When I first started The Pin the Map Project, it was with the singular goal to prioritize my love of travel and inspire people to turn their dreams of globetrotting into a reality. Following an impromptu trip to Colombia, I had realized–much to my surprise—how affordable travel can be if one is smart and savvy to the tricks of saving on airfare and trips.
Before my Colombia adventure, travel had seemed like an allusive luxury saved for those twilight years when work finally pays off. Once I realized that I could afford to travel now – despite being a twenty something living in NYC and saddled with student loans – I was hooked. Saving on travel is always a popular topic, particularly around the holidays, as everyone has their own money-saving tips they swear by. Globetrotter, Jake Oliver, has traveled to over 16 countries and counting and shares his top tips with Pin the Map readers for saving on international travel. Take it away, Jake!
Tip #1: Book Flights on Specific Dates & Times.
Since taking my first step on a plane, I have always loved flying but like many, I don’t love the high prices that come with airfare these days. Over the years, I have gradually adopted various cost-cutting techniques for booking cheaper flights. Some of the more popular tips come from none other than popular travel blogger Nomadic Matt who suggests searching as many flight search websites as possible to compare prices when booking cheap tickets and help determine the amount you should be paying for a particular flight. “Moreover, many sites don’t list budget carriers,” Matt explains, “because those airlines don’t want to pay a booking commission.”
Beyond putting time into searching budget airline websites, I have also mastered the art of booking flights by knowing what dates and times to choose. It’s been reported that the cheapest days of the week to travel are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with Fridays and Sundays proving the most expensive. Similarly, look to book your flights at a time which is deemed ‘inconvenient’ for other travelers–such as before 6 am or after 11 pm. The trick here is to remember to travel at times that others prefer not to as you’ll end up saving BIG on those flight tickets.
Tip #2: Arranging Affordable Accommodation.
Booking accommodation for international travel is a highly individualized process and can be as expensive as you make it. If you’re flexible with where you stay and for how long, then you can save money on your accommodations. For instance, the rise of rental sites such as Airbnb, Wimdu and Rentalo facilitate the ability to communicate with hosts across the globe who are more than happy to offer you a comfortable place to stay at a reasonable price. From staying in guest rooms to sleeping at bed and breakfasts, I have found that these alternative accommodations prove far cheaper than booking hotels, particularly around the holidays. As an added bonus, booking an Airbnb or similar stay allows you to live like a local in your destination and really get a feel for the culture!
Tip #3: Don’t Skip on Travel Insurance!
After having a few close calls with canceled flights and lost luggage in recent years, I have started to pay closer attention to the terms of my travel insurance policies. As many travel guides stress, it is smart to purchase travel insurance to protect yourself and your money while traveling abroad. Likewise, it is also important to scrutinize your travel insurance policy before committing to it. Will you be paying for any unnecessary expenses? Will you be covered in the event that you fall ill and need to fly home last minute? Will they cover the cost of lost luggage or theft? Travel insurance companies, such as World Nomads, can help save you money when things go wrong and give you peace of mind.
For even more tips on budget travel check out THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SAVING MONEY ON TRAVEL!