When it comes to traveling, the majority of people think that they can't do it. Whether it's because they don't have the money or it puts them too far out of their comfort zone. When in reality, it's extremely easy to travel. Here are a handful of inside tips I've learned over the past few years to help you plan your next trip.
Traveling During The Off Season
The vast preponderance of people traveling happens during the summer months, from about May to August. If you can travel alternative time you can typically travel longer for cheaper. Airlines, Hotels, and even rental car places tend to charge at least one and a half times as much as they would during September through April. Why? Well because people will still pay it, but that doesn't mean you need to spends tons of money for a short trip. Last year I backpacked all over Europe for six and a half weeks. How? Because I traveled in the off season in September and October when the majority of people are back home. By doing so I was able to see thirteen cities within nine countries.
Finding The Deals
Whether you're wanting to go to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or just a few states away don't just put into the airlines calendar one set of dates. Sometimes having a flight on a Wednesday instead of a Friday could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on where you're planning your next trip to. The best site I've been able to find for airlines is Skyscanner (https://www.skyscanner.com). You can make as precise or as broad of a search for flights. Occasionally I just go onto Skyscanner, select the closest airport to me, then click the "Search Everywhere" option when selecting a destination. Traveling in the off season months does make for cheaper flights but considering that's from September to April it'd take a while to look up flight dates for all those months individually. Skyscanner gives you the option when searching dates to search "Cheapest Months" giving you a wide array of places and times of the year to travel. My direct flight from Orlando International Airport to Oslo Norway including checking in a bag, dinner and breakfast was only $325. You can't even fly to most places in the United States for that cheap! Just a few days ago I booked a round-trip flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. The ticket only costing $185. Search deals, stay open minded on where and when you want to travel and you'll get the chance to see so much more of the world.
Where to Stay
Depending on where you want to be in the state or country you're traveling to goes hand and hand with where you want to stay. Instead of staying at the Marriott or Radisson try expanding your comfort zone. You can find cheap, unique and awesome places to stay through Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/) that you otherwise couldn't find on sites such as Priceline, Expedia or Kayak. Another good site is Hostel International (https://www.hihostels.com/). When people think of hostels they think of staying in large rooms with fifteen different bunk-bed all next to each other. Some hostels are like that but you can actually stay in private rooms in most hostels that are very similar to a hotel room at a quarter of the price! Once you figure out where you want to fly into look at surrounding areas that have are fairly close to what you want to do while traveling. If you find a place you want to stay but it's on the opposite side of town then it's worth the extra $25 a night to be in a prime location closer to everything you want to do, saving you time and money in the long run.
Sometimes you have to rent a rental car to be able to get around but don't automatically assume that's what your best choice is. Do a little research, see if there's a subway system or bikes available for rent. Many cities it's more of an inconvenience to deal with trying to find parking so you're better off taking a taxi. Spending an hour reading about the best way to get around can save you tons of time if you know ahead of time. Subways are an excellent way to get quickly from point A to B for minimal cost, if you're in the same location for more than a day you can usually buy a multi-day pass which ends up saving you money.
Know What Your Money Is Going Towards
What seems to work for me is when I'm planning a trip I go back to the classics. Pen, paper and a hard-copy map of where I'm going to be traveling to. Write down everything you want to do while you're there, figure out how much it'll cost you. Then figure out how much money you'll have for your trip to narrow down what you'll actually be able to do. If you don't plan how much you're going to be spending per day there's a very good chance you'll blow through your money within the first half of your trip. You're better off taking a shorter trip being able to do what you really want to do than staying longer. You don't want to look back thinking man I really wish I could have done ______ because odd's are, it's going to be a while before you travel back there, if ever. When you're about to leave for your trip make sure to have more money set aside than you've budgeted for. Something unexpected is always bound to happen and it's better to have a little extra money than not enough. If traveling for an extended amount of time, only take a portion of the cash you need for your trip. Take money out of an ATM only every week or two to avoid pulling small amounts of cash out and being charged ATM fees every other day. They add up quick. Stick to the amount you've budgeted for daily food and activities to be able to enjoy your travels stress-free.