Sure, we all love to travel…but unless you confine your schedule to the “off-season” months, or take out a second mortgage on your house – good luck taking the vacation of your dreams. We realize that if it were cheaper, traveling would probably be everyone’s favorite hobby – which is why we have put together this list of money-saving travel hacks.
If you are a blogger and have a decent following, barter for free hotel rooms from boutique hotels. With their small advertising budgets, smaller hotels are always looking for a ways to get their name out there and increase bookings. Try negotiating a deal with the person in charge of marketing at least one month before you travel. If you don’t get a free room, you might be able to get at least part of your stay for free (if you promise to give them a good review, that is!).
If you aren’t a frequent contributor to the blogosphere, try looking on HostelWorld, AirBnB or CouchSurfing for cheap hostels and vacation rentals, or even a free couch to sleep on. (Don’t worry! Hosts and renters are frequently reviewed and background-checked to make sure you wouldn’t be staying with an axe murderer.) You might also want to follow hotel chains on Facebook and Twitter to catch any deals or specials they might have to offer.
Airfare is usually the biggest headache when it comes to traveling.
Book your flights on Tuesdays at 3pm EST. For some reason, this is the cheapest day and time to buy plane tickets. Also, flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays can usually guarantee you a 15-25% discount on your tickets.
If you are using any ticket comparison sites, such as FareCompare, TripAdvisor or Kayak, make sure to double-check the airline’s website to make sure the ticket you are buying is actually cheaper on the third-party site. If you are flying to a smaller city, book your flights to a hub, and your final destination separately. You will usually be able to find much cheaper airfare between hubs and smaller cities if you book tickets independently from the rest of your trip.
Long before you travel, keep an eye out for credit cards that will allow you to quickly capitalize on perks such as air reward miles. Many companies have been known to offer 50,000 bonus miles or a two free airline tickets just for signing up. Since it can be a lengthy process to build up enough reward miles to get a free trip, use your paying customer status to its full advantage. Complain on social media if airlines do anything wrong, or even call and threaten to cancel your credit card. Most of the times, companies will reward you with free miles to compensate for any issues you may have had.
If you are in a foreign country, travel with friends or make some at your hostel. Transportation in countries in South America and Southeast Asia usually charge by the vehicle, not by the person. Splitting the cost will make ground transportation cheaper.
Befriending locals is also a good way to get insider information about the best or cheapest ways to travel. (Who knows? You might even be able to snag yourself a free ride somewhere. )
If you are traveling between big cities (in the US), check sites like Megabus or Boltbus. You will find one-way trips anywhere from $20 to $1! Check for frequent traveler programs to get free trips and discounts.
Now, when you’re finally in your destination of choice, guess what? Finding things to do can be tricky.
Download apps such as Boomerang, Groupon, BuyWithMe, and Meetup to see the best places to visit in each city, local hotspots, or special prices on top attractions.
Apps like BiteHunter and Cheapism will help you find the best and lowest priced food available for wherever are you are traveling. If you are in a foreign country, consider stopping at the local supermarket and picking up a few new items that you won’t find in the states. You can always stick to the trusty baguette, block of cheese and bottle of wine for the perfect lunch or impromptu picnic in any European city.
Now, this is just a few of the hundreds of money-saving travel hacks that people have discovered over the years. If you are really in a pinch for money but still want to take a nice vacation – simply make sure to do your research. Even when you aren’t planning to travel, look at the prices of hotels and flights to see what the rates usually are, when the best times to buy are, or if there are any cheap itineraries for purchase.
If you love to travel, or are a natural when it comes to planning fun and inexpensive vacations, you should consider a career in the hospitality industry. This huge field is always growing, and has positions that are available in every sector of the industry. Visit Star Career Academy’s website to find out how you can start your rewarding and exciting career in hospitality today!