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Okay, confession time.
I am a pretty even-tempered person. It takes a lot to get me to the emotional extremes. Sometimes I chalk this up to the fact that I am an emergency medicine provider and I’m not easily surprised by things anymore. But I digress.
There are two things that, without fail, get this girl giddy.
The first is getting a spectacular deal.
When I find a bargain or some sort of financial hack, you bet I’m gonna shout it from the rooftops.
The second thing that gets me over-the-top excited and knocks the resting bitch face right off of me is…vacation! This is probably another consequence of working a high-stress job, but I’ll tell you, being a full-time working mom really teaches you how to appreciate your time off.
So imagine the joy that bubbles in my soul when I find travel hacks that save me money.
How do I put emojis in here? I can’t figure it out. But seriously, all the heart eyes and double high fives for travel hacks.
Here are my 5 favorite hacks that I use for every trip
If you haven’t heard my ode to Ebates, let me enlighten you.
Ebates is free money. It is a company that offers cash back from stores you already shop from. If you have to make an online purchase, chances are, the site participates in Ebates (or you can find the same item from a different merchant who does–they have over 2000 merchants!).
Let me share an example of how Ebates makes my heart sing. Christmas, 2016. Made list of gifts. Purchased gifts from merchants offering the highest cash back rates. Made $100 back. I recently had to shop for some bridal shower gifts. Brides were registered at Macys. Macys was offering 6.0% cash back on Ebates. Saved some money!
Okay, so 6% of a $50 rolling pin set may not be a lot of money, but how does 14% of a $700 hotel stay sound?
(Spoiler alert, that’s $98.)
If you’re planning a trip, don’t book anything until you check out ebates. They’ve got merchants for hotels (Marriott, Priceline, TripAdvisor), airlines (CheapOAir, AirFrance, Expedia), and rental cars (Hertz, Budget, Avis, among others).
Bonus: Ebates will give you bonus money for referring your friends! Click here to sign up for Ebates and get a $10 bonus!
When you travel someplace new, the best way to get the most out of your experience is to live like a local!
And sometimes, living like a local means staying in a legit tree house or an airstream on the side of a cliff. But other times, it means staying in an off-the-grid eco bungalow in Hawaii for less than $60/night.
Herein lies the beauty of Airbnb. You can book a luxury compound or someone’s couch, depending on what you want your experience to be.
Confession #2: it’s a huge bucket list item of mine to have a luxury tiny house on a lake and run it as an Airbnb.
Get $40 off your first Airbnb trip by clicking here!
Okay, so confession #3 is that I HATE debt. For the past few years (except for while I was pregnant), my husband and I have been furiously working on paying off debt (which is now only part of a car loan, my student loans, and our house).
I am not one to advocate for going into consumer debt. However, there are some ways to credit card hack in order to earn free vacations.
There are some people who do this ridiculously better than I do, but I can tell you that we have completely paid for international airline tickets for two adults every other year for the past 6 years.
That was kind of confusing. More simply, we’ve used credit card points to pay for $3000 worth of flights.
Now, this does not work if you are buying things for the sole purpose of earning points. That’s just dumb.
But, if you have regular, recurring expenses (such as subscriptions, fixed bills, gas, work reimbursables, etc) you can earn yourself some sweet travel rewards.
This only works if you have excellent self-control with spending and also pay off your bill every month, preferably on auto-pay!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best card for travel hacking, and here’s why:
- 50,000 points ($625 for travel) if you spend $4000 in the first 3 months
- 2x points on travel and dining
- Book travel through Chase and get 25% more
- Figure out the dollar amount of your points by dropping two zeros. 50,000 points would normally be $500 but with the 25% bonus, it becomes $625!
Uber is a modern taxi service in most major cities and metro areas. Book a car through the app and pay without worrying about having cash.
Uber is a life saver, especially if you’re traveling to a new city by plane. You don’t have to worry about figuring out public transit, which is worth a ridiculous amount of money if you ask me.
AND, if you’re traveling with friends, chances are you can ride for free for many rides by using each other’s referral links.
Speaking of which, sign up for Uber using my referral link and get a free ride (up to $15)!
Fancy Hands is another service that saves you money by saving you time. It is essentially an online personal assistant service that can do pretty much anything you want. Going to a new city? Fancy Hands will make a list of the top 10 places to go dancing. Traveling to a different time zone? Fancy Hands will call and book your hotel and activities while you sleep.
Fancy Hands isn’t just for travel, either. They can call around to different stores to find shoes in your size, research a topic, schedule an appointment or meeting, send flowers to your mom, or make that phone call you’ve been avoiding.
Sign up for Fancy Hands using my referral link and earn 50% off your first month!
(If you want to try before you buy, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a free task!)
Since learning about new travel hacks lights up my life, I want to hear yours! Share your favorites below so that I can send double high five emojis your way!