Monday, September 24, 2018

How To Save Money on Travel











If you're new around here, let me tell ya about my travel schedule. I've been traveling the world since I was old enough to remember, my dad is in the cruise line industry and has been since I was born. So, in order for my family to be together as well, a family - we had to travel to wherever he was in the world. I've spent an entire summer on a cruise ship, been to every continent except Africa and Asia, crossed over the equator upwards of four times, seen Patagonia in real life, and the list goes on. As a child, you don't really understand what a precious thing travel is until you grow up, PTO becomes limited, and you can't just jet off for a month over Christmas break. Life is different, but my urge to travel hasn't changed a bit. Fortunately for me, I've figured out a way to continue to travel through different avenues without the burdening cost associated with exploring the world. So today, I wanted to share a few tips I've learned along the way that help make traveling more cost effective. Please note, I am not an expert at this and do not claim to be, these are just tips and tricks that have helped me be able to travel more often at a lower cost. Let's get started. 

1.  Get a credit card with hotel and flight rewards // This is one of the easiest ways to fly for free. Here is my strategy: I have the American Airlines Barclay card. When I worked in sales, I used this card for every single client expense I had which allowed me to rack up thousands of air miles. When I stopped working, I still wanted to reap the benefits of those air miles, so I started using the card for my every day expenses. Just make sure to pay off the card each month! So long as you do, it can only be of benefit to you. Additionally, typically when you open the card they automatically reward you with 50,000+ miles after spending around $2,500 in qualifying purchases. That's enough for one round trip ticket just for opening the card. I also receive two $99 buddy passes per year with this card when I spend a certain dollar amount on it (the amount differs depending on what card you choose). This means, two people can fly round trip for $99 on the same flight as me. This comes in super handy when Shane, my sister, and I are all going to see my family in Seattle. Essentially, I purchase a full price ticket, tack on their $99 tickets, and we split it three ways for a much lower total ticket cost for the three of us - also a great option for families. 

2. Be Loyal to a specific airline and hotel group // We are Marriott and American Airlines people, and here is why. Do I love American Airlines? If I'm being honest, not really. BUT, they have the monopoly in Charlotte in terms of flight patterns and times (they are based out of Charlotte), and my credit card is with them so it benefits me to stick with them as I'm earning miles via the frequent flyer program, AND for the purchase of the flight on my credit card. Over time, these build up quicker than you think. My husband travels for work, and only stays at Marriott properties. We also have the Marriott Rewards credit card, which gives you 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card - which is easy to do if you travel for work. If you don't travel for work, the card also works anywhere so you could use it on your daily expenses till you hit the $3k mark for the points. It has additional benefits as well, which you can find here

3. Be flexible with days and times // If you have the flexibility with your job and PTO, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days of the week to fly. If you are willing to wake up at the crack of dawn, early morning flights (the 6 AM usually) and red-eyes are always less than a peak time flight. 

4. No checked bag? Use Skiplagged // You may know about this, but it's a game changer if you're not checking a bag. Skiplagged offers "hidden city ticketing." Essentially, you are booking a flight past your destination with a stopover in your final destination. Prime example, we are heading to Breckenridge, Colorado for Thanksgiving and are flying on miles on the way. On our way back, the miles shot up to 50K for one way due it being a popular travel day, so we purchased a one way Skiplagged flight for $200 with a final destination in Nashville, even though we are getting off in Charlotte at the stopover. The one way ticket cost directly with the airlines was double the price.  

5. Clear your cookies // Travel sites watch your pattern of behavior while surfing the web. This means that if you're searching for a flight to New York, it remembers that you're looking into going to New York and will potentially raise the prices on you after you search the same pattern a few times. Prime example of this, I was booking a flight to Boston a few days ago and had searched for the specific dates, times, and locations without clearing my cookies on my laptop several times - I pulled up the same exact flight pattern info into the AA app on my phone which I had not used to search prior to this, and the pricing was much lower on my phone than my laptop for the same days and times. I cleared my cookies, opened Chrome instead of Safari and voila my laptop showed the same pricing as my phone. 

6. Book flights on the weekends // Studies show that flights booked on weekends typically price 19% less than flights booked during the week. There isn't really a definitive rhyme or reason behind this, it's just a trend that seems to be accurate.

That's all for today! Cheers to new adventures, and more money in your pocket. Speaking of travel, Shane and I are headed to the Bahamas this week - lots to do before we take off! Curious, are ya'll interested in seeing content from the Bahamas? I know we are all in full fall mode, and if it's not of interest to you - well then, I don't want to bore you! Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram. 

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2 comments:

  1. This was SO HELPFUL Vanessa!!! I want to start traveling more and tips like this are so great. Thank you for sharing this! I'll definitely be using all of these tips.

    P.S. Do you have any tips on saving money on cruises? Chandler and I want to go on a cruise together but neither of us have been before.

    -Caitlin

    www.sparklesandsunshineblog.com

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! Thank you for the feedback!! Unfortunately, I don't have any tips on cruises because I actually cruise for free or at a deep discount since my dad is in the industry! I am biased, but it is hands down the best way to travel if you're looking to see more than one place from a cost standpoint though even if you don't receive a discount.

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