Patrick McIvor Travel Guide, Chapter 3

In Chapter 3 of Patrick McIvor’s series “Have Shears Will Travel,” he touches on the importance of “playing games.” He’s not talking about a quick game of Bunco by the beach or Uno on a Transatlantic flight. This is about playing games to benefit your travel experience.

Nowadays, I think of life as a game, and when you make a game out of life, it seems to make it even more fun living it. When traveling, you begin to realize that there are games that can make your travel not only more fun but also allow you to stretch your dollar and save money too. And with these games, the more you play, the more get. Plus, the games can become even more fun. So let’s take a look at some games that are really worth playing.

Play The Credit Card Game

A great way to pay for some fun is to let the necessities of life make travel more affordable. Using a credit card can help you because you can have the money, or points, to get you to the places you want to go. My advice to you is to get a credit card that can help you pay for travel since most cards no longer have annual fees. So instead of using cash or a debit card in your everyday life, charge everything! From the grocery store, gas station, doctor’s visits, fees for sporting activities, insurance payments, heck anything you can charge, charge it. Why? Because these days everything becomes a point towards a great vacation. But before you start charging everything, make sure you have the money to spend, and also make sure you put that money away to pay off the charges you just made. Last year when my family traveled to Europe, we charged everything for our trip and then we used the points we had just earned to help pay off the flights we had just booked. When you use this technique wisely it doesn’t put you in debt. You can pay off your balance at the end of every week if you want. Just make sure every dollar spent counts towards a reward.

Play The Flexibility Game

By being flexible with your itinerary can save you a ton of money. From searching a day or two before and after your planned departure and checking out alternative airports, you can easily find a 10-50 percent savings. Where we live in Pennsylvania, we have the option of three International airports and two regional airports all within two hours of our home. When we travel as a family, exploring all of our options can offer savings that can be well worth it and help us afford even more for our trip. We even found for our family that by flying into London and out of Amsterdam saved us almost $500 as a family versus flying back from London, Germany or Paris because of departure fees. Also, remember there’s always more than one way to get from point “A” to point “B.” If you are traveling abroad, there are a lot of discount airlines and as long as you are traveling light, they can often be cheaper than taking a train. Plan your vacation, but before you book anything, play around with some options. You just might find you can save yourself a ton of money if you have a little flexibility.

Play The Economic Game

Economics affect travel in many ways. First, there is always a “high season” when prices are expensive because demand from travelers is so heavy. When traveling abroad, a country’s economy can vary from year to year, plus the value of the dollar fluctuates too. When the dollar is strong, going outside the country can be very affordable. When a country’s economy is struggling, many times that offers great value too, and with a little research and a flexible travel plan, you can find a perfect time and a perfect place to plan for a great vacation.

Play The Adventure Game

If you are a person that doesn’t mind a little adventure, last minute deals can really get you a big bang for your buck. With today’s connectivity, online websites and apps can get you to places and into places you never thought you could afford. These can get you last minute, empty seats on flights plus deals on places to stay. I have friends who love doing this and literary find out where they’re going or staying the week of, the day before or even day of the day they are leaving, and they love going on last minute deals. I even have a team member that just gets in her car and drives, figuring out where she and her husband are going and where they are staying as they drive. They can end up as far away as Colorado having new adventures every day, staying when and where they want and driving on as they please.

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Play Local Games

From 2-for-1 Broadway tickets in NYC to museum passes that for one price can get you into multiple museums, playing local games can help you save a ton. There are rail passes that allow unlimited travel over a set period of time and discount days that offer suggested donations instead of the regular entrance fees for museum and zoos. Even Living Social, Groupon, and Ebates deals, for everything from parking to events, playing games can help you win when you travel.

Play The Social Game

When people traveled, historically, they stayed at a hotel or with family and friends at their homes. But today, that is just the beginning of your choices because with social staying like Airbnb or VRBO, shared spaces to entire homes are just some of the choices. Now you can rent treehouses, campers parked in people’s backyards, even igloos that can make your travel truly memorable. And when you stay socially, your experience can feel like you are part of the neighborhood, staying with family and friends.

When it comes to travel, if you want to save money, sometimes up to 50 percent, play these games, be flexible and plan to have even more fun. You’ll realize that once you start to play some of these games, travel becomes a lot more accessible and affordable. It might not be the way to travel for everyone, but for those who give it a try, you’ll have experiences you never could have imagined and memories you’ll never forget. For me, playing games allows me to have travel and experiences I love, and love to share.

I’ll be back next month with Chapter 4: Reality Wins.  


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