Monday Morning Consultant … Jan 31st 2011

At the airport, I usually have an hour or so to kill … my usual reading will consist of the following forums

  • Mileage run forums at Flyer Talk : This is a standard for anyone in consulting. Maximizing your travel windows and getting the most miles for a future trip. This is basic training for any travel ninja!
  • Account balances at each of my airline miles accounts : Always need to keep on top of these guys
  • Checking for hotel/airline promotions on Flyer Talk : too much free stuff given away not to check.

One would ask the question, what does this have to do with consulting. Well consulting is one of the few jobs that will allow you to accumulate these types of perks without doing anything special. In fact, many consultants I know consider this part of their compensation – and who would want to max out their compensation?

Another great blog/forum to check out, if you’re new to travel hacking … would be Travel Hacking. What is travel hacking? Here is a good definition from Chris Guillebeau

  • Travel hacking refers to democratizing free and low-cost travel. Our goal is to make travel fun, affordable, and accessible.
  • Frequent Flyer Miles are a major profit center for the airlines; it’s not something they do to be nice.
  • One of the principles of travel hacking is to connect mileage earning to mileage redeeming—whatever miles or points you earn, be thinking about what you’ll do with them

Additionally, when using those consulting flex trips … I’ve even found easier ways to not pay on the road by staying for free at other people’s places – you make friends, have a better travel experience and save your hotel points for a splurge!

Here are four resources for you to find the right hospitality exchange: Copied wholesale from an article by Nora Dunn – why write it when someone wrote it better.

Couch Surfing – Couch Surfing is arguably the most well-known hospitality exchange, although not the first. Your bed for the night can take the form of a couch, extra bedroom, or chunk of the floor depending on what your host can offer. You can browse online listings, learn about and converse with your potential host online, and make arrangements to meet. Safety checks are in place to ensure no dodgy travelers/hosts ruin it for everybody, but as with all the opportunities listed in this section, please do your due diligence and go with your gut instincts to be safe.

Hospitality Club – I have used Hospitality Club to stay in a few Australian homes and meet new friends in other places in the world. The platform is similar to Couch Surfing with checks and balances, and a wide variety of members can make this site an adventure to surf.

Global Freeloaders – If the platform or profiles on Couch Surfing and Hospitality Club aren’t doing much for you, then check out what Global Freeloaders has to offer. The only stipulation to membership is that you must be able to reciprocate and offer up your home to travelers within six months of signing up. So if you are on a long trip, best to wait until you get home unless you can host travelers before you leave.

Servas – With over 50 years under its belt, Servas is considered to be a pioneer in the hospitality exchange arena, and is recognized by the United Nations. The membership application process is more grueling, and requires a personal interview before acceptance. Fees vary from country to country, and many country listings are not yet available online (instead, they are mailed to you). Although I don’t doubt the quality of candidate screening and such, I find it much easier to use the other three options above.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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