Ask and You Shall Receive

by Free Traveler on September 2, 2012

free liquor at the duty free shop in budapestI often eat and drink for free, stay at hotels for half price, get free taxi rides and all for nothing or close to nothing.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking. The Runaway Guide is a broke cheap-ass runaway who begged his way around the world. Admittedly, I did resort to begging a few times, but this is not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about the power of persuasion, being friendly and just simply asking politely. Although it doesn’t always work, you can’t win unless you play.

In order to get anything in this life, you need to believe it is possible. So in order to get those extras, upgrades, and free things, you need to adopt a mind set of hope and positivity. Wishful thinking can often have a powerful and tangible effect.

The next step is to approach the shop keeper, airline ticket agent, cab driver, hotel employee or anyone else, with a big and genuine smile. Try to emanate positive energy and make people feel good. Try to pass on your confidence to them and improve their day if only just a little. Not only is this a great way to converse with service industry employees or anyone for that matter, but also as the saying goes, “a little kindness goes a long way.” And if you’re lucky, this can translate into getting upgraded to business class, free food or big discounts at hotels.

While spreading happiness is important, successfully receiving what you want is highly predicated on the way you ask for it. If you beg and have shame in your voice, no one is going to help you out one bit. Conversely, if you are too demanding, no ones going to upgrade you to first class either.

The best way to ask is by suggesting, very politely and confidently, something that would make you really happy. For example, if you are trying to get an upgrade to first class, ask the ticket agent enthusiastically, “ Is there any chance I could get an upgrade to first class? It would be so cool (smile) and it would make me really happy if you do.” I have heard many stories of backpackers actually getting upgraded by simply asking. Although it has yet to work for me, asking in this style has worked really well on many other occasions.

While asking for good things doesn’t always work, you should always give it a try. The worse that can happen is that you spread some happiness, and get a smile and a no. Not to shabby in my opinion. In the words of a good ole book, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” If the big man thinks it’s a good idea, why not take a chance and ask too?

By Leif Harum

For more about Leif, his life and adventures check out his blog, The Runaway Guide.

Bio: When Leif was 16 he ran away from home and explored much of Europe and the Middle East without a dime. He is currently working on a book about this journey as he continues to  travel around the world. Through his experiences, advice and adventures, he hopes to prepare, empower, and inspire others to travel.