You are on page 1of 19

Travel Hacking

Ben Hughes @rubiety

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive

Learn to optimize and take advantage of hacks and freebies!

3 Years

Las Vegas San Francisco Boston Seattle Portland Chicago Los Angeles Washington DC Phoenix New Orleans

London Edinburgh Dublin Amsterdam Brussels Rome Paris Palm Springs Louisville Austin

Vancouver Hong Kong Singapore Bangkok Dubai Abu Dhabi Istanbul Athens Barcelona New York

ROC -> TPA TPA -> ROC ROC -> PHL PHL -> LHR AMS -> EDI EDI -> DUB DUB -> FCO CIA -> ORY LHR -> PHL PHL -> DFW DFW -> PSP PSP -> DFW DFW -> PHL PHL -> ROC ROC -> TPA TPA -> ROC ROC -> TPA TPA -> ROC ROC -> JFK JFK -> SEA PDX -> JFK JFK -> ROC ROC -> JFK JFK -> SAN SAN -> BOS BOS -> MSY

MSY -> JFK JFK -> ROC ROC -> JFK JFK -> AUS AUS -> LGB LGB -> SLC SLC -> JFK JFK -> SFO SJC -> LGB LGB -> PDX SEA -> BOS BOS -> JFK JFK -> ROC ROC -> JFK JFK -> DEN DEN -> JFK JFK -> LAS LAS -> JFK JFK -> ROC ROC -> LGA LGA -> ROC ROC -> TPA TPA -> ROC ROC -> ORD ORD -> SAN

SAN -> IAD IAD -> ROC ROC -> BWI BWI -> TPA TPA -> BWI BWI -> ROC ROC -> CVG CVG -> SAN SAN -> DTW DTW -> ROC ROC -> ORD ORD -> LEX ROC -> BWI BWI -> ROC ROC -> TPA TPA -> ROC ROC -> JFK JFK -> LAS LAS -> JFK JFK -> SFO SFO -> BOS BOS -> SEA SEA -> PDX PDX -> JFK JFK -> ORD

ORD -> LGB LGB -> IAD IAD -> BOS BOS -> SAN SAN -> IAD IAD -> ROC IPT -> PHL PHL -> SAN SAN -> YVR YVR -> HKG HKG -> SIN SIN -> BKK BKK -> KWI KWI -> DXB AUH -> IST IST -> ATH ATH -> BCN BCN -> GVA GVA -> JFK SAN -> PHL PHL -> SAN SAN -> ORD ORD -> ROC ROC -> ORD ORD -> SAN

SAN -> ATL ATL -> SDF SDF -> MSP MSP -> SAN SAN -> BOS BOS -> SAN SAN -> BOS BOS -> BUF BUF -> BOS BOS -> SAN BOS -> JFK JFK -> PDX SEA -> JFK JFK -> BOS BOS -> SAN SAN -> BOS BOS -> DEN DEN -> BOS SAN -> BOS BOS -> MSY MSY -> BOS BOS -> ORD ORD -> BOS BOS -> SAN SAN -> BOS BOS -> DCA

Airfare Hacking

Little Correspondence to Marginal Cost

Highly Price-Discriminatory

Extremely Route-Dependent

Variable to Flight Date (Time of Year)

Optimize entirely on price, at the expense of comfort, dates, and even destination!

Don’t Pick Destinations First

Plane costs are a substantial portion of your budget

Ticket prices vary wildly based on many factors

So why choose destination than simply accept whatever the price is?

My Airfare Routine

HipMunk.com or Kayak.com for Baseline

Momondo.com or SkyScanner.com for Cross-Check

Check Airline’s Website

Check Different Airline Locale Websites (Different Currencies)

Check Split Itineraries (Chain Different Airlines)

Use http://www.seatguru.com/ before picking seats

Always sign up for frequent flyer programs!

A Travelphile’s Holy Grail:

Unlimited Flying Passes

JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet Pass

Year 2009:

Unlimited Travel September 8 - October 7

$600

Year 2010:

Unlimited Travel September 8 - October 7

$700 Regular, $500 if excluding Fri/Sun

JetBlue BluePass (Boston All)

Year 2011:

Unlimited Travel August 22 - November 22, 2011

$2,000

All Itineraries must include Boston Logan (JetBlue Hub) as an Airport!

Booking, canceling, changing can be done up to 90 minutes before departure.

Must pay $10.70 in taxes/911 fee per leg

JetBlue Loopholes & Hacks

Booking Flights into Hurricanes for $100 Credit

Printing Boarding Passes for your Friends

Hopping Red-Eyes for free accommodation

Racking up Airline Points Sunday, October 30, 11

Racking up Airline Points

Credit Cards

25,000 - 50,000 Miles just for signing up, corresponding to ~$400 in flight value

Typically yearly fee waived for first year:

Simply downgrade to a lesser card in 11 months, and keep initial points hit

Airline Cards vs. Generic Bank Cards

Cash payers subsidize Credit Card payers:

Foregoing the opportunity to make back 1-2% is a cost

Airline Special Offers

Follow Airline Mailing Lists / Twitter

Points for Taking Surveys

Double Points in Certain Periods

TSA Hacking

Boarding Passes as checked by TSA are entirely unverified documents

No Boarding Pass check at gate - dummy boarding passes

Observe people to decide which line to go in

In connected-terminal airports, enter TSA in the international terminal

Accommodation Hacking

Hotwire.com

$360/night Hyatt “Resort & Spa” for $79

$250/night Denver Sheraton for $90

New Midsize Car Rental for $18/day

Priceline.com

Don’t book a hotel without either of these!

Stay in Hostels

No, it’s not like the movie “Hostel”!

Quality varies, choose based on your tolerance

Often in very central areas

Meet Interesting People

Get a cheap hotel every 4-5 nights Also: Maximize Red-Eyes - It’s a free night’s stay! Be homeless! Travel when your lease ends.

Food Hacking

Resist temptation to “splurge” on every meal

Street food stalls

Non-touristy Areas

Food costs vary widely from area to area - optimize!

Stock up on Lunch (Specials), Ease up on Dinner

Buffets! Eat your entire day in one meal Las Vegas “Buffet of Buffets”

Go Travel - Cheaply!

Ben Hughes @rubiety