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Vacations to gambling destinations can be inexpensive when you take into account the free rooms and food that players receive as comps. Even casino rate, which is a discounted room rate for those who don't quite qualify for a free room, can reduce the price of your vacation.

Over the years I have found that the largest expensive for my vacations is usually the airfare to get there. Unless you are a very high roller, the casinos will not pick up the tab.

There are some things the average person can do to obtain free or discounted airfare.

The first way to save on airfare is to join the Airline's frequent flyer program. The casinos started the player's clubs as a means of keeping track of the players and rewarding them with offers of free rooms, food or other incentives. The Airlines established the frequent flyer program, which is like a player's club for the airlines. You earn points for every mile that you fly. These points can be redeemed for free flights or first class upgrades. Since it takes a few flights to earn a free ticket you will be more inclined to book on the airline where you are a member of the frequent flyer program.

Another way to get a free airfare is to get bumped from a flight that you were booked on. It is not uncommon for the airlines to over book a flight. They do this because many times not everyone shows up for their flight due to last minute changes or other reasons. On the occasions when everyone does show up there are not enough seats to accommodate all the passengers.

When this happens the airlines look for volunteers to give up their seats and take a later flight. In return the airline will compensate you with a free round trip ticket or cash voucher to be used on a future flight. In some instances they will even offer cash payments along with the free flight. This is in addition to getting you on the later flight to your destination. It’s a great deal if you don't mind a little delay in getting to your destination.

Getting Bumped
I heard about the airline bump when I first started traveling, but for many years I never got offered one. Then I discovered that there is a secret to being one of the "lucky" ones. The airlines only ask for volunteers as a last resort. The savvy traveler looking for a bump will inquire with the airline personnel as soon as they get to the gate. All you have to do is check at the desk in the boarding area and ask if they need any volunteers to be bumped. If the flight looks like it might be overbooked they will take you name and put you on the list. If not they will tell you it won't be necessary but will thank you for asking. Many times there are more volunteers to be bumped than are needed so they go on a first come basis. Make sure you check as soon as you get to the gate.

Planning Ahead

If you are going to try for a bump you should plan ahead. I usually check airline schedules to see when the next flight is scheduled after my flight. I then can determine approximately how long I will have to wait in the airport. I also pack plenty of reading material or other work I can do to keep me occupied for a few hours. Sometimes the next available flight is not until the next morning. In that case the airlines will make overnight accommodations for you. It is best to ask which flight they will put you on when you volunteer for the bump. If it does not fit your schedule then you can decline.

A Mini-Vacation
A few years ago I was traveling to Las Vegas on a Saturday morning. I had to switch planes in St Louis at 8am. I volunteered for a bump and was told the next flight they could put me on was at 5pm. I hesitated and asked for a few minutes to think about it. I was told that if I agreed to the later flight they would give me $40 for lunch and a seat in First Class along with a free round trip ticket. I stowed my carry-on bag in a locker and took a train into St Louis where I visited the famous Arch and the Louis and Clack Museum.

Airline bumps can lead to some new adventures and they certainly are a great value if you have a flexible schedule, a little pit of patience.
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