So we are right here in the middle of Summer which happens to be my favorite time of the year! There are a lot of holidays within the last 6 months of the year, so you know what that means. There’s going to be a lot of traveling! So whether you are traveling to be with friends, family or just simply celebrating a birthday (as I will be in December) you'll want to save as much as you cab by staying on budget. A lot of you know me to take some of the most lavish trips throughout the year, so below I’ll tell you some of my travel tips that have saved me some money along the way.
Be Flexible: This is the most important concept when it comes to traveling. The more flexible you are, the cheaper the cost. So that means consider traveling during the weekdays versus traveling on the weekends. Not only are flights more costly on the weekends, but wherever you choose to stay may be also. Also be flexible in the airports you choose to fly out of and into. I used to live in Richmond, VA and the flight prices are not the best, especially if you are flying internationally. However, it is a fairly decent airport to fly out of if you flying domestically to places like Florida. I normally fly out of Dulles airport or BWI, because the difference in flight prices is worth the drive even taking into consideration the $25 in gas round trip.
Airport Parking or Nah? Ummm Imma go with nah! When you decide to travel to another destination to take your flight you have to consider where you’re going to park your car. I can tell you that parking at the airport is not the answer, because it is super expensive for no reason. I normally make a parking reservation at an offsite secure parking lot and take the shuttle to and from the airport. Click the link here to make your reservation.
Timing is Everything: Well the same holds true for traveling. Timing is everything when you want to take a thrifty trip. I know you hear people always talking about peak season, low season, high season etc., but here’s how I’m going to kick it to you for purposes of this blog. Basically if it gets cold in the U.S. between the months of December and March expect travel destinations that are generally hot like Mexico to cost more for those months. I went to Mexico in June 2015 it was blazing hot like 95 degrees, but guess what? My trip was thrifty. It cost me like $600 all-inclusive and I booked it just a week and half in advance. That’s what I’m talking about when I say be flexible, timing is everything, and favor ain’t fair!
All-inclusive or Airbnb? It’s your preference, but I’d like you to consider where it is you’re trying to go before you determine where it is you would like to stay. For instance, if you’re traveling to somewhere like Cuba for a cultural experience, consider staying at an Airbnb. Booking an Airbnb can get really cheap especially if you are splitting the cost per night 2 to 4 ways. You also can buy food to cook to save more money if you are staying somewhere with a fully furnished kitchen. I would consider booking an all-inclusive if you are staying on a beach (like I did in Mexico) that way you really don’t have to go off the resort if you don’t want to.
Compare Prices: Definitely compare prices where necessary. Try searching your trips on a travel site like Google Flights or Priceline that compares prices of other travel web sites. Be mindful that on Priceline you have 24 hours to cancel your booking and if the price reduces within the 24 hours you will get the difference refunded. Also, check the actual airline websites for deals as well; because you may stumble upon a deal that you may not have come across by just searching on a traditional travel site. Two of my personal favorite sites to search for trips are Groupon and Living Social. I would suggest fully vetting the hotels, however, prior to booking. If you’re searching a traditional website like Expedia and you don’t like what you see try calling the customer service line to speak with a travel agent and explain to them exactly what you’re looking for. When I went to Mexico I actually called the travel agent at Expedia to customize my trip and get the best price.
Research: I cannot stress how important it is to research wherever it is you are trying to go. Reach out to people who have been to the places you are trying to go whether it’s domestic or international. I normally start out planning a trip by inquiring about the destination with people I know who have already been. I ask about everything from places to go, weather, food, and where to stay. Then I go to google and check out politics. You want to make sure you are not going somewhere that is under a travel ban, etc. Also make sure you identify what time of the year you are going on your trip. You don’t want to book a trip to the Caribbean during Hurricane season even though the price may be significantly cheaper. However, it’s completely up to you if you want to take the chance.
Patience: Have patience when it comes to booking your trips, especially when you are on a budget. I remember there was a time when everyone was going to Dubai and I always wanted to go but my bank account was saying otherwise. I waited until the time was right; because timing is everything, remember? I ended up booking the trip for less than what people were paying just for their flight to get there.
Keep in mind the cost/ benefit analogy when you are planning your trip. The goal is to get more out of the trip than what it cost. Remember to be patient because everything will work out when it’s supposed to! So go ahead and start planning! I can’t wait to see pictures of you on your trip getting lavish!