Although the Canadian travel market is dwarfed by the US one, there are increasingly more products and services dedicated to helping Canadians get ahead and save a few travel bucks. One such service is Canadian Free Flyers (more on that here), and another resource is Steven Zussino’s book, Travel Hacking for Canadians.
Steven sent me a copy of his book, which I flew through. I learned some valuable Canadian-specific tips to get the most bang for my travel buck. It’s a good resource for frequent reference.
Throughout the book, there’s a heavy focus on membership programs – with airlines, hotels, car rentals, and more. There are pictorial illustrations of each, so you know what you’re looking at when you try to replicate these tips on your own.
The following sections are covered in detail:
Almost half the book focuses on air travel, including a thorough coverage of Canadian frequent flyer mile membership programs, credit cards, shopping promotions/tips, and transfer opportunities. There are also tips and techniques for searching airfare and ensuring you get the best deal.
Once these frequent flyer mile accumulation methods are addressed, there is a substantial (and useful) section covering how to use those miles to book the best airfare. You’ll find lots of tips and hacks to not only save money, but also to take advantage of free stopovers and other lesser-known tricks, with advice on which programs to use for your desired flight itineraries and destinations.
The next major focus of Travel Hacking for Canadians is about accommodation; how to use services like Priceline and Hotwire, utilizing best rate guarantees, terms and conditions for hotel loyalty programs, and a couple of alternatives to hotels such as house-sitting, home exchanges, and short-term rental services.
For myself, as a proponent of accommodation hacks such as how to get free accommodation around the world (I did write a book on it after all), I found the accommodation section a bit too focused on hotels, with not enough information on the alternatives – which I would have considered to be important travel hacks. (Then again, as a full-time traveller I’m a wee bit extreme in my own knowledge and practice of hotel alternatives. This book is geared towards people who take vacations as opposed to lifestyle travellers).
The above two sections comprise over 75% of the book, which stands to reason since transportation and accommodation are not only the most expensive elements of travel, but also the most necessary and with the largest number of opportunities to save money.
This short section shows how to score car rental deals with Priceline, extra fees to beware of, tips for saving money and getting free upgrades, and an overview of the car rental loyalty programs.
If you’re inclined to take a cruise, this section teaches you about getting deals with repositioning cruises, early and late booking tips, specifics on the cruise loyalty programs, using services like Cruise Compete, getting good deals on excursions, and extra fees/spending traps to be aware of.
After reading the entire 200-page book with travel hacking tips and techniques, I was confused by the 3-page appendix: an interview with a Flight Centre manager focusing on why readers might want to use a travel agent instead. It seemed out of place given the self-driven approach of travel hacking to begin with, and a bizarre contradiction to the book.
Aside from the slightly contradictory appendix, however, I found Travel Hacking for Canadians to be a valuable resource for Canadians who want to get the best deals for travel and make the most of their vacation budget and time.
You can pick up Travel Hacking for Canadians for $10 for the e-book version, and $20 for both digital and paperback versions.
Editor’s Note: I received a free copy of Travel Hacking for Canadians for review purposes, and there are affiliate links in this post.