When you ask someone what they wish they could do more, the popular answer is “travel.” And when you ask them why they don’t, the automatic response is “money.” But travelling doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you use Skyscanner. Whether you’re a college student looking for a summer abroad or ready to cash in those vacation days without breaking the bank, follow these tips to get the most out of your vacation – and your dollar.
1. Plan ahead
Everything gets more expensive the longer you wait – airplane tickets, hotel reservations, not to mention all the early bird deals you miss out on for cruises and other travel packages. So plot out your destinations early and start scouting the deals now. Using our Best Time to Book tool can help you get really specific on when to travel for less.
2. Travel off-peak
Whether you’re buying trans-continental plane tickets or booking seats on a train for a weekend getaway, sticking to off-peak times can seriously cut cost. If you can, try planning your trip during an off-peak season to save big. Peak times can vary depending on your destination, but typically major holidays and spring and summer breaks are good times to avoid.
3. Watch out for flight price changes with price alerts
Flight prices are notorious for their fickle nature. Always moving up and down, leaving passengers fearful of commitment. But, if there’s a destination you know you’re traveling to in the near future you can simply sign up for a price alert through Skyscanner. This is especially helpful if you’re planning a trip out in advance. This way when the price plummets, you’ll be the first to know.
4. Keep an open mind, use Skyscanner’s Everywhere Search
Ever just spun a globe around, jabbed your finger at it randomly, and then made plans to travel to wherever you happened to land? That’s kind of like using the Skyscanner’s everywhere search, except you’re not forced to travel somewhere extremely out of budget. With this feature you can put in your travel dates, hit search and pack your bags for the cheapest destination that comes up. Or, if you’re feeling super spontaneous don’t even use travel dates! Then you can get the cheapest destination and the cheapest time to fly. Don’t just take our word for it, try it out for yourself.
5. Expand your search to nearby airports and cities
Looking to fly into Rome? London? Beijing? No matter where you’re going, don’t just click on the first airport that comes up. Occasionally it is much cheaper to fly into a lesser known airport, or into a different city entirely, then utilize public transportation to get to your actual destination. This method requires a little bit of extra research to find out local train ticket prices and taxi fares, but if you’re tracking those dollar signs they do add up quickly. Skyscanner can help you out here as well. When conducting your search simply check the box that says "Add nearby airports" and watch the savings pile on.
6. Ditch the checked bag
Some airlines charge extra when you check a bag. Either stick to the ones that allow passengers their first checked bag free, or leave the bulky suitcase at home. If you’re planning on visiting a few different locations, this will be easier in the long run, as large luggage can be cumbersome.
Find out more: 6 ways to avoid paying airline baggage fees
7. Choose a hotel alternative
Sure, the little bars of soap and fresh white sheets are nice, but the luxury can pack on hundreds of extra dollars depending on where you stay. There are a variety of other options available to travelers, ranging from hostels to services like airbnb.com, which allows travelers to rent rooms or apartments from locals, and couchsurfing.com, where you can find a spare couch or bed to crash on in each city you visit. And don’t forget you can find cheap hotels anywhere in the world on Skyscanner.
8. Avoid dining out
Beachside restaurants are great, but can easily add an extra $50, $100 to a night out (especially if you’re treating your family.) Instead, stock up on groceries and cook a nice meal you can bring to the beach. Breakfast, especially, is easy to make wherever you’re staying (in some establishments it’s complimentary.) For lunch, toss a sandwich in your bag. Not only will it save money, but you won’t have to derail your day by stopping at a café.
9. Skip the souvenirs
Shot glasses and t-shirts are cute and fun, but they add tons of unnecessary costs (not to mention weight to your suitcase). If you want to remember a location, snap a picture with your phone. And if you want to bring something back for friends and family, try something simple and quirky, like a coaster from a bar or a shell off a beach – only at the places that allow you to take, of course.
10. See what’s free
Every place has its “must-see” locations – and often they come with a price tag. Pick one or two must-see spots, then fill the rest of your days with free alternatives. Often, parks are a great place to enjoy the scenery and maybe even catch a free show. Before you leave for your trip, research the local museums as well – some of them offer free or discounted days.
11. Check out the discounts
Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer great deals that range from tours to spa days to great discounts on merchandise. If you are planning to hit a hot destination during your stay, be sure to browse some discount sites first to see how you might be able to save.
Like food, drinks can seriously pad your nightly bill. If you’re planning for a couple nights on the town during your trip, opt for buying yourself a nice bottle of wine or whiskey over a bunch of expensive drinks at a bar. If you want to experience the pub scene, stick to pints, as they’re often the cheapest alternative, or see if the bar has a nightly drink special.
13. Sign up for a travel newsletter
Loyal to a particular airline? Visit their website and sign up for their newsletter. The deals will be coming right to you, flying into your inbox as soon as they become available. If you don’t fly with a specific airline, you could sign up for many different newsletters, and then have your pick of the savings. however, if you do choose to go this route we recommend checking your inbox daily, otherwise it could get crowded quickly.