Our goal at WorldWanderlusting is to help you find ways to quench your wanderlust without crunching your wallet. As much as we love the frequent-flyer mile bonuses which come with so many credit card offers and get you free trips like Sheldon’s $900 cheap European vacation, we know that sometimes you’ll actually have to pay for a flight (wince).
Sheldon’s post yesterday about booking a cheap last-minute flight was great. But, as big brothers must do sometimes, I may just have to correct him by pointing out how he could have saved even more. The only thing better than finding a flight for half of what another airline is charging is buying a $400 voucher for $200 to use on that flight.
You may have read my piece on “the bump,” taking advantage of flight overloads to obtain vouchers for future flights. As much as we may try, however, we won’t get all of those vouchers and some of them will go to people who don’t wanderlust like we do. Those people often assign a higher value to cash than they do to the voucher, whereas we wanderlusters essentially see a 1:1 exchange ratio. As a result, you can pick up these vouchers at garage sale prices, especially when the expiration is nearing.
A quick search of local craigslist postings reveals how Sheldon might have saved at least $100 on one leg of his flight. I found an offer for a one way SW voucher for $200 that expires in two weeks. At this point, the seller would have to be a fool to deny a $100 cash offer.
At any given point, you can find hundreds of these vouchers listed for sale. Obviously, www.Craigslist.org is a great place to search, and while I prefer to deal locally, there’s little to stop you from buying from someone across the country. SearchTempest.com is a handy tool for searching all craigslist posts at once.
Most of the vouchers are essentially a code which you enter along with the voucher owner’s name. You can still book the ticket in your own name. Now, a word of caution: this does not mean you can be reckless with your purchasing decisions. You should contact the seller and exercise the same discretion you’d use in any other online transaction. Using Paypal is a nice way to have at least some recourse if there’s any problem.
Also, as a technicality, these vouchers are generally marked as “non-transferable.” Again, while you must enter the original voucher holder’s name to redeem it, you should be able to book the ticket in your name. If you’re considering going this route and you’d like some advice, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer you in disclosure-laden legalese.
Also, when making your offer to the voucher holder, first remember that if they’re selling it, they probably don’t value it very highly to begin with, then remember the “Christensen Rule for Business.” This is a carefully cultured bit of poignant advice has been refined over centuries of tightwadedness.
While such attitudes generally wane over generations, in our family it has done exactly the opposite. And if it’s any measure of the potency of our penny-pinching, can I just share with you that my father drives a very hard bargain… at garage sales. Hopefully it will be of some use to you.
The Christensen Rule for Business
It cost 10
Its worth 8
They’d like 6
They’d settle for 4
Nothing pains us more at WorldWanderlusting.com, than hearing “I’d love to travel, I just can’t afford it.” We write about inexpensive ways for people to get to places they had only dreamed of. Follow us on Facebook or check out these other great posts:
- Eight Great things to do in Panama
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- Make your Cruise so Cheap it’s Free
- Explore Europe with 8 free nights in Starwood Hotels
Wanderlust with us.