Travel in 2012 is sure to cost more than 2011. But travel agent Lawton Roberts with Country Place Travel says there are alternatives.
ATLANTA -- Imagine flying around the world for free on the airline's dime. It's possible, but it's also difficult.
Scott Ford uses strategy to make his way through the world's airports.
"It's truly a magical opportunity if you love to travel, and it can be free if you're flexible," he said.
Ford took 52 vacations in 52 weeks for free last year using travel vouchers.
That's how airlines pay passengers for the inconvenience of getting bumped from planes that are oversold or overweight.
Ford is always the first to volunteer.
"If you're flexible, give up your seat, add an extra day of travel time on your return," he said. "Every family member can earn a voucher."
Ford avoids direct flights and recommends multiple connections to improve your chances of getting a voucher.
Flying from his home in Portland is never quick or easy, and that's by design.
"I will fly from Portland to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Atlanta to Costa Rica, just because if I get bumped, I double the chances in Salt Lake City, and I also double the chances of missing the connection here at the world's busiest airport."
He has Diamond Medallion status on Delta but uses frequent flier miles for free hotels.
For free flights, he sticks with vouchers and rarely pays out of pocket.
It's completely legal, but it takes time, patience and strategy.
For more of Ford's travel tips, visit www.packabagandgo.com.