How to score cheap flights (and other travel hacks)
February 26, 2017
In the original Wall Street movie, the infamous Charlie Sheen wistfully tells his girlfriend “I think if I can make a bundle of cash before I’m thirty and get out of this racket, I’ll be able to ride my motorcycle across China.”
Traveling has become a lot more viable; there’s a lot more choice and services out there that have made finding cost-efficient flights to any destination pretty easy.
We’ve seen over a hundred students come and go from our bootcamp (and done our fair share of air mileage too!), so we wanted to demystify the cost of travel, and share 6 hacks that’ll help you fly more, and travel cheaper.
Fact 1: Flight costs are cheaper than you would expect
Don’t be put off by the long flight times, such as the ones from the USA to South East Asia. From experience, we know most flights from major USA cities to Bali now cost only around $650 - $750 USD return. Most major Australian cities to Bali costs around $500 AUD return.
Try liking airlines on Facebook to keep up to date with sales and cheap flight prices!
We also love using Skyscanner! It routinely produces the best prices for us. One of our traveling hacks it to select flexible traveling dates as prices can fluctuate majorly from day to day.
And don’t forget, if you’re joining us for our course, we cover all your food and accommodation as well as any other necessary expenses while you’re here, so that’s something else you don’t need to worry about.
Fact 2: Buying connecting flights from other destinations can work out to be cheaper
This hack works well when traveling to European or Asian countries. Rather than trying to fly direct from home to your destination, look for frequent stop-over destinations along the way. Between the USA to Asia places like Singapore, Taipei, and Dubai are popular stopovers. Because these cities are major hubs, chances are prices for tickets from there to your final destination are much cheaper!
Most of the Institute of Code core team call Melbourne, Australia, home. When traveling to Bali, we’ll usually fly to Sydney first saving us anywhere between $50-$100.
Fact 3: Layovers don’t have to suck
Long flights suck enough, but the thought of having to sit in an airport for any extended amount of time makes it a lot worse. But long layovers can be a perfect opportunity to explore a new city!
You can use layovers as an excellent way to quickly see the city you’re stopping in- it’s an awesome way to see more and do more.
Fact 4: You can barter for food and board
Money is the universal language. However, that’s not the only way you can pay for accommodation and food. Many of our staff members, including the Institute of Code co-founders Tina and Emile, have bartered web development and photography to travel all around the world! In fact, bartering is a huge part of how many digital nomads travel.
By looking for places where you can provide value, you might be able get rid of a large proportion of your expenses.
A good start is looking up all the hotels, hostels or other breakfast and board places, and seeing if they might need any work done. Usually web development, marketing, graphic design, photography or other digital work is highly sought after.
Fact 5: Working remotely or as a freelancer is much easier than you expect
With the increase in remote workers and digital nomads, working with your team has become easier than ever-even if you’re miles away from each other!
Check out the groundbreaking book, The 4-Hour Work Week written by Tim Ferris, which talks about slowly breaking up your week so you can split your time between working at home and working from the office. Assess what tasks you can automate and streamline, and see what’s possible to do anywhere. Chances are, you’ll be surprised as to how efficient you could be, even if you’re not at your desk. Platforms, such as Zendesk, and Virtual Assistants can do a surprising amount of the heavy lifting!
Plus, think of all the breathtaking spots you could work from (like a beach in Bali)!
Fact 6: Credit cards are not evil
Reckless spending. Maxing limits. Debts as deep as the grand canyon. We’ve all heard about the problems credit cards can cause.
Credit cards can be great tools when you’re looking to travel frequently. You’ll find that many credit cards offer points that can go towards booking your next flight. Many credit cards, such as American Express, provide instant air points upon signing up, making your next trip possible sooner! Plus, some credits card also offer comprehensive travel insurance as well.
This one is for the Aussies among us, but your country might have something similar!
If you’ve purchased goods or wine valued over $300 AUD (including tax) 60 days before you travel, you’re able to get the GST you paid back under the Tourist Refund Scheme. You must be carrying this item as part of your carry-on, must have paid for it yourself in full, and must bring your receipt and related documents with you prior to boarding.
So if you’re looking to buy a slick new laptop or camera for your travels, make sure you buy it just before you travel!
Cost can be one of the strongest mental blocks that get in the way of travel. But before you reject the idea do some research so you can consider all of your options. Who knows? You might even be able to fulfill Charlie Sheen’s dream of motorbiking across China!
What are your favorite travel hacks? Let us know below!