Research everything about your destination – currency | food | transit?
Research about the country you are traveling to…
Find out what type of currency they use and if the chosen destination is affordable… so that way you are able to coordinate your budget.
For currency exchange, I advise to do so once you land at your destination. Depending on the place, sometimes it’s best to exchange cash at the airport of arrival, if not at a local town where the hotel/apartment is located. I also advise, not to change all of the money brought to the destination, just in case you might need some funds on your way back home (Always leave some cash reserved, just in case).
I personally do not like using my Debit card or Credit card, due to a currency exchange fee charge. Also, sometimes the bank might lock the account due to possible fraud. If you are planning on using your cards while being abroad, make sure to notify the organization, so that they could activate it during your stay.
For instance, when I researched about Thailand, I wanted to figure out food prices, what type of transportation to use, what places to avoid and what not. I advise for every traveler to do the same, especially if they are traveling to a country with a different culture / way of living.
Best time to travel – dry or wet season?
Pick out the dates you would like to travel – keep in mind that if you are traveling outside of the United States, book preferably 4-12 weeks before traveling. Figure out what’s the best time to travel there… some countries have dry & wet seasons.
For example,Thailand has their dry season from late November until March, then their wet season starts from March to October. It really all depends on the itinerary you have planned, if you are looking for hot/sunny days, make sure to look for dry seasons.
What are the best sites to use while booking?
Search for different sites to book your trip, such as travelocity.com, expedia.com, hotels.com, booking.com (personally, these sites are the ones that offer the most competing prices).
I mainly use Travelocity and Expedia. The cool thing about using these sites, it’s that it gives you bundle savings- when you book hotel and flight together. It also lets you book your hotel for part of your stay, if you are one of those travelers who doesn’t like staying in one particular place.
I personally like to move around and explore the town I’m staying at, so I would then chose the option of “I only need hotel for part of my stay” and it will still give me those savings needed to stick to a budget.
Another cool thing about Expedia, it’s that they have a program called Affirm- see link –(http://www.affirm.com), which lets you finance your trips for 3-12 months. This is a very cool thing to use, because it gives you the option to make monthly payments on an upcoming trip, without having to pay everything due up front. Using Affirm helped us tremendously when we booked our trip to Thailand, being that it costs around $910 p/person (with flight and hotel included). Affirm charges you a small interest percentage… for instance they charged us $2,080 dollars in total for my boyfriend and myself – which turned out to be around $200+ in interest charge, for a whole year (honestly I don’t think they have any Credit card that would charge that bit of interest throughout a whole year).
Does the DAY of booking matters?
Try to avoid looking for future trips on the weekends, as prices tend to be a bit higher than usual. I preferably like to search for flights/hotels on Tuesdays. There’s just something about Tuesdays that gives you extra savings.
There is an article attached that emphasizes as to why that may be. (See link) https://www.alternativeairlines.com/blog/cheapest-day-to-buy-flights
Are Airbnb’s affordable?
If traveling with a big group, maybe look into Airbnb, which gives you the option to book a whole apartment or house for multiple people. It’s a great way to save money, due to everyone’s sharing one place. Part of our stay Thailand, we booked an Airbnb through Serenity Residences in Rawai, Phuket – where we paid a total of $849 for 5 people… it turned out to be around $172 dollars per person, for 5 days. We had access to our own Jacuzzi, kitchen, and bedrooms with attached bathrooms & access to our own balconies. See the nice thing about renting a house or apartment, is that you feel like you are at home but during your stay abroad…I like to think that i’m not a tourist but a traveler.
Which airlines are best to travel with?
For long flights, where you are going to be sitting down for extended period of time – make sure to use an airline that is comfortable & affordable. Some airlines charge extra for checked bags,so chose carefully. For example, although Spirit is very cheap to fly in, oftentimes provides poor customer service, delayed or cancel flights and charges extra for your luggage – in other words, you get what you pay for. I’d rather pay the extra money, so that I’m able to fly comfortably. But, if you are just trying to get a cheap fair for in state destination, maybe this airline would be the cheapest.
I suggest researching reviews on the airlines before traveling, to make sure your needs are being accommodated.
Why do you love Traveling?
“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.