Tips from a Travel Blogger
Bethany: With tips to travel on the cheap, all right.
Courtney: Yes, on the cheap. And Ryan, you say you found this blogger who is able to travel around the world, a lot of times overseas, for $1,000 dollars or less.
Ryan: $1,000 bucks or less for a weekend.
Ken: That’s crazy.
Ryan: So Elona…she’s Elona the explorer, you go to elonaexplorer.com. She living the life all of us wanted to live when we were 23. She’s just hopping over to Italy and just cruising around. Here she is in Bali right here, and she’s got an Instagram account so you can watch her. But she’s got some secrets, and some of the secrets she gives away on her blog here. So, it’s elonatheexplorer/travel-cheap. She talks about some of the ways that she does it. First thing she does, no luxuries. No more driving your car, forget that. You’re not gonna be have a car anymore. No more meat, you’re gonna be eating baloney sandwiches with no mayonnaise. None.
Courtney: Not even mayonnaise? Just dry.
Ryan: But you can go to Italy for a weekend, so that’s kind of cool. Okay. So first thing she does is check out cheap flights. So this is a place called Jet Radar, and here you can look at cheap flights. So what we do is we said Sacramento to Italy. We’re just gonna this weekend, which is a bad weekend to go. It’s Memorial Day, for goodness sake. But for $1,400 bucks for one person, you might think that’s okay for last-minute travel. I don’t know. That seems expensive to me.
Courtney: They’re not celebrating Memorial Day in Italy, but that’s okay.
Ryan: But why not, though? I mean, okay. So here’s another one. This is called Sky Scanner. And so, if you’re a little more adventurous, you can start in Sacramento and they’ve got this cool thing called search everywhere. And so, you can kind of see oh I…
Courtney: And let it pick your vacation for you.
Ryan: Yeah, see where I wanna go. So it’ll list it by price, and then you can kind of see different packages and stuff. Make sure when you’re checking, you check to see single flyer versus multiple flyers, because sometimes the single rate is really expensive because they give you this double occupancy, it’s just to mess with you. So always check for two, also check for one, and then clear your cookies. Otherwise, the flights sometimes will change the prices. So here’s another good one, this is called Hotel Tonight. Hotel rooms. They’ve got so many darn hotel rooms available, they don’t always sell out, and so a lot of these places will throw them up on a site like Hotel Tonight and sell their rooms super cheap for one night. That’s pretty cool.
Courtney: For one night, though?
Ryan: One night.
Courtney: But this works if you’re just travelling for the weekend, right?
Ryan: Yeah. If you’re just travelling for the weekend and you’re like, “I am in New York City, I don’t know where to go.” Go to Hotel Tonight. You might get a hotel, a five-star hotel for, like, $100 bucks because they’re just selling them out. I mean, that room’s not gonna do anything.
Courtney: Gotta go, gotta go.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s gotta go. Last place is called Destigogo. Here, you set where your’e going from. I don’t know why it thinks we’re in Cleveland, but where you’re going from, how many days you got and the amount of budget per person, and then choose the kind of destination you want. Sun, city, adventure, snow. I mean, who doesn’t want snow, still? Come on, it’s like 95 degrees outside. And this’ll tell you a bunch of different places you can go on your budget.
Ryan: How cool is that?
Courtney: So again, travelling on the weekend, it’s a good way to get all this packed in. Because you can use…you know, if you leave on a Friday, maybe you take a half day, come back on a Monday. If you’ve only got two weeks of vacation a year, you can make that spread out.
Ryan: You sure can. And taking those sick days, “I’m not gonna be in. I’m sorry. I gotta go to Italy.”
Courtney: I love it.
Ryan: Another little cheap…a little hacker trick, this is kinda cool. Set up a travel account, like a travel email account. Like a [email protected] Sign up to Kayak and all those other travel places that spam you all the time, and then when you’re in the mood to travel, click over, see what deals they’re running.
Courtney: See what you can get. It’s good stuff. Ryan Eldridge, always always in the know. Always using that noodle, ladies. Back over to you.
Bethany: Dry baloney sandwiches. Dry.
Are lack of time and money holding you back from seeing the world?
23-year-old travel blogger “Elona the Explorer” travels the world on weekends for less than $1,000 per trip. Her motto is, “limited time off should not compress your borders.”
We can gain from her experience. Here are some of her top tips for fitting in travel when you’re short on time and money.
Bulldoze those roadblocks
Elona Karafin has built her blog around her experience traveling the world on what is primarily long weekends. She says that you can travel while you’re young, and while working full time, with a few lifestyle tweaks.
Roadblock #1: Not enough money
Elona prioritizes travel by finding creative ways to save. She forgoes coffeehouse coffee, sells unnecessary luxuries, socializes for less at home, etc.
Roadblock #2: Not enough time
Elona isn’t a fulltime travel blogger. She holds down a demanding full-time job in New York, working 40-70 hours per week. What she DOES do is plan trips around long weekends, adding a couple of vacation days to make the most time off out of limited PTO.
Roadblock #3: No one to go with
Elona travels solo the majority of the time. She’s got a whole section of her blog dedicated to tips for single person travel, including the recommendation that you to book flight & hotel separately to avoid double occupancy issues.
Use the tools at your disposal
The awesome thing about the internet is that you can benefit from the wealth of time and energy other people have spent researching and gathering data.
Here are some of Elona’s favorite tools for booking cheap trips:
This site compiles flights from across most major airlines and shows you available flight details and prices in a list. From there you can instantly see that the “best price” is a terrible flight (ex. 27 hours vs. an expected 9 or 10 hour travel time) while paying $50 more will get you a better experience. This lets you pick the best flight, not just the cheapest one.
A great tool for getting inspired, you can use the “Everywhere” option to see best deals for all destinations from your preferred departure city. Charts show the cheapest days and/or months to fly. The “Weekend Trips” section specializes in weekend getaways and it’s fare finder will show you if it’s cheaper to take multiple airlines to your final destination.
Hotel Tonight https://www.hoteltonight.com/
This site is a great source of deals on last minute hotel stays. Hotels sell unoccupied rooms on the cheap and those bargains are compiled here. You can only book within 7 days of arrival, so this one is great for those surprise trips booked on the fly.
And here’s one of our favorites:
This site is great for when you’re not sure what destinations fit in your time and money budget. Simply set your starting city, per-person budget and how long you want to travel for. Choose preference (such as Sun, City, Adventure or Road Trip) and it’ll show you all the places you can go on your budget.
If you’re ready to pack your bags, there are a few more trips to ensure you don’t miss a great opportunity:
Tip #1: Hide your tracks
When searching for flight prices, try searching in “incognito” or “private” browsing mode. Some airlines will track your interest with a cookie stored on your machine or linked to your browser and ratchet up the price a few dollars each time you look. This is to give you a sense of urgency (and squeeze a few more dollars out of you). Private browsing lets you see the unmodified price.
Tip #2: Dedicated deals inbox
Set up an email address dedicated to your travel planning. Use that address to register for travel sites and subscribe to “best deals” newsletters from the sites you like, such as Kayak or Lastminutetravel.
Tip #3: Consider a home swap
If you live in a relatively popular area, you could save a bundle on lodging by trading your home or apartment with other like-minded globetrotters. Sites like www.homeexchange.com and Love Home Swap https://www.lovehomeswap.com/ can be a great resource.
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