How to Travel on the Cheap
Have you been wondering how to cheap on the cheap? Recently, I heard someone say they couldn’t find a flight from the US to Europe for less than $1000. To me, that was crazy since I am always booking flights on the cheap! However, I realized my dad is always asking me to help him find a cheap flight, so there must be something to it after all of these years of travel that I’ve learned. So why not share? Here are some tips I’ve compiled to help you bag a cheap airplane ticket and/or a cheap hotel room.
Cheap Plane Tickets- Sky Scanner is Your Friend
Be flexible, that’s the key for finding cheap flights. It may be a bit more difficult if you’re restricted to traveling when school sessions are out (i.e. summer time or winter breaks), but that won’t be a complete deterrent. Your best friend by far is going to be Skyscanner.net….memorize this and bookmark it. The deals I have gotten on this are phenomenal. For example, I will be going to America day after tomorrow and I scored flight tickets for £300 less than advertised on airline’s website. And yes, they’re legit, I checked!
Search tricks for SkyScanner
If you live in Europe or a small country, just enter your country and it will show you the cheapest prices from all destinations and you can select the one closest to you. If you’re near a major city with several airports, just type in the city and it will give you the prices for any airport around there. When you search your departure date, flexibility is key! From the drop down menu, select the month you wish to depart and select “Whole Month” for Depart and Return. If you are super-flexible, you can select the “Whole Year” option and see what’s the cheapest.
2. Other Comparison Sites
3. Go for the upgrade
Sometimes a higher class plane ticket is cheaper than an economy (rarely, but it happens). However, if you have your sights set on something a little more posh than economy, buy your low-price economy ticket and then upgrade either online or via the phone. This is usually cheaper than the price of the upgraded seat upfront. Alternatively, if you don’t want to upgrade but want a little more room, Virgin Atlantic offers a program called “Spread Your Wings” that allows you to guarantee the seat next to you is going to be free. This costs anywhere from £50 to £100 depending on the duration of the flight. This is well-worth it for people traveling with kids or pets or who just want a little wiggle room.
4. Hotel I already did a post about getting a hotel on the cheap, but I’ll go over some of my previous tips and give you a couple of new ones. Expedia.co.uk and Expedia.com offer Secret Saver Hotel deals that allow you to get 40–50% off at selected “secret” destinations. The only catch is that you can’t see what the name of the hotel is until after you’ve booked, but it does tell you where it is located, past guest rating, star rating and the amenities offered. It operates very similar to Hotwire and I’ve honestly never been disappointed with either. Expedia only operates in some places, whilst Hotwire has a more broad spectrum (though it isn’t everywhere). Booking.com is also a great website if you need to know the name of your hotel before you book — or if you’re going to a more obscure place. Booking also allows you to sometimes book a hotel without paying for it and cancel within 48 hours with no penalties should your circumstances change.
Hotwire and Expedia do NOT allow you to cancel under any circumstances (there may be some circumstances that allow cancellation with insurance, but I have never been granted a refund, even with a doctor’s note). Lastly, don’t ignore those airline miles that have stacked up. I often fly British Airways and having so many transatlantic flights stacked up, Luke and I were able to get our hotel the last time we went away for next to nothing. You can usually pay for hotels with all of your air miles or you can combine air miles and money for a significant discount. Other airlines have similar programs that allow you to cash in on your air miles with a cheap holiday. BA also allows you to book experiences with your air miles, saving you money or gaining you free entry to attractions at your destination.