Friday, February 10, 2012

The Best Budget Travel Tip I've Ever Learned - Compare Everything

This post was written by Elle over at Odd Cents as a part of Yakezie blog swap #17.

I love to travel. The excitement of going to another country is a feeling that never gets old. But for some reason, that excitement is the climax of an exercise that may or may not be filled with good, memorable experiences which characterize the trip planning process. For me, the best budget travel tip that I could ever give anyone is to compare any and everything. From choosing your the destination right back to deciding what type of transportation that you will be using, comparisons certainly go a long way and can save you a lot of money. Sites like Expedia and Orbitz are extremely useful when comparing airlines and accommodation and even offer honest reviews by other travelers.

Compare Destinations

 Let’s imagine that you’re you’ve made up in your mind that you want to go on vacation, but you’re on a tight budget. The first thing to do is to decide where you want to visit. Comparing destinations islands is not hard, thanks to the internet and honest traveller reviews. What specific experience are you looking for? What activities would interest you? These are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to narrow down your list of possible vacation spots. You should make a note of some of the important details which would make your vacation perfect.

Compare Airlines, Airfares and Accessibility 

One factor that has significant bearing on where you’d like to go is the airfare. Airfares can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, and unfortunately the airfare to the more popular destinations will undoubtedly be higher. When choosing your destination, bear in mind the days of the week that you prefer to travel and whether or not the airline that you’ve chosen flies on that particular day. When I was planning a trip to New York, I checked the two airlines that operated daily flights and I chose the cheaper one – both of them were departing at the same time on the same day.

Compare Hotels and Accommodation 

After you’ve chosen your airline and specific days to travel, you have to compare hotels. If you’re working with a budget, this is easy because many hotels list their rates up front. You should also use maps where possible to see what interesting spots are in close proximity to the hotel. Like I said earlier, Expedia and Orbitz are useful and can be put to use for this comparison. A couple years ago, when I was going to Grenada, I set a figure that I was willing to pay and searched for hotels in that price range. What separated them were the amenities, breakfast and location.

Compare Modes of Transportation 

The next step is to compare modes of transportation. This can be impacted by the location of the hotel. If your hotel is close to public transportation, then you might not need a car. However, if you’re in a more rural area, then a rental car might your best bet. Taxis can be pricey, so make sure that your budget can handle it. When comparing the costs, bear in mind the places that you want to go and how close they are to your hotel.

Comparisons can definitely help you to save some money when planning your vacation. Make a list of the things that are important and jot down the possibilities that suit you. Tackle each category (destination, airlines and airfares, accommodation and transportation) in the specific order listed. Be honest with your comparisons and make sure that your needs are met.

Photo by Elle.


Michelle said...

I'm loving all of these tips from everyone! I definitely compare, compare, compare until I find the perfect price.

Bryan said...

I'm enjoying them too! Thanks for reading!

John | Married (with Debt) said...

I usually end up with a Beautiful Mind-looking spreadsheet before I pull the trigger on plane tickets. Great tip!

MyMoneyDesign said...

I 100% agree about the reviews. Every trip I book starts there. How was the hotel? Did anything freaky happen? One time I found hotel to stay at on a business trip to SC that was “haunted by ghosts” according to 3 reviews (turned out to be nothing when I stayed there). Do you think you get a better deal when you book a package deal (hotel + airline) or shop around a la carte?