Check out this travel expert and Founder of TravelPirates, Calvin Iverson, tips and tricks about how to save on a budget when it comes to travel. TravelPirates offers the best and lowest flight deals, as proof from it’s 10 million fans on Facebook. Its team of expert deal hunters, assisted by TravelPirates’ proprietary algorithms, who know just where to find jaw-dropping travel deals – think $171 flights from the U.S. to Chile round-trip (an “error fare” the airline honored), affordable private islands, treehouse hotels, or tropical glamping (“glamorous camping,” for those not in the know) – combined with savvy social media strategists who know how to make content go viral with TravelPirates’ passionate millennial audience. Here’s what you should know before you take your next dream vacation.
Be flexible with your location. Everyone has their favorite hot spots, but the more popular locations tend to also be more expensive. Due to seasonality, occupancy and market demand, you’ll find that other destinations just as attractive as your go-to spot will have heavy discounts on flights and accommodations. In some cases, you may even find it cheaper to fly overseas than closer to home.
Ask nicely. Being polite can go a long way–it never hurts to kindly ask if any upgrades are available at the front desk. Whether you’ve arrived a bit early for your flight and have some time to check in with the person managing the gate or you’re checking in to your hotel and kindly ask if they have any premium rooms open that night, you could end up getting a nicer experience for less than you would have paid upfront for the same thing.
Be flexible with your dates. The most reliable way to save big on travel is to leave your schedule a little more open than usual so that you can be flexible with your departure and return dates. Leaving a few days earlier or staying a few days longer can save you hundreds of dollars on flights and accommodations.
Skip checking bags. Checking bags seems to be getting more and more expensive these days, and if you’re flying a budget carrier, you can guarantee that there will be a cost. Pack light instead – you’ll save both money and time, as you won’t have to wait at the baggage claim carousel for your luggage to arrive.
Research your credit card perks and fees. Credit cards can save you time and money when traveling abroad. Some, such as Chase Sapphire, don’t charge foreign transaction fees and even offer perks such as insurance on rental cars and double or triple points for travel-related purchases. When you use these cards, you’ll gain points that will help you pay for your next trip.
Book an Airbnb instead of a hotel. This tip is especially useful for those of us who like to travel in groups, whether it be with family or friends. Booking a house on Airbnb with enough beds to fit your party is often more affordable than booking several hotel rooms, and the community atmosphere of staying together in one house is unbeatable for vacation memories. Pack some board games and plan to cook meals together in the house’s kitchen or outdoor grill--perfect activities for the summer months.
Plan meals beforehand. Whether you’re driving or flying, it’s no secret that dining out adds up quickly on any vacation. Depending on the kind of trip you’re looking to have, plan to cut back on costs by packing some food that will hold for the weekend, or do some research on affordable dining options in your destination beforehand – try using apps like OpenTable to alert you to special offers at local restaurants and UrbanSpoon to select options that fit within your budget.
Stay with family (or friends). Planning to go to a city or town where you know someone? Ask ahead and see if you can stay in a spare room – chances are they’ll be more than happy to see you, and you’ll save big on accommodations.
When you arrive, look for free activities. Download some apps before you hit the road. Apps such as Gravy, Like a Local, and Now will help you figure out what’s free, not free, and everything in between – you can even sort by category. Doing some quick research on apps before you start your day will not only help you save time, but will give you a financial road map of what your day could look like.