Alrighty, let’s be real. If vacation days and money weren’t an issue we would all be traveling all the time right? Recently Jack and I decided to spend less on gifts for special occasions and more on travel— except trips are a little more than a birthday card and Anthro blouse, right? Well, I’ve become determined to find ALLLLLLL the ways to save on our adventures, so that we can see more without the price tag sucking the fun out of things, ‘cause mama don’t have time to worry about finances (except that I do all the time, lol, it’s a work in progress, friends). So, here are my travel hacks that I’m constantly going to, to make me feel like I’m scoring a deal instead of splurging when we book travel.
PS: This is beyond traveling on Tuesday and booking six weeks ahead and yada yada yada. This is serious people.
1. Do ya research.
Okay, if you are not familiar with Hopper yet, pause now and download it on your phone. It’s a nifty little app that is like my magic crystal ball when it comes to booking flights. Basically what it does is tell you when you should book and when you should keep waiting, which for me takes serious stress off of the guessing game. Now, a word to the wise: Hopper’s pricing isn’t always correct: aka sometimes the prices you see on it aren’t the lowest you can get. SO! I only use this as a predictor of when I should book, then I rely on my next go-to: Google Flights, baby. I truly do have an obsession with this tool and you probably all know about it, but paired with Hopper, you can really make Google Flights work for you to get those a-stinkin-mazing deals. *DISCLAIMER* I don’t know how I didn’t know this sooner than the last 6 months, BUT! Southwest flights do not show up on Google flights, so always make sure and you check them out too, especially if you happen to be visiting your favorite Salt Lake residents because they alwayssss have great deals.
2. Go to the source.
Now you may be thinking, what about Expedia or Orbitz or Kayak or one of the bajillion other travel sites out there?! Here’s the thing: Forget that those exist A) Because in my experience they are always a little more expensive and don’t show you all your options and B) It’s a little anxiety inducing wondering if you are getting the best deal on this site rather than that site. Keep it simple! I am a major advocate of going straight to the airline you are flying with to book the flight because more often than not the airline not only has the cheapest deals but also is running some sort of sale or deal, which gives you a reason to do a happy jig. Now, disclaimer: The ONLY reason I would go to a travel site to book a flight would be if I can saw that there was a flight that is now sold out on the carrier’s site. Then you have permission to scrounge the travel site black hole 😉
3. Don’t be afraid to mix and match.
Jack and I rarely fly the same airline to and from a destination. It’s almost always cheaper, although I do get that some people want to be loyal to an airline to take advantage of Credit Card points and miles— I’m just not to that point of my travel life where I would pay more to travel on the same airline every time. But! I can say that we are big fans of the Marriot Chase Credit Card and Alaskan Air Credit Card because they make it really really easy to rack up points on any travel and Alaskan Air gives you a free “Companion Ticket” every year, which for couples, can make a deal sooooo much sweeter.
4. GO BIG.
Alrighty, so when we lived in Texas we always always always flew out of DFW because bigger airport = cheaper tickets. Even when it meant driving from Austin to Dallas the day after our wedding, we did it because, gosh why wouldn’t you sacrifice 3 hours to save a couple hundred bucks. Now, I’m still trying to convince my parents who live 20 minutes from the Austin airport that this is the way to go, but seriously if you aren’t on a time-crunch this really is the way to go— either drive a little further to depart from a larger airport or fly into a mega-airport and drive a little bit to your quaint destination.
5. Forget the Brand Name Rental Car.
If you are under 25 like me, this is my BEST tip for you: TURO. Basically like the Air BNB or car renting, Turo lets you borrow your neighbor’s car (some of which are way cooler than that sedan at Hertz) for way way way cheaper (and without all the crazy fees). And! If you are under 25 there is simply just a 20% uncharge on the daily rate, most of which come in around $25-$30. Yes. I’m not lying. Which, if you have ever tried to rent a car, while under 25, from a brand name rental car company, you know their under-age charges can be upwards of $250 a week— Which is crazy-sauce. USE.TURO. We’ve done it twice now and I wish we had known about it sooner.
6. Dream Big.
If your most “pinned” on boards have the words “wanderlust”, “travel”, or “get me outta here”, in them, then The Flight Deal and Sky Scanner should be saved as favorites in your browser. I dream of spontaneously planning a trip abroad one day and I pinky promise when I do it will be because of a deal found on one of these sites. We’re talking $400 (ROUNDTRIP) tickets to Paris, aka why aren’t we there already? Love this is your ticket to a world-class adventure on a budget.
So who’s packing their bags to hop on a plane with me?