Traveling can be tricky. There are tickets to buy and flights to catch, days to plan, and an ever-growing number of restaurants to try. As travelers, we’re forced to balance our getaway goals with our budgets and time restrictions. That’s why our Flight Network team of travel experts is revealing our ultimate list of the travel industry’s most efficient and budget-saving travel hacks — just in time for your 2017 spring and summer adventures.
Our researchers reached out to the world’s top travel bloggers and industry specialists to discover the hacks they use to make their travel experiences better. According to these intrepid globetrotters, you don’t have to be swimming in cash to enjoy an unforgettable vacation, weekend getaway, or even a multiple-month-long escape.
This comprehensive list offers hacks that have been proven to save money and stress, whether you’re seeking accommodations, flights, ground travel, entertainment, food/drinks, sightseeing, or some of the many other elements that make world travel so fulfilling. We’re putting you in-the-know, so you can explore the world without breaking the bank.
The hustle and bustle of daily life make it difficult for everyday citizens to understand the ins and outs of the travel industry. That’s why reaching out to the experts, and providing their tips in one easy-to-reach destination, is guaranteed to improve your next travel, or even travel planning, experience. There are just a couple things you need to do to become a travel industry insider…
Wipe the dust off your suitcase and use the list below as your guide to enjoying more affordable, efficient, and stress-free adventures in 2017.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/smemon
65,000 miles to see three cities on three continents in business class. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!
Earn Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints via hotel stays on the Amex cobranded card. You can transfer the points to 31 different airline programs, and you receive a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. If you transfer 65,000 Starpoints to the Japan Airlines loyalty program, you’ll end up with 80,000 JAL MileageBank miles. This is all the miles required to book a partner itinerary in business class that is between 14,001 and 20,000 miles in length. JFK-MXP-DXB-BKK round trip is 19,948 miles long. Perfect! Find award seat availability on JAL partner Emirates by using the Alaska Airline website which shows Emirates seat availability. Once you find open dates, call JAL and feed the agent the flights and dates you want, pay the taxes and fees and you are set! JAL partner award chart
This is easily a $7,000 ticket on Emirates if you paid.
A super fast way to build up loyalty points through credit card bonuses without having to spend a dime.
It’s no secret that credit card bonuses are where most non-business travelers make up most of their bank of points whether it be for airlines or bank-specific loyalty programs. Most credit cards are quite easy to churn where you sign up for one year, cancel it before the annual fee kicks in and then re-sign up. I’ve been successfully doing this with several credit cards over the years and that is how I’ve been able to build up my points quite rapidly.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/smemon
Individuals can collect thousands of miles through credit card bonuses each year.
Most major financial institutions offer large bonuses when signing up for new credit cards. Individuals can apply for several credit cards at a time, dividing the applications between these major banks. Most of the credit cards require a minimum level of spending before the miles are awarded. For example, spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of card ownership.
If you obtain several different cards, the spending requirement can become a burden. Luckily, there are ways to “spend” money on credit, without actually spending – something known as manufactured spending. Through this travel hack, individuals can use a credit card to purchase a prepaid debit card, then convert the debit card back into cash, which can be used to pay off the credit card. There are a few small fees incurred throughout the process, but they are nothing compared to the miles collected, and the subsequent free travel.
BY: Cash Cow Couple
Travellers can earn free or heavily discounted flights or hotel stays just from being holders of a certain credit card or earning sign up bonuses.
The important thing when signing up for travel credit cards is to make sure your finances are in order first. You must be able to pay off your cards every month and keep track of your spending on them (spreadsheets come in handy for this). Different cards also give you extra points for certain purchases, like if you use the Southwest card to book flights on southwest.com.
You can save hundreds of dollars, or more, with the right travel credit cards. For example, Southwest Airlines points are valued at 1.4 cents per point. When you earn the 50K credit card sign up bonus points, that’s $700 worth of flights! Many hotel credit cards, like the IHG and Marriott cards, offer a free night stay upon your card anniversary. Even though you’re paying an annual fee, both cards are less than $100 per year, making the cost worthwhile for a free night stay.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/leyla_arsan
So it’s no secret that you can earn frequent flyer miles on your credit cards but are you taking advantage of it?
If not, you seriously need to start! We have been doing this for many years now and have reaped the rewards. Make no mistake you need absolute discipline in ensuring you pay your credit card off in full, otherwise you can get yourself in financial trouble, which is what the credit card company is hoping for. In short we use our credit card to pay for everything we purchase and accumulate the frequent flyer points for every dollar spent. So much so that we purchase all the major appliances and furniture in our house on our credit card for the points. This has allowed us to use the points to fly business class on numerous occasions where we would have normally had to fly economy. In reality, you can use the points any way you like and choose to get more bang for your points and use them for any class of flight, hotels and even purchase items.
Fly intercontinental business class flights for a miniscule amount of points.
You can redeem Etihad miles on many of their partner airlines. You can transfer American Express and Citi points to Etihad. Every Etihad partner has a different award chart, some of which make no sense for the tiny amount of miles. You can fly JFK-BRU for 32,000 miles. You can fly from Prague to Seoul on Czech Airlines business for 25,000 miles. You can fly the Royal Air Maroc dreamliner business from DC or New York to Morocco. You can book American Airlines flights for fewer miles than American charges users of their own program. The deals go on and on!
photo credit: moneysense.ca
Yep, you read that correctly. You could score a free flight by signing up for an airline miles rewards card. There are a number of different options, but I ended up signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card (VISA). I realized that all of the purchases that I had been making on my debit card could have been accruing points on a credit card that could help me get a discount or even a free flight.
When I signed up for the card, I had to spend $3,000 within 3 months and I received 50,000 bonus points. Most cards will give you a minimum spending amount to qualify and receive the bonus points. Those 50,000 bonus points are the equivalent of around a $600 flight.
So change the way you spend. Sign up for a credit card and make it so that every single dollar you spend comes back to you in some way.
This hack is incredibly useful in that it allows you to use your new card immediately and that means you won’t miss out on getting credit for large purchases while you wait for the physical card to arrive (that means you’ll have an easier time meeting the minimum spend requirement).
In order to get your Chase credit card number while you’re waiting for the physical card to arrive in the mail, you can use this simple hack… Sign in to the Chase online system. Send a message to the Chase customer service team through their online secure messaging system (associate the message with your new card). Then view the sent message. You’ll see your full new account number even though the card may be days away from arriving in your mailbox. If you are looking to make a large purchase after you’re approved for the card but before the physical card arrives in the mail, this hack can yield you thousands of points or miles and make the difference between meeting the minimum spend requirement and missing it. In some cases it can be worth tens of thousands of points or miles.
As a couple you will fly everywhere Southwest flies for 50% off…for nearly 2 years.
If you apply for the Southwest cards in October/November and make sure to earn the 110k points in January/February, you will have the companion pass for nearly 2 years. As a couple you can take turns doing this, so you will never be without the companion pass (we have had one since 2013). Layer in the fact that you can change/cancel flights up until 10 minutes before departure with zero change/cancellation fees, mileage flights as low as 3.5k miles, friendly employees, and you have hands down the best frequent flier mile program in the world!
By: Honey Trek
AwardWallet allows individuals to track all their miles and points with one login
Any travel hackers should immediately create a free account at AwardWallet. After signing up, AwardWallet stores all your travel account information (SSL securely encrypted), updates your account balances weekly, alerts you when your miles or points are close to expiring, and reminds you of upcoming travel plans and changes to your itineraries. The service is extremely valuable if you have a lot of different travel rewards to manage.
By: Cash Cow Couple
photo credit: flickr.com
Most people don’t realize they’re being charged an extra 2.5% currency conversion fee on their credit card and if you travel abroad often, it can cost you hundreds of dollars a year.
An easy way to save money while traveling is to make sure you only use a credit card that doesn’t charge a currency conversion fee. Most banks in Canada charge 2.5% extra on top of the daily posted Visa or Mastercard rate. By choosing a card with no currency fee (like the free Amazon Visa card) you can not only save money by not paying the fee but can earn rewards as well.
It’s also one of the best ways to pay for hotels, meals and activities while you travel since most ATMs charge a hefty usage fee and carrying large sums of money can be dangerous. Plus, the daily Visa/Mastercard rates are often better than your bank’s rate. (Also note that most banks charge a conversion fee as well when you change cash from one currency to another even when you do it in person.)
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/psd/9938992
Compare the options of surrounding cities and regions to find the best value for your points.
It’s important to look at the “award map” on the airlines that you have points for, and understand the best routes to maximize their worth. For example, I was booking a flight from Europe, and needed to get to South-East Asia. A one-way ticket with my United Miles would cost me 55K miles. That seemed extremely aggressive, so I started looking at the nearby region. I discovered that I could fly to Sri Lanka for only 25K miles! So I booked a flight to Sri Lanka, and saved 30K Miles (which I later user for a one-way ticket from Los Angeles – Barcelona). This saved me over $600! This is a perfect example of how if you analyze the best routes to use your miles, you can save tons of money, and save your miles for future trips!
Airport taxes & last-minute booking fees can make using you miles not worth the award flight.
Anyone who has booked a flight using miles before knows that it’s never completely FREE. You have to pay the airport taxes, and if you book within 21 days of your flight, you will most likely have to pay a $75 last-minute booking fee. There will definitely be times it isn’t worth your time. This is especially true for domestic flights within the U.S. If the airport taxes and last minute fee add up to over $100, it’s best to just save the miles and put that $100 towards a plane ticket. You also need to be careful with airport taxes when flying to Europe. If you have a layover in London, the airport taxes can be upwards of $300! Take a look at this closely, and plan your trip wisely to maximize your miles!
The Amex Business Platinum card gives a 50% rebate when you use points for airfare – which can give a huge leg up on free travel AND qualifying for elite status.
The American Express Business Platinum gives a 50% rebate on points used to pay for airfare. So if you have a $500 ticket, you can use 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards to “pay” for your ticket, but then get 25,000 points back (net cost of 25,000 MR). This works on any class of travel for one specified airline of your choice, or business or first class flights on any airline. The best part about this is that to the airline, it looks like a paid ticket, so even though you used points to pay for it, it’s considered a cash ticket by the airline, which makes it eligible to earn redeemable AND elite qualifying miles
The Citi Prestige card gives the 4th night free when you pay for a hotel stay.
If you pay for a 4 night stay at any hotel with your Citi Prestige card, you’ll get a rebate from Citi for the cost of the 4th night. Even though Citi has slightly devalued this benefit in 2016, it’s still a huge benefit if you find yourself paying for a lot of hotel stays. To double up on the hack, there are certain scenarios where you can combine this benefit with other free night offers from hotels themselves to do some extreme stacking
photo credit: flickr.com
Error fares can save travelers as much as 90% off flights when fares are accidentally reduced. Error fares, also known as mistake fares, are pricing glitches in airline tickets.
These mistakes can happen for different reasons – currency conversions, accidentally omitting fees or taxes, errors in typing or listing prices, and so on. These mishaps can reduce flight prices by hundreds, even thousands of dollars on worldwide flights. To keep in the loop on flight error fares, one should follow aggregate mistake fare searchers like Secret Flying. These websites scrape up error fares each day with both domestic and international routes. Another strategy to find error fares is to stumble on them yourself by conducting broad search engines on sites like Skyscanner. Always search your flight dates by “Entire Month” so you can easily spot oddly low prices as they’re listed across the 30 days. Error fares are unpredictable and can happen for any route, time, or season.
By: Thrifty Nomads
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355388579
Cash back sites are an easy way for travelers to earn back a small percentage of what they spent on their travels.
Before booking anything, you should register on a cash back site. By doing so, you will become eligible for a cash back on almost anything you purchase online. Prices will remain the same and you will still be able to book directly with your favorite merchants. For example: use a cash back link to book a flight with Delta and you will get up to 6% back. Pretty sweet eh?
Newlyweds fly for less at South African Airways.
If you want to get married or enjoy your honeymoon in South Africa – which we can highly recommend – at South African Airways there is a great Honeymoon special: 50% discount for the second person. (Valid until 6 months after the wedding, you have to book it with a travel agency)
By: Beautiful Places
Dynamic pricing is driven by demand.
Clear your cache when booking flights online. Refreshing a window dozens of times will not make a flight cheaper. Instead, it may actually go up as it changes base on demand. This is the art of dynamic pricing. Clear your cookies and try again.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/matsuyuki
Clearing your cookies while searching for flights and new products will give you a fresh pricing start.
photo credit: pointsandtravel.com
Travel sites track your visits and will raise the price tag because you’ve visited that site before. Private Browsing is the single best money savings tip out there for purchasing flights and hotels at the best price.
Once you have looked for your flight and hotel to start your preliminary search, the next time you go to look, enable the browser you are using, for instance Google Chrome, to private browsing. This is so that the sites you reach will not have already identified you as previously looking at those same flights or hotels, so that it will not trigger them to increase the price. You could also switch browsers, but this only gives you two chances to look, so I recommend incognito browsing. An example would be: I was searching BIL to ATL on specific dates and got $436 on Momondo.com, the following day without Incognito browsing on, I got the same flight for $522. I went to incognito and the $436 flight reappeared!
Get insane deals by planning your trip around the deals rather than the other way around.
Don’t plan your itinerary and then book transportation to get from A to B. Find cheap connections and then built the itinerary around it. Let’s look at an example: Imagine you want to go to Europe this summer and think it might make sense to fly from San Francisco to Vienna and start your trip from there. You look up flights and realize: San Francisco – Vienna is $550 USD one-way. That’s really expensive! If you’re flexible, just look for the cheapest way to go to Europe from wherever you are and start from there. If you found out that San Francisco – Brussels is only $200 USD. Wouldn’t you be interested in starting your itinerary from there, suddenly? We love doing that via Skyscanner’s discover tool: Just select “Everywhere” as a destination and “Cheapest Month” for date. Then look at the list of places you can go based on your input. Buy a flight, then do the same with the next destination from Brussels on. Turns out: you can go to Germany from Brussels for unbelievable 6USD!!! That’s how you hack the system. We applied this hack in our article “Europe Hacked: How to Visit 30 Cities for $450 USD”
It could potentially save you a lot of money on flights.
One of the biggest expenses of travel is easily the cost of flights, especially if you travel long distances. So if you’re frequent traveler like me it’s really important to to get the cheapest flights you can possibly can. One of the best ways to do this is sign up to airlines or travel companies to receive emails updates. Whether you sign up directly with the airline or a third party website, you will then be the first to know of any flash sales, discounts or even price drops that might be offered and they happen a lot more frequently than you might think! This travel hack could shave hundreds of dollars off the usual price of flight leaving more of a budget to spend when you arrive at your destination!
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/deegephotos
Save big on flights by connecting different budget airlines’ flights.
Trying to book a long distance flight and you realize it’s far to expensive? Build your own connections. Maybe you can find a really cheap flight “into the right direction” and then take it from there with another cheap flight. Let’s look at an example. In March our team is trying to go to SXSW in Austin, Texas leaving from San Francisco. During that time, of course EVERYBODY, is booking SFO – Austin. Prices are at $300 USD by now. We got ours for $80 USD. How did we do it? We know that Spirit Airlines flies SFO – Vegas for really cheap. CHECKPOT: $30 USD on the budget carrier Spirit Airlines. BOOKED. What’s next? Vegas to Texas. What are other airports close to Austin: Houston. Let’s look for both options. Vegas – Houston: $39 USD the same night with Frontier Airlines. Awesome! BOOKED. Do that and never overpay for flights! If you don’t know which cities might be cheap hubs to build your connections we recommend using Skyscanner’s discovery option (described in Hack 1) to find cheap cities that are “on the way”. Another useful tool that is built on that paradigm is Kiwi.com. They automatically combine different carriers to get you really far for really cheap. Also, check out Airwander.com. They find cheap multi-day layovers in places “on the way” to wherever you’re going anyways.
photo credit: travelobservers.com
Use Google Flights to book your flights on the cheapest days of the month.
I think we all know by now that airline sites and third-party booking websites (Orbitz, Priceline, etc.) will increase flights right when you’re getting ready to click ‘Submit’ on your payment information. Airline prices change at least three times per day.
One tip is to use ‘incognito’ tabs via Google Chrome when looking at flights. Another tip is to delete your cookies and browser history before comparing flights.
When looking for flights, I use Google Flights (flight price comparison over time), CheapoAir (flight comparison on multiple airlines) and Kayak (flight comparison + map tool).
Google Flights offers a way to look at the difference in flight prices throughout the year. Just click on the date after putting in your destination, and you’ll see the prices of the same flight, each day of the calendar year.
They even put the lowest price of the month in green, so you can save almost $300 by flying on Thursday, instead of Friday. That’s one day. (That’s worth $300 in my book.)
Using this tool will allow you to plan ahead.
photo credit: independenttravelcats.com
Don’t automatically book a direct flight online, as you should research budget airline options which can help save you a lot of money.
Most people go online and book a flight from Point A to Point B, but this is not always the cheapest option, especially in Europe. For instance if you are booking a flight from say Toronto or New York City and want to fly to Venice, Italy most people just find the best deal online where they can directly book a flight from Montreal or NYC to Venice. However, most big websites don’t include budget carrier flights within Europe. It can often be cheaper to take the cheapest flight to Europe (often cheap flights are readily available to destinations such as Dublin, London, or Barcelona) and then separately book a budget airline from within Europe to Venice. Flight from the UK to Italy are sometimes as low as £29. So you may book a low cost flight from Toronto to Dublin, and then book a separate flight via a budget airline from Dublin to Venice. Budget airlines in Europe include RyanAir, Wizzair, EasyJet, and Flybe. Just note the baggage charges if you are checking luggage as most budget airlines charge for any checked baggage. Another potential money-saving option if you have a little extra time, is to take a flight to the cheapest spot in Europe and then travel by train to your final destination as train fares are often well-priced in most of Europe. Of course, these tips also apply to other areas of the world as well such as Europe and USA, but Europe definitely has a lot of budget airline competition so prices can be amazingly low.
photo credit: teacaketravels.com
You’ll be standing in the airport check-in line knowing you paid way less than the person in front of you.
When it comes to booking your flight, there is a magical number in the air; the glorious number 53. It’s not a hard and fast rule but booking 53 days in advance has consistently given me and many others the best price for our adventures! Booking this early means you won’t be paying double prices. If you choose to fly at unsociable hours, you’ll save even more money too. Early morning or ridiculously late at night is the way to go.
Do make sure to do your math though! Check whether baggage and on-board food are included (if not bring hand-luggage only and something to eat). Also check if public transport can get you to your flight and back; hiring a taxi because it’s so early or late in the day can be expensive.
Do you have no choice but to book last minute? No problem! Book a flight for midweek on a Tuesday or Wednesday (people are living for the weekend and will be all over the airport on a Thursday or Friday).
I’m a big fan of Skyscanner for clearly seeing how much a flight is going to cost me. Use their search tool to see the price of your flight every day in a given month so you can choose the best time to book!
By: Teacake Travels
photo credit: teacaketravels.com
For minimal effort, you will save $$$ on your flight ticket.
There is nothing wrong in telling the internet that you’re booking from a different location to where you actually are. By pretending to be in the country where your flight is departing from, tickets can be up to 30% cheaper! There are two ways to do this. 1) Simply go to the booking site’s URL in your departure country. For example, if you’re flying from Italy, you can go to www.skyscanner.it. The second way is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). There are free and paid versions you can use in your browser or download to your computer. Once the VPN is running, you can trick your computer into thinking it’s in another country by a simple click of a button. Approach this hack with either of these ways and you will save money!
By: Teacake Travels
Using a VPN not only protects your data, it also allows you access to local promos and discounts.
It’s always good practice to use a virtual private network (VPN) for many reasons. It keeps your data private and secure, and enables you to dodge regional browsing restrictions.
Because a VPN allows you to use a server located elsewhere, it gives you access to local promos offered by airlines, hotels, and other booking websites. We used to work for an airline and a hotel comparison site, so we know that there are offers that are only available in certain points-of-sale. A flight may be discounted if you’re booking from Japan, but the same flight may cost more if you’re in the United States. A VPN allows you to “change your location,” letting you see local promos.
In many Southeast Asian countries, sales offering super low fares happen. Airlines sometimes hold what they call ZERO FARE or P1 FARE, where customers get a ticket for only PHP1 or FREE, not counting taxes and minimal booking fees.
Glitch fares are also often location-based. Every now and then, glitches happen, marking certain flights incredibly low, to the satisfaction of the lucky booker. We’ve seen glitches happen many times, and airlines usually (and are sometimes obligated to) honor them.
Travelers can hack one trip into two for FREE by extending their layovers at no extra cost.
Extending a layover to create a second trip can save travellers hundreds of dollars in just one go. Rather than having to book separate legs, one can create purposeful layovers at no extra cost if you book strategically.
First, enter your flight route in a broad search engine like Skyscanner. Next, add “multi-city” so you can include additional routes. This will cluster your routes to create a cheap extended layover at no extra cost. Another strategy to do this is to find airlines that offer free extended layovers (e.g. WOW Air does this for Iceland). Finally, you can also book long-haul flights yourself to create a layover. For instance, if you’re flying from New York to Sydney, you could first book a flight to Hawaii (halfway), and book the second leg of the trip (Hawaii to Sydney) separately days later. This works well on this particular route as there are discount airlines which fly these legs.
By: Thrifty Nomads
photo credit: timetravelturtle.com
More often than you expect, it doesn’t cost that much to upgrade to business class.
Business class flights are normally expensive but upgrading at the airport can often be surprisingly cheap. This is mainly because the airline doesn’t like to have empty seats and, if they’re overbooked, they would prefer to charge something for an upgrade than give one away for free. A lot of the time it won’t work and a lot of the time it will be too expensive – but it never hurts to ask. A couple of months ago I asked and was able to pay for an upgrade to business on an overnight international flight for just $35!
photo credit: gotravelyourway.com
Save some real money on your luxury flight.
The other day I was seeking for a cheap First Class fare from Jakarta to London on Garuda Indonesia’s luxury product I have heard so much about. I went on Garuda’s website and found a deal for 1,944 Pounds. Now I’m sharing my secret to find a way lower fare! Never book through an airline website. Always try to find those deals on flight search engines. I went to Momondo and found the same flight for 1,846 pounds. This is almost one hundred pounds of saving right there. Airlines pay travel agent commissions and some travel agent is willing to sell a lower fare by taking less commissions, which direct benefit consumers. I found the same deal on Google Flights and Flightnetwork as well.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to a less busy airport.
Let’s say you are flying from London to Miami. The fare may be around $500. If you use flight search engines which offer an interactive map you can save up to 50% of your fare. Instead of looking for flights from London to Miami, target every airport in a 100km radius which you can do on Kiwi or Google Flights. Instead I found a fare from London to Fort Lauderdale, which is nearby Miami for half the price
photo credit: Ausreiser
Sometimes you can save tons of money on flights when you use transit destinations as final destinations (and ignore the connecting flight)
Sometimes it is cheaper to fly to New York if you actually book a flight to Toronto which includes New York as a transit destination. Especially lesser known airports may get a lot cheaper by using the Hidden Cities Hack.
It will prevent you from being refused entry to a country!
When travelling long term and using one way tickets to get from one country to the next, you can have a lot of hassle with immigration or airline officials who demand to see your return ticket. I love using FlyOnward to get a real ticket that says I am leaving the country on X date, which I can show to any concerned officials. This hack has prevented many a travel disaster and the one time I did not do it I was almost refused entry to Mexico and had to sit at the departure gate on my computer and book a real flight that I did not want to keep officials happy.
Have you heard of someone getting an insanely good deal on an international round trip flight and you just couldn’t believe it?
Yes, those $300 round trip tickets to Europe actually do exist!
To save the most money on your next trip, one of the best places to start is to look at ways to save money on your flight.
My favorite way to save on airfare is to go to SkyScanner, enter your “From” destination as wherever you plan on flying from, and then for your arrival destination click “Search Everywhere.”
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/phalinn
This is a legitimate opportunity for even a new traveler to score jaw dropping fares.
This travel hack is open for every traveler and does not require any hacking expertise. You can follow the below mentioned steps to score these deals:
1. Download Air Asia Big App from Playstore/Appstore
2. Sign up for the membership and Activate notifications to come from the App. 3. Air Asia releases Zero points sale almost every quarter and gives member only access to information on the routes where these zero points seats are available.
4. Check out these routes and plan your vacation for jaw dropping fares. Your membership allows you a members only access 24 hours before the sale happens. You stand great chance at grabbing those limited fares before it is sold out.
5. Example: I have planned a SE
By: Pick Your Trail
photo credit: pickyourtrail.com
This travel hack is open for travelers who are flexible with their travel dates and are willing to book fares instantly when they find killer deals.
You can follow the below mentioned steps to score these deals:
1. Sign up for Air Asia membership and you will get regular emails on promo sale offers.
2. Signing up gives you 1 day preview access to hunt for those error fares or low fares compared to regular users. Given the seats on such fares disappear very quickly, this gives you a exclusive chance compared to regular users.
3. On Air Asia desktop site, you have an option to check airfare calendar to check the low/error fares.
4. These fares are typically available 8-10 months in advance since the Airlines as practice upload fares for the first time for travel dates (8 months into the future) and better chance of spotting error fares when they do
By: Pick Your Trail
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/travelourplanet
The best upgrade of your life will be using your AMEX points for instant upgrades on the spot.
With your Amex card, transfer points to upgrade from coach to business. This can be done at the airport, and the points are very reasonable (around 29,000!).
I regularly get notified of flight deals from all over the world and it has helped save me a ton of money for years now!
Ever since I discovered the website of Secret Flying, I have been able to save a lot of money from my travel fund. For example, I once saw a deal from Europe to Japan and it only cost me a total of $300 — imagine that! I’m not in any way affiliated to this website but I will never stop recommending them as they regularly update their readers of the most recent flight deals, sales, and error fares.
When booking several flights we use the ITA Google matrix search engine to find the best combination of flights.
If you’re travelling around Latin America where airline industry is extremely expensive and stuck in the 1980s, this will help you find the best combination for flights. Eg sometimes booking a return flight for one destination works out cheaper than booking the single one way there. This helps you figure out the best combinations.
By: Nomadic Boys
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/hendry
The website SeatGuru.com has extensive reviews of airplane seats.
You can see which ones have the most leg room, a power outlet, a window, and a reclining seat. You can also see which ones aren’t recommended. For instance, some seats don’t recline, they might be near a noisy place on the plane or a bathroom. You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible, especially if it’s a long haul flight.
photo credit: thecrowdedplanet.com
Get free priority boarding with Ryanair.
This hack can be used if you’re travelling with Ryanair, a popular low cost European airline. It is mandatory to check in online – you can check in up to 30 days before departure when purchasing a seat, or from 4 days to 2 hour before your flight for free. Priority boarding is offered for an extra charge – but I have noticed that if you check in late, say 6-8 hours before your flight, you’re often added to the ‘Priority Boarding’ group without having to pay extra. Priority passengers can always take their carry-on luggage on board – when flights are full, carry-on bags are often placed in the hold after 90 or 100 passengers have entered the plane.
Buy one way tickets because they’re cheaper and rent cheap proof of onward airfare.
Use a flight search to purchase a cheap one way ticket to your next destination, then rent onward airfare for 24 hours so you have proof of onward travel when you arrive at immigration. You’ll have a one way ticket that will look like a return ticket.
By: Burger Abroad
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/croco
Competitive reasons may cause an airline to lower one way fares on a particular route while maintaining higher prices for the round trip or multi-city ticket fares.
You may have a hard time finding the $29 one way fare again, but savings can be huge if you take the time to check one way fares when buying a round trip or multi-city ticket.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/chiyomaru1
The opportunity to both save a considerable amount of money to and to fly with better airlines.Most people tend to look for flights between the city they are in and their destination.
They then book the cheapest flight available. This is not the best way to go about it though. Instead of looking city to city, I recommend looking region to region. The way it works is simple: you go to matrix.itasoftware.com and choose your preferred departure and destination airports. You then click on the nearby link that appears to the right of the search form and you select a radius you are comfortable with, for example 200 miles. The search engine will then look for flights not only between your preferred departure and destination airports but also all those within the radius you chose. Your 300$ Toronto to Quebec flight could then become a 150$ Hamilton to Quebec flight. Not only will you save money with this hack but you will also have access to more and often better airlines.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/143601516@N03
Being flexible with your dates and airports can save a lot of money and searching for flights in private/ incognito browsing will help you to get the best deals.
The internet tracks your online behavior and search history through cookies and airlines can take advantage of this so they note your interest and that cheap flight you found earlier will often come back with a higher price when you search again later. So, to get the best deal, clear your cache when searching for flights and use private browsing or incognitio mode so that the pages you view in won’t be stored in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after you’re done allowing you to get the best deals.
Also, be as flexible as you can with the dates you fly and avoid weekends and peak times to save considerable amounts of money on the same routes. Be flexible about the airports you fly to and from, Europe has many smaller airports that are still well connected to major tourist destinations but offer much cheaper fares. It’s worthwhile to sign up to the airline’s newsletter and follow them on social media to hear about special deals or sales as soon as they happen before anyone else.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/deegephotos
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cclogg
Snap photos of your parking space to help you remember where you parked.
Taking a quick photo with your smart phone to remind you where you parked your car in the airport (what section, level of the airport parking lot). This can save you plenty of hassle when you return home from your trip and want to quickly find your vehicle.
Don’t overlook the opportunity for free airport parking!
Long term lots at the airport (The Parking Spot, WallyPark, Allied, and other companies) all have loyalty programs. Sign up and you’ll get discounts applied to your parking bill. The best part is that you can earn free parking. When you travel for business, let your company pay your airport parking tab. You can collect the free parking days to use when you go on vacation.
BY: Travel Addicts
When traveling, use ATMs to get local currency.
Using money converters in airports can be costly because they charge their own fees, and they rip you off in what they offer in exchange rates. Airport ATMs are the way to go because they always dispense local currency, so use your debit or credit card and get your money there before you leave the airport.
If you take responsibility for planning all business meals, you’ll reap the rewards to use on personal travel.
Take charge of planning all business meals. While you’ll get the chance to dine where you want, there’s a silver lining in this. You can reap significant travel hacking rewards. Specifically, you can get Open Table credit to use for your own personal use on all reservations. Additionally, if you register your corporate credit card with Rewards Network (which operates dining loyalty programs for nearly all the major airlines and hotel chains), you can get synergistic points in the airline or hotel program of your choice. All of this for something you would have done anyway.
By: Travel Addicts
No more scouring the internet for hours upon hours looking at award chart after award chart just to plan your next trip off of points and miles, FlyerMiler does it all for you!
We created Flyermiler because as travel hackers who collect points and miles in return for free travel, it could take days just to figure out the best usage, discover unusual routings that could allow for more availability as well as get a fast snap shot of how much different award programs cost to fly where. However, the Flyermiler does it all for us now within seconds. Not only does this save an enormous amount of time but can save tons of points/miles by using creative award programs that can then be used for future travel hacks as well.
By downloading maps before departure, you can you navigate new areas without chewing through your data.
Buying a SIM card instead of hiring a GPS is so 2016. Before you leave, just go into Google maps on your smart phone, display the area you want to download, then go to the menu and select Offline Areas. Tap Custom areas and adjust the map that pops up and hit Download. This can save you hundreds of MB of data and many dollars on data roaming charges and your travel buddies will herald you a hero for navigating them without needing a GPS.
Navigation is usually what takes the most amount of data abroad, so having the maps downloaded onto your phone is very handy.
You’ll probably need to find your way from point A to point B many times during your trip or just know where you are exactly. This can eat a lot of data and battery! Plan ahead and download the maps you need before your trip. Google Maps has this feature embedded, but you can also download apps like Maps.me. As a reference, you can also star or favorite places like your hotel and the restaurant you were recommended to have it all in one place. No need for paper!
By: Geeky Explorer
photo credit: backstreetnomad.com
Bringing a USB hub will save space by reducing the number of wall chargers you need.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I came up with this idea when I forgot to buy a power board with built-in USB ports. So I found a USB hub at home with 4 ports on it, that would allow me to charge 4 devices in one wall charger. A USB hub usually allows you to plug 4 USB input devices into a laptop with only 1 or 2 USB ports. I gave it a second use by plugging one end of the USB hub into a wall charger and 4 devices into the available ports on the hub, which meant that for my phone, tablet, action camera, and power bank all I needed was the individual cords, one wall charger and my trusty USB hub.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cloneofsnake
It’s easy to get lost in a new city but this means you’ll always be able to get to your hotel.
Google Maps on my phone has been a lifesaver more times than I can count. The first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is use the feature to download an offline map of the area around my hotel. I then favorite my hotel so it stays on the map as a star. You don’t need an internet connection to see your location on the map – just GPS, which is always available. So it means you can always navigate your way home.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/esthervargasc
Data roaming fee are high – with these hacks you can save money on your internet access around the world!
One way to save serious money on a trip is to make sure you know how you’re going to get your smart phone online in the destination you’re heading to. Most domestic networks charge a lot of money for data roaming, so unless they have a specific package or deal in place for overseas roaming, you are likely going to want to look elsewhere to meeting your data needs.
There are a number of options. To start with, you need to decide whether or not you are really going to need data on your phone, or if you think you’ll get by using WiFi. Many countries have very widespread WiFi networks, including on public transport and in public places, so you’ll be able to get online quite easily. If you go down this route, investing in a VPN to keep your data safe is a wise option.
If you feel that you will definitely need data, the first thing you should do is see what options your network provider has. Some let you add features to your plan to make data roaming cheaper – others offer cheap data roaming as part of the service. T-Mobile in the USA and Three Mobile in the UK are two examples of networks that let you roam internationally in a wide range of countries without any additional fee.
If your cell phone provider doesn’t have any good options, you have other options. One of the cheapest options, if your cell phone is unlocked, is to buy a SIM card in the country you are visiting. Depending on the country, this can save you a lot of money, as you are charged a local rate for data rather than a roaming rate. This website lists all the local deals for over 150 countries worldwide, along with instructions for purchasing a SIM Card in each country. http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Pay_as_you_go_sim_with_data_Wiki
If your cell phone isn’t unlocked, or your destination country doesn’t offer easy SIM card options, you still have options. The easiest is likely to pick up a mobile hotspot designed for travelers like those provided by TEP Wireless or KnowRoaming, which will allow you to get online, usually for a fixed price per day. These are usually more expensive than local SIM cards, but much cheaper than your providers home deal.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia
A media share is invaluable if travelling with kids and can keep them occupied for hours!
It creates its own WIFI network so kids can watch movies on their tablets or phones anywhere, in a restaurant, museum or even on a plane. It is also really compact so much easier to carry than a portable DVD player with lots of DVDs. Of course it can also be used by adults!
Buying a mobile WiFi router makes everyone traveling in a group connected easily (most routers allow connections for 10+ devices).
To avoid the crazy roaming fees when getting to a new country, most travelers buy a SIM card for their unlocked phone. This means buying one individual SIM card per person and most of all, does not solve the problem on how to get Internet for your other devices (iPad, laptop, etc).
With a mobile WiFi router, you just need to buy ONE SIM card and share the WiFi amongst all your devices (10+). Not only is cheaper, it’s also much easier to manage.
By: Geeky Explorer
photo credit: wifimap.io
Wifimap gives me access to thousands of WIFI networks abroad for free.
Wifimap (http://www.wifimap.io/) is a mobile application that gives access to thousands of WIFI networks for free. This is a pretty nice way to save a lot of roaming costs while traveling.
photo credit: flickr.com
Save thousands to stay at the best hotels in the worldA few weeks ago, I booked a hotel for a client for three nights in Monaco for €170 per night. Regular price for this sea-view room was €492 per night. An instant saving of €966.
If you book a hotel room through a third-party, whether it’s an online travel agency or a brick-and-mortar travel agency, the hotel has to pay a commission to them.
This is why most hotel chains have a marketing concept called “Best Rate Guarantee” or “Best Price Guarantee”. This means that if you find a cheaper price on a third-party website, the hotel will match it and offer you free perks. These perks can be a voucher to use in the restaurant, a percentage off the amount you’ll pay, a room upgrade or a free night. Here are some examples:
AccorHotels: 10% off lower rate
Best Western: $100 Travel card to use on a future stay
Choice Hotels: First night free
Club Carlson: 25% off lower rate
Hilton: $50 American Express gift card
Hyatt: 20% off lower rate
InterContinental Group: First night free
Kimpton: $25 food-and-beverage credit
Marriott: 25% off lower rate
NH Hotels: 25% off lower rate
Starwood: 20% off lower rate or 2,000 points
Swissotel: 10% off lower rate
Wyndham: 3,000 points
Do you have 20-minutes to save a ton of money? This is not just a one and done because the more you use it, the more you save!
1. Select your destination
First, you need to decide where you want to go. Our method works all around the world: from the beaches of Rio to the mountains of Switzerland; from the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China or from New York City to the Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Dream big.
2. Compare prices
Kayak.com is currently one of the easiest ways to compare hotel prices around the world. You can very quickly see whether a hotel is cheaper on a third-party website compared to the hotel’s website.
3. Filter the results
Kayak allows you to filter… so you only see the hotels or chains that interest you.
4. Find a cheaper price
Kayak shows you a list of prices for each hotel. If it shows you a third-party price that’s lower than on the official website, you might have a winner. If you can’t find any after 15 minutes, try again tomorrow, as prices change all the time.
5. Verify the best rate
Now is the interesting part. Go to both the third-party website and the hotel chain website and verify that you can book the hotel you want for cheaper. Make sure to verify the terms and conditions of the BRG program of the hotel chain.
6. Book your room
Book your room on the hotel chain website. Make sure to book a refundable room. This way if your BRG claimed is not accepted, you can always cancel the room booking and try another hotel.
7. Request a BRG
After booking, go to the hotel chain’s BRG form and fill it in. You will have to quote your booking number and the address of the website you found the cheaper rate.
8. Wait for BRG* validation
Go have a coffee. BRG validation can take up to 72 hours. If it’s approved, celebrate. If it’s not approved, cancel your booking and go back to step 2.
9. Enjoy your stay
Enjoy your free (or cheap) bed. That was easy, wasn’t it?
By: Miles Addict
Get cheaper hotel room booking after 4 pm.
If you are booking your hotels on sites like Agoda and Booking.com, you’ll often get cheaper rates booking after 4 pm for the same day – provided you’re not booking in super high season and there are no special events happening in your destination. This hack works very well in low season!
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/opengridscheduler
Stay in a nicer place than you can afford by offering a lower rate.
It’s no secret that AirBnB can save you tons of money over staying in a hotel. Not only can you get a place much larger than a hotel room for less money, but you also tend to get a full kitchen where you can cook your own meals and save even more.
That said, unlike hotels, AirBnB prices aren’t set in stone. All you need to do is send the owner an offer for what you’re willing to pay for your stay. Usually the longer you stay, the better the deal you can get but we’ve used it for some great last minute bookings.
We’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years and routinely save hundreds of dollars on last minute week-long rentals. Nobody wants to see their place empty so we’ve also gotten tons of freebies like free pickups at the airport, stocked fridges, loaned cells phones during our stay and free upgrades to a nicer place if we know the owner has multiple properties and they’re also empty.
Bottom line, it never hurts to ask. Just don’t be rude about it. If they’re unwilling to drop their base price, ask them to drop the extra person fees or the cleaning fees if they seem high to you. If they’re still unwilling to negotiate, try another place or ask if they can offer any extras such as a free ride to the airport or basic food stuffs like milk and eggs so you’re not forced to go food shopping the minute you get there.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos
Do you know that you can take honeymoons in Mauritius for half the price?
If you want to spend your honeymoon in an affordable way and want to have luxury for less, then you have to go to Mauritius (or Seychelles). In most of the hotels on Mauritius the bride stays for free, which means you will get a 50% discount. And not only as newlyweds but also often until 9-12 months after your wedding. So you can have the same discount at your 1st wedding anniversary and also on every 5th further wedding anniversary. In Seychelles the discount isn’t as high, but it still works in a lot of hotels. You will also often get a romantic dinner, a spa treatment and of course sparkling wine. Use it and enjoy it! (Most of the times you have to book it with a travel agency.)
By: Beautiful Places
photo credit: globalgrasshopper.com
It would save you lots of money on stylish accommodation.
If you prefer luxury travel but don’t always have a huge budget to back it up then simply opt for cities where your dollar will stretch much farther. Head to Five star hotels in Hanoi, Budapest, New Delhi or Havana for example and you could experience a very stylish getaway without the huge price tag. This travel hack could potentially save you hundreds and sometimes even thousands depending on your length of stay.
House Sitting gives you totally free accommodation in local homes all around the world!
Simply join a house sitting website where you can apply for the sits in the countries you want and then you will live in the home and take care of the pets while the homeowners go away on vacation. There are sits all over the world, in all types of cities, with all types of animals, too! And it’s completely free.
By: Burger Abroad
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/jedavillabali
If you are a family nothing beats vacation rentals.
Most vacation rentals have similar amenities as big hotels such as a pool area. However, the price is usually 50% less than a good hotel. Plus, you have a full kitchen, and trust me, this alone saves a ton of money because kids get hungry at the most random times and snacks at home save you over 75% than eating out every time your kids want something. There is often a living room area for you to chill back, watch TV and unwind that is different than where you sleep. Also the fact that you can retreat into different rooms truly makes a difference when traveling with a family. It’s literally a home away from home.
By: Travel Experta
You can rent condos all over the world for as low as $35/night.
My favorite hack for accommodation is EndlessVacationRentals.com (EVR). EVR is owned by Wyndham, which also owns RCI, the largest holder of timeshare exchanges in the world. I have bought numerous weeks through them including the Canary Islands and Costa del Sol in Spain, Austria, Ireland, Williamsburg VA, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Guatemala, St. Maarten, and New Orleans, to name a few.
Endless Vacation Rentals has a constantly changing inventory and frequent specials. Their search engine lets you browse just like any other site. The process through EVR is very straight forward: you see a week that works for you and you buy it. However, sales are final so be sure before you buy!
How much can you save? This past spring break we paid $88/night for a two bedroom ocean front condo in Gran Canaria that featured a private balcony Jacuzzi. In August we spent a week in a recently remodeled and huge two bedroom ocean view unit in Hawaii. We booked it at the last minute for $279/week. You read that right: WEEK, not night!
Note I only recommend the WEEKLY RENTALS, not the “vacation packages” which require a timeshare tour. The rentals do not require a tour!
By: The Deal Mommy
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/ptica10
Call the hotel directly to make your bookings.
Well, this one might sound obvious but you can make significant savings by calling the hotel directly. The hotel will prefer to give you a discount or an upgrade rather than having you going to a 3rd party channel to book your room.
Travelers can earn bonus points for eating at their favorite restaurants.
Choose the hotel chain or airline you use most frequently when traveling, and sign up for their dining portal. For example, Southwest Airlines is rapidrewardsdining.com, and you can sign up with your rapid rewards account and link multiple credit or debit cards in the system. Then, when you use any of the cards you’ve linked to pay at one of the restaurants in their system, you will earn 3 points for every dollar spent. You can link any credit or debit card, it doesn’t have to be a Southwest card. Earning potential ranges depending on how often you eat at one of their partner restaurants and how much you spend.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/johnjoh
Restaurants that are impossible to get into for dinner are usually easier to book for lunch.
There are so many benefits to going to a fancy restaurant lunch. It’s the same meal as dinner, though it’s usually less expensive. How much less? As as example, three courses at Jean-Georges, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in NYC, costs less than $50. The same meal would be double at dinner. The restaurant staff (chefs and servers) and the food itself are both fresher earlier in the day. And nothing says “I’m on vacation!” quite as stylishly as a long lunch. This tip works at great restaurants all over the world. And while reservations are always nice, lunch time can be flexible enough that travelers can walk in and get lucky, especially if they can eat at the bar, where there’s always room at lunch time.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/kneoh
Eat away from the touristy areas for a cheaper and more authentic meal.
While it’s tempting to eat in places like St Mark’s Square in Venice but you are paying over the odds for the location and convenience and often the food is disappointing.
Those who make the effort to venture away from the tourist areas are rewarded with better, more authentic food at much cheaper prices. Go for the less fancy, more local style restaurants without multi language menus and pictures and you’ll often have a much better meal for half the price saving €20 or so depending on how hungry you are!
Another good tip is to make lunch your main meal of the day as many restaurants in Europe offer lunch time specials and discounts or ‘menu del dia’ special offers where you can often find a 2 course deal for only €15 or €20. Also, don’t forget to shop at the local markets for cheap and fresh local produce and a fun cultural experience.
Also, look out for happy hours and drink where the locals do, for example, in expensive Venice I paid only €2.50 for a local Spritz cocktail in the Campo Santa Margarita and enjoyed the local atmosphere – the same in St Mark’s Square would set you back at least €10.
photo credit: vegtravelandfitness.com
Instantly add protein to dry toast at your hotel’s continental breakfast station.
It sucks when the airplane security steals your jar of peanut butter. But these little packets are small enough to pass airline regulations and are delicious, portable and full of protein.
Aperitivo is a pre-meal drink that is generally served with a complimentary plate of food.
By: Browsing Italy
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/wagnertamanaha
Eating breakfast at your hotel helps you start your day faster, and usually for less money.
Book a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast or stop at a local grocery to pick up a few breakfast items to keep in your room. Enjoying a complimentary breakfast or buying groceries can help bring food expenses down to what you would have spent at home and helps you get an early start.
Most major theme parks, zoos and other family destinations allow you to pack in your own food.
You can save big money at most major theme parks, zoos and other destinations if you pack your own lunch and drinks in a day pack. We have done this at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. Pick up groceries at a local store or have them delivered to your room. Not only will you save on food expenses, you’ll also be able to choose your family’s favorite healthy treats and eat whenever and wherever you’d like, without waiting in line.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/wagnertamanaha
Visiting a market is a great budget option for any travelling foodie & a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Strolling from one stall to another & sampling some local delicacies is a great way to learn more about local cuisine. Markets often serve tasty, affordable street food, which is a great alternative to an expensive sit down meal at a restaurant. If your accommodation is self-catered you can even grab yourself some fresh local produce and cook up a feast. Visiting a market is a great budget option for any travelling foodie & a fun way to spend an afternoon.
By: Global Brunch
This hack allows parents to have a kid-free meal at Disney World while the kids have their own free fun!
Disney World Dolphin Resort Restaurants offer Free Childcare!
That’s right: Camp Dolphin is free for your kid when you eat a meal at one of four on-site restaurants. On our last visit the grownups left the chaos for a blissful meal at BlueZoo by Todd English while the kids enjoyed hot dogs and video games with Disney Cast Members. The rules are for an hour per entree per kid ages 3 and over, but we were there for close to 90 minutes and didn’t get charged extra. Works for the Mandara Spa too! Be sure to reserve your Camp Dolphin time when you reserve your meal.
By: The Deal Mommy
Don’t hesitate to ask local moms for the best tips and advice you and your family should know wherever you are visiting!
You are saving an environment by not wasting plastic bottles and it saves you money for an essential thing while traveling.
In many countries, tap water is not safe to drink. When you buy at least 500ml water bottle with filter, you can fill it up with water from any tap, river or lake and drink right away. You don’t have to worry about finding a store and in some countries, buying 500ml water for 1-3 USD. Regular person drinks 2 litres of water per day, so you are saving 4-12 USD a day. The cost adds up depending how long your trip is. The water bottle with filter costs around 40 USD and can be used to filter 1000 litres of water. If you use the bottle every day, that is at least a full year of drinking water for just the cost of the bottle.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/chinaoffseason
Snacks and drinks on budget airlines can be pricy. Put that money back in your pocket!
Budget airlines often sell bottled water, but many times they do have tap water available. Get the kids to politely ask for tap water from the air steward. Tigerair were happy to oblige our smiling kids. After all, who can say “no” to cute kids being calm and quiet in an airplane?
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/abhisawa
Bring or find an old sheet for long road trips with kids.
We’ve been stung before for the extra cost of internal cleaning fees on a rental car because my son accidentally spilled dry breakfast cereal into every possible crevice in the back seat. Lesson learned. Now I bring an old bed sheet (or pick up a cheap one from a charity store for a few bucks) and cover the back seat before long road trips. Now the car has a little more protection against accidents that can happen when traveling with kids.
photo credit: wikimedia.org
It’s easy to skip exercise on vacation, but this one lightweight piece of equipment takes up almost no space in your luggage and will remind you not to neglect your muscles.
Buy a resistance band online for under $20, preferably one with handles. You can use the band instead of dumbbells if you lack access to a gym. If you don’t know what to do with it, follow online exercises. Here are six from Real Simple.
If you are planning on doing a lot of walking or sightseeing on holidays, a fold up scooter is ideal for kids.
This is ideal for city break trips where lots of walking is required. In most countries you can pick them up in a toy store for less than €20 /$20 so if you shop while away and are over your baggage allowance, it won’t bother you to leave it behind.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/dryfish
Keep your clothes smelling fresh.
Put a dryer sheet at the bottom of your suitcase containing the bulk of your clothes. It will keep it all smelling freshly laundered until you get the chance to actually do some laundry.
For long flights I’ve got everything I need to sleep and refresh right at my fingertips.
Long flights can be brutal, but having your own kit makes it so much more tolerable. I fill up a Flight001 Seat Pak bag with my own socks, an eye mask, earplugs, breath mints, lotions, hand sanitizer, hair ties, noise cancelling earbuds, and a pen for landing cards. Any small bag will do, but the Seat Pak works great because it is compartmentalized so you can stay organized, plus it has a small hook so you can hang it from the seat or put it in the seat back in front of you.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/mcfinlow
The key to packing light is to bring less clothes but that also means that you need to learn to wash your own clothes to stay fresh.
One of the things you learn pretty early on travelling is that packing less makes travel so much more enjoyable. It isn’t an easy transition to make but what will help is learning how to hand wash your clothes wherever you are. For instance, instead of let’s say underwear for every day of your trip, you can just bring 3-4 pairs.
All you really need is a soap, a sink with water, and somewhere to hang your clothes. With warm running water, fill up the sink with water and put your first item in there. Lather up your soap (whether liquid or in bar form) and start scrubbing your clothes. Mix up your motions by pressing your clothes together and swishing them around. When you’re done, wring your item and drain the water away. Next, fill up the sink with cold water and lightly scrub and rinse it. Wring out the water and you’re done. For the drying stage, I usually take my wet clothes, lay them flat on a spread out towel and start rolling. Once you’ve rolled it all in, wring everything together so that the towel absorbs most of the water. Unroll and dry your clothes, preferably near a heater but in a closet works as well.
This works the best with quick dry clothing and you should have dry clothing that’s ready to go the next morning.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/kittysfotos
This will help coffee lovers stay awake without breaking the bank.
Carrying a thermos bottle is particularly handy for coffee & tea lovers and will help you to reduce the amount of money you spend on hot drinks on the go. Simply pack a thermos bottle and a bag of your favorite coffee or tea bags. Once you get to your destination you just have to make sure that you’ve got access to a kettle or other ways of heating water. This hack is super useful on long road trips, because let’s face it coffee from a gas station is almost never satisfying. This will easily save you $10 a day.
BY: Global Brunch
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/scaredykat
You will save so much time when packing.
Keeping a dedicated toiletry bag will help organize your life. Not only will it save time unpacking but packing as well! By having duplicate items, you will never have to repack the bag, only top up used up items. It also saves on the amount of thinking and planning you have do before a trip by having to think through everything you will need. Just grab your bag out of the closet and go. You’ll be so thankful that you don’t have to go hunting for forgotten items through the hotel front desk or finding a pharmacy, especially if travelling in other countries that don’t have all of the items which are creature comforts.
The worst thing you can do when traveling is weighing yourself down by over packing.
When it comes to packing, I think we all have the tendency to want to be overly prepared. We’re constantly battling that “but what if I need this” whisper in your ear as we decide what we need. After countless trips, we’ve learned that no matter where we’re going or how it’s for, we can travel with a backpack and carry-on and have everything we need. This takes time to learn, but you’ll eventually find out what you need on trips, what you don’t, and if there is something you might have forgotten, you can always find a replacement at your destination. One way to help you pack lighter is by doing some initial research. Look to see what other people have packed on their previous trips to a location. Often times, we’ll pack something that we learned we didn’t need or realized that we should have packed a certain item instead. Check out our packing guides as well.
BY: Local Adventurer
photo credit: localadventurer.com/best-on-the-go-clothing/
This doesn’t mean something that will simply match different pieces, but clothes that can also transform into different types of pieces.
As the fashion industry continues to evolve, people have created unique and functional pieces that can be used a variety of ways. One of our recent finds that we love is the Sharmbaa. It can be worn four different ways and it’s perfect for layering. Bringing versatile clothes will help you save space in your luggage and enables you to travel lighter. To check out more clothes we recommend for traveling, visit: http://localadventurer.com/best-on-the-go-clothing/.
By: Local Adventurer
Budget friendly and reusable, re-sealable plastic bags can be found anywhere – even at the dollar store – they are the ultimate, multipurpose travel companion.
Re-sealable plastic bags can be used to organize your belongings, store leftovers, budget friendly compression bags, clean/dirty laundry storage. You can even use one as a makeshift laundry machine – simply put a few dirty items in a large bag, add water / detergent, seal it up and shake!
photo credit: travelingted.com
The Pack helps you organize your backpack and then you can easily hang it in the closet when you get to your destination.
The Pack fits perfectly into any backpack or suitcase. There are individual pockets that help organize your packing. You can put your socks into one packet and your shirts in another making it easier to find things, so you do not have to dig through the whole backpack. Then when you get to your destination, all you have to do is simply pull the Pack out of your backpack and hang in your closet at your hotel, hostel, or guesthouse.
By: Traveling Ted
Unless you fly business class these days, it’s rare to have checked bags included in your flight price. To save money, and time at your destination, pack everything for your trip into carry-on luggage and hand baggage.
There are three primary reasons to heed this hack: first, there’s no risk of lost luggage; second, you don’t have to wait for baggage once you arrive at your destination; and, third, you really don’t need as much as you think you do. This is not as hard as it sounds; what you need to remember is that aside from your standard-sized carry-on luggage, you’re also allowed a “personal item” like a purse or small backpack. My version of a purse when I’m travelling is more like a beach bag and — trust me — you can cram a lot of stuff into a bag that size.
By: Mommy Gearest
Makes for smooth boarding – arrive at your seat, throw the little bag onto your seat, the carry-on into the overhead locker, and then sit.
Before I leave home, anything I’ll need on the plane goes into a little mesh goodie bag. For me that means, e-reader, some nibbles, notebook and pen, medication and moisturizer. This means I don’t have to search my bag for an item, and my carryon bag can be ignored until I reach the destination. It also means I’m not flustered searching for something and holding up the other passengers.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/swimparallel
You can use it for SO MANY things.
It’s cheap, light, and super easy to pack. It can serve as a cover-up on the beach, a blanket on bus rides, a towel, a bag… and more!
By: Susan Shain
Great multipurpose travel item that packs light and small.
A shawl not only keeps you warm when you are cold, but it dresses up an outfit, becomes a dress/cover-up, covers your shoulders/head in places of worship, can be hung to create some privacy, can be used as a towel/tablecloth/blanket, can be tied together to make an improvised bag or in case of injury can be used as a tourniquet or sling.
photo credit: staticflickr.com
Packing cubes are essential for any long or short term trip, they save on space, help with organization, and keep clothes fresh.
Packing cubes are not an expensive investment. For less than $30 you can stay organized for life. Packing cubes are a great way to stay organized while traveling and keep from losing things. When I made the switch it save my life! No more messy bags, no more disorganization, and can keep little items from getting lost.
It allows you to move swiftly around the world, jump on opportunities as they come, and really get the best out of your trips.
In short, over the last decade I have refined a very refreshing approach to travel packing – called No Bag Travel. I have field tested every kind of gear you can think of, to the point where I can now effectively travel with no bags at all, and still be better geared than 99% of travelers. People who try it swear by this approach, I think your readers will find it very refreshing too.
By: Regev Elya
Save up to 13% by avoiding currency conversion.
A normal way to travel is to carry dollars/pounds/euros and convert them to local currency using banks/money changers once you reach your destination. Typically, you lose about 3-4% in such conversion. And in extreme cases, you lose up to 7% (e.g. you’ll lose ~7% when you convert Dollars to South African Rands). You lose similar percentage when you convert unspent local currency back to Dollars/Pounds/Euros. Overall, you lose anything between 5-13% in currency conversion.
Also, you are at risk to lose all your cash in case any of the local petty criminal picks your pocket/raids your luggage in your hotel.
Best way to get around this loss is to draw the local currency for your needs from a local ATM. While most banks will charge you a small sum for using your foreign card, there are always 1-2 banks who DO NOT charge any service fee for such withdrawals and the online travel forums will be helpful in providing information about such banks.
When you withdraw local currency from the bank ATMs, they too charge a small percentage as the conversion spread, but this charge is way lower than what they would charge if you convert your cash. All in all, this could potentially give you up to 13% savings; and in most normal cases, could save you around 5%.
This hack saves you even more if you are from a country whose currency is not considered hard currency as you’ll be converting your local currency to dollars, and then converting it to the currency of the country you are visiting (e.g. Indians using Indian Rupees will buy dollars first and then convert those dollars to the currency of the country they are visiting).
This tactic may be used in most countries that have decent ATM network and information about ATM network of most destinations is readily available online.
photo credit: Nomadsnation
I’ve designed a system to create income while backpacking around the world.
Nomad Income Hacks are specifically designed to give travelers an actionable blueprint for creating income while traveling. The system revolves around first – getting free accommodation by volunteering to work at hostels. Second – using the ‘Nomad Economy’ exclusively found in hostels, and leverage your skills and talents to create a minimum of $500 a month (all with minimal effort). I should also note that while I haven’t implemented Nomad Income Hacks, I’ve been planning and preparing to do so for the past six months, and will be documenting my experience while backpacking through Mexico beginning in July… stay posted.
By having a credit card, you don’t need to carry cash – that can be a big safety concern.
Some credit cards will charge up to 3% on foreign transactions, so you can save that amount just by going with a credit card that doesn’t charge any fee!
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/simonsimages
When booking with local agencies, you support local economy. Plus your trip will be at least half the prize as oppose to booking online.
When booking an attraction or a popular trek in the area, always book with local agency. They usually don’t have fancy websites so Google won’t find them with your first search. But companies you find online are usually operated by foreigners who charge at least double the prize, claim they have better service than others and you need to book in advance. In every country I’ve visited, I have always been able to walk to local agency and book any trip I like for at least half the price, even during high season. Some people on the same tour booked online in advance and paid double, while receiving the same service. Last time I booked a trek in Peru in local agency for 190 USD while some agencies sell the same trek for 500 USD and more.
Keeps the light from peeking through the curtains when traveling.
There is nothing worse than rudely having the sun spill through the curtains in the morning especially when you’re dealing with jet lag. To make sure my hotel room stays dark, I use the hangers in the closet with the pant clips to clip the curtains tightly together.
When crisis strikes on the road — and it always will — you can minimize the damage by having essential data backed up and easily available.
Make hard copies of your passport, itinerary, prescriptions, and important phone numbers. Keep a set on your kitchen table at home (to make it easy to find), email the info to your parents/BFF/boss, bring a set with you in a small, waterproof travel bag like a Ziploc, and store the same data on a cloud service like Dropbox. (A copy of your itinerary placed on top of your belongings inside your bag is excellent backup if your luggage tag comes off.) If traveling to a potentially dangerous destination, enroll in your government’s traveler enrollment program to make it easier for the embassy or nearest consulate to contact you in an emergency.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/nicokaiser
Avoid an alarm going off in the middle of the night or early morning.
Always make sure the alarm clock in your hotel or lodgings isn’t set. Either a previous guest forgets to turn it off or the cleaning staff switches it in the on position while cleaning its surface. For some reason, this has happened to me more than once, now I always double check before falling asleep.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/skewgee
At a time when airline seating is more compact than ever, any tips that help people travel with more space and comfort is important.
You can use this hack on any airline that either allows you to select seats in advance as part of your booking or gives you the opportunity to pay for seat selection. So this is a truly global travel hack! When travelling with two people, choose a window and an aisle seat instead of two seats together; the chances that solo travelers will opt for a middle seat are pretty slim (unless your flight is full). So you’ll usually end up with a whole row to yourselves! And if you do find yourself with a middleman, they’re usually very keen to trade seats with one of you so you can sit together.
You get to relieve the pressures of travel, with your perfect drink and you share with your neighbour.
Firstly, get small 30-100 ml bottles. These can be recycled or from a dollar store. Think ahead to the flight. I typically do this on long haul flights as it helps my routine. You can get all the soda’s, ice and even some basic spirits on board so, depending on your airline and cocktail choice, you may be able to pack light.
An old fashion cocktail or a Manhattan are perfect “night caps” for before and after dinner and good to help with sleep. So taking 2 bottles, I bring the whiskey in a larger bottle 100 ml (3 oz+) and a small 30 ml of either the vermouth or a simple syrup. What about the bitters? Mix the correct amount into either the simple syrup or your vermouth. Bring a spoon if you so wish, but it is not necessary, as you can get one on board in some form or another. Take all of this in your carry on and carry it in your on board toiletries and clearly mark the bottles. This is key, as you will need to place them in the liquids bag and have a small discussion if asked. Perfectly legal, within the limits of fluids, but they will ask. When I started doing this in 2012′ it was removed from me a few times but now, there are packages you can buy and these are not new.
Once on the plane, pull them out and place them in your seat pocket. When you get your first drink or your drink with dinner, ask for an extra cup with ice. This will be your mixing vessel and drinking vessel. With 3 oz’s of whiskey and 1 oz of bitter infused vermouth, you can make two solid Manhattan cocktails. With the same whiskey and bitter simple syrup you can make two solid old fashions. Choose to share with your neighbor or take on the double cocktail.
I have brought as many as 12 x 30 ml bottles, with 3 x 100 ml bottles and full out bar-tended for the guests in my row. It was a lot of fun.
I have also simply brought a good ginger beer and some fresh lime juice and a small bottle of bitters and make Moscow mules with the vodka on board already.
The possibilities are endless. With a little planning you can have the perfect digestive to help you relax and sleep or turn things up with a small bar to serve some new friends on board.
You save bad digestion and gain friends, even if they are just on-lookers.
By: Just Cocktails
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/yannickgar
Getting in to NYC can be costly; knowing the free bridges and where to park can save you enough to buy tickets to show!
Free bridges to NYC: The 3rd Avenue bridge is the only free bridge into Manhattan; the Queensborough, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Brooklyn bridges are free, but getting to them from outside Long Island requires a toll. The Willis Ave. bridge offers free return access from NYC (as does the George Washington Bridge). The 3rd Ave and Willis Ave bridges are accessed from the Bronx/I-87. Other bridge tolls into and out of Manhattan are between $5 and $9.50 each way, and train fare starts at $2.75 per person for the subway or about $10 per person for commuter rail tickets.
By: She Buys Cars
Manhattan is crowded and expensive, so knowing where to park for free can save you a lot of money!
Download Bestparking.com app, zero in on the neighborhood you want to park in, click ‘street parking’ and enter the hours you intend to park. The interactive map will show you where the free parking is. It will also show you where you can park at a meter (about $2 per hour) and discounted garages (if you can’t find a spot). Give yourself extra time to park, though; it may take a while to find a spot.
By: She Buys Cars
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/sidm
Deeper experiences in regions that need support.
Don’t let a natural disaster put you off travelling to a place. The locals often depend on travelers and it can be an incredible time to observe the aftermath of a natural disaster, lend a hand and get a close and intimate experience with a region. Like Kaikoura in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude November 2016 earthquake. It closed access off completely, but as roads semi-reopened the flow of tourists was but a trickle. This is a great time to experience and see a place as locals do. And every dollar you spend helps the community to get back on its feet. That’s a win-win.
Skip the tourism runaround and go straight to the horse’s mouth to experience a place the way a local would.
Save money and enjoy a deeper experience by sourcing the most credible and authoritative information for your journey from experts and locals on the pulse. Websites like RideNZ.co do a great job of this – collating all the mountain bike rides together in one place and making it super easy to decide which ones should be on your to do list according to your experience and skill level.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05
Reverse budgeting helps you save unspent money and use it towards travel.
Reverse budgeting is a way to trick yourself into saving more for travel. With reverse budgeting you keep track of the money that you budgeted for but did not spend. For example: let’s say that you wanted to buy a cup of coffee. If for some reason you choose against it, immediately transfer those unspent funds into your travel fund. Did you walk instead of take the train? That’s savings into your travel fund. I saved an extra $232 last month by reverse budgeting. That’s in addition to my usual travel savings!
By: The Thought Card
It is easy and you don’t have to carry along any special items.
When you’re in a hotel with a bathtub that has no grab bar, wet and wring out a wash cloth or hand towel, lay it over the edge of the tub, and use it to allow you to get a good grip that permits you to raise yourself from the tub.
It is a way to save money quickly right before your trip.
This can be selling unwanted items on Ebay or Facebook, Yardsale, having a yard sale, eating at home, or cutting back on luxuries (such as getting your nails done). In the weeks leading up to your trip, save as much money as you can so you can use that money on vacation!
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/kojach
Saves a ton on transportation, allows kids and adults to do exercise and burn off the extra energy, and is one of the best ways to bond.
Biking is so overlooked especially when traveling in cities and beach destinations. You can rent bikes for the day which costs almost the same as it would for one or two hours. And it can save you so much money over taking taxis and way less time than public transportation.
Most places love bikers and you can leave your bikes anywhere safely with locks that are usually given thru the bike rental shops.
Kids love biking and it’s a great way for them to burn off their excess energy. And adults get their exercise in as well.
By: Travel Experta
Worries are unwanted and weigh too much in your carry-on luggage.
Getting lost in back streets is fun if you want to find new places, get fabulous photos and meet interesting people. So, throw out all your worries and concerns about getting lost – totally unwanted carry-on luggage. As long as you are found one more time than being ‘lost’ all will be well.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/miwok
Some of my best photos didn’t happen as my camera wasn’t ready.
Take photos to use as your journal, the correct spelling of places, interesting facts or funny signs, and are great reminders of people places and things. Back up your pics, and recharge the battery often. If you have a viewfinder on your camera USE IT. You will take six fabulous photos before the person beside can focus their screen.
Avoid family travel burn out from fast-paced, ‘vacation-style’ traveling.
If you’ve ever wanted to travel with your family, you can avoid going crazy by slowing down. Instead of a week, try a month. Instead of a month, try a year. Get immersed in the culture, take your time seeing the sights, and enjoy a ‘normal’ routine on ‘home’ days. Your children will enjoy it more, and you’ll keep your sanity.
photo credit: cleverdeverwherever.com
Lightweight and compact, I use this speaker to play white noise when I’m staying somewhere noisy (or my roommate snores), or when I want to start a dance party with friends I make along the way.
This tiny portable speaker is a life-saver for getting sleep even if it’s noisy outside. There are so many places I’ve stayed in the summer where the lack of air conditioning requires the windows stay open. Add to that rowdy people outside or the morning garbage truck, and forget resting. For around $20 this rechargeable speaker plugs into your phone or shuffle and plays whatever tunes (or white noise) you have with you, blocking the outside sounds. Also: you’ve got a soundtrack on your trip whether you’re playing music while you sit along the Seine or convincing new friends to get up and have a dance party with you. Which I’ve done. Several times. 🙂
By waterproofing your bag, you cut down on the hassle of cleanup later, in case something spills in transit.
I always lay plastic dry cleaner bags on the inside of my luggage. That way if my bag gets wet or something leaks, the plastic bags protect my clothes, yet they take up virtually no space.
By: Points and Travel
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/37873897@N06
You can nowadays buy a 40cm diameter photography reflector (think a mirror) that collapse in a 12-15cm bag, easy to carry around.
When at the restaurant/cafe/bar use the reflector to add more side light. With the restaurant light only the photo will be quite flat and similar to the many around. With a reflector the picture will be more dynamic and different, you will look a pro with just an easy hack.
Keeping multiple devices powered up with this simple one simple item.
We all travel with a great deal of gadgets today that run on battery power. Sometimes, it can be a challenge keeping those devices charged up, either due to a lack of power outlets at a hotel or airport, or to the lack of power adaptors depending on the country you are traveling to. I travel with a small and lightweight Belkin 3-outlet swivel surge protector with 2 USB charging ports. With this device I can keep everything charged and only need one electric outlet.
By: Mike’s Road Trip
Snag cheap flights without added fees by packing smart.
It’s easier than you think to bring a small bag while traveling, especially to warmer climates. Wear layers on the flight and your baggiest items that take up the most room. Consider only the essentials and just enough clothes to last the exact days you’ll be on the road. In fact, to practice and get better at this, I would pack my bag, then at the end make myself remove 10 items. You will be able to book cheaper airlines and flights to save hundreds on your budget, then also avoid added fees of extra baggage.
By: Pure Wander
photo credit: flickr.com
I always pack lots of snacks for my flight to avoid paying for the high priced ones at the airport.
Bring your own snacks from home to save money and ensure that you won’t go hungry on the plane. Granola bars and trail mix will keep you feeling satisfied. You can buy these for a fraction of the cost at the grocery store or bulk food store ahead of time.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/diversey
I always make a scan of my passport, driver’s license, and any other important documents. I print out a copy and leave it in my bag plus I email myself a copy so I can get access to it electronically if I need to.
If I manage to lose the originals, I can get access to my electronic copies. They’re not as good as the originals but will work in a pinch.
It won’t necessarily save you money but if you lose those important documents, having electronic versions is better than nothing. Some credit cards offer insurances that will help in overnighting a passport or other travel documents, but that might not work on a short trip. Having an electronic copy is a good backup.
Everything you need you already have.
This hat holder keeps your hat on your head. If you want to wear a hat and it is a windy day, use your neck scarf to hold the hat in place. Just wrap it over the hat on your head, and tie a bow under your neck. Your hands remain free, and it costs you nothing, plus it might save you the money needed to buy another hat.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/sburt
You will save a lot of money!
A nice souvenir costs $20 or more, while postcards are generally under $1. Skip buying another t-shirt that won’t get worn. Plus, people like receiving mail!
The Midnight Magic Sleep Mask and Evolution Pillow are items that will help you relax during your trip.
These items are my two go-to ways to beat jet lag. The Midnight Magic Sleep Mask contours to your facial features and helps you relax and achieve a deeper sleep while at the airport or on a flight. The mask also lets you control the desired level of darkness. The Evolution Pillow has an ergonomic design and exclusive vertical side panels. It is a 360-degree head & neck support pillow with responsive memory foam that perfectly adjusts to my body. While using it, the upper part of my body is able to relax without me experiencing any travel-related discomfort.