Family Travel Hacking Guide

Surveying Scotland: What to do on the Isle of Skye (Part 2)

We spent four nights in Skye, but I would have happily spent more. It really is the type of place where one can just enjoy taking their time and exploring. I covered the first half of our time there in my last post; here are a few other things we found worthwhile. There are a lot of well known hikes on the Isle of Skye. One of the most famous ones cuts from the Fairy Pools through the Black Hills and ends at the Sligachan Hotel. That looks like an amazing hike and the only reason why I regretted (for a split second) bringing my kids on the trip. It takes 4-6 hours and there is cold beer waiting for you at the end if you stop by the hotel [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 13: The four different types of credit card rewards

To do: Examine the credit cards in your wallet and try to determine which type of rewards they earn. One thing I've noticed writing this guide is that beginner's guides are difficult to write! How best to cover the plethora of information? I guess the options are write briefly or try to cover everything and have people use it like an encyclopedia of sorts. I've chosen the latter :P. But I digress... Before we get to applying for credit cards, we need to understand the four types of credit card rewards out there that are relevant to travel hackers. Each reward type deserves a place in your overall strategy when utilized correctly. The saying "cash is king" applies in the miles and points world as it does in the rest [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 11: The power of miles and points

We've completed the first part of the Family Travel Hacking Guide series: how to save money on booking flights with cash. For many, the savings might stop there, and that's fine. As parents we have limited time; just make sure you know your travel goals before you go about trying to save money. The Family Travel Hacking Guide will now pivot. We are going to get into the more significant savings that can be achieved through earning as many miles and points as possible. In Part 2, our posts will look at how credit card sign up bonuses can power your family's travel at a significant cost reduction. How can we earn miles efficiently and cheaply? (Part 3 will address how to use them properly). I'll never claim that you will [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 10: Using Google Flights to search airfare

As we reach the end of our "find cheap flights phase", it's finally time to look at one of the most flexible flight aggregators out there. Before we get into that, a note: a lot of "travel hacking" is about avoiding spending cash on flights and hotels. We've spent the last few weeks on saving money on cash flights because these ideas apply to the majority of travelers, not just travel hackers. But rest assured, there are ways to avoid spending a lot of cash on flights - that section of the Family Travel Hacking Guide will commence after this post! Digression over. I decided to write about Google Flights since I think it will be the best option for the average end user. Here are some ideas how to get the [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 09: Using Hopper to monitor flight prices

So you're looking to expend as little cash as possible on flights. You are getting flash alerts from airfarewatchdog and The Flight Deal and are monitoring flights you are interested in taking with Kayak. But what if you want to monitor flight prices on your phone? There's an app for that. An excellent one. Install Hopper on your phone and find your ticket prices going down! After you do a standard search, there are a bunch of options available to you. Here's a quick rundown of my favorite parts of the app: For the visually oriented, Hopper offers a simple color coded calendar of fares every time you search. Green means good, yellow means okay, red means expensive! The calendar doesn't have numbers on it, which doesn't totally appeal to [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 08: Finding the cheapest airfare using Kayak alerts

The first travel website I found truly game-changing was Kayak. Better websites and better functions exist, but I still find myself going back to Kayak time and time again. As I write this series, I implement things that I've written about. Thus, I now have a column dedicated to @airfarewatchdog tweets about Boston and receive e-mails from The Flight Deal about cheap flights to/from Boston. While both those alerts help me find deals, neither addresses a common need for family travelers: monitoring flights when both your location and dates are more or less set. Enter Kayak alerts. Kayak has a great feature where you can send yourself e-mails updating price changes. Here's how to easily set up Kayak alerts. As usual with these sites, everything starts here. Pretty straightforward step [...]

Family Travel Hacking Guide 07: Finding cheap airfare with The Flight Deal

Last post I talked about how to use airfarewatchdog to find cheap airplane tickets. The reality is, though, for some people, www.airfarewatchdog.com might be too much information: they list a lot of fares. The Flight Deal is a site I love as much as airfarewatchdog and using it might be more appealing to someone people. The two sites have one major difference. The Flight Deal tends to focus more on certain cities. From their Twitter description: "The Flight Deal - Curated Daily Travel Deals from NYC / BOS / PHL / DC / MIA / DFW / PHX / LAX / SFO / PDX / SEA and ORD. 24/7/365." The positives of this are easy to see: the website has a laser sharp focus and won't bombard you with the deluge of [...]