My one year blog anniversary came and went in April without me even realizing it! I can’t believe how different my life is from a year ago, and all the amazing places I’ve been able to visit. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, and am looking forward to all the adventures I’m planning for the future!
With that said, I’ve been doing a lot of planning for upcoming trips. In a few weeks, I’ll be headed to the Dominican Republic to participate on Fathom Travel’s new cruise line that focuses on impact travel. In June, I’ll be headed to Philadelphia to take part in BlogHouse, an intense blogger workshop put on by some of the top travel professionals around. In July, I’ll be headed to Europe to visit a friend, explore a few new countries, and go to my first TBEX in Stockholm.
Needless to say, I’ve picked up a lot of tricks along the way planning for these trips while still trying to budget. Here’s what I’ve learned that’s literally saved hundreds on travel costs, and hopefully will help you with your future trips as well!
Choose a Different Destination to Arrive In
I’ll be headed to the East Coast in June and wanted to start my trip in New York, and then head down to a workshop I’ll be attending in Philadelphia. The cost of a one-way ticket to New York was $300 more expensive than it was for a round-trip ticket to Philadelphia, so I decided to fly into Philadelphia since it’s only 2 hours away. I’ll be taking the bus up to New York, so it will take me about 3 hours longer total than flying into New York directly. I’m not in a time crunch that day though, so to me $300 is money I’d much rather save (or put towards another future trip).
Leave From a Different Destination
On the same note, when planning my European summer trip, I needed to get from Freiburg, Germany to Warsaw, Poland. Flying out of Frankfurt was almost $200 for just a one-way ticket, which was much more than I was looking to spend. I started looking around for airports within similar distances, and found a ticket for half the price leaving from Basel, Switzerland. It’s about the same distance to take the train to Frankfurt or Basel from where I’m staying, so it seemed like the obvious choice to save another $100.
Use Trains Instead of Planes for Shorter Distances
Travelers sometimes feel compelled to just jump on a plane everywhere, but in places like Europe, the train is so much more convenient and cheaper. Last summer, I needed to get from Lake Como, Italy to Monaco. If I wanted to fly, I would have to head south to Milan, take a plane to Nice, France, and then take the train over. Not only did this take up almost a whole day, but it was about $300. Instead, I took a train from Lake Como to Milan (for about $5), and then took a train directly to Monaco (for about $30). It only took about 5 hours total, and almost $250 was saved.
Another tip: for trains like this that you need a reservation in advance for, book your ticket as soon as you can. Fares often jump in price the closer it gets to the departure date.
Take a Bus Instead of a Train
For my East Coast trip, I won’t be renting a car, so needed to get from Philadelphia to New York and back. I originally was going to take the Amtrak, which came out to about $80 round-trip. That wasn’t bad, but after looking around a bit more I found the Megabus. It only takes about 20 more minutes than the Amtrak, and costs $5 each way. That’s $70 saved for almost the exact same route. It really pays to look around at all your options sometimes.
Compare Flights on Skyscanner
Skyscanner has quickly become my favorite website to use for finding the cheapest flights. They compare multiple airlines, but also vary how you can search. Say you want to go to the Philippines sometime in the next year, but the time doesn’t matter to you. Instead of putting in an exact date, you can hit “cheapest month,” which will show you what time of year airfare is the lowest.
Another option available is to see which country is cheapest to fly into for your destination. If you’ll be visiting multiple countries, but don’t care what order they’re in, hit “search everywhere.”It will show you how much it is to fly to multiple countries starting from the cheapest ones. From Freiburg, I wanted to go to both Warsaw and Krakow, but the order didn’t matter to me. It was about $100 cheaper to fly to Warsaw first, and then take a train to Krakow. This saves a ton of time instead of trying to research each possible option individually.
What are some of your favorite ways to save on travel?
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