If you scrutinize your travel plans as much as I do, you are constantly searching for the best resources to help with the planning process. Like me, you may also use these resources to feed your wanderlust and plan trips that are unrealistic. I have compiled a short list of resources and tips for finding the best deals for budget travel and for feeding that adventurous thirst for traveling abroad.
Andy Steves Travel Podcast
Podcasts are a great informational resource that can be used hands-and-eyes-free. This is particularly useful for daily commuters and travelers. I work in a book factory, and most of my work is mindless and tedious. Being able to learn through podcasts allows me to use my time more efficiently. Andy Steves, son of Rick Steves (travel guru), is a budget-travel connoisseur and an entrepreneur of European city tours. His company is most well known for their Weekend Student Adventures. Andy also recently wrote Andy Steves Europe: City Hopping on a Budget. His podcast provides listeners with a glimpse into different European countries through the eyes of professionals that live there. Andy also invites guests onto his show that offer general travel tips, such as budget airfares and staying fit while traveling. The episode with Johnny Jet and his air travel advice is a great episode to begin with.
Hostels are the best way to see the world on a budget. I hope everyone has the chance to experience living in one at least once in their lifetime. It is a great way to meet fellow travelers and to learn about the area from people that have been living there. However, not all hostels are created equally. It is important that you figure out what amenities you want during your stay (i.e. guest kitchen, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, lockers, etc.). I also recommend searching for hostels through a third-party source but booking rooms directly through the hostel’s website. This will often save you some money. If you want to save even more money, it is worth asking hostels about working for free accommodation. However, this is usually only worth it if you plan on being in a place for a month or more. Lastly, there are hostel chains out there, like YHA, which offer membership cards that will get you room discounts.
I have used Airbnb many times and have always had a good experience. It is a cheaper way to travel, especially if you are traveling with a group. I enjoy Airbnb because it allows me to have a better grasp on the neighborhoods and living situations of that particular city. It gives you a sense of place, which is important to me when I travel. Another perk of using Airbnb is that a lot of the rentals allow your pets to stay with you. It is also a great way to save money on food, because most places provide a kitchen with cooking utensils. If you are a solo traveler, some locations offer a private room within a home. I have no experience with this, but I have known people to utilize this aspect of Airbnb and they enjoyed meeting and living with locals.
If you are outgrowing the hostel or camping life and are enjoying “luxury” travel more, Hotel Tonight is a great app to help you find cheap hotel rooms. The only downside is that you have to be willing to book your rooms the night before or the day of your trip. This is difficult for someone like me who enjoys planning every single part of my trip. However, sometimes the best deals are found at the last minute. This app is particularly good at finding deals at the higher end, more expensive hotels in the area. My only advice is that you research your destination and make sure there are no big conferences or festivals occurring on the nights you want to stay there.
John E. DiScala is the creator of the website Johnny Jet, a name he also adopts as an alter ego. John expertly travels the world for a living and is at the forefront of budget and point-based travel. I recently signed up for his email newsletter that contains a range of travel deals. This email subscription also comes with daily tips for a more safe and efficient travel experience. Conveniently, John has his own airfare search engine on his website that searches multiple sites. One can also find articles written about subjects from tips for finding the cheapest flight to which credit card has the best travel perks. If these articles don’t answer your questions, you can ask Johnny Jet directly on his web page.
Everyone needs a good search engine for flights. It is difficult to find the perfect one, and I doubt Skyscanner is any different. However, the app is user-friendly and it is easy to search multiple third-party websites with one tap of your finger. Users also have the ability to customize their search to look for the cheapest or quickest options. Additionally, Skyscanner is one of the only apps that allow customers to search multi-city tickets. They also offer an option to choose a single airport and search the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world from that airport. This is a great feature for spontaneous adventurers looking to travel overseas at a moment’s notice. One thing to remember about booking flights is that sometimes the cheapest flight is not found through these apps and third-party websites. It is always a good idea to check directly with the airline carrier if you see a flight you like.