How a Travel Nerd Books a Trip

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week is another episode of our series “How the Nerds Do It,” where we talk with Nerds about how they personally tackled the issues they write about every day. In this episode we talk with travel Nerd Sam Kemmis on how he goes about booking travel for himself.

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Our take

Travel Nerd Sam Kemmis was preparing for a 14-hour flight when everything changed: He was upgraded. And while for most of us this might be a fun surprise, for Sam, it set him on a course of learning all about travel points, rewards and how to travel better for less.

When Sam starts booking a trip, he usually starts with either a deal, a points or miles strategy or a specific plan. While it’s not always possible to travel this way, Sam says that going into planning a vacation without a specific itinerary can help you get a better deal since you can choose flights based on affordability rather than a specific date or destination.

Sam also doles out some great advice for those looking to book travel: Airline status is great, but hotel status isn’t really worth the hype; spend your points — don’t hoard them; and try to get an above-average value for your miles.

Our tips

  1. Use your points wisely: Try to get above average value from your points and miles, but don’t become obsessive.

  2. Know your tools: Use Google Flights to get a big-picture sense of what prices look like, then dig in and compare with miles.

  3. Follow the deals: Don’t just hope the deals will magically appear where and when you want to travel.

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Alana Benson writes for NerdWallet. Email:

The article Smart Money: How a Travel Nerd Books a Trip originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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