4 Easy Tips To Save Up For Your Dream Trip
We all have one destination that we’ve always dreamt of. For some it’s the fjords of Norway, for others it’s the neon of Tokyo, and some want to try an authentic slice of NY pizza. No matter the destination, two things are solid facts about your dream trip: it will be totally worth it, and it will be expensive.
Fortunately, there are ways to make any trip affordable. Part of it is using some of your wiles, and part is using some of the neat tricks we’ve prepared for you here. Check out this sweet list so you can get planning today.
1) Google Flights
The days of relying on aggregators like Orbitz and Kayak are over. While those sites have their perks, and are great for booking hotels and cars, we finally have an aggregator to end all aggregators, and it comes from the pack leaders at Google.
Simple, accessible from anywhere and clean to use, Google Flights lets you easily check out what days are the cheapest to fly. Compare and contrast your itinerary using their calendar system and see which airline is the cheapest to fly. Which leads us directly to tip #2.
2) Fly On Off Days
This one seems obvious, but some clever scheduling can save you hundreds of dollars. The balancing act of getting time off from work is understandably tricky, but using an extra vacation day to return on a Tuesday instead of a Sunday or Monday can turn flying from the most expensive part of your journey to the cheapest.
Keep an eye out for when you book, too. Generally, flights are at their ‘sweet spot’ six weeks before takeoff, but you can find incredible last minute deals as well. Either go early bird or last minute rusher – booking in the time in between will pinch your wallet.
3) Forget Hotels
Hotels used to be the only place to stay without having to share a bunkbed with a 20-year-old backpacker. (Seriously, hostels are not nearly as charming as they sound.) The miracle that is the Internet has created a counter to those overpriced 3-star hotels in the form of Airbnb and Couchsurfing.
Knowing the difference between the two can save you a lot of headache, but both options offer great benefits and some local flavor. If you’re feeling more adventurous (and don’t mind less comfortable bedding,) check out Couchsurfing, in which hosts open their couches, air mattresses and spare bedrooms in exchange for good company and the sharing of different cultural perspectives. The Couchsurfing hosts are some of the most curious and compassionate people in the world, though landing a good host does take a good deal of work.
Airbnb, as a counter to Couchsurfing, lets you pay a reduced premium to stay in someone’s apartment anywhere in the world. You can choose to rent an entire apartment or shack up in a spare bedroom, but this is a great way to see how the locals live while saving some serious money. Airbnb’s amazing interface helps with language barriers and takes a lot of the hassle out of negotiating. Keep an eye out for weekly discounts.
4) Currency Watching
With a globalized economy that’s constantly in flux, sometimes your greatest money saver is the dollar itself. Opting to travel to Mexico, where the dollar out powers the peso between 15:1 and 20:1, over Europe, where the Euro and dollar are often near equal, can save you heaps of dough while still experiencing a vibrant and amazingly different culture.
A weak currency doesn’t inherently indicate a poor quality of life, either. Of course, not every country can live up to the glamor of Europe, but by traveling to destinations with a weaker currency you can live in luxury for a fraction of the price.
Even if you’re traveling to a country with a strong currency, make sure to do a little research on how much day-to-day living costs are before you book your flight. Beyond flying and boarding, spending money on food and drinks can add up quickly, especially in major metropolises. Consider visiting smaller cities where your dollar can go a lot further.