I work 40+ hours a week, don’t have an unlimited supply of cash, but I love to travel so I make it happen! A question I always get is how are you able to travel all of the time you must be rich… WRONG, I’m frugal AF. I budget, research, and travel during off peak seasons and hours. If you want to find deals you must be willing to be flexible! Note: I do not have children this makes red eye flights and traveling during off peak season easier

I get away about 5–6 times a year. I usually take 1–2 international trips and then several weekend / long weekend trips. My order of operations for trip planning starts with purchasing my flights, skimming activities and their location and lastly booking lodging

Budget

I budget about $1000 — $2000 for larger trips (5 -7 days international) and $300 — $500 for shorter weekend trips. My budget includes (transportation, shelter, & eco-activities). I find paying for my vacation over time works out best, no I don’t mean financing it on my credit card — unless it’s a travel card that I’ll pay it off in full at the end of the month. This means planning trips with ample time do you can find the best deals.

Research

This is where I spend the most of my time because I’m always trying to find the best deals. I use several travel sites to find the best rates for flights and hotels/lodging. My go to platforms are SkyScannerHopperHotWireExpedia AirBNB

Travel: Flights First

I usually tackle flights sooner rather than later because flight options are less flexible, once the bargain flights fill up that’s it. My first stop is SkyScanner whenever I have a need to get away. I travel with two mindsets: I know where I want to go, I just want to get away.

SkyScanner has this awesome ‘Cheapest Month’ option which I use every time I’m on their site. If I know where I want to go, I’ll go to SkyScanner’s site enter in my destination, select the ‘cheapest month’ option then make a note of the the price ranges for that month.

If I have no idea where I want to go , I use their other awesome feature where I can select , ‘Everywhere’ as a destination. This shows pricing for traveling inside and outside of the US. I use this to help determine where I may want to go based on price and location

Travel: I Found A Place and I Like the Price

Once I find a place I’ll make note of the price (write it down, google docs, notes, anywhere) and then go to my hopper app to double check that I’m truly getting a good rate. I enter in my specific travel dates and location, to see if they think it’s a good time to buy (Major Key). If they don’t think it’s a good time to buy I’ll add it to my watchlist. I watch most of my flights as one round trip flight and two one-way trips to make sure I’m getting the best prices.

Once I find a flight that I’m happy with paying for I’ll double check hotel/lodge rates for my travel time to make sure I’m able to get a room for a reasonable price as well. Why? Because sure it’s great if I can find a $100 round trip from NEWARK To Cancun but if all hotels are about $600/night because there’s a festival going on that I don’t know about then I wouldn’t be saving a thing.

Find Activities

Next I start planning out my activities. You may be thinking why don’t you book your hotel next?

Reason: When I travel, I’m usually going to new place, to try new things, so I need to look up what the area has to offer, what peaks my interests and where it’s located. If I want to do activities that are in a few different towns, this may mean spending a few nights in a few different hotels.

This part of the process is quite a meticulous process which involves TripAdvisor, Yelp, Blogs Sites etc. It takes me a few days to go through this step. I use google sheets to plan the details of my trip. I add details as if I won’t have internet or a phone so if anything goes wrong I’ll still be able to get around.

Book Hotel

Once I find all of the activities I want to do and I’ve booked my flights, I find a hotel. I choose hotels based on a few conveniences (close to public transportation, close to activities, safe area, walkability, etc) I use Google Maps to map out my locations. Then I find a hotel that’s in that area or a neighborhood that is close enough. I use a lot of different sites depending on where I’m going, solo travel, versus accompanied, etc but my go to sites are typically Expedia, HotWire and AirBNB. These all have their pros and cons. I check rates across these sites and booked based on who offers the best rates and comfort levels.

Travel

I find buying my overall vacation in parts buy paying for flight, hotel, activities separately works best for me. It allows me to take a bit away each pay cycle instead of stressing over large amounts at once. If you have any travel questions feel free to ask.

If this article helped you in an way then everybody clap your hands. Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap,clap, clap….

Categories: Travel

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