Because the world is too big to stay in one place.
I liked to travel. A lot. Over the years I’ve learned not to let things like expenses get in the way. I’ve traveled to London, Cape Town, Barcelona, Rome, Cannes, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the list goes on. My upcoming trips include Cuba, Amsterdam and Kenya. Am I rich? Not yet. So how do I do it? Besides believing that I live in a limitless world, I’ve learned a thing or two about booking affordable trips. Here are 9 travel hacks that’ll help you see the world, on a budget.
We live in a world where everything you need can be found on an app. When searching for flights, I use Hopper or Google Flights to help me find convenient, affordable airfare. Hopper tells me when I should purchase my ticket based on flight trends. The app will watch your desired flight and notify you when the price goes down. While Hopper doesn’t carry all airlines, Google Flights (search engine) will search every single airline, even the less popular ones.
Fly out of neighboring airport
Flying affordably doesn’t always mean you’ll fly comfortably. I live in New York City and it’s most convenient for me to catch my flights out of JFK. Because JFK is a very popular airport, tickets usually cost a bit more. Back in August, I decided to book a last minute trip to London for Fashion Week. I was able to find a roundtrip ticket out of Newark International airport for less than $500. For $21 roundtrip, I booked a shuttle bus that picked me up at Penn Station and drove me to my departure gate in New Jersey. Completely worth it!
Secret Flying on Instagram
Do you remember that time in 2016 when everyone purchased extremely cheap tickets to Dubai because of a system error? The Secret Flying Instagram account is dedicated to finding airline error pricing and cheap flight deals just like that one.
By now, you should’ve popped your Airbnb cherry. It is one of the most comfortable, convenient lodging sources to use while traveling. If you happen to find a cheap flight, partner it with an Airbnb to get that, ‘home away from home,’ feeling. For my impromptu trip to London, I book an apartment that was safe, centrally located and spacious. Hotels are great, but I was able to save myself money by cooking meals rather than dining out.
So I know I just talked up Airbnb for being a convenient source of lodging, but I’m also a fan of doing bundle deals through sites like Expedia and Orbit. Sometimes, flight prices and Airbnb’s won’t align the way you want them to. It can be much easier to plug in exactly what you’re looking for via second-party websites. In April of 2017, I was able to travel to South Africa for 7 days, paying $750 for airfare and hotel. This coming March, I will be traveling to Amsterdam for $730 (airfare and hotel included). When booking bundles, be very specific and do your research. Aim for a central location or somewhere on the outskirts with convenient transportation.
Some of the most affordable trips for me are the ones I book on impulse. I actually book all my flights that way. Wake up, drink some coffee, book a flight. Too much planning for a trip can bring up roadblocks. It’s okay to have a plan or idea in mind regarding your potential trip, but too much planning can cause an unnecessary anxiety.
Break your trip up
When airlines have deals, it’s sometimes cheaper to buy a ticket with one airline and your return ticket with another. Let the price differences work in your favor. Sometimes, when I find an affordable ticket somewhere, I’ll book it one way and use Hopper or Google Flights to see the prices of other airlines for my return flight.
Late night flight deals
Rumor has it, the best time to purchase a ticket is on Tuesday or Wednesday between 3 and 6 am. The worst time to purchase a ticket is on Friday. Set your alarm, folks! It may be annoying to wake up extra early to book a flight but your pockets will appreciate it.
Know what days to travel
When planning a trip, know that you’ll spend more money if you fly during the weekend. You can get more bang for your buck if you travel Monday-Thursday. If possible, try to fly Monday-Monday, Thursday-Thursday etc. Airbnb’s and some Bed & Breakfast residence also offer cheaper prices for weekday bookings.