Happy Tuesday AirPretty travelers! Every Tuesday we offer you some helpful travel tips from our community of travel experts. This week we’re going back to our AirPretty staffers for their New Year’s travel resolutions!
It’s officially 2017, which means we’re all thinking about our goals for this year. We always try to have something travel-related on our list, including at least one international trip. Travel lovers know that the cost of weekend getaways and holidays can add up quickly. So how do we afford to visit our dream destinations and still keep money in the bank? Check out our tips below!
Create a vacation savings account
One of the easiest ways to save for a big trip is to open up a special vacation savings account. Budget a realistic amount to put away each month and within a few months you’ll have enough saved up for a future flight or hotel stay! We like to set up an automatic transfer on payday so that we don’t even miss the money we’re saving! Plus, the extra step of transferring the money back to your checking account will make it less tempting to dip into the savings for non-travel related expenses.
Track flight deals
We’re always on the lookout for a good deal, especially when it comes to flights! It’s hard to know when flight prices are going to change. Luckily there are some great apps and sites that do the tracking for us.
We like to use Skyscanner to compare flight prices based on day of the week and time of day. If you’re really set on particular dates, you can set up email alerts that let you know when the cost of your trip is going up or down.
Also, we suggest using the app Hopper. Not only can you set push notification alerts for specific trips, but the app will recognize your local airport and will notify you if there are great flight deals available. They also have a convenient calendar set-up when planning trip dates – each day is color coded based on a range of flight prices so you’ll know right away which weekends might be too expensive.
Sign up for rewards programs and emails
Another easy way to save money for your trips is to sign up for rewards programs and emails. Anytime you book a flight, airlines will offer you the chance to join their frequent flyer programs. Even if you don’t fly often, be sure to sign-up so you earn points for your flight. If you do happen to have a favorite airline, try to use your frequent flyer number on business trips. Those points will quickly add up to a free flight or other rewards!
We also recommend signing up for a travel rewards credit card. Our favorite is the Chase Freedom – you get 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on certain retailers each quarter. This quarter you will be rewarded for gas stations and public transportation. (Sure makes commuting to work a little easier when you’re saving for vacation with each fill-up!)
We also like to sign up for airline-specific deal alerts, so we know if one of our favorites is offering a discount. We love JetBlue’s email program, so be sure to get on their list! Worried about getting spammed with travel emails? Create a separate email account and use that to register for all of your travel deals.
Think about renting a room or house
We’ve focused a lot on flights this post, but what about accommodations? We love staying in a fancy hotel as much as the next traveler, but sometimes they just don’t fit in the budget. We’ve had amazing luck renting apartments and houses on Airbnb and VRBO. Not only can you save money on a room, but you can save yourself some money on food too! We usually make a quick trip by the grocery store for coffee, breakfast food, and snacks to carry throughout the day. Never underestimate how much you can save by cooking a few meals instead of eating at a restaurant!
Prefer to stay in a hotel? Some companies offer corporate hotel discounts to their vacationing employees. Check with your benefits department to see if that’s an option for your destination.
Research local event and conference dates
It’s never fun when you book an amazing flight deal and then find out that hotel prices make up the cost difference. On a recent trip to New York, we learned a tough lesson: always look into local events that overlap with travel dates! We booked a great flight deal but couldn’t find any hotel for under $400 a night! Turns out the United Nations was holding their General Assembly that week, so government officials from all over the world and their security and staff were visiting the city. Make sure you save yourself the headache (and the money!) and do a quick search on local events and conferences before booking anything!
About this week’s Tip Tuesday contributor:
Sophia is a Boston native, California transplant, and world traveler. Her mom is a flight attendant, so I guess you could say globetrotting is in her blood! Check out her (self-admittedly neglected) Instagram for photos of her adventures. She’s is also managing the social media accounts for AirPretty – so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Don’t forget to share your tips in the comments below for a chance to be featured as one of our AirPretty Travel Experts on Travel Tip Tuesday! Check back next Tuesday for more helpful travel tips!