Travel Saving Tips for the Frugal Traveler
If you are a frugal traveler than this blog is for you. I know that some people will only travel first class, which means they will probably travel less but hey, to each his own. I prefer to save money and visit as many places as possible. That being said, I felt it would be helpful to share some of my travel saving tips for the rest of you who want to discover this great big world of ours and still be able to afford to pay your bills.
Since most travel plans begin with finding a good deal on Flights, I figured I would start there. Here is a list of a few sites I use to find the best deals.
Skyscanner is a great place to find deals on most flights. I tend to check here first before I extend my search to other travel sites. You can find really affordable options but my only suggestion would be to jump on it, otherwise, you could lose it. Last year I took a trip to Italy and my round-trip ticket was approx. $420 - that included all taxes and fees. This year I am traveling to Europe and my travel details were a little more complicated. I had to find a flight from LAX to Amsterdam (AMS) then from Amsterdam to Zurich and from Zurich to Paris, my flight home would then be directly from Paris. With all of that confusion, I still managed to find tickets totaling $752 (not bad)!
Hopper is an app and you can only use it if you download it to your smartphone. Hopper is great in that it notifies you when flight costs go down. You input your departure and arrival details and it will notify you when it is a great time to buy.
Kayak - Price Alerts
Kayak monitors fares so you can buy when fares drop. These alerts come by email, so check your email regularly, especially if you are in the process of planning to travel.
One thing I never compromise on is the comfort of a nice hotel; however, you will be surprised to find that there are many affordable boutique hotels out there. My list of must-haves is cleanliness, close proximity to the cities main attractions, and quiet enough to get a good nights rest. I tend to gravitate toward boutique hotels because they are providing a unique and personalized service/experience. I love the attention to detail and the ability to be in a smaller, cozier environment, sort of like a home away from home. There are a few websites that I use to find the best deals on vacation rentals/hotels and I will give a few tips on how to make sure you are getting the best deal.
Considering that I travel quite a bit and have reserved hotels from booking.com quite frequently, I am now a Genius member. You are eligible for the Genius program after completing 5 stays within two years. You will have the ability to receive an extra 10% off on selected properties. Some properties will offer an early check-in/ late check-out, provide drinks upon arrival and you have a dedicated customer service line for all accommodations booked under the platform. The one thing I have noticed that is a little frustrating is that some hotels only offer the discounted rate for Genius members if you pay instantly, rather than paying at the hotel. That would be my only qualm with using this platform.
Another great feature is that you can delegate between business and personal trips, so it keeps everything nice and organized.
Even though I carry the Genius status, I always compare rates to those offered by the hotel directly. A great tool to install within Chrome is Scout by Room Key (since it is a Chrome extension, that is the only search engine you can use). It will basically do the work for you and notify you of a lower price offered by the hotel directly. It works off the following travel sites (Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire).
I love discovering new travel blogs, and I have found a few helpful tips from various travel bloggers. You can find great reviews on hotels, recommendations to ensure you are staying in a safe part of the city and restaurants that are affordable. You are bound to find all the items on your checklist if you are resourceful. A few blogs that I found to be helpful for my recent trip are:
- Pretty Hotels
- From the Poolside
- Chic Retreats Journal
- Young Adventuress is a great blog if you are planning a trip to Paris. The writer includes a helpful guide to the arrondissements of Paris, and if it is your first time traveling to Paris, like it is for me, you may be completely lost when it comes to finding the best location for you.
There is one thing I do to keep myself organized and ensure I stay within budget:
Excel spreadsheet: Yes, this is already starting to sound extremely nerdy and unnecessary but it has become so helpful for me during my travels. I keep an ongoing spreadsheet of the important details. Those details include:
- Flight cost
- Hotel Cost
- Ground transportation cost
- Cash on Hand for each day
- All of my flight, and hotel confirmations
Having this all on hand helps me keep track of my spending and enures that I have enough set aside for meals/souvenirs for each day. I always recommend $100 for every day that I am on vacation. You may not spend that much everyday or you may spend more on certain days but its a good cushion to work with.
Another thing that helps you save money is booking all of your must-see attractions, like museums, amusement parks or excursions before you arrive. Do not wait until the last minute to purchase tickets, buy them beforehand, skip the lines and have it all checked off your list, so that this does not run into your daily budget. I make sure that the $100 is strictly for my meals and whatever else I desire to spend it on when I am in that particular city.
I hope some of these tips were helpful, I look forward to sharing my travel journey that will begin at the end of this month. I plan on posting vlogs and writing short entries about my travels.