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Budget Friendly Adventures: Tips and Tricks for Free Travel, Is it Possible?

Budget Friendly Adventures

One of the things I now absolutely despise to do in life is pay for flights.  Getting perfect information about the Budget Friendly Adventures can make your life easier than ever before when planning for a trip. It almost hurts my feelings when I must do so.  While I haven’t fully mastered the process to get them all for free, I’ve done a fairly good job at least making sure my major, long-haul flights are bought and paid for by someone else (no not a man..lol) but rather by credit card points and rewards.  

The term for this is called Travel Hacking.  It’s not illegal but rather is a win-win for both you and the credit card companies. You must be sensible and wise when you use this strategy, but you can travel around the world if you use it in the right way

Things You Need To Know About Budget Friendly Adventures

Step 1: Know Your Credit Score

The first step is to take a look at your credit score.  If your score is low, this strategy isn’t going to work for you, but if it’s at least made it to the “good” category, you’re cooking with grease.  So, once you know your score and understand what you’re working with, you can begin to investigate the cards that will best meet your travel needs, and match your score, and you are willing to accept the annual fee associated with the card.  

So, let’s get down to it. How do you get free travel?  Well, you generally acquire that 1 of 2 ways.  You either acquire the points through amazing sign-up bonuses or you earn points on your daily spending habits. Budget Friendly Adventures: Say you pay your rent through your credit card every month.  At a minimum, you should earn 1 point per dollar spent.  If your rent is $1,500 a month, you’ve just earned 1,500 points towards your next trip, add in several hundred for groceries (which in many circumstances are 2-3x the points per dollar spent) and gas, and you are well on your way to your next plane ticket. 

While monthly spending will add up, my focus for this discussion will be on the bulk of the points that you receive during the sign-up process.  If you have at least good credit, you can expose yourself to some pretty awesome sign-up bonuses.  

Step 2: Sign-up Bonuses

The credit cards we will look at today are ones that fall into that category.  You could run around signing up for every credit card you see, but you could end up ruining your credit very quickly. Budget Friendly AdventuresMy goal is to help you navigate this process a bit and lead you to the next step of further research into the topic of Travel Hacking and getting those flights for free.  Before we can take a look at which cards would be best for your needs, you must understand your goals. 

Step 3: Understanding Your Goal

Knowing where you want to go or stay will help you to determine which cards are the best for your needs.  Getting a card with American Airlines may not be of much use to you if you are flying into an international location where American doesn’t fly.  In this instance, if you know you want to fly to, let’s say Morocco, you will take a look at which airlines fly into this location (preferably on a direct route), and then identify the carrier that could take you there.  

The major carriers in the US, in most circumstances, have a credit card associated with them.  American, United, Delta, Southwest, etc.  You can also look at other carriers outside of the US, such as Qantas or Emirates.  

Budget Friendly Adventures: Once you know the carrier, you can check out the credit cards affiliated with that particular airline.  You may find that the sign-up bonus is pretty crappy (50K or below) if the airline is not really focused on acquiring new credit card customers at that time.  If it’s above 50K (hopefully at least 80K), you are looking at a much better deal.  

Depending on where you are trying to fly to, you may end up with 3 roundtrip domestic tickets with 80K points or at least 1 international flight.  If your goal is 1st class, well, you’ll definitely have to work hard to find the very best deals.  While I’d love a 1st class ticket and could possibly acquire 1 ticket with 1 credit card sign-up, I’d much rather have 3 free flights than focus on 1st Class, but that preference is up to you. 

Get detailed information about Layover Flight Rules: How to Make the Most of Your Layover

So, what happens if the airline’s bonus is less than 50K?  Well, personally, I would say you keep looking!   As a Budget Friendly Adventures: I’d recommend that you begin to look for cards that are an all-inclusive type of card that acquire points but aren’t tied directly to an airline.  With airline-specific cards, you’ll generally receive more perks, such as a free piece of luggage on your flights or priority boarding, but with an all-around card, you’ll find the flexibility to use the points for flights, hotels, or a variety of other things.  

I’ve made this recommendation to several of my friends and family, and they’ve all received several free round-trip tickets to places like Rome, Cancun, and Iceland.  I personally was able to book my one-way flight from Miami to Barcelona and still have enough points for my one-way ticket home from anywhere in Europe.  

I wanted to know that if I got over here, I’d have the points waiting on me when I chose to head back.  The flight abroad cost me a whole $5.60 (fees/tax).  Not bad if I do say so myself.  Once you are abroad, you can hop on domestic flights like you do when you are stateside (which is actually very affordable) or a train (if In Europe or the UK).  I’d much rather pay the cost to fly domestically over the high international prices.   

Step 4: Review Requirements

Budget Friendly AdventuresReview the sign-up requirements for each of the cards.  If a card has an amazing sign-up bonus but a ridiculous annual fee, you need to weigh the value of what freebies you would get by having the card.  Are their phone discounts and allowances, free annual nights at the hotel’s locations, or priority lounge access at the airports worth the cost of the annual fee?  If you are already paying for the lounges when you take a trip, you may find the lounges add value to your life. 

If you couldn’t care less about using them, this may not be a perk that would add value to you.  So, take it all into consideration when you make your choice.  One other major factor you must note is how much you need to spend to get the points. Each card typically has a requirement of at least spending $3k in the first several months of signing up.  Of course, they are hoping you don’t pay off your balance (but you need to so you don’t end up paying huge amounts of interest that could negate the reason you are trying to acquire free travel to begin with).

Step 5: Find Your Airline

Now that you know where you want to go, which airlines fly there, and which cards can get you there and have the best value, you’re ready to pick which one(s) you want and sign up for.   If you choose to sign up for one card, one bit of advice is that you may want to sign up for two on the same day.  This way, your credit only gets dinged once for that given day.  There’s a lot to the strategy, but before beginning any travel hacking, do your research before you start signing up for a ton of cards.  You need to know and understand what you are getting into before you start.

Step 6: Minimum Spend

Once you receive your card(s), activate it and meet your minimum spend.  Try to charge only what you normally would charge in your typical day-to-day so you do not overspend to try to hit your required spend amount. Budget Friendly Adventures: You need to make sure you keep track of that end date as well—if you need to spend $3k in 3 months, make sure you do this, or you won’t receive your sign-up bonus.  Then you have an extra credit card without the main perk.  

Step 7: Research Your Trip

Once you have acquired the points from your day-to-day spending, research how to use your points and purchase your ticket to your ideal location!  

Step 8: Have Fun!

Have a blast on your trip, and know you got this one for free ;-). 

Destinations and Budget Friendly Adventures

Hell yeah, my fearless adventurers! You’re looking for budget-friendly destinations and activities that won’t break the bank? Well, strap on your backpacks and get ready for a wild ride! Here’s a kickass list of budget-friendly destinations that will give you a serious bang for your buck:

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, USA

Get ready to hike your way through stunning trails, camp under the starry night sky, and explore the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nature, we’re comin’ for ya!

Algarve, Portugal

Prepare to soak up those beachy vibes and relax on pristine shores. Hike your way along coastal trails, and get lost in the charm of historic towns like Lagos and Faro. Beach, please!

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Time to unleash your inner zen as you visit ancient temples, bargain your way through vibrant night bazaars, and learn to cook up a storm in some pocket-friendly cooking classes. Let the cultural immersion begin!

Medellin, Colombia

Witness the city’s kickass transformation through mind-blowing street art, explore botanical gardens that’ll make you feel one with nature, and hike the scenic trails in Parque Arvi. Medellin, we’re ready to dance with you!

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Prepare for some serious temple-hopping as you explore the ancient wonders of Angkor Wat. Get lost in vibrant markets, and take a boat trip on the enchanting Tonle Sap Lake. Angkor Wat, we’re about to uncover your secrets!

Budapest, Hungary

Time to soak in those thermal baths and let your worries float away. Stroll along the Danube River, and explore the historic Buda Castle District. Budapest, get ready for some budget-friendly adventures!

Krakow, Poland

Explore the historic wonders of Old Town and the legendary Wawel Castle. Dive into the rich culture of the Jewish Quarter, and take a budget-friendly guided tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau to pay your respects.

Cusco, Peru

Get ready to discover the ancient ruins of the Inca civilization, explore the mind-blowing Sacred Valley, and embark on a budget-friendly hike to the legendary Machu Picchu.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Immerse yourself in the magical lantern-lit streets of the ancient town. Take a boat ride along the Thu Bon River, and savor the affordable local cuisine that’ll take your taste buds on a joyride.

Zadar, Croatia

Prepare to be transported back in time as you explore the historic Old Town. Get hypnotized by the melodies of the Sea Organ and witness the mesmerizing Sun Salutation light display along the waterfront. Oh, and don’t forget to hit up the nearby beaches, because why the hell not? 

Luang Prabang, Laos

Prepare to be awestruck by the sheer beauty of this place! Explore the magnificent Buddhist temples that will take your breath away. Take a dip in the stunning Kuang Si Falls and unleash your shopping skills at the vibrant night market, where you can snag some affordable local crafts. 

Lviv, Ukraine

Get ready to wander through the charming Old Town of Lviv, where historic cathedrals and hidden gems await. And oh, did I mention the affordable cafes and restaurants where you can fuel up like a champ? 

Granada, Nicaragua

Prepare to be transported back in time as you discover the colonial architecture that will make you swoon. Visit the iconic Alhambra and soak in the history. And when you’re ready to chill, head over to Lake Nicaragua on Ometepe Island and let the relaxation vibes sink in. This destination is all about embracing the good life!

Pokhara, Nepal

Calling all boating enthusiasts! Grab your oars and get ready to have a blast on Phewa Lake. But that’s not all – brace yourself for an epic budget-friendly trek on the Annapurna Circuit. And make sure to check out the World Peace Pagoda for some zen vibes. Pokhara, we’re comin’ for ya!

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia
By Лорд Бъмбъри – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Hey there, adventure seekers! Ready to visit the stunning Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and have your mind blown? Then let’s explore the breathtaking Vitosha Mountain and soak in the views. And when you’re feeling peckish, just wander through the affordable street markets and grab some local goodies. Sofia, we’re about to conquer your vibrant energy!

Oaxaca, Mexico

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Oaxaca. Visit the ancient Zapotec ruins at Monte Albán and let the history wash over you. And don’t even get me started on the budget-friendly street food that will make your taste buds do a happy dance. Oaxaca, we’re hungry for your flavors!

Tbilisi, Georgia

Time to explore the charming Old Town of Tbilisi and get lost in its cobblestone streets. Visit the mighty Narikala Fortress and let its historic aura embrace you. And of course, you can’t miss the sulfur baths in the Abanotubani district – because who doesn’t love a good bath, right? 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Say hello to the iconic Petronas Towers that will make you feel like you’re in a futuristic wonderland. Explore the magnificent Batu Caves – because a little adventure never hurt anybody. And when hunger strikes, indulge in the delicious and affordable street food that will have your taste buds singing. 

Antigua, Guatemala

Prepare to be charmed by the colonial architecture of Antigua. Wander through its picturesque streets and embrace the history that surrounds you. Ready for a hike? Conquer the mighty Pacaya Volcano and watch the world unfold from above. Oh, and don’t forget to explore the local markets for some seriously cool finds. 

Belgrade, Serbia

Get ready to visit the powerful Kalemegdan Fortress and unleash your inner warrior. Take a leisurely stroll along the mighty Danube River and let its tranquility seep into your soul. And when night falls, get ready to experience the vibrant nightlife in affordable bars and clubs that know how to keep the party going. 


Conclusion

So there you have it, my badass, budget-savvy travelers! These destinations are waiting for you to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Remember, travel is all about discovering new horizons, embracing different cultures, and stepping out of your comfort zone. So pack your bags, unleash your inner wanderlust, and conquer the world, one destination at a time!

Always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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