby. We are the “extreme couponers” of travel and we will save you more than several bags of groceries. That I can promise you!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, new readers and old time veterans as well.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49