HOW TO TRAVEL FOR LESS: GOING FROM INSPIRATION TO BOOKINGS
Traveling can be an expensive lifestyle or hobby but, it doesn't have to be. With a little planning and research on your destinations, you can save so much money.
INSPIRATION AND RESEARCH:
When picking a destination and finding things to do, I always find myself on Pinterest. This is mainly because you can organize your travel destinations on digital boards. There are links to blog posts written by people from all over the world. There are tons of tips on travel, accommodation, and gorgeous photos leaving you utterly inspired.
Google Maps on google drive can allow you to create a visual for your itinerary. You can drag your destinations from place to place with the click of your mouse. Since it automatically saves your map on google drive when you are signed in, you can access it from anywhere around the world where there is wifi. Under the explore key, google has maps already created by people to inspire your next trip or destination.
BOOKING FLIGHTS + TRANSPORTATION:
A huge tip for saving money when booking flights is to always make sure you are using an incognito browser. Your computer collects your browser history and cookies which will increase your prices for flights if you look at the same website multiple times.
Skyscanner is no doubt my favorite website for booking flights. Its extremely simple and you can choose your destination based on the cheapest prices from your place of origin. You can also look at the cheapest months and days within the months to travel to certain locations which is very helpful.
If you are traveling a long distance where you know there will be multiple stopovers, why not choose your own stop overs? Yes, Skyscanner gives you the option to book MULTI-CITY flights where you choose multiple destinations and your stop overs. This tool is useful if you want to fly into one city and fly out of another one.
Momondo is another great flight price comparison website. It is very similar to skyscanner and I use both to compare each other's prices.
Rome2Rio is great for not only finding flights but, finding the cheapest price for all the modes of transportation. That includes train, bus, flight, ferry, and ride shares. It is again, sort of the same idea like Skyscanner and Momondo but with a broader spectrum of transportation options.
Booking accommodations can be an intimidating process. There are so many options to choose from and the possibilities are endless. I use three different booking options depending on my budget for the trip and what kind of environment I want to be in.
The hostel life is pretty much my default booking. I know I can always rely on hostel world to book a great hostel that meets my needs. Hostels range from country to country and city to city, price wise. But you will always find that staying in a mixed dorm of 8-12 people is always the cheapest and the most fun.
Things to make sure your hostel has before booking it:
- Free Breakfast: this will save you money on a meal or two a day! Always book a hostel with free breakfast
- A kitchen: for guests to cook their own meals. Eating out every meal gets expensive, so cooking at your hostel will save you.
- Free Wifi: I don't even think I have to explain this one
- Storage Lockers: you have to bring your own locks but make sure your hostel has a locker area so you can store your valuable things when you are out so nothing gets stolen
- Linens Provided: some hostels don't provide sheets or pillow cases on the bed, make sure your hostel gives them unless you plan to bring your own
- Centralized Location: make sure your hostel is close to the city center and accessible by public transportation that way you aren't having to take an expensive taxi from the airport, bus, or train station.
What is Couchsurfing? Couchsurfing is a website in which people host other travelers, usually on their couch or extra bed or air mattress. And yes, IT'S FREE. Or is it? Although it is technically "free" to stay with them, you should show your appreciation of their hosting by cooking them a meal, taking them out for a drink, or doing something nice for them. They are after all sharing their home and space with you and do it frequently so it adds up.
This is by far the cheapest option but, you as a traveler have to be the most flexible since you don't always have the freedom of doing what you want all the time. Couchsurfing is well worth it. All the hosts are also travelers so they understand the lifestyle and both the host and traveler can learn a lot from each other.
Some things to consider while Couchsurfing:
- Always message the people with high response rates and "maybe accepting + accepting guests"
- Read their reviews
- Take the time to write a personalized message when asking someone to host you
- If they decline you, don't take it personally
- Use more than one host
- Keep your host up to date with your travel plans because they do have a life too
- Be mindful of the security of where you are staying
- Be respectful of their house rules
- Don't be messy and use up all their water and electricity
- Never bring people back
Air B&B is the best kind of booking if you are traveling with 2 or more people and/or if you want a bit more privacy. If you are splitting the costs between two or more people it can be even cheaper than a hostel. You can rent apartments, houses, and even villas. You don't get the aspect of meeting a lot of people like in hostels or on Couchsurfing but, there is a lot more freedom to go and come as you please.
If you are new to Air B&B and want to make an account, there is a special code link -------> Air B&B that gives you $40 off your first trip of $75 or more. All you have to do is sign up to claim your credit.