Among other wonderful benefit, travel is known to inspire creativity. And for those of you who want to travel but don’t think you have the means… allow me to (re-)introduce you to my pal Chris Guillebeau is a globe trotting, “self employed for life” hacker. He is also the founder of the World Domination Summit (most amazing name ever for a creative conference…) and the best-selling author of The $100 Startup as well as The Art of Non-Comformity. When Chris appeared on chasejarvisLIVE earlier this year I heard from a lot of you that you want to travel, but didn’t have the means..
Soooo…I begged him for a followup post to help you and I hack the system.
As such, when he was in town for his CreativeLive course on Travel Hacking, he agreed to lay out a specific foundation for us here to make worldwide travel a reality for more than just the rich… Take it away, CG.
Thanks Chase. Over the past ten years I’ve built a hybrid career from travel hacking, a way of seeing the world on a limited budget. It amazes me how many people find traveling — and even the idea of a vacation — out of reach. Whenever I tell people about the next country I’m visiting, they respond the same way, over and over: “I wish I could do that.”
I usually reply with a question: “What’s keeping you from it?”
The answers are always resoundingly the same: I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, I’m waiting until I retire.
It’s not just the people I meet who feel this way. Here are a few statistics:
● A Harris Interactive study found that 57% of Americans will have unused vacation time at the end of the year.
● On average, American workers surrender 11 unused paid vacation days the end of the year — 70 percent of their allotted time off.
● According to a study from Hotwire, 87% of Americans would take more trips if they had the time and money to do so.
The problem isn’t lack of time or lack of money; the problem is how we choose to spend our resources. We choose what we value, either consciously or unconsciously — and Americans are clearly unconsciously choosing work over play.
When’s the last time you took a vacation? Here’s why you need to start planning your next trip today:
If not now, when? People often tell me they’re waiting until retirement to invest resources and time in traveling. While I don’t see anything wrong with delaying gratification, I do see a major problem in doing so to avoid living the life you want. You will not lose your job because you take a vacation. Don’t fool yourself into believing busyness is how you earn happiness.
There is no substitute for new experiences. For me, the more I have traveled, the more I learn, and the more I realize how big the world really is. Leaf Van Boven, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, has found that people are made happier by new life experiences than by material possessions. Visiting a new country exposes you to new sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. A trip is an incomparable investment in your memory bank.
You can afford it. Most people reading this have limited time and limited money. I’ve spent a lot of my own time figuring out how to help you save money — so you can spend your downtime unwinding and making new experiences, not cutting coupons to nickle and dime on that dream vacation you want to take in 20 years.
Here are 5 innovative travel hacks you can start using right now:
1) Never let airline miles expire. Make use of the airline miles you have and never let them go to waste. If you have miles that are getting close to expiring don’t believe the myth that you have to fly to keep them- you only have to have activity in your mileage account. Redeem a few miles to buy a magazine subscription or check out the airlines facebook page to see if they have any offers to get a few quick and easy miles. Some airlines offer promotions that will give you 500 miles for liking a page, watching a video or playing a social media game. All of these action (or shopping online- see #3) will keep your miles in business.
2) Track glitch fares. Once in awhile, airlines will screw up and price one of its fares incredibly low. This is an accidental glitch that will eventually be fixed — but, if you spot these glitches before the airline does, you can save thousands of dollars. One of my readers who alerted me to a special deal on Business Class flights from Malaysia to any airport in Canada. A ticket that normally would cost $2500 was showing up in the system priced at $630. I went to Malaysia twice using that single glitch fare, and even earned elite status with Delta thanks to the offer. Pay attention to the mistake fare forum at milepoint.com
3) Multiply your miles for online shopping. Whenever you buy online use an airline’s mileage mall portal to get extra points for your purchase. Some shops offer 2x – 10x bonus miles per dollar spent just for clicking on their link to get to the store you were going to buy from anyway. Check what sites are offering the best bonuses the day you shop at www.evreward.com.
4) Play the credit card game. Sign up for a new credit card and get up to 50,000 airline miles as a bonus. That’s enough miles to book a free ticket for the European holiday you think you can’t afford. See what credit cards are offering the best bonuses at www.cardsfortravel.com
5) Buy gift cards. Know what bonuses your credit cards offer for spending and take advantage of them. If you get a 2x – 5x point per dollar bonus at office supply stores, drug stores or supermarkets take advantage of the system to buy reloadable gift cards for restaurants, gas stations and your favorite shops. My Chase business card gets me 5 miles per dollar at Office Depot but only one mile per dollar at gas stations. My solution is to buy $50 gas station gift cards and then use these to get gas. Not only do I get 250 miles for my fill up instead of 50 (at one mile per dollar) — I also get the cash price at the pump for using a “cash” gift card.
Of course, this is just the beginning. but get off your bootie and make it happen. 30 min of strategy today can to set this stuff up can pave the way for at least one free trip each year and many more if you’re on your A-game.
REMINDER Chris is offering a free creativeLIVE online course that will reveal how he travels the world, upgrades to first class and gets to travel and photograph the world LARGELY FOR FREE with his How to Become a Travel Hacker course. It’s LIVE RIGHT NOW. Tune in HERE.