As someone who is constantly jet setting, I have learned somethings along the way that I wish I had known when I first started traveling and, therefore, I want to pass these tips on so everyone can learn more about how to travel on the cheap. Cost is usually one of the main excuses many of us have for not traveling and I get it. Traveling can be quite expensive, but if you follow these 10 tips you may find yourself traveling more frequently for less.
10 Tips for Cheap Travel
Tip 1: Be Flexible on the Destination
This one can be tough for folks who really have their heart set on a very specific destination. I totally get having places on your bucket list, but when you are not willing to budge on the destination you will normally pay a higher price tag. When you are flexible and let the deals guide your trips you will definitely score a better deal. For example, I normally have an idea of the type of vacation I want to take whether it is a hiking trip or a relaxing beachy vacation. Once I know the type of trip I am looking for I then watch deals for numerous destinations that fit that description.
Tip 2: Be Flexible on Your Travel Dates
Don’t request that PTO before you have your trip booked. You would not believe that when you watch flight and hotel prices how much they can fluctuate day to day. Try to be flexible on your dates, which means maybe focusing on a month, but flexible on the exact travel dates.
Tip 3: Plan for Non-Ideal Dates
Flying on Christmas may not sound ideal as we all have family get togethers happening, but remember if most people are not traveling this is the perfect time to score a discounted ticket on airfare or even a hotel stay. I recently booked an all-inclusive vacation package for the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday through Cyber Monday and I paid just $488 for airfare AND a 3 night stay at an all-inclusive resort in Tulum, Mexico.
Tip 4: Get a Credit Card With Travel Rewards
There are tons of credit cards that offer travel awards. The QuickSilver card by Capital One is a great card for users that do not want to pay an annual fee, while the Venture X card by Capital One comes with a hefty annual fee, but has many many more perks. Do your research and determine which is the right card for you. They key here is using your credit card and paying it off immediately to avoid paying high interest on those purchases. Oh and did I mention that will also boost your credit score?!
Here are some links where you can compare travel credit cards:
Tip 5: Travel More Often
Sounds crazy, right? You already find traveling expensive, but here I am telling you to travel more…well, that’s because you can generally score cheaper travel packages for short stays. Like I said above I scored a 3 night all-inclusive vacation with airfare for just $488. Because it’s a short sweet getaway the price reflects that. Just think instead of one big 1-2 week vacations a year you can actually take 4 shorter (less than 5 day trips) for a comparable price if you shop right.
Tip 6: Build Loyalty
Being loyal to airlines sometimes packs a punch of perks. For example, I am a pretty dang loyal Delta flyer and I get rewarded for it. I am able to use the skymiles I rack up from traveling to book flights and vacation packages and earn yearly status that gives me extra perks like free check bags. Find which airline makes the most sense for you and do your best to be loyal and fly with them for every trip. Be sure to research their loyalty rewards first to make sure they offer incentives that ensure it makes sense to be loyal and not just jump on the cheapest deal.
Tip 7: Bundle
Generally, if you a book a package that includes the flight and hotel it will be cheaper than if you book them separate. Aim to plan your vacation by bundling hte flight and hotel through sites like Delta Vacations, Cheap Caribbean, Apple Vacations, Gate 1, etc.
Tip 8: Know When to Book
Flights and hotel rates fluctuate a lot. While it might be tempting to just book your trip and have it done with, you likely will pay more than you need to. Generally, the best day of the week to book is Tuesdays. Avoid the weekends as flights and hotel pricing normally jump substantially over the weekend as most of us are off work and looking to book our vacations with our free time. The farther out from your travel dates (3+ months) may provide you the cheapest deal and alternatively last-minute deals do happen, but these are not guaranteed and do require more flexibility.
Tip 9: Set Flight Alerts
Not only can you watch the price of flights by setting price alerts via Google flights, but you can also watch the lowest airfare days and then check packages for those dates as the price may drop as the flight price does.
How to set a flight alert:
- Go to Google.com
- Enter your flight path in the search bar, for example “Flights from Minneapolis to Cancun”
- Scroll down to the table labeled “Flight Prices”, here you will find your flight path with the option to change from a roundtrip to oneway, select the type of seat, etc.
- Click “Show flights”
- Once on this screen you can now select the toggle that allows you to watch this flight and you can select to watch any dates
- These alerts will then come to your gmail inbox
Tip 10: Travel Light
Many airlines charge for a checked bag and the fees can be outrageous. I just recently booked a super cheap flight on Frontier to find that my checked back was going to cost $130 round trip. Ouch! Many airlines will allow you a free personal item which is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Learn how to pack light and you will save some major dough!
For more travel tips be sure to check out the articles below and watch for new content as it is rolled out daily!