Matty and I get asked all the time how we afford all the vacations. So I thought I would share with ya’ll ways I go about finding/booking our breaks. I am going to explain by using our most recent trip I booked which includes:
6 countries, 3 weeks , 2 people = $2,000!!!
Our Itinerary looks like-
Sharm El Sheikh & Cairo, Egypt
Casablanca & Marrakesh, Morocco
When we moved overseas, knowing we had a bunch of time off to travel, I was determined to figure out ways to travel inexpensively. I came across what is called “Travel Hacking”. If you don’t already know what this is, google it. It could change your life and the way you travel. The meat and potatoes of travel hacking is using bonuses of credit cards for flights and hotels. So we do this. Matty and I have dozen of cards. For those of you that are concerned about hurting your credit score, it is a myth. Our scores have gone up. Hack away.
So we got started by getting 2 Hilton credit cards and scoring 190,000 points. Using category 1 or 2 hotels, this is good for 23 to 47 nights depending how how you use them. So knowing we had points to use, I googled and found- list of Hilton 1 and 2
Seeing that there is a bunch in Egypt, I decided to look for flights from Venice to Egypt which came out to $380 for 2 people. Here is where it gets fun. The flights have a layover in Istanbul. Instead of taking the 2 hour layover, we opted to take a 15 hour layover so we can get out of the airport and see what Istanbul has to offer. The flight is the same price. Some airlines allow multiple day stopovers for the same price.
Knowing we could get to Egypt for a decent price and stay in these hotels we knew we couldn’t pass it up. So we opted for 5 days each in 2 of the hotels. When you book using Hilton points, if you use points on 4 nights, you get the 5th night free. So why not make the most of the points right? One is a Golf Resort in Cairo, the other is a Beach/ Dive resort on the Red Sea.
When looking for flights back to Venice, we found that there was a layover in Morocco. However, we wanted to stay for more than a few hours. It was cheaper to get the flight through to Venice, layover in Morocco, which is $500 for 2 people. A flight too Morocco would have been $700. So we booked the flights all the way back home but we are opting not to take the 2nd flight and stay in Morocco. This means packing light and only having a carry on. There is a website that specializes in this called Skiplagged.
Next was finding a flight from Morocco to Venice. Guess what? Layover is Lisbon so why not? We look if we can do a free stopover, NO LUCK. However, it is $100 more per person to do a 4 day stopover. Sign us up. So… the flight back is direct.
We opt to go back, get our car and drive 4 hours to the Christmas market aka Advent in Zagreb which actually goes till January 8th. It was voted the Best Christmas market in Europe 2016. We will stop in Slovenia on our way back to Italy. I absolutely LOVE Christmas Markets!!!
Usually we don’t spend much on flights due to our bonuses on credit cards. However, this trip was planned around free hotel nights (paying $500 for nights we can’t get free) so the flights cost us more than usual ($750 per person). However, $2000 for a 3 week vacation is pretty good, I think.