Travel Secrets: How to Upgrade Your Vacation for Less

Kathelys Pereira

Want to upgrade your vacation experience with some first-class travel secrets? Of course you do.

Who wouldn’t want to travel in style when given the opportunity? With better food, entertainment, and even more space to stretch out your legs, upgrading to first-class seats definitely has its perks. Unfortunately, most of us simply don’t have the budget to pay for it. According to a survey conducted by American Express last year (2015), the average cost of a vacation these days is about $1,005 per person – and that’s for those of us who are happy to fly economy. In other words, finding enough cash to pay for a family trip is difficult enough, without factoring the price for better seats into the mix.

Fortunately for those of us with less cash to splash, however, there may be a few ways you can upgrade your vacation without the hefty price tag. Grab your trusty neck money wallet, and explore the following travel secrets for some simple and sneaky tricks to earn yourself a better seat.

How to Upgrade Your Vacation for Less

Free Upgrades Really Do Happen

Before we offer up some ways that you might be able to upgrade your vacation, it’s worth pointing out that free upgrades really do happen sometimes. In fact, nearly one in five people have experienced a free upgrade in the last two years. polled their users to find that 16% of flyers had managed to snag an upgrade for free when using a budget airline, and that number increased to 18% on non-budget options. The research revealed:

  • 7% of people didn’t have to anything to get their upgrade – they just received a boost out of pure chance.
  • 4% earned an upgrade as part of their frequent flyer program
  • 4% talked their way to a better seat
  • 1% got preferential treatment from a friend or family member
  • 5% were offered upgrades to celebrate their honeymoon or birthday

Now that you know the stats, here are a few things you can try yourself.

1.    Travel in Slower Times

If you’re willing to be flexible about when you take your vacation, you’ll usually find that you can save a lot of money on everything from upgraded seats, to overall flight costs, and even hotel stays. When seeking out travel secrets to upgrade your vacation, try to avoid flying during weekends and busy holidays when everyone else is fighting for a seat. Instead, choose a flight in the middle of the week –according to FareCompare, the best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and surprisingly – Saturday.

The less popular your flight is, the more likely it is to have empty seats, meaning that you have a better chance of being bumped to first-class. Also, look for times throughout the year when people don’t want to fly. For instance, you’re more likely to struggle in finding a good deal when travelling over the summer holidays or Christmas.

2.    Join a Membership Program

Frequent flyer programs aren’t the only way to earn yourself treats and discounts on your next journey. Join the right membership program, and you may be able to use travel secrets to save on everything from cruises, to rental cars, and more. Visit a few websites around the internet and look at the different memberships that you might be eligible for, and what they can offer you. Just remember to learn as much as you can about the website before you hand over your hard-earned cash, as scams still exist.

You could always try getting in touch with the airline you’re flying with, or check out offers at your local airport too to see if they’re willing to provide upgrades when you take part in certain memberships, or deals.

3.    Be Loyal to a Single Airline

Just as you rely on one brand of neck money wallet to keep your valuables safe after you’ve found that it’s capable of protecting you year after year, it makes sense to stick with the same airline if they can provide a good experience. Not only will you know what to expect every time you head out on a new journey, but loyalty is often a great way to upgrade your vacation too.

Every company appreciates repeat custom, so focus your efforts on racking up your miles with one particular airline, and its partners. The tickets might cost you slightly more now and again, but the long-term benefits of showing your loyalty could mean that you never have to travel in economy class again. Read up on how certain companies reward loyal customers in advance if you want to make sure you’re making the right investment.

4.    Use Your Charm

This might be one of the most obvious travel secrets around for those who want to upgrade their vacation, but it really can work. Being kind and charming to the people you deal with as you move through the airport could be enough to prompt them to find an upgrade for you, simply because they appreciate your behavior after dealing with a long day of managing other stressed-out flyers. If you fly the same route often, try to develop a relationship with the crew. Whatever you do – just make sure that you don’t harass agents, or demand a free upgrade – that won’t get you anywhere.

Another quick tip when you’re making use of charm-based travel secrets, is to dress for the seat you want rather than the seat you have. While most experts agree that your attire doesn’t help your cause as much as it used to, airlines will always prefer to bump a well-dressed individual up to business class, than someone wearing food-stained sweatpants. After all, they have a certain atmosphere they’re trying to create.

5.    Upgrade at the Last Minute

Finally, why not try to upgrade your vacation at the last second? Keep some spare money out of your neck money wallet, and be prepared to speak to the check-in agents at the airport while they’re tracking down your pre-booked seat. If there are left over seats in first class, then you might be able to snag one of them for a much lower cost than what you would have expected to pay when booking in advance.

You won’t necessarily always find yourself in a position where you can upgrade cheaply if you take this risk, but it’s a great last-ditch option in terms of travel secrets when you’re trying to earn a better seat.

Upgrade Your Vacation

Having an incredible flight, and an amazing vacation doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right advice, the right accessories, and a few travel secrets in your arsenal, you’d be surprised what you might be able to achieve.

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