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Let’s wind the clocks back a year. These cops and lawyers would touch any of you. 

Wait… wrong train of thought. I’ll try again.

Let’s wind the clocks back a year… and seven months. My friend Ryan posted a status on Facebook that more or less said:

“I kinda wanna go to Japan. Anyone up for it?”

And I, having never been out of the country before – but having been freshly bitten by the travel bug after my trip to Adobe MAX – replied with a comment that more or less said:

“Sure bro let’s do it SRS”

Thus, the idea was born.

I proceeded to spend the rest of the semester trawling every article about Japan on WikiTravel, voraciously reading about the country, cool sites to see, things to know, etc.

It was around this time that I discovered the world of travel hacking. This is basically a catch-all term for all practices that involve travelling to faraway destination for way less money than most other people pay.

Travel hacking is  And I was busy (and a little bit lazy). Nonetheless, I did manage to put one little tidbit of advice I picked up into practice: I set up a price alert for flights to Japan on Kayak, as I’d learned that airline prices vary wildly and you basically have to catch a ticket at the right time to get a good price.

This one, piece of advice paid off in a big way. 

A standard ticket from San Francisco (where I had gone for Adobe Days) to Tokyo usually will run you around $1100-$1200. By using the price alert feature, I was able to get my ticket for around $870.

For a college student who was about to derail his debt-payment plan and blow a ton of savings, this was a godsend.

Japan was amazing.

However, travel hacking goes much deeper than that.

Today on the CIG podcast, I’m talking to Travis Sherry – a much more experienced travel hacker – about how you can use frequent flyer miles (in addition to other things) to get your travel costs even lower than I did.

Travis has visited over 25 countries, lived in Japan for two years, and runs a website called Extra Pack of Peanuts, which is dedicated to teaching others how to cut their travel costs.

In this episode, we go over why you should travel, talk a bit about our experiences in Japan, and then dive into the techniques that travel hackers use to rack up tons of frequent flyer miles (and thus travel for super-cheap) without spending any more than they would living normally.

If you’re interested in seeing the world, then let’s dive in!

Items mentioned in this episode:

  • Weekly College Q&A + Live Gaming Stream (first episode here) – still working on this, but I think it’s gonna be fun
  • Extra Pack of Peanuts – learn more about travel hacking
  • Pictures from my trip to Japan
  • FlyerTalk – the ultimate (but very complicated) resource on travel hacking
  • WikiTravel – great site for getting info on any destination
  • Kayak – my favorite site for booking flights. Use the price alert feature.

Specific Articles from EPoP You Should Read:

  • How a College Student with a Small Income can Get Approved for the Best Travel Credit Cards
  • How a College Student Making $6,000/year was Able to Get Approved for the Best Travel Cards (specific case study)
  • How Opening Credit Cards Affects Your Credit Score
  • How to Use Amazon Payments to Meet Minimum Spend Requirements
  • Amazon Payments FAQ

Things you should do right after listening:

  • Plan to travel! Do a study abroad, or plan a solo trip. Start reading up on travel hacking techniques to learn how you can minimize your costs
  • Sign up for a credit card. As we talked about in the podcast, call them up and explain yourself if the system rejects you. Be smart and always pay your full balance every month. Not only does this help with FF miles, but it also helps you build up credit.

If you enjoyed this interview, leave a review of the CIG podcast on iTunes! All the cool kids do it. And they all pee their pants.