Student shares secret to getting free flight tickets

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Photo Credit: Devika Manish Kumar | Daily Texan Staff

When he entered college as a first-generation student five years ago, economics senior Farhan Manjiyani could only dream of going on a study abroad trip. After discovering strategies that allowed him to go on a study abroad program to Cape Town by spending very little out of pocket, he is determined to help others get the same opportunity.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re out-of-state. It doesn’t matter if you’re an international student,” Manjiyani said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re low socioeconomic status. There is an opportunity for you.” 

Since his trip, Manjiyani has been researching hacks to save on travel costs. After narrowing down his findings to four applicable steps, Manjiyani presented his workshop, How to Fly for Free, on Wednesday afternoon at the International Office.

Manjiyani said he plans to study abroad in Hong Kong this summer and is only paying $11 for his business class flight. However, he said his success story is not something that happens immediately, and Manjiyani covered subjects from credit scores to loyalty programs to monitoring the cheapest airline routes.

“This is something that is a three to four month strategy, but just know what to start doing today so that in three to four, five, six months or a year your flights (will be) paid for,” Manjiyani said.

Credit cards can help to save travel costs, Manjiyani said. Although many students tend to be discouraged from applying for a credit card due to the annual fees, Manjiyani said to look at any travel benefits that come with using
the card.

Cesar Jaquez, a management informations systems junior, said he has gone on three study abroad trips, but he wished he had known this information sooner.

“I was looking at credit cards, but I completely disregarded the ones with yearly fees,” Jaquez said. “It’s like this thing about not being afraid … and losing this mentality that cash is better than credit, because that’s what I was taught.”

Manjiyani said while he can easily earn money through hosting these presentations, he did it for free because his goal is to share this information with those from a low-income and
marginalized background. 

“People are trying to make money and have side hustles of these classes and teach people for money, but that’s not what’s important to me,” Manjiyani said. “A core tenet of getting knowledge is giving it back.”

While the International Office offers many resources to help low-income students go on a study abroad program, Manjiyani said many students aren’t aware of them, and he hopes to change that.

Biology senior Karishma Ghadia went on a study abroad trip to China and said despite the challenges she faced, it was a
valuable experience.

“You learn a great deal about the type of person you are,” Ghadia said. “You meet so many people from different countries, and you really value that whenever you get
back here.”