7 Tricks for Getting Free Stuff When you Travel
1. Free International Calls
Lets face it, hotels are not going to give you free international calls, so why not install a few apps on your phone or tablet and take advantage of free calls? I constantly am using different apps on my devices to make and receive calls. It’s a bit frustrating not having your one dedicated number to use, but if you are in a pinch and need to make a call while overseas, apps are the way to go – most have free credits when you sign up, and some are just free. Most people use Skype, Whatsapp or Facetime now, so between those three, there’s no reason to have to pay international calling rates.
2. Free Breakfast
This one is pretty simple and all it involves is a little research before booking your hotel. Many hotels offer free breakfast and or can offer a breakfast package into your rate, so at least it feels like it’s free when you are indulging on that extra crispy bacon from the buffet line.
3. At The Airport
I know that this works when you have a long layover, especially overseas. When I have a 4+ hour layover, I visit the airport information desk. Often they'll have a free city tour you can take. It's nothing fancy, but you do get to see a bit of the city and it's much better than hanging around an airport lounge. I also make a point of stopping at the visitor center to ask about any freebies if I'm staying in town for a day or two. They're always happy and proud to tell me about their city. It's not all free, but it's still worth taking the time to ask.
4. Museum Reciprocal Pass
We always buy an annual pass to our local museums. We have three and like to visit them each at least once a year. So it's a good deal. Last summer, we were on vacation and had an extra day. We decided to visit a local natural history museum. To our surprise, they honored our local museum pass. It seems that many museums honor each other's passes. So if you have a pass and are away from home, you might have a free museum visit.
5. Ask the Flight Attendant
Airlines have become somewhat of a nightmare lately when it comes to giving anything away for free, but you’d be surprised what a warm smile and polite ask can get you. When traveling in coach, I always ask the flight attendant for extra snacks and a full can of my drink. I try not to be loud or obvious about it, and they usually don’t have a problem with it. Again, it’s the small victories…
6. Be Flexible When Traveling
Airline cabins are often overbooked due to airlines selling more seats than they actually have available to cover no-shows and cancellations. Unless you are in a rush to get to a wedding or celebration - volunteer to stay behind. When I know a flight is oversold, usually I find that out when I check in, I run to the gate and volunteer to be left behind if it comes to that. Volunteers are rewarded with flight vouchers and food credit, and sometimes hotels if there are no additional flights that day. Hey, if you’ve got the time, it’s worth the airline credits for free flights.
7. Just Ask!
If you are staying at a hotel, be sure to sign up for their loyalty program and ask if there are any special sign up gifts or offers. Often loyalty programs provide free Wi-Fi or room upgrades. Or head over to the concierge and ask if there is anything that you can do for free, often times there are. With all my traveling, I’ve learned to always just ask. There’s no shame in trying…
Main Image Photo Credit: © iStock/haveseen
About the Author: David Duran is a Brooklyn-based luxury, hospitality, culinary, and overall freelance travel writer who contributes to such publications as Fodor's, Travel + Leisure, Destinations Weddings & Honeymoon, and Caribbean Travel + Life, among others. When not traveling 20-25 days a month for his work, he spends his free time planning more travel! To read some of his work, check out his online portfolio, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @mrdavidduran.