Booking your flight is the most important step in planning your trip. It is the moment you realize the trip is most definitely happening and there is no backing out now. It is my favorite moment when waiting for my trip to finally arrive and always ends in some kind of happy dance or squeal.
For me, I find that I can usually navigate my way around the all the various sites and find the best value(not just the best price). It has taken loads of advice and mostly just playing around with all my favorite websites and the dates I am willing to travel. When finding your flight these are my favorite websites thus far:
1. Skyscanner- This website is great for international and domestic travel. Sky Scanner checks various websites and finds you the best deal. It then will direct you to the website. It does not charge you for it’s use. http://www.skyscanner.com/
2. Kayak- A crowd favorite is www.kayak.com. Both skyscanner and Kayak are fairly similar and I have found that it really depends on the flight on which site will provide me with a cheaper flight.
3. Airfare Watch Dog– This is a great site if you have time to wait before booking your flight. This site (among others) allows you to put in when and where you would like to travel, then having the website send you emails letting you know when the price has gone down on said flight.
4. Go straight to the source. Although all of these websites will provide you with great service, sometimes it’s in your best interest to go straight to the airlines website. I have signed up with every airline, allowing me to receive emails informing me when they are having a huge sale. Often airlines will have $49 one way tickets to areas close in your region and even great deals on places that normally cost double the amount. My favorite airlines (because of prices) are as follows:
1. Alaska Airlines
2. Frontier Airlines
3. Virgin Airlines
3. United Airlines
Now these airlines are my favorites due to my location. Find which airline has a hub in your local airport. Those are going to be the Airlines that offer you the best specials. Don’t forget to check airports that are only a few hours away. Often you can save hundreds just by driving a little further!
Budgeting is one of the hardest parts of traveling. How do I make my money stretch further, when I already feel like I need each and every single paycheck I earn? Now I do plan on writing a blog on how to make extra cash however this blog will be dedicated to trying to budget with the money you have currently.
When planning for how much money you will need there are a few things to consider:
1) How much will my flight cost?
– Check around on airline websites and give yourself an estimate. Don’t low ball yourself or you will have to cut into another part of your trip to cover your flight later if the price goes up. Don’t forget about those credit card points!
2) How many nights am I staying and where will I be staying?
– A huge decision to make is deciding where you will be sleeping every night during your trip. Check out my blog on “Accommodation” to help you decide where to stay.
– Another big money spender is big activities such as seeing a sporting event or swimming with dolphins. Try to allow yourself one big activity to make your trip memorable but don’t overdo it or you will find yourself over whelmed and broke before your trip has began.
– Oh food. Food is a big part of traveling for me. I personally feel like I missed out on a huge piece of a city’s culture if I don’t step out of my boundaries and try the local food. So personally I try to allow myself at least one meal to eat out a day and then I will find a local grocery store and cook at the hostel/apartment to save money. Everyone is different of course so make sure you estimate breakfast lunch and dinner each day so you don’t go over budget.
If you are traveling internationally I highly recommend Rick Steves books. He is an amazing traveler and has attributed to many of these ideas and tips that I have. When traveling to say Spain, you can purchase his book and he will give you an estimated budget for each day going from a high budget down to a college kid’s budget. It is a great starting point for making a budget and planning your trip.
Traveling is one of the best uses of your money and free time in my opinion. What greater thing can one do than go see the world and open your eyes to new places, people, and experiences. I know that often we find ourselves convinced that we will never have enough money or courage to travel. I am here to tell you that you can travel at any age and income. It just takes some serious planning and determination.
To being traveling you must have a plan. A plan will keep you on budget and keep your stress level down. The best thing you can do when beginning traveling is budgeting. I know we all hate budgeting but it will help you accomplish your dreams without filling up your credit cards.
When you want to begin traveling I personally find the best thing you can do, is find someone to travel with you. That person is there to help you dream up a great adventure, find out how to get there, and then of course keep you from backing out! I travel with several different friends all of whom live in different states. It’s a great way to maintain my treasured friendships and to keep my traveler’s spirit happy.
When planning a trip the first thing you have to figure out is how big do you want to go with it. Sometimes the best trips are ones that are a short drive or plane ride away. Don’t feel like to travel you must spend $1000’s of dollars. A great way to begin traveling is finding a great deal online and go for a fun weekend trip!
To help assist you in planning out a great adventure I will do separate blogs on each of the following topics:
1. Planning out your budget
2. Finding a flight
3. Finding a place to sleep (hotel, hostel, apartment)
4. What will I do when I get there?
5. How to pack
These are just the beginning of planning for your trips but are a simple way to get you started without feeling overwhelmed!