This goes out to all my people in your 20’s, just trying to pay rent but wanting to explore the world. I’ve got lots of tips & tricks to help you go on that dream vacation without breaking the bank. Wether you are looking to plan a domestic weekend vacation or a 10 day international expedition, I’ve got some money savers to make your traveling dreams come true.
Last week I booked my flights & accommodations for a 10 day girls trip to Greece, so I thought I would use the steps I took to plan this trip as an example of how to make your dream trip a reality when living tight. When I tell people I am planning this trip I get a few questions:
1. Where are you staying?
2.What are you doing?
3. How in the world can you afford that?
The last question is honestly my favorite to answer because it surprises people that I am able to travel so much. It’s true, I travel a lot, but what you don’t see is everything I do behind the scenes to plan a trip. For my longer trips I start planning at least 6 months out & weekend getaways some times are more of a last minute situation. I’ve tested out all of the flight tracking apps, travel planning websites, used travel agents etc., but over the past year, I have really nailed a method that has taken me to places like the Dominican Republic, Italy, & on many short & sweet weekend trips. I hope you guys will be able to use some of these tips & tricks to getting you up up & away!
- Research Research Research:
I do TONS of research before planning any trip. It normally starts as a little spark of inspiration from something I’ve seen and snowballs from there. Once I have my mind set on where I want to go, or what I want to do, I start asking friends and family (You Guys) for suggestions based on their experiences. Checking out other blogs, Tripadvisor, and articles on locations is a great resource as well. Most recently my go to travel blog to check is @katiesbliss. She lives in New York as well, and has the best itineraries and tips to share. Once I’ve gathered this first pool of knowledge, I use it as my base of information before evolving the trip into my own adventure.
2. Be Flexible:
Being flexible is my biggest piece of advice when planning a trip on a tight budget. For instance, we first started planning our trip for the last week of May, but after doing some digging, price comparisons and flight tracking we found that it would be significantly cheaper to travel the second week of May. Do what’s going to be best for your work schedule and pockets. We had a small window of opportunity to work with, but if you have a more flexible work schedule or are willing to go any time of year, you have an additional advantage to the money saving game.
3. Track your flights:
This is what I always use for what I call the “establishment phase” when planning a trip. If you are set on a specific destination already then go ahead and log your dates to begin tracking the best prices for flights and hotels. If you are still trying to decide where you want to go, google flights is a great way determine your final destination. You can check prices for specific dates without setting a destination so you can see all of the options during that time. This has made it so much easier to compare prices when beginning to plan and helps me stay in my budget from the beginning, without having to cancel or compromise.
This is one that I deleted off of my phone a few years ago and recently brought back to my travel tab, and let me just tell ya this is a game changer. Hopper cut my ticket price to Greece in half! Yes, you read that right. Hopper predicts prices with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance of your travel date. This is the next level. The app sends you notifications on price fluctuations for flights and hotels, alerting you of the best time to book. Now, I will say this, it gives me a little stress to wait on booking things, as I am such planner, but it has yet to fail me. Don’t believe me? We were on the verge of postponing our trip until next year because flights were so high. The app kept saying they would drop but c’mon… we are three months out people. Well, they were right, our tickets went from $850 roundtrip, to $411. A STEAL.
4. Compare all of your options:
This comes into play more for hotels & Accommodations. There are so many different websites to choose from with loads of options for hotels, house rentals, and so much more. most hotels are on multiple sites, but often are listed at different prices. Since we are visiting three different islands, I really got to play around with all of the different websites to compare prices. For Athens, the most cost friendly option was to book an apartment through airbnb. We booked our stay in Mykonos on airbnb as well, but we are actually staying at a hotel that had no availability in on Expedia or Travelocity. Our Santorini hotel had listings on multiple websites, but after playing around between them all I found the best price on booking.com. Similar to Airbnb, they offer hotels & flats to rent. They currently have 28,338,983 total reported listings globally. They promise to always give you the best rates and if they don’t, they price match, which is such a bonus. I had never used this one before, but had a great experience and will definitely be trying it again.
My go to’s
5. Rack up on credit card rewards:
This is a big kid thing to consider. Do you have your own credit card? If so, before you start planning, check to see if they are offering any discounts for travel ( I.e. money back, bonus points, double miles). For me, I only fly Delta & their partners to get the maximum amount of points possible when traveling with my Delta Amex. You also need to check your cards foreign transaction policy, as this can differ from card to card. For any credit card, try and make all of your big purchases with it so that you get more points. All of your hotels and flights will rack up tons of points that you can use for future travel.
I hope this lowdown on travel planning was helpful and sets you up to send you off on your next your dream adventure!