Hello internet world! It is summer in BCN and that has me feeling all sorts of ways. I cannot get enough of the sun and I know I will be missing this feeling come next winter. So…..I’ve had travel planning on the brain! We travel A LOT and you can imagine that could add up pretty quickly. We are also students at the moment with limited income so being frugal is essential for us! I thought I would share our tips on how we travel on a budget!
First up is flights. In my opinion, the most daunting of all travel planning. We use a few sites and apps to help us find the best prices! The time spent searching is WORTH IT believe us!
1. SHOP ON DISCOUNT SITES
MOMONDO: Functions like most other discount sites but we ALWAYS find better deals on this site!
SKY SCANNER: Similar to Momondo, but you can set up alerts for specific flights to notify you when prices are rising or falling! I set them up straight to my email and I get alerts to either “book now” or wait.
GOOGLE FLIGHTS: Really helpful to search for multiple locations. For example, type “flight to Europe” and you can view prices for every major city. It also has a calendar function that displays prices per day so you can choose the cheapest option. With that function, google will show you “tips” if another day is cheaper as well as suggest the “best” flight for you.
We have found better prices on the sites I listed above, but Google Flights is helpful when deciding on an itinerary. You can also set alerts for price predictions and when is the best to buy!
*** ALWAYS USE AN “INCOGNITO TAB” WHEN SEARCHING FOR FLIGHTS OR HOTELS. Your internet browser saves your searches and will present higher prices when you keep checking the same flight. It somehow knows you really want that flight and will display higher prices. Kinda creepy huh?
2. GET APP ALERTS ON YOUR PHONE
HOPPER: Our favorite flight app! Know when to buy to score the best prices. Hopper lets you search for any itinerary you have coming up. You can select filters for short layovers, one-ways, direct flights, etc. At the moment I think I have 7 “watches” set up! I get alerts if I should book now or wait. The best part is that the app predicts if prices will rise or drop as well as a date to purchase by. So helpful right? It’s like having a mini flight searching elf in your phone!
3. LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE ROUTE OPTIONS
If you have flexible travel days you may be able to score a great flight to your destination just taking a different route. Look for one-ways flying into large airline hubs. If you can fly out of a hub, you are likely to find a better price! When we fly from the US to Europe, we usually search for flights through NYC since SLC isn’t a huge hub. You can also compare the price of booking separate one-way tickets to the cost of a round trip ticket.
4. STAY IN ONE PLACE FOR A BIT
Often times when you are jumping from country to country, those prices add up real quick. We made this mistake when traveling in Thailand. I wish we would’ve stayed in one place longer since the cost of food and accommodation is SO CHEAP there. An expensive flight is so worth it if you can eat delicious food for less than $10 a day. Am I right?! If you are putting a lot of money into your flight, plan on spending a week or two in one spot to get the most out of it! You may be able to see more of that country by renting a car or traveling by train.
This is where google flights comes in handy because you can see costs for nearby countries and large cities. Pay attention to details (something I’m working on) and do the math. If your spending a large amount on flights, travel to a cheaper location like mentioned above. Or on the other had, Europe is really easy for us to see and relatively cheap to fly. But three weeks jumping country to country in Europe added up real quick with cost of accommodation and food.
5. TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS WITH BONUS MILES
Credit cards sound like such a scary thing right? I used to think so too until we did our research. There are a lot out there but we use these two!
CAPITOL ONE VENTURE CARD: 2 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards. You can redeem travel purchases and or book travel with your points! And they never expire! You get a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles (equal to $400 in travel) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. We love this card and use it for most of our travel purchases!
Earn miles for purchases you make with your Card. Miles are redeemable toward travel on Delta and more than 15 airline partners. When you sign up you get a one time bonus of 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within your first 4 months. You also get a free COMPANION TICKET every year as well as one FREE checked bag! We use this card when flying delta and we also love the travel insurance it provides!
That’s it! I hope this helps you save a buck or two on flights! I’d love to hear your tips if you have others we don’t use! Always looking for the cheapest way to travel!