Travel The World Cheaply
It’s getting easier than ever to travel the world cheaply these days. Unless you get lucky and win some amazing competition that lets you see the world for free there’ll be some substantial cost involved. But unlike yesteryear it doesn’t have to be the massive drain on resources it used to be. Here are some ways you can start to see the world for much, much less than you expected:
Use frequent flyer miles
We’ve written an entire article on this one that you should check out. The short version is it’s easier than ever to accumulate frequent flyer miles without ever actually flying. Co-branded airline credit cards, hotel rewards programs, and credit card frequent flyer points can all be used to rack up thousands of miles without ever stepping foot on a plane.
Timing when you buy tickets for the cheapest price
The cheapest tickets for your flight are typically 50 days before the flight date, on a Tuesday. The cheapest flights themselves are between 6pm and midnight. That all might sound awfully specific, but it’s backed up by a lot of hard numbers accumulated over many, many years. Fridays are generally the most expensive time to buy tickets, and the closer you are to the flight date the worse they’ll be.
Weird or not, if you know when you’ll be flying ahead of time it’s best to get your tickets early. Couple this with some savvy frequent flyer miles and you can save a ton on airfares.
Avoid direct flights when you can
You can consistently save hundreds of dollars on a flight by taking a less direct path. If you’re in a hurry this obviously isn’t going to help, but then most cost-saving travel measures don’t work in a panic. If you don’t mind it taking two days to get to somewhere you could get in 12 hours you can not only save money but also add a few more interesting stops to your journey on the way.
Combine multiple airlines
It’s sometimes cheaper to combine multiple airlines for different legs of a journey, particularly if you’ll be staying at your destination for a while. Check one-way tickets for when you want to fly in and fly out across many airlines and compare to the return-flight options for the same.
If you’re happy taking an indirect route, you might even be able to string together a series of inexpensive shorter flights that get you to your destination a little slower, but a lot cheaper.
Consider crowd-sourced accomodation
Services like Airbnb have been a godsend for people wishing to stay in the best locations across the world for an affordable price. You’ll be able to find accommodation in areas often too expensive or too frequently booked out, or find locations off the beaten track that give you a more rewarding travel experience.
Book hotels early (but not too early)
Like with your airfare it’s cheapest to book your hotel early, generally around a month before the date you want to stay. Any earlier, however, and the cost will generally increase — the most expensive times being around 2-3 months prior to your stay.
Visit the big cities on the weekends
The hotels in major cities are typically packed with business people during the week who fly in Monday and fly out Friday, leaving many rooms open on weekends that hotels put up for amazing deals. Sunday night is usually the cheapest night to get a hotel room anywhere, and it’s possible to get rooms in 5 star hotels in major cities for around a hundred a night — still on the high end, but a huge discount over typical rates.
Book direct with the hotel
Some online booking agencies will have exclusive offers set up with the hotels they service that give you amazing rates. Many hotels and other forms of accommodation, however, prefer direct bookings that cut out the middleman. You can often find incentives for direct bookings, such as discounts, upgrades, or small bonuses like complimentary drinks at the hotel bar.
It’s easier than ever to travel on the cheap in this day and age with a little bit of research, planning, and patience. The Internet has given every person on the planet the tools they need to get the best deals, and the modern growth of crowd-sourced services such as Airbnb and Uber are making travel costs more affordable than ever. You don’t have to be rich to be travel.