Traveling hacking appears to be all the rage these days. Everyone seems to want to talk about travel hacking, but doesn’t necessary know what it truly means. To me, travel hacking is much more than credit card churning and/or manufactured spending. Travel hacking is getting the most out of your vacation for as little as possible. Why not build a live of all of the very best travel hacks to save you money and create an outstanding travel experience. Let’s get down to the best ways to participate in travel hacking without credit cards.
You Don’t Need a Credit Card to Participate in Travel Hacking
Country roads take me home to the place I belong…..
Travel experiences are amazing if you are well aware of the fact that how you have planned it and how precisely you are going to tackle each and every situation. It is obvious that you may face problems while planning your tour. So here is a complete tour guide with life hacks solutions in how you can save while traveling to various locations across the world.
Travel Hacking 101
What is travel hacking? There are so many generic conclusions made for travel hacking. I think everyone has a different definition for what travel hacking truly is. Things like credit card churning and manufactured spending are subsets of travel hacking.
I’ve been using Chase Ultimate Rewards to build a significant points balance and book free travel around the world. You can check out my Chase Freedom review for further information. If you like travel hacking by using credit cards, then see why Reddit churning can help you achieve your travel hacking goals.
To me, travel hacking is so much more than just using credit cards to travel for free. This is why I’d like to give you opportunities that enable you to travel hack without a credit card. Here are the categories of what is included in travel hacking 101:
- Rewards points
If you earn rewards point correctly, you can travel across the world for basically no cost. If you would ask are airline miles worth it? I’d say yes. They are worth more than you think. How do you know that you are travel hacking the right way if you only think about it with credit cards?
List of Ways to Travel Hacking without Credit Cards
It’s clear that there is more to travel hacking than using credit cards. By travel hacking with credit cards, you are solely focused on getting free travel through airfare and hotel. By travel hacking without credit cards, you diversify your travel to so much more like eating out, entertainment, avoiding tourist traps and so much more.
Here is a list of ways to participate in travel hacking without credit cards.
1. Be cognizant of where you stay
This might be the most obvious one. I’m not just talking about using certain resources. Someone with an eager to travel the globe on a cheap rate than accommodation or staying is where he can conserve a large amount of money.
During a visit to an expensive city such as Sydney, a person can save significant money by staying at locally branded hotels. Or, for example, a hotel that is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group is differently priced in Japan than a Japanese franchise that operates there. American brands will make their loyal customers pay a premium to stay at their locations abroad.
Certain hotel brands, hostels and more can be pricier in certain locations. It is all relative.
2. Avoid eating out too much by making your own cultural meals
While visiting first world countries, one should have an idea about cooking, which in return would prove to be cheaper. Try to travel with a bunch of friends then cooking would become easy.
Having pasta for dinner every night may be ideal for some, but not for everybody. If you talk about traveling to developing countries then cooking food over there becomes difficult.
Also, it is suggested to have street or market foods which will turn out to be cheap than eating at hotels. Sometimes the food is even better too!
Amsterdam has a place called the Foodhallen, which is a cheap market that includes local food providers. The food was amazing and super cheap.
3. Traveling internationally? Use the internet instead of paying for an international plan.
In developed countries, there is often free wireless internet at a number of different cafes. I like traveling abroad.
It allows me to get away from my phone and just focus on the sights. I’ve seen some people pay big money for an international cell plan. This is 2018! You can call people on wireless…
Developing countries use marketing strategies like ads for free wifi in various public places to attract customers and tourists.
Be careful in these locations and be aware of how accessible the internet is before you leave for your trip.
4. Use travel search engines!
I always use every travel search engine to find the best flight, hotel and car rental deals. Expedia, Booking, Priceline and CheapOAir are some of the best in the business and never fail for me. I hate paying for expensive airfare. I use credit cards for points, so I rarely pay out of pocket. Anytime I pay cash, I am definitely using a travel search engine.
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5. Crush the rewards points game with airline miles, hotel points and car rental points… it’s free money!
Make sure you are signed up for every single rewards program under the sun. You should be able to earn points for any and every program out there. I don’t mind having a number of difference accounts out there because I can track all of them with AwardWallet. They have an app and calculate when you need to use your points. It is completely free and if you signup, you get a free upgrade to their premium account status.
Additionally, with rewards points for hotels and flights, keep an eye out for any opportunity to earn bonus points. I remember with Marriott, I earned over 20,000 points for answering trivia questions during football season. In addition, I signed up for Delta’s rewards program for earning miles for every passing yard the Seattle Seahawks had during the season. These are easy wins to earn rewards points for doing nearly nothing.
In addition, all of the big airlines are on a program called the RewardsNetwork where you earn miles, cash back and other benefits for eating at your favorite restaurants. Why not? I link my cards and have nothing else to think about. I earn miles for just going to grab a beer. These points are additive to any rewards points you get from using a debit or credit card, so double dip!
6. Think about and find freebies
Hotels offer plenty of freebies, such as food during the morning. Yes, it could be a generic breakfast. Is that awful that you have to eat one standard meal per day?
This will make your travel much easier. Sometimes in certain hotels, you can get free facilities like laundry, shuttles, food etc.
If you think about finding free things, you will be shocked at how many you notice around you.
7. Is that $5 latte in Paris necessary?
Some people can’t live without coffee. A coffee in developed countries will cost you $3-$5 – many people those who have up to 4 times coffee a day will cost approximately $20 per day, more than what we spend on accommodation during the night. The thought of spending $500$-$600 on coffee a single month will freak you out. A cafe in Paris could cost you more than $5.
With that amount of money, you could get a dive trip on the Great Barrier Reef.
8. Don’t drink as much!
This is a tough way to do travel hacking without credit cards. This follows a similar principle to that of coffee; there are obviously better things to spend your money on while traveling. Nobody wants to be bored in a vacation, so drink cheaper liquor in the hotel. I don’t mind having a beer on the patio of a hotel while I’m taking a break.
Unfortunately, ales and a daytime bottle of wine are my kryptonite on vacations.
9. Start a travel blog
By travel blogging, you can talk about all of your travel experiences and like up with some of the best restaurants, museums, hotels and other ways to save a bunch of money on your travel experiences. Be sure to have an awesome camera and document most of your experiences along the way! You’ll also need to make some great connections to help you continue to expand your network.
10. Time versus money… Do you want to make money while traveling?
Traveling in an economic process is a key point. The idea of just paying more like a $130 for a plane over an 18-hour ride for $17 on the bus is juicy. But this type of mindset is not good.
Try to use the bus more often and preserve money for other purposes. The amount you spend on flight travels will be equal to your cost of stay inside developed countries for a week.
What are your priorities? Can you get 5 hours of work done on a bus trip and make money while you are in-transit? Or, are you constrained on time and need to get there quickly? Balance out your priorities to ensure you optimize your travel schedule for the right price.
11. Skip the traditional souvenirs
Everyone likes buy something during their foreign visit and keep it as a souvenir. But it will be a good idea to get those things during the trip’s end. If you go on spending money early during your holidays, you won’t save much for the last few days. Don’t buy heavy or big things as a memory because bringing it into your country through planes would prove to be very costly?
Try to get souvenirs which are free such as plane tickets, train tickets, coasters from restaurants and more. You can then make a collage of these at your home to memorialize your trips.
12. Fees planning… there are hidden deals for trains, buses and more.
A well-planned tour turns out to be the best adventures. As you are well aware of the expenditures, you are going to face. Sometimes extra expenditures are like a bee sting that hurts on a vacation that is meant for relaxation. So a pre-planned tour where you can get the complete knowledge about the costs will be of much help to you.
On my trip to Paris, we found a neat trick to code in half-priced train tickets when riding the SNCF. When using the ticket purchase machine, it gives you a discount option and you can select a 50% discount option. Our train from Avignon to Paris showed 180 euros, but with the discount we got it down to 90 euros per person. There was no additional information needed to use the discount.
This was on our last day and about 200 euros later… talk about a missed opportunity! Until next time. I made sure to not make the same mistake twice with our Japan travel hacks.
13. Trading while traveling
Traveling are more interesting when you get a good partner, or your fellow backpackers is very understanding and adjustable in nature. Many travelers share stuff among themselves such as foods, travel magazines and books, work clothes etc. This sort of behavior not only enriches the relationship between travelers but makes the journey more interesting.
Usually, the people traveling together share their stuff to decrease the extra expenditures. Even this can also be noticed that few people buy or sell traveling gears to others and this method of trading has helped in saving a lot of money.
This is not for everyone of course and is only suitable for certain vacations such as camping, hiking, etc.
14. DIYing your own tour
It is always beneficial to plan something you leave for your tour. You are not aware of things going to happen in a new place. If you are planning for something big in your tour, then please do keep a track about that place and how the thing works there. Ask other travelers about that particular location. You have to take the initiative to make your journey fruitful.
Travel hacking tip I used: Go to a local area and stop into a bar like a local. Sit next to a local. Engage in a conversation without sounding too ‘touristy’ and ask what they like to do in this city. What is a must see? Boom. You have multiple local recommendations and maybe you’ll meet a new friend along the way.
We found this gem in Orange, France, which is the Roman Theatre of Orange. This place is absolutely stunning and they continue to hold concerts and performances here. I love the old roman theatres. The design is amazing and gives you so much inspiration and appreciation for the performing arts. I would have never found it if it weren’t for the locals. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
15. Couch surf for cheap
I’m a person that needs my own space and comfort. This may not be a travel hack for everyone, but it is certainly a way to travel hack without a credit card. There are a number of sites out there that will help you find places to stay on someone’s couch for little to nothing.
This might be a good option for a city that you are only in for a few hours and plan to spend most of your day exploring.
16. Haggling is a must
In various places the locals see the tourist as dollar signs, it is not their fault, but the economic condition of that particular place makes them do so. It becomes necessary to bargain each and every time you buy a product while visiting a destination.
The locals will undoubtedly demand a double or triple price for that product, but you need to bulldoze them. This method is not only applicable to the market sellers but also to the hotels, guides etc.
Don’t fall for the next tourist tour trap.
17. Think before you take a step
Always think before spending each and every penny, every time question yourself before jumping into any conclusion. Throw various questions towards yourself, whether you need this or how much extra expenditure you need to maintain.
What are the amenities you can fetch while traveling to a certain place?
A sound minds decision is always right so do not try to rush in else you can land yourself into big issues.
18. Become a travel writer
By becoming a travel writer through Freelancer or Fiverr, you can earn enough money to save up and take a vacation. Use that side hustle income to treat yourself. Also, by becoming a travel writer, you oftentimes open new doors to relationships in the travel industry. Instead of getting paid cash, offer the opportunity to be paid via their product. For example, you can write a bunch of articles for a travel agency and see if they will give you a free hotel or flight. You’d be surprised at what you can get instead of money!
19. Get those Airbnb referrals!
By becoming an Airbnb referrer, you are able to earn credit for every referred person. Once you open an Airbnb account, you get a unique referral code that works two ways:
1) you get a credit for someone who signs up and uses Airbnb through your referral code
2) that person also gets a credit on their first visit or booking. You can earn up to $5,000 in Airbnb referral credit!
20. Be travel savvy
Travel like a pro. In order to travel hack without a credit card, you need to travel and act like a pro. Are you going to be staying in a big city that you will spend most of your time outside exploring all of the landmarks? Well, why should you spend all your money on a luxurious hotel?
No, thanks. Use AwardMapper to find the best hotel points deals and ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.
Here are 5 tools to book award travel that will help you find a great deal.
Consider using an app or translator to overcome language barriers.
21. Use Airwander to book a layover flight for cheaper
Airwander is a site I recently came across. I love the concept because on my trips I don’t mind hopping from place to place. I want to see as many spots as possible! By using Airwander, you choose your destination and it will find a stopover spot that will reduce your flight cost.
You can choose how long you want to spend at a stopover, so your options are flexible. This is a great way to do travel hacking without credit cards. I love cheap flights!
Travel Hacking Tips Without Credit Cards
This article is a definitive guide on how to travel hack without credit cards, which should help you travel with success and save money. These travel hacking techniques will help you to plan a success tour alone or with someone.
If you want to make your journey adventurous and budget-friendly, follow these steps and enjoy your happy trip!
Now that you know how to participate in travel hacking without credit cards. Here are a few places to let your mind run wild about where to explore:
- 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World That Actually Exist
- Find Your Wanderlust: Cheap Places to Travel To
- Estepona, Spain: 7 Amazing Things to See and Do
What is your favorite form of travel hacking without credit cards? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
Millionaire Mob is an early retirement blog focused on passive income, personal finance, dividend growth investing and travel hacking. With both a million rewards points and a million dollar net worth you can live a happier lifestyle.
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#18 is a great one. That is my #1 method for travel hacking.