I have been finding it harder and harder to stay in one place. I keep wanting to travel, explore, and experience new people and places. I was fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit throughout high school and college and even spent five months studying abroad in Spain. But once we got married, I went into a travel lull.
We were so young when we got married (23 & 25), we had just started our own business, and were taking on adult bills and responsibilities for the first time in our lives so money was tight. Buying a house became the priority, and traveling was not in the cards.
After a few years once we had bought a house and our business became steady all I could think about was traveling. Spain was first on my list because I wanted to show David the place where I fell in love with him (Valencia, Spain) -- long distance relationships can work people! But once we got back from that trip, I had the travel bug again and was itching to plan another trip.
Since travel was clearly a huge priority for me, I needed to figure out how to make it happen without breaking the bank. Here's a few tricks we discovered that have allowed us to travel more.
We have personal + business travel credit cards. There are so many great ones out there, but my personal favorites are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Business Prefered. We have racked up so many travel points just by purchasing things we needed for our business or personal life and would have bought anyways. We have been saving up the points and are waiting to cash them in on a big trip!
If you are not using this app, you are missing out. Hopper shows you which dates are the cheapest to fly. It also allows you to choose flex dates. Meaning if you are just looking to travel to a certain location but are flexible about when you go, Hopper will save the search for you and update you with prices every few weeks. It tells you when flights are at their cheapest and you should buy and when you should wait for a better rate.
If you drive to a major city you can save big on flights. David and I always drive to DC, Baltimore, or NYC when we fly because the amount you save is so worth the extra travel time. Another bonus of flying out of major cities means you pretty much always get a direct flight - so no layovers! David and I snagged flights to Barcalona out of NYC for $225.00 a person roundtrip, trust me it works!
Many airlines release sales early on Tuesday mornings. In order to compete, other competing airlines are forced to match prices, making Tuesdays the best day of the week to book a flight.
Most airlines now charge you to check luggage. These fees can add up fast! Pack lite. Try to fit it all in a carry-on if possible. I like to shop whenever we travel, so I tend to pack lite on the way there and buy some new outfits when we get to our destination.
Traveling during off-season can lead to huge savings! You can stay at some of the nicest hotels and Airbnb's for almost half price. Tourist sites are less crowded and tickets are generally cheaper during the off-season. If you travel to Europe between January - April you can pretty much guarantee some great rates. We were able to book an amazing Airbnb in Barcelona for half the price it costs in May.
I am a huge fan of Airbnb especially when traveling to new locations. The prices are so affordable, you get more space than you would in a hotel room, and it provides you with the unique opportunity to live like a local. Most Airbnb's have full kitchens which also allows you to shop at the grocery store or local markets and make some of your meals in your Airbnb.