Getting There on the Cheap: Tips for Stretching Your Travel Dollars

in Travel Deals, Trip Planning

A large part of traveling frugally is making your dollars stretch further and identifying alternative modes of travel that allow you to get where you want to go at reasonable rates.

Here are some suggestions for ways to wisely spend your hard-earned dollars to get the most out of your travel. By following just a few basic guidelines, savvy frugal travelers are often able to go on trips they never dreamed they could afford.

Credit Card Miles/Airline Fidelity Programs

There are many benefits to having an airline credit card (you can typically check luggage for free and you accumulate miles with every purchase). I suggest really committing to one airline instead of putting your eggs in multiple baskets (it’s harder to accumulate enough miles for a flight this way).

Be sure to do some research before committing to one program. Important aspects to research include: ease of redeeming frequent flyer miles, miles needed to travel to various destinations (that you are interested in traveling to), frequency of blackout dates, frequency of flights offered by that airline to destinations you are actually interested in visiting (or at least flights into cities that will get you close to that location), and the details of the credit card itself (annual percentage rate, payment terms, spending limit, etc.).

After you find a program you like, use the airline credit card for as much as you possibly can. Paying off the balance in full at the end of each month will ensure that you aren’t paying for your miles (though interest).

Courier Flights

cheap cruises photo

Repositioning cruises can be a great way to get where you want to go on the cheap.

Discounted airfares for air couriers have been around for quite a while, yet few people take advantage of this method of frugal travel. Here’s the gist of how it works: businesses and individuals will often employ a courier to transport a package or document to a certain destination to ensure that it gets there safely and in a timely manner. Large courier shipments travel in the hold of the plane, and the courier keeps the documents to get them through customs with him or her in the plane.

Most of the time, the courier’s only task is to deliver these documents to a company representative waiting when he/she disembarks from the flight (typically the courier does not have to deal with customs). To save money, most companies do not hire someone to do this. Rather, they subsidize the cost of the flight for someone who is interested in traveling to the destination of the shipment. To find out more about being a courier, check out this site:

Repositioning Cruises

Repositioning cruises are a great way to get from one side of the world to another on the cheap. Twice a year, cruise lines move their fleets from locations like the Mediterranean, Asia, Alaska, Europe to the Continental U.S. (and vice versa).  The prices for these cruises are greatly reduced, which presents a unique opportunity for travelers on a budget. For more information on repositioning cruises coming up in 2100, see:

Round-the-World/Multiple Destination Tickets

Though round- the- world tickets can take a bit of effort to research and book, they make travel to multiple international destinations more financially viable. These work great if your travel schedule is flexible. There are several airline families that offer these types of trips. For more information on traveling with a round-the-world ticket, see:

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