Traveling.. Is an amazing thing, isn’t it? Ok my blog is usually dedicated to all things fashion & beauty, but there are other areas of interest that I’d like to share information about. And that’s what inspired me to blog in the first place: to share information (especially on how to save money!) with the world.
I’ve traveled a lot in my short lifetime: I literally stepped on an airplane for the 1st time when I was 8 months old; and altogether I’ve been to 3 continents, 13 countries, & countless cities. There are lots of articles on the internet these days, but I will specifically give you tips on how I save when I travel. And no you don’t need to spend a fortune!
How To Save When You Fly
-Do your research. This is probably the most important tip I will ever give. And not only with flights, but when buying anything! Search all kinds of websites; either write down or print out the deals you find, & see where & when is the best time to fly. The person who usually spends the most money on a plane ticket? The last minute flyer. The more prepared & well informed you are, the more choices & better deals you will have. The websites I check? Travelzoo, Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, booking.com, & Kayak.com.
-When you do find a good deal through a travel website, also check the rate on the website of the airline. This is a little known secret that most people don’t know. When you find a flight through a search; sometimes the flight is cheaper if you check it out on the airline’s website. This greatly varies: sometimes it’s cheaper on the travel website, sometimes it’s cheaper through the airline. Again, going back to research, this is up to you to do the legwork to find the best deal.
-Also check out the ‘deals’ section of an airline. Surprised? This little known fact, that each airline will feature a section where they feature ‘low fares’. There are times, when airlines have trouble filling in seats, & will sell them at a lower rate. This is where your searching will pay off; because you’re looking in places that people usually don’t think to look.
-Check out prices of flights to other airports nearby, of your departure & your destination. This greatly varies on the destination, but flights are more expensive to certain airports than others. And there are so many reasons why. If you are flexible to fly to or from a different airport, this could shave hundreds off your ticket price.
-Consider a layover. Flights with a layover, are infamously cheaper than direct flights. Simply because they’re harder to sell, they come at lower rates. Some people prefer direct flights, others prefer to have a layover to get out & walk around. Consider the pros of a layover: you get out to eat whatever you want vs. airplane food, & if you have enough time, you can check out the city! Now you just visited 2 different places in one trip!
-Travel during off season. Peak times are usually during the summer, and sometimes the holidays as well. Peak times can also vary by country. i.e. flights in Japan become more expensive during cherry blossom season (go figure). When traveling to China (or other Chinese speaking countries) flights will be more expensive around Chinese New Year, which is usually in February. Avoiding peak travel times will save you thousands of dollars on airfare & hotel!
-Do a search on when is the best time to fly to your destination. Another little known fact! This is a time when Google is your best friend. Search the cheapest days to travel to your destination, even what time of the year. This is also a part of doing your research, but if you fly during the lowest times, you could literally be paying half the price during peak times of the year.
-Sign up for email alerts for flights. Airfarewatchdog, a website where you can sign up for emails when a sale comes up in flights that you’re interested in.
-Use budget travel in your favor. In this modern day & age, in the US we have Megabus (which is also in Canada & Europe, by the way) & Boltbus, with tickets starting at only $1! Travel to an abundance of destinations, & get free wifi on the bus! In Europe, they have ryanair.com and easyjet.com, which features continental flights starting at 1 euro! And also, starting in 2017, Norwegian Air is featuring one way tickets to Europe as cheap as $70! Who says that budget can’t get you far? Check out this article on other airlines that travel really cheap to Europe!
-Consider a last minute deal. I know, earlier I mentioned that the last minute traveler spends the most money, but here at Lastminutetravel.com, (is a website geared towards flights, hotels, & cruises) are great for those people who would like to travel but are not picky about where they are going. Plans could be as soon as 24 hours after you book it! However, if you are flexible, you can find a good deal!
How To Save Where You Stay
-Book your place of stay out of the downtown area. Sure it’s glamorous to be right in the heart of the city, but when you go a little bit outside can save you possibly hundreds of dollars per day on the hotel bill. Think about it: downtown areas tend to be more touristy: as well as higher in demand, therefore more expensive. Unless you plan on only getting around on foot, you probably will either drive / take public transportation, which will get you around anyway. Plus I find it more interesting to see the road less traveled, vs. staying in the heart of a tourist trap. The greatest source of hotel reviews, & other feedback is tripadvisor.com, where you could literally browse thousands of pictures & reviews!
-Consider staying in a hostel. I know, with a lot of people, the idea of staying in a hostel is: ick. How can you share a room with a whole bunch of other people? And the key here? You don’t have to. There are lots of hostels around the world, that have group rooms and & also private rooms. So staying in a private room feels like staying in an inexpensive hotel; and you get your privacy! Why not get the best of both worlds?
-If not a hostel, consider Airbnb. A global phenomenon, I’ve looked at listings on Airbnb & I’ve found staying in an entire apartment for a week is cheaper than a single night at a hotel!
-Stay with friends / family. This is something people quite often overlook when traveling. If you have a friend / family member in the destination that you’re planning on visiting, definitely give them a heads up! Tip: Best to inform them first that you’re going to be in town, & then ask later if you can stay with them. (Don’t ask right away.) You want to establish some communication / rapport before someone is willing to let you stay over.
I have had a friend visit me on several occasions when she comes to visit NYC. And NYC is infamously expensive for their hotels. (You’re lucky to find anything for $100 a day, and that’s considered a good deal!) She stayed with me for her entire trip & didn’t have to pay anything for her stay. She saved herself a lot of money on the hotel bill! I also had another friend who traveled around South America. And luckily for her, she stayed with friends in each country she traveled to. Her hotel bill? $0. If you can, why unnecessarily put that dent in your wallet?
-Book package / all inclusive deals. This is specifically for the Caribbean. At cheapcaribbean.com, they feature all kinds of deals where hotel & airfare are included in one low price. And there are ALL inclusive deals, where hotel, airfare, & food are in 1 price! So the only you might have to pay for is the commute to the airport (that might be included as well), and souvenirs. How amazing is that??
Other small tips & tricks:
-Do your research on how to get from your airport, to your place of stay. This is not a problem when you’re staying with friends / family, but when traveling to a new place you’ve never been to? The great source of information for me is wikitravel.org, where you can search your destination; & not only do they give you the details of how to get to & from the airport(s), but also things to do & see! Think of it as a free travel guide! Don’t be the naive tourist & think ‘oh I’ll just cab it’, because that might not necessarily be the case. I remember the first time I traveled to Milan, the taxi ride from the airport to the city center is about 70 euros ($100 USD!!) when a bus ride is only about 10 euros ($15 USD). Don’t be that fool, do your research & save your money!
-Pack all of your essentials. Seems like common sense, but there are always people who think, “Oh I’ll just buy everything when I get there.” That’s ok if you have the money! Having everything you need on hand, whether it be your favorite coat, or the eyedrops you need for your contacts: bring them so that you’re not forced to search for them, & buy something that you already have anyway. First you might not know where to buy all the things you need at your destination, and on top of that, everything is overcharged at airports as well.
-Stick to one suitcase, but pack a fold up duffle bag inside. Most airlines these days, in an effort to curb the prices of tickets, have cut back on luggage. In the past it used to be 2 pieces. Now it’s cut down to 1; with some airlines charging for you to even have one! Stick to one suitcase, & pack only what you need. The duffle bag is in case you buy more things on your trip, whether it be souvenirs, gifts for people back home, or hey even just things for yourself! The great thing is that it’s foldable, doesn’t take up a lot of space inside your suitcase, & you can bring it out in case you do end up with carrying more home than you expected.
Tip: Do not pack fragile things in a duffle bag. Duffle bags are soft, & meant to carry things like clothes. If you put anything else, it will get knocked around from airport to airport during your travel. (I had a room mate whose bottles of shampoo broke open inside her luggage!)
-Start honing your bargaining skills. Depending upon where you’re traveling, bargaining is an everyday way of life in many countries around the world. Unfortunately, not for us here in the US. When going out to shop, when you’re shopping at outdoor markets, or other small vendors, don’t be afraid to step up the bargaining plate. There are lots of people (and places) where they will purposely charge tourists more money than the locals. Of course, we are all tourists when we travel, but are you the smart tourist?
-Finally avoid scam artists. In every big city in the world, there are people looking to prey on tourists & or other out of towners. i.e. here in NYC, there are yellow cabs & then there are black cabs (which we also call ‘gypsy cabs’) which are off the books & run their own rates. Yellow cabs are monitored by the city & run on meters, whereas the gypsy cabs are run by private businesses. And of course, they will charge you whatever they want, taking advantage of the fact that you don’t know how much it costs to go where you’re going.
Another example, in the Main Cathedral square in Milan, there are lots of people looking to ‘sell’ bracelets. They go up to tourists, telling you it’s a gift, & once you accept, then ask you to pay for it afterwards. Also throughout Italy, there are also lots of guys who go up to you to take your picture, or offer to give you flowers, & then ask for a fee afterwards. Keep in mind, this is not unique to a specific culture or nationality, for there are scam artists all over the world. A great source of information is wikitravel.org, & sometimes fellow tourists may post up advice on tripadvisor.com. Be aware, on your toes, when you travel!
Like every article I write, I hope this has helped you! I hope that after reading this, you’ve saved some money, & more well informed!
Have you got any other tips that I haven’t mentioned? Feel free to drop a line, or check out the rest of the articles in my travel series!