First and foremost let me say, I am ashamed and mortified of how long it took me to write this post. I have been wrapping up the school year (teacher life), TRAVELING (a week in the Dominican Republic, 4 days all over the east coast), and then interviewing for jobs. I’ve been super busy but I feel like a slightly horrible human being for making you guys wait so long with all the summer vacation plans waiting to be made. All that aside, I’m so excited to give you guys what you have been asking me for forever. Please read on to learn how you can save big money on travel allowing you to travel more often and have more money to splurge in the areas where you want to!
So these are just ten ways that I save money on travel expenses or spread out the cost allowing me to be able to travel multiple times a year. There are more but I wanted to get you guys these tips so that you can plan an amazing end of summer vacation that doesn’t completely ruin any budgeting you are attempting ( if you’re anything like me, attempting is the appropriate word here).
1. Book airfare midweek and use tons of different tools to compare – I have found that if I sit down to look at flight prices on a Tuesday evening, I have much better chances of finding airfare in my budget than if I sit down when I have time on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night to book a flight. I’m not sure why, maybe because of web traffic but remember to always search flights at the beginning or middle of the week for the best prices possible. I always search flights for at least a week and a half span before purchasing to make sure I’m getting the best price (which also means I clear my web browsing history between searches. Flight prices shown increase when sites notice that the same itinerary is being searched repeatedly.) Lastly, use tons of different tools to compare prices including direct airline websites. I use Expedia, Kayak, and Justfly. Once I price a flight on two to three of those sights, I also go directly to the carrier website to be sure that I’m not being charged an extra fee for using a third party site and that the deal I found is the best deal possible to fit my search criteria.
2. Be open about travel destinations when possible – Some of my best trips have been mostly to unintentional destinations. When I’m in the planning phases of making my vacay happen, I literally choose a budget and find accommodations and a destination that fits within that budget. I’m not usually too picky about where I go but I may have an idea of what my destination will be like i.e. warm, tropical, beaches, etc. I use a feature called explore on kayak.com to make this possible. I have included the link below. You put in the amount you want to spend on airfare, your home airport, the month & year or season and the feature shows you a map of all the places you can fly within that budget. Its amazing! I have booked two trips this way and had a great time in beautiful places.
3. Be flexible about departure cities, times, etc. – So this one can be hard but when booking flights be flexible about departure airports. Sometimes it’s worth it to drive to an airport an hour away to get a cheaper fare. It is also worth it to take more days off work than you might need when possible so that you can make very flexible travel plans as far as times are concerned. Sometimes it is totally worth it and sometimes it is not so use your discretion there.
4. AirBNB vs Hotels – Don’t be afraid to stay in an AirBNB or hostel in your destination rather than a hotel! Some really decent spaces can be really inexpensive and allow you to do more such as cook in your living space and stay for an extended period of time at a great reduced rate. When I went to Puerto Rico, I stayed in an amazing flat for like 250 for 4 or 5 nights and was able to refrigerate my snacks and lounge on the couch if I wanted to. I always go local because its cheaper and gives me the more authentic experience that I always look for.
5. Go Local! – I save money by going local. Buy some local food, cook in your hostel or flat, visit local bars for the cheapest drinks (with a friend of course), and stay away from resorts at all costs! I eat local street food and explore the city on foot whenever possible. I save a lot of money by being open to learning about a new culture and exploring and improvising where appropriate. Of course, if you are a solo traveler as I am most often, please please please use your best discretion when it comes to your own safety especially when traveling internationally.
6. Book in Advance! – I cannot stress this tip enough. I always always always book at least 2 to 3 months in advance when booking any vacation. That goes for flights and accommodations. Flights are much much cheaper in advance as well as accommodations and some activities at your destination. This also gives me a chance to snoop around for flight deals for a few weeks before actually deciding on the best deal and purchasing my flight.
7. Travel on unpopular days – Flights and hotels/hostels are simply cheaper on weekdays especially midweek, so concentrate your travel around those days in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, sometimes Thursday).
8. Never settle on the first deal – when you get to your destination and want to buy souvenirs, goods, local products you should never settle on the first offer. Look at almost everything as a negotiable when buying from street vendors or small shops so that you can get items for much less than sticker price. You would be surprised how low your vendor is often willing to go.
9. Research the economy of your destination – Before planning to go to a place, take a moment to look at the price of accommodations, activities, food and drinks in that location. I can have my heart set on going to Paris and buy a cheap flight only to discover that food and accommodations are extremely expensive and I have no idea how I’m going to manage within my budget once I arrive. It is important to research the economy, cost of lodging, cost of food, transportation, and other details BEFORE booking your flight. This has happened to me and I wasted 200 dollars on a flight because I could not afford to stay in the destination where I had booked the flight. That sucks…hard.
10. Lastly, Read and follow my blog and contact me for more! I am currently looking to help you plan your next trip so definitely shoot me a message!