Showing posts with label cheap travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheap travel. Show all posts

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Saving on World Travel

For those of you that read my blog, you know I love traveling, especially to different countries.  But traveling internationally is VERY expensive.  Here's a few ways to make it a little easier.

Choosing a Location
Obviously the closer you are to a destination, the cheaper it is to travel there.  So think about where you are in relation to where you want to go.  For instance, someone living on the west coast is going to be able to go to Hawaii much cheaper than someone on the East Coast.  Just like someone on the East Coast can get to Europe for less, and those in the Southern region can get to the Caribbean the cheapest.  That extra couple thousand miles to fly across the entire United States can add a couple extra hundred or even thousand dollars.

Searching for Deals
I search around a lot before making any major purchase.  While I have a few sites I often rely on, I still check other places before buying just to make sure I am getting the best deal.  Sometimes another site can be having a sale!  Here are some of my favorites:

General Travel Deals

travel deals  
Most of you have probably heard or even use Groupon to get great local deals, but you can also find deals on vacation packages.  They offer highly discounted complete packages, often with hotel and airfare and even activities!  If they don't have a package for the place you want to go, they also have discounted hotel rates at virtually every major city.

This is basically the same as Groupon Getaways.  Make sure to check both sites as they can have very different offers at the time!

*Make sure you read the fine print for all these offers, there can be specific dates that you can use it and often the deal is only for specific airports and you will have to pay extra to get to one of those airports.  But the savings can still be worth it!

Caribbean Packages and Cruises

travel deals
This site has great deals for Caribbean resorts and cruises!


travel deals
This is a fantastic site that I actually ended up using to create my honeymoon to Ireland.  I love that it is totally customizable: you get to chose what cities to go to, you can chose your mode of transportation, you can upgrade hotels, and you can even opt out of their hotels for one or two nights if there's a specific place you want to stay and they don't offer it.  Plus you can buy excursions here too (though do check to see if there are better deals).  And it's all in one place!


This site must be run by the same people as Cheap Caribbean because it has a very similar layout.  Look for good deals on cruises!

Most of these options are for complete packages that include flights and hotels and more which is a great option to bundle to save money.  But if you do buy things separately, here's what I recommend:

Check out my previous post, Traveling Cheaply Part 1: Flights.

Where to Stay
Instead of hotels, I recommend hostels and vacation houses.  Check out my previous posts Traveling Cheaply Part 2: Hostels and Traveling Cheaply Part 3: Vacation Houses and also Top 10 Places to Stay on Airbnb for Under $140.

I hope this helps you plan out a fun trip!  Do you have any more helpful information?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Traveling Cheaply, Part 2: Hostels

In my second post about traveling cheaply, prompted by my trip to New York last weekend I'm going to give you a little hint about saving money in your lodging.  It's a hidden secret to many Americans . . . hostels.

Now don't turn up your nose and say, "Eww hostels" and leave this page.  That is part of the problem.  I'm going to debunk a lot of the myths involved with this touchy subject.  Hostels are a great way to save money in a big city where hotel prices can be out the roof!  (Obviously, this is only meant for large cities that have hostels, most smaller areas won't have the option.)

Yest hostels usually mean a much smaller room and sometimes a shared bathroom, but it's worth it with the money you save.  Besides, if you're visiting a big city, generally you are going to be sightseeing and not there for relaxation so you should really only be in your hotel to sleep and all you need for that is a bed!

Myths About Hostels Debunked

1. You have to sleep in a dorm with lots of other people you don't know.  This is probably the biggest myth about hostels.  At one point, they may have only come in dorm style rooms and they certainly still have the option for super cheap, but hostels now also understand that most people want some privacy and do offer private rooms and sometimes even private bathrooms as well.

Hostel NYC2. Hostels are dirty.  Not true for all places.  Just like hotels and motels, there are going to be a few places that aren't up to par, but that's what doing your online research is for and reading reviews.  Let me tell you that there are a lot of hostels that are clean and not only that, but they have been fully modernized and look totally chic.  Here's a place that my mom and I have stayed at before in NY.
Hostel NYC

 3. Only foreigners stay in hostels.  While incredibly rude, also not true.  Lots of Americans stay in American hostels.  It's just for those looking for a cheaper alternative to hotels so they can spend their money on activities and such in the place they are visiting!

4. Hostels aren't safe.  Many hostels either you have to have a key to enter or they have private security.  Most are just as safe as any hotel.  Just make sure you do your research and look at reviews.

Perks About Hostels

1. You're right near the action!  Many hostels are downtown or near the hotspots of a particular city.  To find a cheaper option in a hotel, you generally have to look on the outskirts of cities.  Not only does this mean it takes longer to get to wherever you want to go, it may mean added costs like a rental car or taxi.  That's not necessary with most hostels.

2. Fun events.  Because of the community feel in hostels, a lot offer fun activities within their walls like games and movies but many also offer fun things to do in the city.  These can be anything from museum trips to pub crawls.  Going in a group like this makes it cheaper and easier since you don't have to do the planning!  I've really wanted to take a trip down to San Diego to stay at this one hostel, USA Hostels San Diego, just because they offer a trip to Tijuana.  For just $18 you get: dinner, a guided tour of all the shopping and action that has made Tijuana world famous, a tequila tasting and, of course, hit a few of the best bars on the Avenida de la RevoluciĆ³n.  While being an American and traveling between the U.S. and Mexico should be simple, this just eliminates any troubles crossing the border and being with a group makes it much safer.

Let me know what you think about this.  If you have any places you've stayed and want to recommend go ahead.  As with anything, the internet is your best friend.  Do your research.  Read reviews (but take them with a grain of salt because some people are way too picky).  Find the place that suits you best.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Traveling Cheaply, Part 1: Flights

As I sit in the airport, waiting to board my overnight flight to New York, I thought it only appropriate to do a post on traveling cheaply.  I love to travel and I wish I could do it all the time but it takes a lot of money!  Hopefully these few tips will possibly help you in going to that place you've always wanted to go to!

All About Buying Your Plane Tickets

So this first part about traveling cheaply is about finding the best deal on plane tickets.  After all, that is where the bulk of the amount needed for a trip is going to go.

1.  Search around.  Start looking early, if possible, but don't necessarily buy right away.  Pay attention to the fluctuations in prices.  Prices for plane tickets change daily, even hourly, and I'm not expert on that (you can find all kinds of websites that make predictions on when prices are at their lowest) but just try and be aware.  And make sure you compare different websites.

2. If flying round trip, try buying each flight separately.  This is what I did for this trip.  I got a much better deal by buying two separate one way flights because I had more flexibility in times and different companies.

3. If there are multiple airports in your destination, search for all of them.  This can be more difficult from the airport you are leaving from, depending on how you get there and if you are leaving a car, but it can be done at your arrival destination.  I'm going to New York, which obviously has many options for airports.  I fly into LGA and leave from JFK.

4. Take a red-eye.  This may be only for the younger and more sprightly travelers but it is a great way to save money.  First, it is just cheaper because less people like to fly at that time, they know it's miserable so they give you a discount.  The other way it helps cut costs is by saving you the price of another night at a hotel.  How, you ask?  Well take me for example.  I am leaving late Saturday night from SF to go to NY where I will arrive around 10:00 in the morning their time.  This is a perfect time to be able to spend the whole day in the city and not have time wasted from traveling and I didn't have to pay for a hotel stay for Saturday night because I was in the air!

5. Sign up for the free mileage rewards programs.  Why wouldn't you want to get rewarded for free for things you do?  I'm all about signing up for rewards programs that don't cost you anything, but make sure it stays that way -- IT SHOULDN'T COST YOU ANYTHING.  Meaning, the temptation is if you're signed up for one rewards program that you'll always want to fly from that company to build up the rewards.  But be smart about it.  If it cost you $100 extra to fly with that company sometime, skip it.  I don't think those miles are worth that much.  It's okay to be signed up with multiple companies.  You'll slowly build up the rewards but you should still take the best deal dollar-wise.  Usually you end up flying with the same one or two companies anyway depending on what's available in your area.

6. All the added fees.  Nowadays airline companies are looking for any way to make money off you.  You have to pay to check a bag, pay for extra leg room or exit row, pay a huge amount for a snack.  DON'T BE TEMPTED.  The only one I really understand paying for is the checked baggage.  Sometimes it's just too hard to put everything into a carry on size or the liquid thing is a problem.  But if you can, try and put everything in the carry-on size.  You'd be surprised how big it can be.  It's generally the medium sized bag in a suitcase set.  Plus, a little secret.  You can usually check your bag at the gate for free.  But with everything else, it can easily be foregone.  Try and get an aisle seat if you're worried about leg room.  Really any food at an airport is over-priced.  Pack your own food (just be careful of the liquid restrictions).

I think that's about it.  If anybody else has any other simple tips, feel free to leave a comment!