You really can get almost free travel. We've done it, so I wanted to share tips that you can take advantage of to save big!
Our family loves to travel, and we do it a lot! Friends are always asking me how we manage to go so often, so I'm sharing my top tips so you can take advantage of them, too.
In the past few years, our family has been to Mexico, Costa Rica, California, Belize, Utah, and all over Florida, where we now live.
Most of the hotels and almost all of the airfare was paid for with points.
In fact, I was at a conference, and because my husband was a Gold member at the hotel family I was staying at, I got an upgrade to the presidential suite!
Many properties will upgrade you when you get to a certain level. If they don't have a regular upgrade (like from an inside view to a pool view) they will upgrade you to what they do have.
In my case, they only had the presidential suite! This is why it's important to try to stay with one brand of hotels as much as you can.
My hope is that your family will travel more with these 8 Steps to Almost Free Travel.
How do we do it? There are a 8 simple steps that you can take that will start you on your way to traveling (almost) for free.
Join Rewards Programs
Join the rewards program for the airline you fly most. Southwest Rapid Rewards program is my favorite. Between my husband and I both traveling a lot, I fly free with him now with the companion pass.
Apply for the Credit Card for your Preferred Airline
Apply for a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit card, or the card for your preferred airline.
Google it and see if you can find a promotion. Most offer sign up promotions, and sometimes do double points.
Why do I love Southwest Airlines?
- They are always wonderful to fly with.
- You get 2 free checked bags.
- They're make funny announcements.
- You can earn free drink coupons. (The announcements are even funnier after you use the drink coupons. Just sayin'.)
We plan our vacations based on where Southwest flies. I will add here that we flew to Costa Rica with Jet Blue last year and loved them, too.
Once you get the card, use it for everything. *Please see the note below.
Apply for Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Apply for a hotel rewards credit card. My favorites right now are Marriott & Hilton.
You can use the Southwest points for air and the Marriott or Hilton for the hotel.
Many people rule out Marriott & Hilton thinking they are too expensive, but there are many lower priced hotels in the Marriott & Hilton family.
Always Sign Up for the Hotel Rewards Program
Always sign up for the hotel rewards program anytime you book a reservation. It's free, and they add up! Always use it when you register at the hotel.
Though they can look you up, it's best to keep your rewards numbers in your notes.
Use your Rewards Credit Cards for Everything
Use your rewards credit cards for everything you can. This means groceries, gas, utilities, even doctors!
*Here's the key; pay it off each month! If you cannot discipline yourself to do this, stop right here. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Seriously.
You can get your family in a lot of trouble by running up credit cards and not paying them off each month.
Eat at the Hotel Restaurant
Provided it's not awful, when staying at a hotel, eat at the hotel restaurant at least once. Many let you acquire points for that, too! Be sure to ask!
Don't Pay for Anything with Cash at the Hotel
Don't pay for anything with cash at the hotel. If they have a gift shop and you buy something, put it on your room. Get coffee and a bagel in the morning? Put it on your room. Those points add up!
Subscribe to Hotel Newsletters
Subscribe to the newsletter for the hotels you like best.
They frequently have specials where you get double points if you can stay with them during certain times.
I hope this guide to almost free travel was helpful to you. We are able to travel so much because we do all of the above.
You might also want to grab this FREE Printable packing list set with a list for every season of the year!
I'd love to hear about how it's helped you! Please come back and share in the comments.