Looking for a free flight (in time for Spring Break)? Here's a secret trick to how I scored $1,128.45 in free flights

You've probably heard about people scoring a free flight doing something called Travel Hacking. This is when they open up a credit card with an awesome bonus offer of free airfare or frequent flyer miles if they spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time.

In a nutshell, anyway.

But what if you don't want to open up a new credit card just to reap a free flight?

Well, as a young adult who was very into international travel (but had very little money), I kinda stumbled onto a different way to score free airfare.

With a little bit of forethought and luck, you can get in on this secret trick as well.

The Secret to a Free Flight: Have an Organization or Company Pay for It by Pitching Them

I know, I know. That sounds vague.

So let me explain.

There are businesses, organizations, clubs, groups, etc. that have the funds to pay for your spring break travel.

But why would they want to?

Well, you have to pitch them a really good reason.

Two very good reasons I've come up with in the past:

  • Tacking on a market research project directly benefitting their organization
  • Tacking on an extra week of travel to an educational trip

Let's tackle both, with examples from my own experience.

Spring Break in Japan: $500 from a Company for Market Research

Remember I said “with a little forethought and luck”? Well, the luck with this one came from being an intern for a snack food start-up company.

After that, there was a lot of forethought.

You see, I was dating my now-husband, who happened to be stationed in Japan. And I desperately wanted to go visit him for Spring Break. The only problem? Airfare was an excruciating $800-1,200, which is a huge amount to cover on a $5.15 federal work-study job.

So, I decided to pitch a market research project to the company.

Here's a quick rundown of the pitch:

  • I'm going to Japan to visit my boyfriend during Spring Break.
  • I see that you (the company) have a snack food product, and that you're looking to expand into different markets.
  • How about you fund my free flight to Japan, and in exchange I will stuff part of my luggage with different varieties of your snacks to conduct a taste-testing session while there?
  • Here are the Deliverables for You: a report including translated results from surveys, plus I'll load my suitcase with lots of Japanese snacks to help you gauge the market.

Not only did this work, but I was featured in the local newspaper when I gave them the presentation.

Your Turn: What organization, group, company, etc. do you have an association or contact with that could use some work-on-the-ground in a foreign country? Think outside of the box here. Maybe even base your location solely upon their needs (hey, beats hanging around home instead, right?).

Spring Break in Paris: $628.45 from My College Department Head

I was chosen to be part of the Model UN team our college sent to Geneva, Switzerland. As if that wasn't cool enough, the trip happened to be the week leading up to Spring Break. So what did I do (after a little thought)?

I asked if we could have the return ticket for any date that we wanted.

The department head had no problem with that. So I made my return ticket for a week after the conference ended, and took a train from Geneva to Paris to spend a week there for Spring Break. It was a free flight to Geneva, then just cost me $80-$100 (estimated – I did not save that ticket) to get to Paris.

Your Turn: This one doesn't have to be only for Spring Break. On any educational trip abroad take several days off in order to tack on some extra travel time for a leisure trip. Okay the return ticket date change with whoever is sponsoring the educational trip. If there is going to be a difference in cost from when you were originally going to return home (at the end of the educational part), then offer to pay the difference (which is a heck of a lot cheaper than paying the full round trip).

The point to this article is to show you that with a bit of thinking outside of the box, luck, and forethought, you can get your Spring Break airfare paid for. I mean, what do you have to lose? And don't forget to pair any money you receive with travel discounts and deals to make the most of it.

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