So now that you’ve read about my tricks to save money for travel, here’s the good stuff, my essential travel tools!
I love this app! I use it for every trip to compare and contrast flights and try to find the cheapest deals. It lets you compare prices for whole months to hand pick the cheapest days to travel and even allows you to pick nearby airports to find alternative cheaper routes.
Now do I always book the cheapest flight to save money? Heck no! Not if the cheapest flight has four layovers and takes 50 hours to get there. To me, time is also money, so it’s a balancing act to find the best deal, in time and money.
In most cities, Airbnb is much more affordable than hotels. Sure hotels can have better amenities, but giving up a few of those to save a big chunk of money can be well worth it!
I have stayed in Airbnb’s in Paris, Reykjavik, Florence, Rome, Dubrovnik, Split, Amsterdam, Cusco, Kona, Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cape Town, and Mexico City just to name a few!
I research the city and find out which areas are the best to stay in for safety, centrally located, not too far from the airport, walking distance to shops, and lively. Then I check Airbnb for availability in those particular areas. I only book Airbnb’s that have lots of reviews, and I read every one.
In addition to a place to stay, Airbnb also offers tours of cities and each host usually leaves a bevy of suggestions for their area as well! There are so many good ideas to pull from!
I almost always Uber! Uber is much cheaper than taxies. While you could save even more using public transportation, Uber can be much more convenient and time efficient. Uber drivers can also be a bounty of knowledge and your own personal tour guide! Take advantage of your driver to ask all the questions about the city.
Uber is almost everywhere now! In other countries, it can be pretty inexpensive too. But make sure your bank doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee if Uber is billing you in the country your visitings currency.
(I signed up for Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card, just for travel purposes. This credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so I don’t have a headache when it comes to purchases while aboard.)
4. Hotel Deals and Frequent Flyer Miles
Find an app or website you love, that offers great perks and stay loyal to it! When I am traveling somewhere that I need to stay in a hotel, I almost always use Hotels.com; here I’ve found the best deals, and as an added bonus after booking ten hotel nights you earn one for free!
If you can manage to not book in advance, I absolutely love using Hotel Tonight. Everyday they take hotels rooms that aren’t booked and offer them at highly discounted rates. You could end up staying in a 4 star hotel for a 2 star price! The only draw back is you don’t know where you’ll be staying till the day of.
For airlines, always enroll in the frequent flyer programs. Flying to different countries it can be hard to be loyal to just one airline, that may limit your options but at least while you’re traveling domestically stick to one airline. I almost always use Southwest while traveling within the U.S. to rack up points towards free flights, and I’ve earned quite a few!
5. Substantial Discounts
Web sites offer travel discounts all the time; it’s your job to stay in the loop to scoop them up! I have found that Travelzoo is one of my favorites, and through them, I have found incredible deals. Every Wednesday they send out an email of “This Weeks Top 20” compiled of the 20 best travel deals they’ve found around the web that week. Some of these are steals!
Other great website and apps? Groupon, Living Social, and Viator. Some of my all time favorite adventure days have been deals I found on Groupon. Not only do they save you money and hassle but they do the planning for you!
With every deal before you purchase through a distributor call the company personally and see if they will offer you a better price if you book through them directly, isn’t that a win win!