Tips for Teachers to Travel
People ask us all the time, how do you manage to travel so much. Reading between the lines, I know they are really asking- how do you, a teacher, afford to travel on a teacher’s salary. Ready for the secret? We maximize every mile, point, deal, and school break to be able to do so.
We in no way claim to be experts at the points game, genius financial planners or even system beaters. But with a little research, and always assuming that we are always going to travel again we manage to make traveling happen for us.
The first few tips are the tried and true ways to easily get your next plane ticket. The last few are our personal tidbits. Teacher or anyone on a budget, give them a try, and make the most out of your trip.
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1. Points and Miles
This is the bread and butter of a budget traveler. Points and miles add up. My main source of information comes from who we call the King of Points,The Points Guy. He is our hero. The information from this site is invaluable, they valuate points and keep up with all the newest point opportunities and shares new travel benefits available in the industry. I follow him/them all of my social media accounts and recommend them to anyone who asks.
2. Major Carriers
All major carriers have sales, promotions or ways to earn more miles. I follow American Airlines because DFW is my major hub and I tend to get better deals this way. Follow the major carrier of your hub, even if you aren’t at a major international airport you can at least get good deals out of that area. Following a major carrier on social media and email subscriptions, you can find last minute deals and you can keep up with any promotion or sale. Reaching out on social media can often get you better results if you have issues while you are traveling.
3. Credit Cards
Why wouldn’t I earn a mile for the $1 coke at the gas station. Sure I’ll take your cash put dinner on my card so I can earn 3x’s the bill in points. This is how we gather as many points as we can. Even a few points can provide a discount on a hotel, a flight or even a car rental.
If you follow The Points Guy or another outlet, you know that the Chase Sapphire Credit Cards have an amazing point valuation and you can use it on anything from cars to flights. This program has been a huge saver for me. But, of course these are only okay if you pay off balances in full each month.
4. You Will Travel Again
This is always my thinking- I am going to go traveling again. I think of each trip as an investment. By spending on a part, I am earning miles or rewards that I can use in the future.
For example, We were going on a month-long road trip from Texas to Canada, read more about that adventure. I needed to book lots of hotels along our route. At the time I was just booking reservations through different sites using my Chase card to get the points. But, I stumbled upon Hotels.com, after 10 stays you receive a free night. Well, I was booking the hotels anyways, I might as well use one site. AND here is the kicker, I could double dip, by paying with my Chase card I was earning points and nights towards a free hotel stay. This way, I was investing in one trip while planning for the next one. P.S. those free nights came in handy in Paris the next year!
5. No Thanksgiving Turkeys in London
Being in education, low-cost travel can be tough since the chunk of our vacation days occur over the busy summer or holiday season. But, knowing that the same holidays we celebrate here are not the same around the world has lead to some great deals. Thanksgiving break has provided for outstanding European adventures. The other benefit of being an educator is knowing exactly when your free time is so you can plan really far in advance. The best advance booking deal is surprisingly car rentals. And you can cancel and keep rebooking without worry, we reserved a car 8 months in advance for a summer trip in Germany, canceled it 3 times and paid only about $300 for 3 weeks!
To my teacher friends, or those meticulous budget planner, knowing when I will have time off to travel helps me plan waaay in advance. Sometimes this can be a detriment, considering summer and holidays can be peak travel but remember they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe. Use your time and budget creatively.
So while our profession’s pay does put up some hurdles, we don’t let it stop us. This is in no way a comprehensive list of travel tips and tricks. What do you use? We are always on the lookout for more! Follow us as we try to find the best travel deals out there and our teacher resources to help with wanderlust in the classroom. Check out more of our adventures in budget travels here.