1. Be Flexible – In my experience, the more flexible I am, the less money I spend on traveling. Yes, traveling from Thursday-Sunday is ideal when you work a 9-5. However, this can be ideal for the rest of the world too. Remember: The lower the demand, the lower the price. You are better off traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Also, red-eye and crack of dawn flights are always cheaper. There are many search engines that allow you do “flexible-date searches” like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Orbits. Also, be open to departing from an airport other than your local airport, especially when flying internationally. Flying to South Africa from NYC is considerably cheaper than flying from Philly. What’s a 2 hour train ride or 3 hour bus ride when it’s going to save you HUNDREDS of dollars?! Moral of the story: The more flexible you are, the fatter your pockets will be!
2. Understand the difference between TRAVEL and VACATION – Yes, there IS a difference. Often times Americans…and people in general think of traveling and vacation as one in the same. A vacation is when you take a break from the rest of the world to relax and unwind. It usually takes a while for you to save up for a vacation. On the other hand, traveling is much different. When you travel, you are going to a new place to explore, learn, meet new people, and grow. You rarely spend all day at a resort, eating at fancy restaurants, or sunbathing on the finest beaches. Both are important, but there are differences. My suggestion is that you start TRAVELING, and when you do, you’ll see the difference in price is considerably cheaper. For example: Eating at a 5 star restaurant vs eating where the locals go. Staying at a resort vs AirBnb. Hotel offered activities vs random exploring. All of these things MATTER.
3. Do Your Research – The more research you do when planning a trip, the more likely you are to get a better bargain. There are tourist attractions like museums that offer free entry on certain days, or eateries that have deals at certain times. A lot of restaurants in Europe offer lunch specials where items on the dinner menu are available for a huge discount. Also, when booking flights and accommodations, don’t assume that all of the “travel search engine” sites all have the same prices. They don’t. Also, cities that offer a lot of attractions typically offer city tourist cards or some type of pass that affords you entry to more than one location. Often times, these deals save you 50% off the cost of what seeing these attractions individually.
4. Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone – They say greatness begins at the end of your comfort zone. The same applies for travel. The first time I traveled to Europe, I landed in London at 9 at night. It would have been very comfortable catching a taxi to my destination, but I decided to take the Tube instead. (London subway) Sure…I got lost, but I met a lot of awesome people who were more than willing to help. Plus, what’s a trip without getting lost?? It adds to the excitement! More importantly, I saved over $100 by choosing the train over a taxi. When I traveled to Southeast Asia, I stayed in my first hostel. (Don’t freak out!) Hostels have come a LONG way from the sketchy overcrowded rooms you’ve seen in movies. They are much nicer and offer accommodations that cater to your preference. I’m not the type to stay in a “dorm” style room, however a private room in a hostel is SO much cheaper than a hotel. When you stay in a hostel, you’re in an environment full of other travelers that are from all over the world. One of the best parts of traveling are the people you meet on your journey. The conversations I’ve had with people I’ve met have helped me to gain a global perspective. And I can’t tell you how often my plans have changed after meeting someone in the lobby of my hostel. The bedding may not have the highest thread count, BUT like I mentioned before this is travel… not vacation. Plus you shouldn’t be spending that much time in your room anyway. Get out and make each day count!
Written by: Lo Millie | www.cantstayput.com | Instagram: @cantstayput_ | Twitter: @lomillie