Perhaps it’s in my blood to be an explorer and lover of adventure: Both of my grandfathers were pilots, my grandmother was one of the first twenty flight attendant hired by Delta Airlines, and I am the daughter of a retired Delta pilot (my brother was even the first third generation hired by Delta!). One of the greatest perks of my dad’s job was that he could claim unsold seats on flights for our family, free of charge. As a result, my childhood was filled with air travel around the globe. I suppose it’s what planted the seed for my wanderlust, and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities my dad’s career afforded our family, in more ways than one.
When I graduated from college as a new veterinarian with a meager income (DVMs make a tiny fraction of what MDs make!) and student loans to pay off, my flight benefits were even more valuable to me….except they had become more challenging to use. I was now beholden to a small window of vacation time, and it was too risky to depend on an empty seat for return flights when my boss was expecting me to show up to work. It became obvious that I would need to buy plane tickets if I wanted to travel by air.
Cue the sound of a needle screeching across a record! My wanderlust was now dictated by my ability to find airfare on a tight budget, and it was a hard pill to swallow since I had been
spoiled accustomed to free flights my entire life!
Fast forward to my marriage and then three kids in tow, the importance of traveling on a budget became even more crucial to our family adventures. Not one to back down from a challenge, I started researching ways to travel on the cheap and discovered countless resources to achieve this goal. Before we knew it, we were traveling to both domestic and international destinations for next to nothing.
So what’s the secret? Hands down, the most economical way for our family to travel is to obtain our plane tickets and make hotel reservations through their travel reward programs. But how we get enough points to do that on a regular basis? Basically live our normal life with a couple of easy tweaks to the way we spend money.
I’ve helped a handful of friends and family members get started with these methods, but many others have asked for advice. Because it’s more information that most people want to devote brain power to in one conversation, I decided it would be easier to have resources on my blog for folks to read when they have time.
If you want to get deeper in the weeds with it than what I outline, by all means, you should go for it! There are many travel bloggers out there that will take you further down the free travel rabbit hole than you can ever imagine, but I’ll only share what’s worked for us. Obviously I look for programs and rewards that cater to families, but everything I recommend will work equally, if not better, for a single person or a couple.
So without further adieu, let’s get to it! But beware, it’s addictive and crazy fun to open the portal to travel opportunities you otherwise couldn’t swing financially. And in case you’re wondering, everything we do is perfectly legal and ethical. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t and certainly wouldn’t recommend it to people reading my blog.
Without further adieu, click here to learn how to travel and stay in hotels for nearly free!
P.S. If you want to watch a quick video produced by Delta Airlines, interviewing my Grandmother about what it was like to be a flight attendant in the early days of the Airline, click here. She is adorable at every age (95, currently!)