New York Times Travel Show: Best Travel Tips
If you missed the New York Times Travel show this weekend at the Javits Convention Center in NYC, fear not! The following tips are some of the best money saving tricks for flights and accommodations to help you plan your ultimate adventure.
This past Saturday at 4pm, I joined the likes of travel experts Arthur and Pauline Frommer, Samantha Brown, Patricia Schultz (author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die), for an hour presentation on the mainstage. My topic? How to live your travel dreams. Many people dream of exploring the Amazon, diving the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean or trekking the Great Wall of China, but when it comes to actually making their dream trip a reality, those same people are armed with a heavy artillery of excuses as to why they can’t travel. “It’s too expensive, I don’t have enough time, I have kids, it’s too dangerous…” These are just some of the most popular roadblocks that may be preventing you from really getting out there and exploring the world. In my travel seminar, I busted these excuses, sharing practical insider info and empowering people with tools on how to pull off that trip they’ve been dreaming of.
So if you were at the seminar…thank you so much for coming! Hope you enjoyed But if you missed it, no worries – here are some of the resources we covered to help you navigate those ‘roadblocks’ and make your travel goals a reality. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. There are tons of deals out there, you just have to know where to look. Let’s empower you with the tips you need to save money, and make travel more affordable and more accessible.
-When looking for a good deal on airline tickets, use travel search engines like www.kayak.com, www.dohop.com www.skyscanner.com, www.orbitz.com, www.expedia.com, www.cheaptickets.com, www.momondo or www.airfarewatchdog.com which are all online search engines that compare hundreds of sites in one simple search. Plug in your departure/ arrival cities and your preferred dates of travel and these sites will pull up the cheapest fares for you to compare. But be aware,even if you are using these types of comparison sites, they do not necessarily list all of the airlines i.e. Kayak.com does not list JetBlue or Southwest. So make sure to do your homework, and also, check the individual airline’s sites to double check.
-Sign up for Fare Alerts through those same sites and Travelocity.com. and let the deals come to you. You plug in your desired destination and they’ll send you an email every time there’s a low fare. This way you don’t have to search, you’ll just find the latest deals in your inbox. It’s a way to keep on top of good deals to your favorite cities.
-Delete your cookies. Some sites won’t show you the same flight prices, the next time you search. That great deal you found a few hours ago might be gone because of your browser history. Try deleting your cookies, and you are more likely to get up to date information to jump on those deals.
-Book on Tuesdays. Fly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Morning is best. Be flexible with dates. Consider alternative airports and layovers. Factor in the additional cost of transportation (bus, taxi or shared ride) if the smaller airport is further away from the city center. Book flight and hotel together to save hundreds of dollars
-Bing.com has a price predictor on its travel booking site. When you type in your desired destination, it’ll tell you whether you should buy now (because fares will rise) or wait (because fares will drop). Kayak has a feature called Explore, where you plug in your destination city and you can see where to go, and for how much.
-For low airfares, discount codes and special promotions, follow all the major airlines and your fave hotel chains on Twitter and Facebook. Cruise the Twitter hashtags #travel and #traveldeals to find the latest sales tweeted by people from all over the globe. It’s a great resource to score promotional codes and last minute special discounts they might not advertise elsewhere. Follow tourism industry professionals who are tapped into the frugal travel scene @MichelleHiggins @Johnny Jet, @PeterGreenberg are some of my favorites.
-Collect frequent flyer points and sign up for loyalty rewards programs if you’re a frequent buyer. Dedicate yourself to one frequent flyer program and work towards elite status (and the associated benefits and recognition) plus a choice of attractive awards. Look for Bonus Intro Offers when you sign up for a card. Use the card for everything to earn points quickly. Every time you buy or fly, try to earn points. Read every issue of your program’s newsletter for special promotions where you can earn double, even triple points. Know the partners ie. affiliated hotels, restaurants, shops that also offer points. Flyertalk.com, The FrequentFlier Crier.com and Travel Hacking Chris Guillebeau.
-Consider good value destination. Flights to Thailand, Vietnam, India, Argentina and Bolivia aren’t cheap but once you get there, your money goes a long way.
-Take advantage of off season fares – ie. Aspen summer
-For hotels and car rentals, bid on Hotwire.com or Priceline.com. If you’ve never done it before, sites like www.bidontravel.com and www.betterbidding.com will share recently accepted bids and advice on how to beat the system.
-Instead of hotel rooms, look for alternative forms of accommodation. VRBO.com (for Vacation Rentals), Hostelworld.com (for finding a hostel), Couchsurfing (for crashing on a local’s couch for free) and AirB‘nB.com
-For activities, check out sites like Livingsocial, Groupon, and Yippit for fun activities in your hometown. Go to the tourism board websites for discounts on hotels and activities. I often find coupon booklets good for discounts on lodging.
If you’re afraid of traveling ’cause you don’t want to go alone, here are some tips for you:
Traveling alone can be very rewarding. You are the boss and have the complete freedom to do exactly what you want at anytime. Put yourself out there. Say YES! If that still sounds a little scary….
-Join a tour group: GAP Adventures, Intrepid, Global Exchange: Reality Tours. They offer small, sustainable tours to off-the-beaten path locations. You could hike with mountain gorillas in Uganda, take a “History and Hummus” tour of the Middle East or learn about fair trade coffee at a local homestay in Nicaragua. Contiki for under 35.
-Volunteering abroad and staying in hostels are also great ways to meet others as you travel.
-Couchsurfing.com: A volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation. Meet locals in your own city who share your interest in travel and the world. 1 million members over 240 countries.
-www.virtualtourist.com resource for planning trips, forum for questions, 1.2 million registered members from more than 220 countries
-tripcolony.com – TripColony: the new web platform that puts you in touch with those who live in or really know the places around the world that you wish to visit.
-expats.com or www.internations.org connects you with other people from your home country who are traveling or living abroad. Operates in 250 countries.
-Meetup.com – join organized groups of people for small events, ie. salsa groups, vegetarian dinner groups, wine tastings, dating etc. across 45,000 cities
-Travbuddy.com – TravBuddy is a social-networking site that caters to people looking for travel partners. After you create a profile, you can post the details for any trips you have planned to see if others will be there at the same time.
-Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum is another great resource to hook up with fellow travelers and possibly meet your next travel buddy.
-Eatwithequals.net is network for Frequent Travelers to connect with other global travelers for a good meal.
-Twigmore – is a travel network on Facebook that helps travelers and locals connect through friends. Facebook users can easily see where their friends know people, creating networks of local contacts in cities worldwide. Hook up with your friend’s friends.
Hope this helps!! Be bold, be brave, go travel….
Save and share!