By JACLYN SNOW
Where would you go if you could fly for free? Well guess what – you can, and there are so many ways to do it! I recently released my best advice for finding the cheapest flights, and today I’ll reveal a plethora of options for obtaining free flights! For your convenience, I present to you the jewel of my extensive research via the inter-web and networking with other tight-budget travelers.
7 Ways To Fly For Free!
1. Volunteer for a later flight to get a free flight voucher
If you are flexible about the time of your flight, volunteer to take a later flight in the event that yours is overbooked. If you are chosen, the airline will offer you a reward voucher of equal or greater value than the price of your current ticket!
✈️️ Overbooked flights are likely to require volunteers, so aim for a popular flight. Some factors that increase popularity include whether it’s the first flight of the day, on a weekend or holiday, between popular destinations, and through major airports.
✈️️ Some airlines offer the opportunity to volunteer at check-in, while others announce it over the loudspeaker. For international flights, it’s best to politely inquire with the attendant at your gate.
✈️️ You’re more likely to be selected as a volunteer if you have not checked a bag (bring a carry-on), have checked in to your flight early, have no connecting flights, and are traveling solo.
2. Get a frequent flyer credit card
Basically every major airline has a partnership with a credit card. If you aren’t already racking up miles or travel rewards every time you pay your bills or make a purchase with your credit card, then you are using the wrong card.
✈️️ There is an amount of minimum spending the first few months to get some huge amount of bonus miles for signing up with the new card. You should be able to reach that minimum by just paying your regular bills. The rewards miles you receive for hitting the minimum those first few months can be enough with the right credit card to get you a free round-trip international flight.
✈️️ Some airline credit cards additionally reward their customers for annually renewing their credit card by offering a free companion ticket once a year to travel with a friend or family member!
✈️️ Compare the best airline credit cards as ranked by Get.com.
3. Accompany pets on planes
✈️️ You may find related listings in the pet care section of Care.com.
4. Take a job as an airplane nanny
✈️️ Apply to be a Paid Air Travel Escort with Flying Companions to fly with unaccompanied children.
✈️️ Register as an Adventure Nanny to find families specifically searching for a nanny who will travel. You can also search babysitting websites like Sittercity and Care.com. If you’re lucky, you may find a family seeking a vacation nanny or flight escort for their children.
5. Be a flight companion to elderly travelers
✈️️ Work as an escort for Flying Companions to accompany travelers who are elderly, impaired and/or disabled.
✈️️ Fly as a travel companion to seniors with First Light Home Care.
6. Organize group travel
✈️️ Many companies offer free travel for people who coordinate group trips. You can get not only free airfare but a whole free vacation by gathering a certain number of travelers and acting as a liaison between them and a tour company. Depending on the company, you may be responsible for arranging details such as airport transfers and insurance ahead of time.
✈️️ Follow the links below to see the benefits of being a group coordinator for any of these companies:
✈️️ Friendly Planet offers a “Refer a Friend” reward program that credits you and each friend you refer $100 toward a trip. Recruit enough friends to combine your bonuses for a free tour!
7. If you’re single, why not mingle… advantageously.
The website Miss Travel exists to help wealthy travelers find companions.
✈️️ While many travelers use this website to find romance, others seek travel companions for more platonic purposes. For example, I’ve seen postings by a pilot looking for a partner to explore cities together between flights, a parent flying for business seeking a companion with a similarly aged child, and a woman who would cover all expenses in return for her travel partner to serve as a personal chef, maid, photographer, etc.
✈️️ It is your responsibility to prioritize your safety and wellbeing in any arrangements you make. If you choose this method, you should be even more careful than when meeting an online date: do a background check, get to know your travel-benefactor before making any commitments, tell someone where you’re going and with whom, and have a back-up plan.
The 7 ways to fly for free described here are the opportunities on which I’m most informed, but I’ve heard of even more ways to get free flights! If you are inspired by this article to travel for free, I encourage you to do your research and make it a reality. Travel may take more effort to plan with minimal funds, but it is totally possible and highly rewarding. I’ll see you back here in a couple of weeks to share more tips on how to travel free and cheap!