The Art of Travel Hacking

A question I keep getting asked is how I plan to pay for my bus conversion process.  So far the only money I’ve spent was the $5000 for the bus and roughly $120 to get it inspected and properly licensed, but now I’ve got to compile a list and make a budget for all the components involved in the conversion process.  That’s where my next plan comes in: travel hacking. 

According to Zero to Travel

“Travel hacking involves working within the existing rules set up by airlines, credit cards and hotels, and using them to your advantage to earn free travel including flights, lodging and other upgrades.”

There are many ways to do it. You can cash in on membership perks, for instance, or earn points on a travel rewards credit card, or get frequent flyer miles, etc.  For me personally, I love travel reward’s cards.  I use my Capital One Venture Card for absolutely everything and I earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. I’ve decided to take out a new credit card to fund my bus. After reading about the best travel reward’s cards I decided to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reward’s Card because it offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the account.  That comes to about $750 or so toward travel. I mean, that’s a flight at least! You also get 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.  The perks add up. 

sapphire_preferred_card

 

 Chase Sapphire Card

Now I know what you’re thinking. Spending money to earn points seems a little counter intuitive, and it totally is if you’re racking up credit card debt on useless expenses, but the way I see it, I’m going to have to spend money on this bus regardless.  So I can either dip into my savings, or I can take out another credit card and earn some travel points in the process. Another thing to consider is your credit score. Apparently, taking out credit cards does not hurt your score, but keeping a balance does, so it’s important to make regular payments.  I’m pretty good with money, at least so far, so this is a risk I am willing to take.

Now it’s worth noting that you should read the fine print and make sure your points don’t expire and look into the annual fees, etc. etc. etc. Like anything, it’s important to thoroughly research what you’re doing before you start signing up for credit cards. 

Here are some other useful resources for travel hacking:

https://chrisguillebeau.com/travel-hacking-resources/ 

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/beginners/ 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2014/05/30/60-second-guide-to-travel-hacking/#7450188b2627 

So to recap, I need to apply for this credit card and spend at least $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the account.  That means I’ve got to have my shopping list together before I apply for the card, so here’s the wish list I’ve started for the bus which I will be updating as I continue my project.  The prices vary for certain items and I won’t have a specific idea until I talk to a contractor. 

Shopping List:

  • Framing (2X3s, sliding door for the bathroom, other supplies)
  • Electrical (solar panel kit, propane generator, light fixtures, wiring and supplies)
  • Flooring and Walls (salvaged barn wood, insulation, and supplies)
  • Bathroom (interior wood, water tanks, plumbing supplies, water heater)
  • Kitchen (sink, cabinetry, mini-fridge, cooker, )
  • Seating (3 – 4 storage ottomans, pillows)
  • Bedding (mattress topper, sleeping bag, pillows)
  • Electronics (projector, speakers, bus radio)
  • Decor Items (will vary)
  • Other

It’s going to be easier to finalize my shopping list as I go step by step in the process, but this is a bare bones overall idea.  Am I forgetting something? 

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