Have you been dropping pennies in a pickle jar, hoping to save a few bucks to travel the world?
What if we told you travel hacking could make it all happen for you?
Psst! We’re letting you in on a secret!
But, first things first.
Who are travel hackers and what do they do?
Explore the life of a travel hacker and understand the concept of travel rewards, with Jason Decker, Travel Rewards Coach. His unique methods of ‘travel hacking’ have been featured on Million Mile Secrets, Smarter Travel, Fit Small Business, Credit Card News, Credit Karma and more.
In this blog post, you’ll get a sneak peek into travel hacks you’d pay to know!
“To me, a travel hacker is someone who finds ways to travel at much lower prices than most people. I specialize in using airline and hotel travel points, and miles to travel at 98-100% off most of the time.”
As a beginner you can start out with the basics – the best credit cards, the right hotel loyalty programs and a few frequently asked questions about travel reward points. You’d also learn about the challenges associated with being a frequent traveler and the entrepreneurial aspect of it all.
Best Hotel Loyalty Programs For Travel Rewards
Jason has traveled throughout the globe and explored a variety of accommodation options, so naturally we asked him to name his favourites. Here’s the two he recommended:
These were Jason’s personal favourites. Let us know, in the comments below if you’d second his pick!
Best Credit Cards For Travel Rewards
If you can pick only one, Jason recommends Chase Ultimate Rewards.
However, he mentions “pretty much all Chase cards are great”. Jason specifically recommends:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Business Ink Plus Card
- Chase United Cards Card
Pro-Tip: Get cards that earn transferable points. This way you can earn points & decide where you’d like to redeem them.. You can get one of these cards via Chase, Amex, Citi, Marriott or Capital One.
Want to know of other rewarding credit cards for travel rewards? Here’s how to pick the perfect travel credit card in 2019.
While travel rewards is not an unknown concept, most travelers may still not understand how travel rewards work. Here is a list of some of the frequently asked questions to help ease your pain.
We ask Jason a few FAQs about reward points:
- Are reward points taxable?
No, reward points are not taxable.
- Are reward points transferable?
No. Buying them from other people is usually against terms & can get you banned from the service.
- Other than flights, is it possible to book other things with reward points?
I often book Airbnb’s on the road for over 28 days. This way I get huge discounts on listings.. I also use the flexible points to pay for the Airbnb rental, so basically paying rent with points.
Pro-tip: You can also avail discounts on 7- day rentals.
- Is it possible to pay for flights entirely with reward points?
I have had too many trips to count that costs practically nothing. Sometimes I can get the price down to about ($5 in fees) for a one-way flight, just about anywhere in the world. A few notable ones were flying the Etihad First Class Apartment (a $20,000 flight) for 100% free, Japan Airlines First Class for 100% free & Singapore Airlines Business Class for $50.
The start of Jason’s travel hacker journey:
“I had the urge to travel but heavy in student loan debt,” Jason explains. But then….
“Life is short. Book the ticket. Take the ride! Just book the ticket with miles and points, or pay for it with a card so you can earn even more miles and points!”
From a hobby to a side-hustle:
I started sharing my pictures on Facebook and bragging about my free travel with my friends and family. That’s when people started reaching out to me, to know more about my travel hacks. This is how Travel Rewards Coaching & my training program, “From Zero to Travel Hacker” was born.
Now, I don’t even research places anymore. I just show up and wing it. I know that would freak out most people. I just don’t have time to be working & researching my next destination.
Challenges of being a digital nomad:
It may not seem like it, but being a digital nomad comes with its own set of challenges. In a conversation with Jason, he jotted down his top challenges, and we tried to find solutions!
- Balancing work and travel
“I travel essentially full time but slowly. Since I am working full-time (and then some), I spend most of my time working & inside a coworking space so I need to stay somewhere much longer to actually get to experience it.”
Solution: Find the world’s best co-working and co-living spaces
- Staying connected and focused
“Frequent rapid travel is exhausting & it makes work impossible. I usually have to stay in a city-ish location just to have consistent internet or have a co-working space nearby.”
Solution: Find free WiFi wherever you go.
- Staying disciplined
“I’m my own boss so I have to stay self disciplined. For example last year I spent 2 months in Medellin, Columbia, another 2 months in Nicaragua, another 2 months in Bali, 1 month in Lisbon, Portugal & 3 months in New Orleans. I also took many smaller weekendish trips to more remote areas.”
Solution: Is working remotely really for you? Find out if you are cut out for this lifestyle.
- Keeping track of your expenses
“My credit cards do this for me & categorize my spending.”
Solution: Need help keeping track of the expenses made by cash or e-wallets?
- Staying Motivated
“Staying motivated by passion to travel, see the world, make global friends & be an entrepreneur. Why not do it all at the same time.”
Solution: The ultimate reading list to stay motivated as a self-employed person.
Wow, that was a quite a journey!
Do you have more questions?