Traveling involves a lot of trade-offs. Money is always a big issue after the decision is made to fly somewhere exotic or historical; can you afford to see all the sights and live comfortably? It’s never easy to balance what you want to do and what your disposable income allows for.
In order to stretch your money the furthest, you need to look for deals from the get-go. All it takes is a little research and creativity, and with the savings, you will be better equipped to experience your destination to the fullest.
Plane ticket costs
Most vacations involve flights, and this is where you should start saving money while traveling.
Travel during the low season
If you are averse to research when it comes to traveling, the easiest way to save money on flights is by vacationing during a destination’s low season. This usually translates into hundreds of dollars in savings on a plane ticket.
You’ll benefit the most from low-season traveling when the place you are visiting is hospitable year-round. Many exotic islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific, for instance, always have good weather — it doesn’t matter when you go. Visit Europe in the winter or early spring, and on top of a cheaper ticket, you’ll find that attractions and hotels are less crowded.
Those who only have vacation time during the busy winter and summer breaks can still find ways to save on their plane tickets. One method is to book months in advance. Those who buy tickets a year or eight months — even three months in advance — will find prices to be quite reasonable. Often, airlines will not make the price drop too obvious; if they give you a rate that seems too high, ask for a discount and you may score a deal.
Fly during the week
Similarly, travelers who book flights that leave in the middle of the week often receive discounted prices. The reason is simple: Most people prefer traveling on the weekend, whether it’s for business or pleasure. Pick a flight that leaves on a Wednesday, for example, and you could save a few dollars.
A popular method of traveling among backpackers, students and the thrifty is flying standby. Airlines will inform these people of a flight opening only hours or minutes in advance; it is up to the traveler to be at the airport, ready to hop on a plane. As a “reward” for filling seats on short notice, standby fliers usually pay for tickets at discounted prices. If you’re alone or simply don’t mind the short notice, this is a good way to lower your flight cost.