Tips To Make Travel More Affordable
Are you excited for your next travel? Plan to travel now and explore this great destination right here. But before you do that, here are a few tips on how to make your travel more affordable.
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Work those rewards programs
This was the strategy that kind of started it all for us. We had long-time plans to go to Europe for our 10th anniversary, and during the research leading up to that we realized we needed a new credit card. The one we had at the time had foreign transaction fees, and paying 3% more on every transaction? Uh, no thank you. There are a bunch out there that get you tons of bonus miles if you spend a certain amount over the first few months, so that’s what we did. We ended up with the American Airlines branded Citi card because the minimum spend was relatively low, and that netted us 50K airline miles to use later. That’s how we ended up paying next to nothing for our flights to Paris.
Also, if you travel for work, check to see if you can use your personal loyalty programs when you book your flights and hotel. You can rack up lots of points that way, and most hotels have partner programs that let you convert your points to airline miles (cha-ching!).
Fly budget airlines & travel light
Since we live in Lexington, we unfortunately don’t really have budget airlines that go through our airport. We have found that for a lot of domestic flights, making the short trip to Louisville for a Southwest flight still ends up a lot less expensive, even when you consider paying for parking. I could talk about all the reasons I love Southwest, but I’ll save that for another day!
I’m also really excited that WOW Air is going to start flights from Cincinnati in May, which will give us a nearby-ish option for budget international flights. Their booking site even has an option for stopovers in Reykjavik (where all the flights connect), which sounds pretty awesome. You do have to pay extra for luggage, but you know I’d rather keep it to a carry-on anyway. In fact, that’s a good strategy for most airlines, since these days nearly all of them charge for checked bags, and even more if they’re over a certain weight.
Rent an apartment
These days Joseph and I almost never stay at a hotel. Why bother, when an entire apartment ends up less per night than a hotel? There may not be a housekeeping staff and on-site spa, but those aren’t priorities for us anyway. We’ve been booking through either AirBNB or Tripadvisor Vacation Rentals and had great experiences with both.
Travel with friends
Another reason to book a whole apartment: if you travel with friends and family a lot, like we do, things get much more affordable. Especially true for more expensive cities – the cost of a week for an apartment in NYC is pretty eye-popping, but once you split it between six people it’s not so bad. Especially after you look at a few hotels that start at $200-$300/night for just two people! AirBNB even has a feature now where you can split the cost on their website when you pay. That makes it way easier since it means one person doesn’t have to front all the money.
Plan multi-city vacations
I have a personal goal to travel to 40 different cities by the time I turn 40 (I’m at 15 with five years to go, so I need to pick up the pace!). If you’re like me and want to go as many places as possible, multi-city trips are the way to do it! For example, a train ticket from Madrid to Valencia was only about €60 – way less expensive than a whole second trip to Spain! It also helped out with our Paris/London trip. Originally we were just going to go to London, but even using airline miles you still have to pay the local taxes on your flight. Turns out that’s crazy expensive in London, so flying in & out of Paris and taking the train to London ended up being much cheaper.
Travel in the off season
Pretty much everything gets less expensive if you don’t go during your destination’s peak travel season. You’ll get better deals on hotels, resort with entertainment, attractions… it even takes less rewards miles to book your flight (or you can be like us and use the difference to upgrade your seat!). Costs of other activities such as skydiving may also be offered at lower rates during the off season.