I think one of the best perks of travel hacking is the ability and freedom to visit family. Now don’t get me wrong the other perks are great as well… airport lounge access, upgraded hotel rooms, etc. However, the freedom to visit family without breaking the bank (especially on last minute flights) is a priceless perk.
Last Minute Flights
Back in November, my wife wanted to visit her family and attend two baby showers in her hometown. Because it was pretty last minute, ticket prices were around $400-500 round trip. Instead, we spent 20,000 miles (plus taxes/fees) to book United flights. Without travel hacking, we probably couldn’t have afforded for the surprise trip down to Northern California.
Flights for Family
I’ve also spent a fair share of points/miles for family members to fly. During busy months, it’s sometimes easier for our parents to come visit Seattle than it is for us to visit California. One of the best feelings is how appreciative family can be when you book a free flight for them. A couple months ago I booked my parents on a LGB to SFO flight to visit some old college friends. They had a fantastic time and couldn’t stop talking about the fact that I got them free flights. I’m also always on the lookout for flight deals that my parents might be able to take advantage of.
One of my wife’s favorite things to do is surprise family (however, she hates being surprised herself). A few weekends ago we were able to book flights down to Southern California to surprise my mom and attend my cousin’s first birthday party.
We were also able to visit my grandparents during this short trip. In hindsight, this was even more meaningful because my grandpa ended up passing away about 5 days later. I will never forget sitting next to his bed, holding his hand, and letting him know how much I loved him. I would not have had this opportunity had it not been for our ability to book flights on miles and spend nearly nothing out of pocket. Furthermore, we were able to book last minute flights, using miles, to attend my grandpa’s funeral without a second thought.
Family is Important
Over the past few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about family and things that matter most to me. I don’t want to look back on life and think “man I wish I had spent more time with my dad or mom”. Being a couple states away from family isn’t easy, but travel hacking makes it much more affordable to visit home and spend quality time with family.