Me in a nutshell
- Started traveling at age 1 (Thanks Mom and Dad)
- Insatiable wanderlust
- Still freak out every time I fly
- Love trains and boats (wish I could travel everywhere this way)
- Happiest when planning new adventures and may have excessive trip alerts on my phone for price drops
Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips. I hope they’re helpful!
- AirBnb – I’d highly recommend giving it a shot if you’re looking to save money but need something a step above a hostel (have had only good experiences in the US and Asia/Europe). Most of the places were hotel quality, if not better. Plus, you have the host who typically shows you around, gives you tips on what to see, and sometimes even cooks for you! Would recommend printing out your directions – learned this the hard way in areas with no Wi-fi to pull up the app. Also, only pick a host with a decent amount of reviews – I’m not trusting enough to stay with someone who has no reviews – just can’t be too careful these days!
- Airline Miles – Take advantage of airline promotions – a lot offer you enough miles for a free flight after spending $1000 in your first 3 months after getting their co-branded credit card and most of the cards let you earn 1-2 miles per $1 spent. You can typically earn even more at specific restaurants on their list. If you’re serious about earning free travel, you need to be using one of these cards. I’ve earned probably 10 free flights this way. Other avenues I use to earn miles : E-Miles and E-rewards.
- Car Rentals – Not sure how they do it, but Auto Slash definitely provides the lowest rental prices I’ve seen. You request a quote on their site and they’ll email you within 30 minutes with a variety of quotes to choose from. Alternatively, you can also use E-Rewards to earn points toward free rentals. I’ve earned a few free rental days this way 🙂
- Kayak Explore – If you have flexibility with travel dates, this option is fantastic. You can put in your starting city and see the lowest prices all over the world. We found $200 one way tickets to Europe with this tool!
- Early Morning departures are the least likely to get delayed in my experience, and Tuesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly (at least if you’re booking with miles). Definitely book with early departure times and longer layovers if you have flexibility. That way if (when) the airline overbooks, you can easily volunteer to get bumped to a later flight and earn free miles or money, while still getting to your destination the same day.
- Seats – I think we all try to avoid the middle seat, but I found out the hard way that Turbulence is WAY worse in the back of the plane than in the front. Try to book the middle row of seats on the big 777’s so you won’t have people constantly asking to get out to use the bathroom since you’ll have a row on either side of you. Emergency exit seats are definitely worth the extra cost on 8+ hour flights.
- Meals – If you order gluten free, kosher or other special meals in advance (they are free of charge), you’ll get your meal before everyone else, which is nice (except that your husband will give you envious looks when you get a steak and he gets pasta that tastes like cardboard) 👼 Also, house wine is free on overseas flights. After about 2 glasses I was finally able to fall asleep for a few hours. No other natural or OTC sleep aids worked for me at all!