Travel Hacking is surely the most known method to save on all your travel expenses: travel (plane tickets, train tickets, car rental…), accommodation (hotels, airbnb…), and even excursion fees!
What does it take to become a real travel hacker? We have prepared detailed explanations for you!
Travel Hacking: how to become a real “Travel Hacker”?
Travelling is not free. On the other hand, Travel Hacking can lighten the bill quite a bit!
Travel Hacking refers to using the points & miles earned in different loyalty programs, in order to travel while saving money!
So it is not, as its name might suggest, something illegal! But to practice Travel Hacking, you must understand the basic rules in order to become a real travel hacker.
The travel hacker defines his travel hacking objectives
Being a travel hacker means setting goals!
Earning points does not start until one has specific goal(s):
- Is the trip all-inclusive or to Disney World?
- A mini-world tour?
- A road-trip in Europe with multiple hotels?
- Simply saving money with cash back?
Once the objectives have been defined, the learning process begins.
The travel hacker learns… every day
To be a travel hacker is to learn continuously!
The web provides many English resources on the subject of Travel Hacking.
milesopedia is the ONLY reliable French Canadia source of information on the subject, and has been since 2015. And above all, milesopedia has the largest community of travel hackers in Canada on its facebook group!
So you’ve come to the right place to learn about each of the loyalty programs that exist in Canada! For this, we advise you to start with the Beginner’s guide, and in particular the numerous articles marked by subject.
The travel hacker details his expenses for the year
To be a travel hacker, you have to be prepared for your personal (and/or professional) expenses for the coming year!
We all have different lives, however there are annual fee that we all have to pay:
- each of us (groceries, electricity, cell phones, internet, gas)
- or most of us (municipal taxes, school taxes, insurance, tuition, daycare, renovations, dentist, car purchase…)
And each of these expenses will help you become… a travel hacker!
The travel hacker calculates the profitability of his travel hacking
Being a travel hacker means knowing how to calculate.
There are many “no annual fee” credit cards. But are they really advantageous?
Many $120, $399 and even $699 credit cards will save the travel hacker far more on his travels… than the one who refuses to pay an annual fee.
A family of travel hackers like ours (10 years of practice… ) can carry 2,000$ in credit card applications in a year. But these will save us $5,000 – $10,000 or even $20,000 on our family trips for the year!
A card that costs $120, but allows you to save on 4 to 15 hotel nights per year, isn’t that interesting?
So for us, the “annual fee” line on a credit card is seen more as “travel expenses”. REN-TA-BI-LI-TY IS KEY!
The travel hacker makes a travel hacking game plan
Being a travel hacker is about making a game plan.
The game plan will be much easier once:
- the objectives are set
- the main rules of the program in question are understood
- monthly/annual expenses are identified
- the credit cards needed to achieve the objectives are listed
At that point, the game plan becomes clear:
- I want two plane tickets Montreal – Magdalen Islands
- According to my research on AIR MILES, it costs 1,400 miles per person, so my need is about 3,000 AIR MILES miles.
- I checked that there was availability on several dates
- I estimated that my expenses would be $1,000 per month for the next 3 months
- The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard offers 3,000 bonus miles as a welcome bonus after $3,000 in purchases in 3 months
- I apply for the card
The travel hacker resists the temptation of travel hacking
Being a travel hacker means being responsible for your personal finances.
To become a travel hacker (and especially to stay one for many years), you don’t go into debt on credit cards.
This is the golden rule of Travel Hacking. Everyone must go at their own pace.
If you can only carry $500 a month on a credit card (and more importantly, pay it off in full each month), you shouldn’t apply for for a credit card that asks you to spend $5,000 in 3 months when you can’t afford it!
Similarly, you must avoid deviating from your strategy by applying for any offer that comes along!
Travel Hacking is a marathon, not a sprint!
The travel hacker shares his knowledge with the travel hacking community
Being a travel hacker means helping other travel hackers.
As you read and learn, you too will become an expert on loyalty programs, share your knowledge with the community… but be discreet!
The travel hacker remains discreet when Travel Hacking
Being a travel hacker is about discretion.
Anything that could raise suspicions about an abnormal attitude is to risk ending an advantage that the travel hacking community uses.
For example, you don’t apply for a credit card and cancel it right after you get the welcome bonus. Normally, credit cards are kept for a year and their usefulness is re-evaluated at renewal time!
Some cards are worth keeping for the benefits they provide, while others may be cancelled.
Or, you don’t call your credit card issuer if you haven’t yet received the promised bonus… when you know you may not be entitled to it!
But above all, when a flaw seems obvious, we don’t shout it from the rooftops!
You don’t need to earn 6 figures a year or spend thousands of dollars a month to become a travel hacker! Just be smarter than the rest!
Are you interested in the topic of travel hacking? Join the travel hacking facebook community in Canada!
Or read on with our series of travel hacker testimonials!