So you are ready to start planning your vacation? Or at least start the research, right? Grab your coffee and some candy– chocolate works– and lets get started…This is full of information so get ready to settle in and read….
#1 The DEAL. There are two ways that we can take with this. One- you can wait for a deal that fits your budget and is doable during the dates offered OR Two- you can determine where you want to go and when you plan to go and this is where you begin the hunt for the deal…. we will look at each of these ‘hunts’ a little later…. but 1st how to chose:
Agoda slashes quite a few hotel prices PLUS they have a search engine that gives loyalty points that add up to even more discounts, have unique places to stay including apartment locations too and offers discounts on some (usually) expensive locations… Now you can live the champagne dreams (temporarily) on a hamburger budget. But honestly, they are not the only sites that offer great discounts. If you are unsure of the location you want to stay, I suggest
I’ve booked through them several times because they make the cancellation process SIMPLE. The hotels that offer free cancellation are labeled during the search which makes it easy breezy. IF you subscribe you will get additional discounts. In fact, once you book through them once, you become a ‘VIP’ member which will provide even bigger discounts the next time.
Now I can’t stress this next point enough…You can make money back from your travel escapades. Honestly, I had heard of www.ebates.com a very long time ago, but never really investigated them… as it didn’t seem worth it. BUT… I actually read a snippet where a young lady had booked over $500 in hotel fees for her travel escapade and since she used ebates, she received $200 back. That worked for me! So, yes. I had to go and look this up and it is true! It’s very easy to do. First click on my link and I will walk you through this very simply. You will enter your email and password and then you will see a screen like this:
So now you GET THE BUTTON. It is real simple as the Button will go on your tool bar as a little ebates icon. Every time you venture to a site…say Walmart, Groupon, Hotwire…etc. your Ebates button will turn into a small banner which will tell you how much you can save if you activate the button. THAT simple. Then once your purchase is made you will then get a check in the mail. YES! This is also added to how to save money to travel post that is coming soon… LOL. Now if you think about it. You want to buy those simple cubes to pack you items in the nice carry-on luggage you just purchased because you want your outfits ready to go upon landing, well if you click on ebates you’ll make some of your money back (Sometimes, it’s just the taxes. Sometimes it is much more) but look at it this way- It’s money you can use LATER while you are UNLOCKING your DREAMS, right????
Now that you know where you are going to store your things and rest your beautiful head, what are you going to do at your location? Well, I have a few apps to help with that, but first let me start with my #1 go to…. Groupon.com. Yes, no matter where you go there is bound to be a coupon in that area for something neat. Why start with groupon? Because they show you things even locals enjoy doing and might not be showcased on travel sites or books. All you have to do is type in groupon in ________ (add your city) and badaa bing badaa bam you are in and google will translate if it doesn’t happen to be site in English. OK. Wait. No. I am not purchasing something for Euro’s in USD. Why not? You are going to pay more Euro’s in person, so why not pay now and save money? The international exchange rate on your credit card is really not that bad… really! Plus groupon offers codes to save more and YES, you can subscribe and have discounts sent to your email.
INTERNET access abroad
Now if you’re staying local no worries, but if you are traveling abroad how do you get internet? Hummm complicated???? Why of course not—- When you get off the plane and start exploring the city there are electronic stores (even in some airports) and pop up stores that have sim cards that you can purchase and get data which can help you navigate the streets of whatever city you are in. I can’t tell you how handy Rome2Rio was while abroad. I haven’t used it stateside, but it helped me to access a way to get from Belgium to Amsterdam when the price for the train tickets went UP way to high for my budget.
You can chat, text, video chat and even leave recorded messages and videos for users~~Free first year. Watch out! Easy to use. Another handy dandy way to communicate with others is through google hangouts in which you can call and text those that have downloaded the app as well. Only downfall to both is that you must be on the internet- wifi to access.
Now before we venture into the HUNT for deals mentioned in the very beginning, if your dream is taking you abroad do read What To Know BEFORE You Travel Abroad. Knowledge is Power. Well, it is! Alright… THE HUNT
There are two options
Option 1: If you are open to going anywhere and just looking for a deal and you can leave anytime (or have the flexibility to arrange time) here are a few sites that can address that! These sites offer travel ideas for great rates leaving from different places. You can’t plug in specific places and/or dates. However, there are some tricks to these sites. Trick 1. Most deals are either months out or within the next few weeks. For example, I’m looking for winter getaway and I am finding that most of the deals that are being offered now are on sale now (it’s September) for flights leaving. Do you see the trick??? Let me show you a few recent finds:
Trick 2. If you are looking a few months out be strategic. New Years and Christmas deals are being advertised now (did I mention it was April)…can you wait to see if the deals will get better? Yes. Will they? That’s an answer I can’t give as sometimes the deals are better the closer you get to take-off but again you will need to be flexible with location and travel dates as the sites only post the deals, it’s your job to find the one that works for you AKA the hunt.
Option 2: Now I am not that flexible. In fact, I just want to go _________ and I need to do so between ____ and this date____ can you help with that? Why yes, I can. In fact, the best way to do this is to sign up for email alerts and I have a few suggestions for that. FIrst, KAYAK.COM you can enter the dates you want to leave, from what airport, how much you are willing to spend for the ticket and you will get an email alert when the deal is available. I suggest you also sign up for nearby cities that may have different airlines, if you are willing to travel to said cities.
I like airfarewatchdog because they give you updates on when to buy tickets to get to a specific location. For example, I want to go from DFW to LAX so I did an email notification after searching their site. Now I get email alerts that look like this and provides me with how many days out I need to purchase the tickets, what days I can fly to get this deal and what airline has the deal. THEN they also send a little something extra (providing other deals that I one can take to other locations both domestic and international.)
Now did we slay the deals or what? Are you READY NOW? Don’t make excuses, Make PLANS….
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