It always seems to be the case that you either don’t have the time to travel, or don’t have the money. It’s the frustrating financial reality of working for the man.
But there are ways around it.
One free-wheeling solution to this dilemma is to book your flights and then worry about getting the money together or sweet talking the boss into some time off afterwards. While not the most professionally responsible option, sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice for the good of your own sanity.
So to help you board the plane out of the office or fly from the unemployment queue, here are three places to find free or cheap flights around the world.
Pool Your Frequent Flyers
This is a very handy option offered by Virgin’s Velocity loyalty program, allowing you to pool your points and status credits with family members living at the same address.
You can do this for up to six family members, but even if you’re just in a couple, it’s a great way to gather enough points to fly sooner and collect status credits to move up a tier and get the entitlements that come with that.
Who doesn’t want free flights, extra baggage and lounge passes?
To set up family pooling, log in to the account you’d like the pool from and designate who the future points and status credits will go to.
Rack Up Credit Card Reward Points
If you use a credit card anyway, you might as well earn some frequent flyers while you’re at it. And with most banks offering an airline linked rewards card, it’s a very straightforward process that can pay off (providing you don’t bury yourself in debt doing so).
This is a particularly effective tactic if you use the card at businesses aligned with the program, which are listed on the credit card information page, in most cases.
And if credit cards aren’t your thing, you can still earn bonus points by shopping at airlines’ partner businesses, where significantly more points can be accrued for each purchase than at equivalent retailers.
For example, if you shop online at David Jones through the Qantas Frequent Flyer program’s online store, you can earn five points per dollar spent.
Get Smart About Your Searches
If you know where and how long you want to go away for, Google can help you find the cheapest fares. They have a sweet search aggregator that finds the cheapest fares and displays them on a calendar so you can see when to book.
Or just take that information to a travel agent to sort out an even sweeter fare for you.
It’s called the Matrix Airfare Search, and while you can’t book directly through the website, it does spit out all the information you need to find the cheapest flights on the market, in Australia and around the world.
Image: Donna Rutherford, via Flickr