The other day while I was getting some new batteries for my cameras I was talking to the camera store salesperson and we had been talking about some of my trips. He couldn’t believe all my trips and said that he couldn’t ever afford it. I started explaining that with some smart shopping, international travel isn’t that expensive. It is cheaper than going to Hawaii.
There are some things that I’ve learned through the years.
First, be flexible. I’ve learned that flying into a different city or on a different date might make a big difference. Also I’ve gone to destinations that I normally wouldn’t pick but were much better priced than others. Of course that is not an option if you must be somewhere at a certain time.
Second, travel at non-peak times of the year. If you are trying to save money traveling in the off-season is a great way to go. Of course there are disadvantages to doing it, but if you can’t afford to go otherwise it might be the only alternative. There are some advantages too. I remember one evening in November, walking through San Marco Square in Venice and we were the only ones there. Would that ever happen during the summer? No, but because we were there at non-peak time we had that surreal experience.
Third, learn all about your destination. I’ve learned that sometimes doing some research pays off. You can find a great deal at a hotel, find discounted or free events or find great places to eat. For instance London can be done quite affordably if you plan ahead and avoid some costly venues.
Fourth, learn which airlines charge more for open jaw or lay-overs. Traveling into one city and out of another is a great way to get several destinations in one trip, but some airlines charge more for these perks.
Fifth, put in weird searches to see what you get. I was trying to price a trip to Istanbul and while playing around I found out that it was about $300 cheaper to go to Istanbul, spend a few days there, then go to Venice for a few days, spend a couple more days in Istanbul and return home. Why was it so much cheaper? I don’t know but I do know that it happens and if there are a couple different places you’d like to visit, it might make your whole trip cheaper than just going to one place.
My next trip will include both Budapest and Prague because it was cheaper for me to go to the two cities for 8 nights than to stay in one city for 4 nights (including hotels). It wasn’t hard to decide to go to both cities.
Sixth, shop around and shop for both air/hotel combos and air only. Sometimes you can get a great package deal and other times it is cheaper to piece it yourself. Just do your homework. And if you get a air/hotel combo, it’s okay not to use all those nights. It upsets my husband when we have two hotels paid for in one night. But if I booked a combo I can’t say I don’t need a hotel for one night. It’s cheaper to pay for the whole stay in some cases and pay for another destination. This happens a lot if I want to rent a car and do some exploring.
If you dream of traveling you can make it happen. It might just take a bit more leg work but it will make the impact in your wallet a little easier.
Happy travels. I am off in 9 days and I can’t wait.