Big Travel, Small Budget Resources – Fly for Free

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This post is meant to accompany the Fly for Free chapter in my book Big Travel, Small Budget.

Award Redemptions

My first big award redemption came around Christmas. I procrastinated on buying a ticket home for the Holidays.

By the time I was finally somewhat clear on dates and was able to purchase the ticket, it is only about two weeks before Christmas and by that time the prices had climbed to around $800 round trip just to fly back home to Seattle.

I ended up shelling out 50,000 miles with American Airlines and $85 cash for taxes and fees.

My first time saving $700+ on a flight. So cool.

My first time saving $700+ on a flight. So cool.

I was able to score a one-way flight home to Seattle from Medellin for just 35,000 miles and $95.10 in taxes and fees.

The same flight was $782 if purchased outright. I just saved $686.90. 

My award redemption from Medellin to Seattle for $95.

My award redemption from Medellin to Seattle for $95.

American Airlines flights for December 11th.

American Airlines flights for December 11th.

Become a Travel Hacker

Frequent Flyer MasterThe $97 I spent for the Frequent Flyer Master and Travel Ninja bundle from Unconventional Guides has, to date, saved me about $1,400 in total. If we were talking in investing terms, my ROI (Return on Investment) would be an astronomical 1,343.3%.

That is money that I would be spending regardless in order to travel home to see family.

If you’d love to travel to more far-flung destinations or just want to save big bucks on the travel that you already are expecting to do (or maybe have to do), then I cannot recommend strongly enough that you get started in the realm of travel hacking as soon as possible. The Frequent Flyer Master guide is a great place to jump-start your travel hacking career.

The Frequent Flyer Master guide includes:

  • 60+ page updated guide with details about earning miles and redeeming your miles.
  • Travel Ninja guide which includes tips, trick, and how-to’s related to Round the World travel, creative lodging opportunities, and much more.
  • Two audio sessions related to travel hacking and frequently asked questions.
  • Regular email updates with the latest tips, tricks, and news.

Further Reading and Resources:

  • Cards for Travel – A continuously updated resource of the best credit card promotions currently available.
  • How to Travel the World on a Budget – My own post about how I used some of these core concepts to travel cheaply over the long-term.
  • Flyer Talk – A major source of news and forum discussions related to miles, points, and travel hacking.
  • The Points Guy – Another major source to turn to when looking for discussions and news in the world of miles and frequent flyer programs.
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Big Travel, Small Budget Resources - Fly for Free travel, how-to


Head Writer and Adventurer at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out truck camping to road trip across the American West, and then across all of Central America and South America. When he isn't on the move, you can find him living as an expat in Colombia. He is also the author of the best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget that will help you travel more for less. Follow the adventures on social media or read more.

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