Have you ever wondered how half the people on Instagram seem to always be on the go or in an amazing country like Morocco or Thailand? It seems as if they hit the money jackpot and experience the world on an entirely different level doesn’t it?
To help you travel better in 2018, I compiled a list of a few essential details and hacks that will have you planning your next big vacation in minutes. If you enjoy saving money while experiencing a little relaxation, ditch your travel agent and gain the freedom of choosing where you want to go by becoming knowledgeable on flight times, hotel bookings, and tourist attractions.
With hundreds of airfare sites out there that promise the cheapest rates, it can be tough deciding which app to use when trying to get more bang for your buck. If you are looking for flights far out in advance (3-6 months) Skyscanner has you covered. Skyscanner’s free flight search tool will help you find cheap flights and flight deals with popular airlines such as American, Delta, Southwest, Frontier, and United Airlines.
One cool feature to point out while using Skyscanner is the option of searching “Everywhere” if you are unsure of where you want to go. You also have the option of viewing dates by the month instead of on a specific date. This allows you to see the lowest prices on flights monthly instead of individually. Click here to see how.
Flight Hack #1: Sign Up for Airline Emails
Delta, for example, sends out flash sale emails about upcoming promotions or deals. If you are active on social media, following airlines on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can also help you stay in the loop with the latest discounts.
Flight Hack #2: Free Stopovers
Like layovers, stopovers give you the flexibility of experiencing two trips for the price of one. Most common amongst international airlines, numerous airlines offer programs that allow you to extend your stay for up to five days! This is something new that I came across and its great to know that you can experience a two for one if deciding to do a stopover.
With the rise of hotel prices and unsecured payments, it can be a hassle finding a place to stay while on vacation. During my first few trips, it was tough booking my own hotels because I did not have a credit card at the time and I was unaware of all the other options that were out there, especially the cheaper ones.
When planning a trip solo or with others, I take into consideration my budget and how much I am willing to spend.
If you are traveling with a group of people (3 or more) Airbnb or HomeAway is the go-to app! Like Airbnb, HomeAway tends to be a little bit cheaper depending on the destination but with the same concept of choosing either a room, apartment or an entire home to stay in while away. Solo travels also have the option of staying in a hostel. This gives you the chance to meet other travelers in the same space and you save a ton of money as well!
Lodging Hack #1: Hotel Discounts
Personally, I would rather stay in a hotel than in a stranger’s home, you have the luxury of using hotel amenities, and it feels more so like a getaway when you are wrapped up in a hotel rob taking in the view from a balcony. When booking hotels, take advantage of discounts and rewards points if permitted.
Hotel Tonight is another great app that allows you to see the lowest rates up to a week before your trip. Sometimes it is best to wait until the last minute when choosing a hotel. Many companies cut the cost of rooms depending on how many rooms remain unoccupied.
Lodging Hack #2: Day Trips
Taking advantage of day trips is a great way to save money while traveling! I’m a huge fan of domestic day trips because you get to take a breather from your everyday life while also experiencing a new place, even if it is just for 24hrs.
Of course, you want to plan a day trip when you have a few days off work, but this is a great way to start travel adventures small and working your way up from there.
Eating fantastic foods are one of the many things that make life joyous! Don’t let the lack of funds prevent you from traveling the world and trying new dishes.
A great way to save on food is to stock up on gift cards prior to departure about 2-3 weeks beforehand. Just be sure to double check if the area in which you will be visiting accepts the cards that you are purchasing. Some key staples are McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, and Taco Bell.
Activities and Excursions
Finding something to do throughout your next trip does not have to cost you hundreds of dollars. With great apps like Groupon and Living Social, planning things to do while away is made simple by category and price range. Going to San Francisco for the first time? Book a downtown trolley tour for just a few bucks.
The fun thing about planning your own activities instead of going through a travel agency is that you can see cities, towns, and countries at your own pace without the hassle of crowds or pit stops.
Activity Hack #1: Local Museums
Visiting historical museums and local attractions is a great way to fill up your time while traveling. Many museums are very cheap to get in, and some offer discounted prices for first-timers. You may have to set some time aside to find the perfect museum that suits your interests but with the help of the listed apps above, it should not be difficult at all.
Activity Hack #2: Spa Treatments
I never pass up the opportunity to go to a spa when traveling. This hack may cost you a little more than the rest, but sometimes you must treat yourself to the finer things in life. To help reduce the price of spa treatments and amenities, look for getting hand or feet massages instead of a full body or Swedish massage.
Traveling to a resort? Many resorts have spa packages or resort credit that can be applied towards each purchase. Travel smarter not harder!
What are some travel hacks that you swear by? Comment below to share your travel secrets!