Okay, so I missed my goal of publishing this post on Tuesday, but I’m sticking with the title because #TravelThursday just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I spent Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning, and Wednesday afternoon at the vet with Hampden—$1,200ish and a lot of worst case scenario googling later, she has pancreatis and bladder stones. Sounds terribly painful, but a lot better than any of the alternatives I had convinced myself she had.
Enough about cat health issues, on to the post. Something that I’ve really prioritized the past few years, and I’m sure you can tell this by the shifts in content on here and on my Instagram, is travel. While I love spending time in DC, I figure while I have relatively few responsibilies, I should try to get out and explore every chance I get. Of course I do not have a limitless budget, so I have to make an effort to save where I can, and I’ve rounded up some of my best tips for you here
WHERE DO I LOOK FOR FLIGHTS?
- Subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights: Over the past month, Adam and I have booked trips to Paris, Iceland, and Ireland via deals we found on Scott’s Cheap Flights. Sign up for the emails and you’ll get notified of crazy cheap deals, whether it’s mistake fare or a promotion. You have to move fast on these, though. We missed the first Paris itinerary we wanted because I waited a couple hours. Also, I’ve found the Premium is not worth paying for, so I’d say just stick to the free version.
- Make sure you get Southwest emails: It seems like Southwest has a fare sale every week, and there typically are crazy cheap flights to be found. We’re headed to Louisville, KY to do the Bourbon Trail on Southwest flights that we found for under $100 each, round trip.
- Use JetBlue for Charleston or Boston from DC: I’ve flown to Boston for just over $70 on JetBlue, and Charleston fares usually aren’t much more.
- Consider Saturday morning to Monday morning: As long as you can get yourself up at the crack of dawn, the savings from doing a Saturday to Monday weekend rather than Friday to Sunday are well worth it. This is where the under $100 flights can usually be found.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
- Use Airbnb: Airbnb is the best way to get an authentic experience in another city and a cheaper price tag than a hotel. Of course, do your research and read the reviews, look closely at the location, and make sure it’s not just a room in someone’s house, but, assuming all that checks out, it’s an easy way to save a couple hundred dollars. At my sister’s wedding, condos through Airbnb were $200 less a night than condos booked directly through the resort.
- Don’t sacrifice location to save a few bucks: Pick a spot in a central location, even if it’s a bit more expensive. You’ll save in the end because you won’t be taking ubers every time you venture out.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD DO?
- Take advantage of discounts you already have: When renting a car, I always make sure to use my USAA discount—it’s crazy how much you can save! I rented a car to drive down to Richmond for under $25. AAA offers similar discounts on hotels and rental cars.
- Make a plan: While I’d like to fly by the seat of my pants, that’s when I ended up making rash decisions and wasting money. With an itinerary, even if its loose, you’ll have a clear idea of what you want to see, eat, and do, and you won’t waste money or time on a subpar meal just because you were starving.
So, there you go, my tips for booking travel on a budget! Where are you headed this year? Any recommendations on places to add to my list?