“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” — H. Jackson Brown Jr.
I went to Spain for a week and tried to spend less than $300.
Specifically, I went to Barcelona, Seville, and Granada.
Yep, you heard me!
A trip like that for under $300 sounds too good to be true, right?
And that’s including airfare, food, and attractions!
Did I do it?
Can you do the same?
Today, we’re gonna get into my best travel tips that saved me thousands of dollars.
1. Credit Card Points
The biggest secret is credit card points.
If you don’t have points or don’t spend a lot of money on credit cards, stick with me!
I’m gonna spill some secrets that can get you more points.
Currently, I have 905,000 points.
When you count my hotel points, it’s actually around 1.1 million.
The cash value of those points is around $12,000.
I found a direct flight from LA to Barcelona through a service called Scott’s Cheap Flights.
A premium membership there costs about $49 a year.
In the past, I’ve found a $150 direct flight to El Salvador from Los Angeles. I also found a $265 flight to Estonia (Eastern Europe).
But no matter what city you live in, big or small, you can find new deals every day.
For my trip to Barcelona, I found a $550 direct flight.
I used points to pay for that, so I didn’t actually pay anything!
I also booked the hotels with points.
They weren’t crappy, either!
They’re similar in quality to Marriott or Hilton.
Another important thing to know is that I went in January.
That’s an off-peak travel time.
If you travel in August, you’ll have different rates and flexibility versus going in winter.
I spent my own money on food, transportation, and attractions.
Granada and Seville are actually crazy cheap!
I got full meals that ranged from $6.50 to $11 in some cases.
Coming from the US, that’s a great deal!
It was cheaper than going to the grocery store.
This is because in these areas of Spain, the average person makes about $25,000 a year.
Their currency has much different purchasing power.
In general, playing the points game is crucial to getting the most out of your rewards.
How I play the points game is by looking at their big bonuses.
Bonuses are key to building up your points so you can spend them on amazing trips.
2. 5 Best Secrets for Travel
When you use points for travel, you might end up traveling a lot, which is great!
But hidden fees and long travel times can get overwhelming.
I’m gonna give you my five best secrets for travel to combat all of those things and more.
Together, these secrets have saved me thousands of dollars.
1. Get a whole row to yourself
The first secret is getting a whole row to yourself on the plane.
Most of the time, first class seats are much more expensive than coach.
For example, I wanted to upgrade a flight once from LA to Chile because I wanted a comfier seat for a sciatic issue I had.
The ticket I had was $50.
Upgrading to first class would have cost me $4,500.
That’s 10x as much!
What I did instead was change my seat option to get an entire row to myself.
For some airlines, you can change your seat option when you check in.
When you do that, you can sometimes find entire rows available – especially in the off-season!
I highly recommend trying this out.
2. Airport lounges
The second travel tip is airport lounges.
A lot of credit cards give you access to airport lounges, particularly the American Express Platinum.
I brought my sister to see Tony Robbins a little while ago.
Even though we flew Spirit (not known for a stellar flight experience), we had access to the LAX Centurion Lounge through my American Express Platinum card.
The buffet is awesome.
We both had drinks at a full bar.
They also had the option to get a massage.
It was so relaxing and perfect for just before a flight!
Because I travel a fair amount, lounges are worth it.
If you only travel once a year, it may not be as much of a priority.
3. Last Minute Flights With Points
The third thing is last minute flights with points.
Sometimes you have to book a flight unexpectedly close to takeoff time.
One time, I had to be in Dallas at the last minute.
A one-way flight was gonna be around $650.
I found a way to do it with points where the point value wasn’t actually that much.
Some airlines reduce the point cost when you book at the last minute.
It’s really ironic that the cash price is much higher, but the points cost can go way down as it approaches a day or two before the flight.
If you can, take advantage of this!
4. Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
Number four is Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
If you don’t have either, I highly recommend them.
TSA PreCheck is pretty easy to get.
You go somewhere, get an interview, and it’s done.
For Global Entry, you have to wait until you either set an appointment or enter back from the US.
I came back from Spain with Global Entry and there were hundreds of people.
I went in, had my face scanned, and was through in around 10 seconds.
That saved me about 20 or 30 minutes of travel time, at least!
With TSA PreCheck, you wait less than five minutes 97% of the time.
It’s typically good for five years.
Some credit cards actually pay the $80-$100 fee.
So depending on your card, the service could be free!
5. Carry-on baggage
The last tip is about how to get around carry-on baggage.
Some airlines will charge you as much as $80 if you bring a carry-on bag.
I found a little hack for this:
You can bring a shopping bag and not pay the extra fee.
I rarely get called out for this hack, so it’s definitely worth trying!
As long as you pack light, it can be very helpful.
To finish up, let’s answer the question I asked at the beginning of the blog:
Did I spend less than $300 on my trip to Spain?
3. How Did I Do?
Did I meet my goal of spending less than $300 on my trip to Spain?
Let’s find out!
When I break it down, I spent $138 on travel, $112 on food, and $172 on attractions.
In total, that’s $423.76.
Unfortunately, this means I did not make my goal.
What’s even worse… I could have spent even less than $300!
Looking back, here’s how I would’ve done it.
First, I would have taken the train.
If I’d taken the train instead of Uber, it would have cost $5 instead of $40.
Second, I could have used my points for several of the attractions, saving $221.
With those choices, I would have only spent $200.90 for a week in Spain.
I think that’s pretty good!
To wrap things up, I’m gonna list my three favorite credit cards:
- Chase sapphire reserve- 60,000 bonus miles – https://www.referyourchasecard.com/19/ZKDODX60M8
- Amex platinum – 80,000 Bonus Miles https://americanexpress.com/en-us/referral/BRONSHLMG2?xl=cp15
- Chase Business ink Preferred – Earn 100,000 bonus points https://www.referyourchasecard.com/21n/97UDT13VEM
Some of these cards have 60,000- to 100,000-point bonuses, so check them out!
Now I want to hear from you.
Where are you traveling next?
Will you use these tips on your trip?
Let us know in the comments below!
Before you leave, make sure to check out our special report about inflation investing. It shares the best choices to invest during an inflationary environment.
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Disclaimer: I am not your investment advisor. This is for educational purposes only. I am not giving specific advice on what you can do. I am simply giving my opinions.