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As a person that relies on traveling to keep life interesting, I do anything in my power to be able to afford a new trip. Through all my travels and experiments, I have scoured the internet for the best resources and put them to the test. Some money saving attempts have worked, others have been major fails. Lucky for you, I have learned from all of that. For your sake, I have put together a list of the 5 travel hacks that have served me best through these broke times people call "College".
1. Finding the best possible airline option.
One of my favorite travel discoveries I have ever made was when I found out about Iceland Air. If your goal is to reach Europe, this is a great option. For one, it is typically less expensive than other airlines. For two, there is always a layover in Iceland. When you purchase your tickets they even give you the option to extend your layover up to seven days, giving you the opportunity to visit an additional country without buying another airline ticket. Sounds like a win win to me!
Another great airline to look into for cheap flight is Norwegian air. They have great rates throughout the year, however they have less US airport options so keep that in mind. That said, you may have to buy a ticket to get to one of the few airports they leave from. However, the tickets are so affordable that sometimes even with the extra flights this can be a cheaper route. If you happen to have one of their departure cities near you then you have a huge advantage!
**Other great options to try are Spirit airlines and France Air.
2. Travel Apps
There are so many airline apps you can use to find flights—expedia being one of the most popular. However for out of country travels, Skyscanner is great because they will give you flights from all airlines—even the smaller ones. A great app to use for flights within the U.S. is Hopper for the best deals.
When looking for food I love an app called Open Table. It offers great recommendations on restaurants when you are in a new city, as well as the option to make reservations right from the app.
As a guide in a new town my essential app is Lonely. They provide suggestions, resources, and popular places to go see wherever you end up! It's basically a hand held tour guide -- without any additional cost.
3. Airline Credit Cards
Getting a credit card with travel incentives is a huge advantage. There are plenty of options, but my favorite one is the Venture One card. This is a free credit card that will give you 20,000 bonus miles just for using it. You earn 1.25 miles per dollar with this card. That isn’t much but if you are able to use this card for things like rent, bills, gas, ect. they add up quick.
Another awesome thing about this card is you can use your rewards for any travel purchase. A lot of travel cards, Alaska for example, will only let you redeem rewards for flights and hotels they associate with. With the Venture One your 20,000 miles is equivalent to $200. So, say you rent a hotel and it cost $350, you can use your miles and take off $200 from that purchase. COOL!
Whatever card you choose, always be sure they offer no foreign transaction fees if you are planning on international traveling. Then when you use your credit card in another country, the bank won’t charge a fee to convert your spending to US dollars. They add up fast so that is a must in my book.
4. Find Alternatives for Food
This seems pretty simple, but it really helps if you are on a low budget. When I travel I try to go to the grocery store as soon as I get somewhere to pick up a few food items. I like to get breakfast because there are lots of cheap options (bagels, cereal, bananas, etc.). There are also great lunch options to save you that extra expense.
I usually like to pick one meal a day that I want to buy, then eat food from the store for the rest. That way I get to experience the food of the culture, while still being money-wise.
My ultimate favorite travel hack is Airbnb. The popularity of this has grown so much since I found it two years ago, but it is the best travel hack for so many reasons.
For travellers, it allows you to stay with someone in their home. There are many options, a private room, a whole house, or maybe in someone’s treehouse. Ya just never know. The prices vary, but almost anywhere you can find nice places for around $30 a night.
You can also become a host for some side cash if you have a space. I listed my pull-out couch in my living room for $19 a night, and it was a blast!
Airbnb gives you the experience of meeting new people and usually the hosts can give you the inside scoop on where you are at. Plus, it is super easy to use from your phone using their app!
*Pro tip: Some hosts offer breakfast!
These are the hacks I use for every adventure, and I hope they can help you reach your next destination with ease. I find that the first and main expense is typically airline tickets, which is why a few of them revolve around that. Get the tickets, and you will get there! What other tips do you have? I would love to hear them!