One time a friend made a comment to me about how I save $3,000 and then book a trip somewhere new. When I told her I have never spent that much on a trip before, she was shocked. I am all about seeing and experiencing the world, but not necessarily burning a hole in my pocket.
I have come up with a few travel hacks on how to save on your trips and not spend a ton of money, as some rookie travelers may do. This is a science that I am still working to perfect and continue to study and learn. These basic tricks I have learned from other fellow travelers, reading and meeting some of my favorite travel bloggers, and by experience:
Fly “Off Season”
Now I don’t mean in the dead of winter (I hate the freezing cold!), but just figuring what may be considered a ‘peak time’ for your desired destination and avoiding it. For instance, my absolute favorite time to travel to Europe is early fall. Late September- early November is when the cities aren’t flooded with summer tourists and accommodations and museums are decently priced. Airfare tends to also be significanlty cheaper as people love going to Europe in the summer. However, I think the weather is just right and makes it so enjoyable to sit outside of that café and people watch as you’re enjoying that Americano or cappuccino
I am not a fan of third-party websites and typically book directly through the airline. One way I do that is by using an awesome website that I honestly check multiple times a day. The Flight Deal is a website listing airfare deals airlines will put out. The best part is that once an airline puts out one deal, other airlines will do the same to compete. These deals are both for domestic and international. You cannot book through this website but it shares these deals and even provides insight on how to book the tickets. You definitely have to act fast when these deals come out as they will sellout. This is why having an emergency travel fund is necessary.
If you are unsure of where you want to go or can be flexible with your travel dates, Google Flights is so helpful! I think their ‘explore’ option is so great if you need ideas. In addition, it will tell you what dates are cheaper to fly and they have an option to track tickets as well. I set notifications on my phone so that if the price drops, I will book the second that I can. Google Flights really does give you the ability to be your own travel agent.
Rack up Points
Some credit cards have excellent reward points and systems. One of my favorite bloggers, The Points Guy talks a lot about this and has mastered multiple point systems. Look into an airline you prefer to fly or if the bank you already work with starting off. Also, if you prefer to stay at hotels while you travel, enroll in their loyalty programs to help you in the future. I also fly with multiple airlines and will enroll in their loyalty programs as well. Some trips I haven’t had to pay for airfare! If you know how to manage this trick, it can definitely save you.
Best part about renting a studio or an apartment through AirBnB is that you get to live and stay like a local. I hate staying in touristy areas of cities, as they can get quite costly. I have saved a ton of money, especially while traveling solo since the accommodations can cost less than a hotel. As a traveling hijab-wearing female, hostels aren’t something I am comfortable staying at, and find that findings on that website are a great middle ground. I will definitely have an entire post in the future about why I love AirBnB and think everyone should try it out.
Try and travel with a carry-on. It will save you time while traveling and money. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that your luggage won’t get misplaced or lost throughout your journey. I am still working on traveling lighter and lighter each trip. For a girl, it can definitely be a struggle to try to be fashionable and not bring a ton with you.
Travel with People
This may be an obvious one, but still putting that out there. The more trips you plan with friends or people you know the more cost-effective they will be since you will be splitting a lot of the costs of things like accommodations, rental car, and food. I will say, be selective in who you travel with as some may not contribute as much as they should and it could potentially end up costing you more. I will dedicate a post in how to choose your travel buddies wisely in the near future.
I hope you found some of these tips and hacks to be helpful! Planning a trip can be overwhelming at times, especially if it isn’t something that you often do. I am here to help any way that I can. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and share. Happy trip planning! Stay caffeinated, friends!