Five Simple Travel Tips to Save You Money
We have been fortunate enough to do a TON of traveling so far as a couple and we have a few more trips already booked! We get asked regularly how we can afford to travel and how we are able to travel so frequently. With that being said we wanted to share five travel tips as to how we am able to travel so well and so often. Each Tuesday we will be sharing #TravelTips on #TravelTripTuesday. Here are five of the best ways to save money while you travel.
1. Avoid (paying) For Checked Bags:
People forget sometimes that you are actually allowed TWO carry on bags when you fly: One carry on bag which is allowed to be stored in the overhead bins and two a smaller bag, often referred to as a " personal item" to be thrown under the seat. The general rule for carry on items is the total dimensions of the bag cannot exceed 45 inches... almost 4 feet! Most roller suitcases, backpacks and duffle bags fit these guidelines. When it comes to the personal item, the TSA's website states: You are allowed “one personal item such as a laptop computer, purse, small backpack, briefcase, or camera case". So theoretically, you could pack suitcase or duffle bag as your one allotted carry on bag and then a 'smaller' backpack as the item to be stowed under your seat.
Now, you may think well.. if everyone does that then how is everything going to fit. For starters, most business travelers or families check their luggage because 1. They aren't paying for it the company is, 2. They are to lazy or don't want to be bothered with carrying it around the airport or 3. They need to worry about keeping track of their kids and having to also keep track of a bag could end up with loosing one (most likely the bag). With that being said there is typically overhead space on the plane just might not always be in your immediate area. Well, if you are trying to travel on a budget, not checking your bag can save you a few extra bucks which can be used to enjoy a nice meal or drink at your destination.
Travel Hack: If you make it through security with your luggage and the flight ends up being full, chances are the airline will offer to check your bags for free. This is happening more and more frequently on domestic flights and at the end of the day your luggage ended up being checked without you having to pay for it!!
2. Fly During the Week: Tuesday or Wednesdays (if possible):
Flying certain days of the week can have a significant influence on the price of your ticket. Weekends are always packed with families trying to get to or from vacations, honeymoon goers, and people trying to get to a conference or events. The next option people think is, "well if everyone is trying to go Saturday or Sunday, why don't we either leave a day early on Friday or wait till Monday." Fun fact, those are the next too worse days because everyone is thinking that. It is the two busiest days for business personal. All four of these days are like this year round and only get worse when a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving on or around them. That being said, if you are trying to get the most bang for your buck, schedule your travels around Tuesday or Wednesday dates. Depending on the time of year and if it is a peak season to the place you are going to you can save hundreds on round trip flights.
Many oppose to traveling on these days because they " think it requires them to take more days off of work" or " they cannot have a weekend in the area they are traveling to." Both if you think about it are not true. If you are taking a week off, five work days and two weekends, it doesn't matter which day you leave because you will return the day before. The downside to this is yes, you will have to go back to work midweek but I always look at it as a shorten week and it tends to fly by faster. Same is true for the weekend situation, if you are going for a week you will still have the ability to enjoy a Friday or Saturday out; plus be well rested.
3. Travel during off season:
This we personally find to be the hardest because it requires a lot more research and planning. Take Florida for example; If you are from the North everyone wants to go during the winter to escape the cold and celebrate the holidays in warm weather. If it is the summer and you have a family, you want to travel to Florida for the beaches and theme parks while the kiddos are on break. With that in mind, we try to avoid going to Florida during either season and go in the spring or fall.
Now think about the Caribbean, maybe people head down during the winter months to escape the cold and because the temperature are bearable, where as during the summer months it's hot with the extension of day light and maybe people don't want to deal with the heat. That's why most of the time beginning around April through December there are a lot of sales for those interested in island hopping through the clear blue water. The hard thing becomes when you are going to a place to specifically see something. For example, when I went to Japan we wanted to see the cherry blossoms so everything was packed and expensive, however when we went to New Orleans it was out of their Mardi Gras season and it was off season for football so our long weekend trip was fairly inexpensive.
4. Do long weekend trips:
People sometimes think you need weeks on end to see a place. Some of my favorite trips have been over the course of 72 hours. If you put in the time and effort to plan prior to embarking on the trip you can cover most of not all of the major tourist sites in just a few days. No matter how long you stay in a place, a few days or weeks 9 out of 10 times you will always want to see more. For example, when I went to Denali National Park, I camped there for three night and four days. Did I ever want to leave, no, but did I feel like I was able to experience a lot of Denali, YES. I actually feel like going to a place for a few days is better than spending a week in one. I loved that when I traveled Japan, I was able to spend a few days in seven different cities. I covered more ground in the country than some people do studying abroad.
Weekend trips are by far my preferred way of traveling especially when it comes to domestic trips. I have been able to hit many major cities such as: New York, Charleston, Orlando, New Orleans, Cleveland, Old San Juan, etc. just by going for long weekends. I tend to leave the one of the last flights on Friday and then either come back the last flight on Sunday night or First Monday morning if its just for the weekend; that way you get two full days in the area you visit. Or if it is a long weekend, just push that return flight back a day but with the same idea. Plus, as mentioned above late flights are usually cheaper than mornings and weekday flights are cheaper than weekends!
5. Be flexible (&& spontaneous):
Some of the best trips I have taken have been last decisions or to places that weren't at the top of my list but still on there. Yes, again I have the benefit to fly non rev which totally helps when it came to deciding last minute to hop on a flight to Tokyo a three days earlier than planned but still sometimes being flexible helps. IF there is a specific destination you just HAVE to go to and you have the flexibility to go whenever you want, then hunt out the cheapest flights or wait for airline deals. You can still go for that week long vacation just maybe take it a few weeks later than planned if there is flight specials. Domestic carriers like JetBlue and Southwest frequently run sales and specials where flights one way have been as low as $25 to some major cities.
Besides being flexible on the dates, booking trips spontaneous can also be rewarding. If you are not picky on where you want to go but just looking to GTFO, see what places are having specials and sales during the time you want to vacation. This is especially great if you have a long weekend from work or want to enjoy sometime away. With spontaneous travel, you then have the ability to go somewhere, at times for a fraction of the cost it would be if you planned it. For example, with spontaneous trips you can use travel search engines and type in "anywhere" to see the best deals. Also, when it comes to booking a hotel, using apps like Hotel Tonight can leave you with a five star hotel for the price of a three star hotel.
Travel Hack: Always, ALWAYS do any travel related searches on a private browser or with cookies disabled. I cannot tell you how important this is if you are looking for a steal. The internet stalks you, just accept that fact because this is the world we live in. Search engine companies like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelosity, Hotels.com, all have created their websites to 'save' what you are searching and can slowly change or alter prices to think flights or hotels are selling out when in reality they are not! I cannot tell you how many times I have just googled say " Chicago" and then the next day I'll get an email from Orbitz saying, " Cheap flights on American to Chicago; 89$ one way!" Or my favorite is when I see an add on social media promoting a events in a city I booked a flight in... creepy we know. By searching in a private browser or disabling cookies you will almost always still be able to use said sites and get the best prices.
Until next Tuesday - Happy Travels!