Free & Cheap Travel Beginner’s Guide

Maui Perfect Beach

(Danielle’s cheap trip to Maui included a day at this gorgeous resort beach. Imagine the places you would go if you could travel anywhere for free. Stop imagining and read this page!)

I’ve never paid more than $85 for any overseas flight, and I don’t know why every American doesn’t travel like this. If you have never traveled for free or really cheap, then it may sound too good to be true. But I encourage you to put all your assumptions aside and read these methods I’ve been using since 2007. I know you’ll find at least one method you can use to travel for free or cheap.

First, know the two biggest mistakes people make are 1. not thinking about this at least 3 months before you want to travel, AND 2. not understanding that if you start today, in three months you will be able to book your cheap flight instantly, anytime in the next few years. So what if you have to travel within the next three months? Then make that the last time you pay regular price by starting these steps today! You’ll surely travel again sometime in the next few years, ESPECIALLY when you know you’ve banked the ability to fly for nearly free whenever you want. Paris tomorrow for $75? Yes, please!

Step 1: Sign Up for Travel Rewards Programs

The old term “frequent flier program” is a misnomer because travel rewards are not just for people who fly frequently, or at all! You don’t have to be a paying customer of an airline, hotel, or car rental company to earn points in their “travel rewards program”. (We’ll tell you how in Step 3). It’s usually free to sign up for travel rewards programs, so there’s no reason to buy another flight, hotel, or rental car until you are a member of that company’s rewards program. You don’t need to sign up for every rewards program right now, just sign up as you use them.

Have you booked an airline, hotel, or rental car in the last six months? If so, then you should definitely sign up for those company’s rewards programs right now because you may be able to claim those old purchases by contacting their customer service.

Step 2: Discover Ways to Travel for Free

  • Learn the 7 Ways to Fly Cheap or Free.
  • The easiest way for most Americans to get a nearly free flight is to earn the signup bonus points from a credit card on our list of The Best Airline Credit Cards, Right Now. Other types of travel rewards cards most likely will NOT get you a cheap flight within three months, so make sure you sign up for a card from our list.
  • Explore the other sections of this website’s main menu to learn the travel hacks we’ve spent our entire adult lives uncovering.
  • Sign up for our Travel Newsletter to get email alerts when we post more tips and tricks.

Step 3: Use Your Existing Expenses to Earn Free Travel

The money you already spend on monthly bills, gas, and groceries is probably enough to earn you that nearly free flight, so long as you pay your credit card bill on time every month. You do not need to go into credit card debt to earn a nearly free flight with a credit card. Use our tips in ”How to Fly Cheap or Free with the Best Airline Credit Cards”, then in 1-3 months you will have earned a free, roundtrip domestic flight that you can redeem whenever you’re ready to travel!

Step 4: Book Your Dream Trip

To book a flight with your new hoard of frequent flier miles, you only have to pay for minor taxes and fees, which we have seen for as low as $2.50 each way. Normally the fees are under $85. For any part of your trip that you aren’t able to get for free or cheap, you can still take advantage of other online travel discounts. For example, if you know you’ll be saving hundreds to thousands of dollars on your flights, then you might want to splurge on a nicer hotel room or a convertible rental car.

Step 5: Help Others

Maybe right now you’re wondering, “If free travel is so easy, why isn’t everyone using these methods?” Because most people don’t know they can! That’s why we started this site. We think everyone deserves to travel for nearly free. There are two ways you can help us with this goal:

1. Use the social media share buttons below to tell friends, family, and your travel companions that travel doesn’t have to be expensive and you’re about to be living proof!

2. If you found this site to be helpful, please use our links to sign up and buy things. We do earn commissions from some links, which is how are able to keep this site running for everyone.


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