Tips for Booking Flights

Below are a few tips that have worked for me when booking trips on my various travels.

1.  Use Miles or Points

It goes without saying that using reward points is the one of the easiest ways to obtain free travel.  If you don’t have miles or points, the quick hack is to apply for a credit card.  Most travel credit cards come with lucrative sign up bonuses in order to entice you spend on the card frequently (make money from transaction fees) and pay it off after the month end (make money from interest charges and fees).  IF you are responsible enough to pay off the card either in full or make the minimum payment each month, thereby allowing you to have a good credit score, you should be approved.  Credit score needed is typically 700+ for a good travel card.

The best two travel cards I have found are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture Rewards Cards.

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Travel Tips

In the broadest possible strokes, here are a few high-level travel tips that have significantly reduced costs/hassle associated with my travels.

Air Transportation

  1. Skyscanner – This website allows you to search destinations from a particular airport and filter by price.  It’s a great way to generate ideas if you’re on a budget.  
  2. Discount Airlines – Think RyanAir in Europe or AirAsia in SE Asia – These airlines are often bare-bones and you have to pay for luggage and everything else.  Often these airlines do not show up on sites like expedia or google flights, as they do not pay commissions to third party websites in an effort to keep airfare prices low.  Keep this in mind when booking fares.  If you’re flying to, say Penang Malaysia, for example.  Book a round trip to Kuala Lumpur on your favorite airline.  Then, book a separate ticket with AirAsia to Penang.  This trick has saved me a lot of money on flights over the years.

Rental Cars

  1. Insurance – Obtain through a credit card if at all possible.  Foreign countries however have different variables to keep in mind.  Some cards offer insurance as secondary, meaning your personal insurance deductible will still apply, but the card will cover any overages.  A few cards, like the Chase Sapphire Cards, offer primary insurance.  This means that they will pay out first and cover all costs, regardless of fault, without any need to go through your personal insurance.  Check out Rental Car Mistakes, for a personal story on the matter.
  2. Parking Fees – Remember, the price to rent a car does not include parking fees.  Like the cost to eat candy does not include the cost of a dentist visit.  Factor in anticipated parking costs before renting the car.
  3. Off-Airport Rentals – Airport taxes are often quite high.  Off-site locations often provide a free shuttle to their location, so if you don’t mind the shuttle time and time to get to the location, you can save money.
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Travel Resources

Below are a few travel sites that I use on a regular basis.  Sites that provide practical travel help and great insight.  If you have one you use yourself that is not mentioned, please feel free to add in the comments below.

Travel Sites

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The Points Guy – Publishes travel advice related to news, reviews (flights, credit cards, hotels), guides (to every loyalty program), and videos.

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Nomadic Matt – New York Times best selling author who initially traveled the world on $50 a day and publishes travel guides.

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Secret Flying –  Travel blog that somehow manages to find all the great flying deals.  

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Lonely Planet – Publishes guidebooks on travel destinations and travel advice and articles.

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Alan Arnette Blog– Mountain Climber and Everest updates

Saving Money On Travel

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Ebates – Cash Back website that can give you a big discount on sites.  Sometimes they run specials like the one on the left.

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Priority Pass – Not sure how I managed to travel before this pass came to be.  Can be obtained through a credit card.  Access thousands of lounges and restaurants world-wide with this pass at airports.  

Travel Reading/Listening

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A bit of strategy and lessons learned from the Dutch Iceman  Wim Hoff.  

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This book will make you want to run a marathon!  A fascinating look into the super-runners of Mexico called the Tarahumara.