So , by now… you must have figured out I love to travel. The more I do it, the more I discover ways to find the cheaper flights and accommodations available. If I’m going to spend my money, I think traveling is the only thing that is worth spending money on. You will get memories and will embark in adventures that are far more rewarding than buying the latest gadget or wearing brand name shoes… but hey…that’s just me.
Tip 1 Buy tickets in advance
Try to buy tickets 5 months in advance… I know it might sound crazy, but buying tickets ahead of time will probably save you around 2-300$ depending on where you are going. I know it might be hard to ask for time off such in advance, but if you can, do it! The best search sites I have found are http://www.Kayak.com (for flights coming from the USA) and if you are flying inside Europe then http://www.ryanair.com and http://www.vueling.com have the cheapest flights. I’ve tried searching for train rides, but I often feel is not worth taking long rides when plane tickets are much quicker and usually available for same or less price.
Tip 2 Booking accomodations
If you are traveling alone, I often recommend staying in an airbnb.com What I’ve done in the past is the following: I feel more comfortable staying in a girls home (nothing against guys, but I don’t know..it makes me feel more at ease) and then I try to look for someone around my age group. I figure we might have things in common. I’ve stayed with girls in the past who have turned out to be really nice and we have even gone sightseeing together! I’m not saying this happens all the time, so don’t have high expectations, but it can happen. Staying in an http://www.airbnb.com room will be cheaper than staying at a hotel and even sometimes a hostel where you will have to share the same room with other people.. and no, I have not ventured into hostels yet. If you must stay in a hotel, then I’d suggest using http://www.booking.com This website has good deals and you will get a discount if you book more than 5 times.
Tip 3 Get a credit card with travel reward points or mileage rewards
I made the huge mistake to not think about this earlier…but now that I know how much I can save by redeeming the points and adding those miles …you better believe I am going to start using it!! Look to see if your bank offers a travel reward card. Bank of America does and I received a $200 credit reward just for signing up and spending $1000 in the first 3 months. I’ve heard Citi AA Advantage world Elite Card offers a great sign up promotion and good deals . United (due to all the latest scandals), is offering a very good promotion now as well. Remember, these airlines belong to different groups, so if they belong to let’s say, the One World alliance, then you also get miles for flying with their partner airlines. Be careful to not apply for too many credit cards at once ,it might hurt your credit score; it is best to wait around six months in between.
Tip 4 Search for Free Tours/Sightseeing
The internet is your best friend when searching for free things to do while abroad. I’ve found tons of things to do by just researching. For example almost every city offers free walking or bike tours. You will have to tip the guide at the end of the tour but is up to you how much. http://www.lonelyplanet.com is a great site for this!
Most museums offer free admission days, usually on Sunday. A lot of bars have free live bands playing on weekends. Check out http://www.couchsurfing.com for free events and even meet other travelers like yourself!. I met really awesome people using this site.
Tip 5 Stay true to what it’s important to you and don’t splurge
When traveling, you have to be honest with yourself and what’s more important to you. If you prefer to dine in very expensive places and/or shop at fancy stores, then by all means ..spend your money there. But I personally, would rather spend my money on mom/pop restaurants with lots of local flavor where a lunch will cost between 5-10$. If you are staying somewhere like an airbnb…buy your own food, go to the local supermarket and get the basics like water, bread, eggs..just the essentials to make a sandwich in the morning and save on breakfast. I often check on http://www.yelp.com for suggestions on restaurants that are $ (cheap) but good, to dine out.
Control your alcohol intake..not only because you are traveling alone but because although alcohol is way cheaper , your money can easily be spent there.
Take the metro instead of taxis , it will take you a bit longer to get there, but you will save money. Use cash whenever possible and avoid making transactions with your debit card, your bank will charge you a fee everytime you use it, so be careful.
Be smart with your money , take lots of pictures and most of all, Enjoy the Journey!