Summer is just around the corner! Most people use these warmer months to explore. Whether it’s domestic or international travel, the biggest barrier is how to explore intelligently. From purchasing airfare to scoring the best hotel deals, we’ve come up with some of the best traveling tips to use around the globe. We take a look at the best times to buy a plane ticket, packing like a pro, and how you can avoid surprise roaming and ATM charges.
Get Good Deals on Airfare
The start of your trip begins with purchasing your airfare. Getting a good deal is a top priority because it can set the budget for the rest of the journey. But, when do you purchase? Have you heard the rumor you should buy on Tuesday? Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation conducted research supporting this theory. However, times are changing. Getting a better deal would suggest that you purchase on weekends. The study showed leisure flyers (a.k.a those who aren’t traveling on business) buy flights on weekends and therefore reduce their pricing.
Just be aware: prices are changed by airlines multiple times a day which means you’ll want to keep an eye out for the best deal.
When should you book your flight?
- Within North America – 57 days from departure
- North America to Asia-Pacific – 160 days from departure
- North America to Europe – 176 days from departure
These deals don’t include holiday travel. It’s on another playing field. Thanksgiving deals can start in October and sometimes you might get them the week of Thanksgiving. Christmas flights home should be booked around Thanksgiving and New Years the first week of December.
Great Hotel Rates
Now you have your flight lets talk accommodation. Whether you are using small boutique hotels recommended by your favorite travel guide or staying at an Airbnb, you can save some money if you are smart about when you book. The farther you book out your stay, the cheaper it might cost. Some avid travelers have found that even when the trip is not confirmed, booking out three or more months saved them hundreds of dollars. The concept applies regardless of where you are staying. Just investigate the charges for canceling. It might work out that it’s cheaper to buy in advance and pay the cancel surcharge and get the room you want at a great value.
Spend Your Money Wisely
We’ve read through a few articles trying to confirm the best credit or debit cards to recommend. But, our research has pooled a lot of insight and what we found surprised us. It’s suggested the best option is using legitimate ATMs at your destination rather than putting everything on a credit/debit card. Another hot tip: don’t bring cash and exchange it once you arrive. The exchange rate is very high. Your best bet is to withdraw two or three hundred dollars once you get there to last you a few days before you get more. The average withdrawal charge is about 4% which means you are looking at a $4 or $5 fee if you’re pulling around $300. Minimal in the grand scheme of things. Bring your cards though. A few hundred dollars in the event of an emergency is priceless.
Avoid Roaming Charges
American phone providers offer customers options for using their phones abroad. Companies like Sprint and T-Mobile have some of these details worked into their monthly packages. If you use either of them as your carrier, you should call to get more information. Some people have reported that they experienced slower network times, but you still avoid surprise fees. Verizon lets you use your phone as is by paying $10 a day. You get all the same data as you would if you were in America and is useful in about 65 countries. You can also invest in something called Skyroam. It’s a personal wi-fi hotspot. It’s $10 a day and gives you 3G and 4G access and works in very remote places.
Pack Lighter and Smarter
Before you dust off your suitcase, contact the airline to learn more about their baggage and handling fees. You don’t want to pack too much! Most airlines will let you bring a carry-on bag and one personal item. Be smart about that personal item. Maybe use it as your purse or laptop bag to ensure the safety of essential items. When it comes to a carry-on remember size and weight matter too! Don’t forget to brush up on TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. Experts across the board agree rolling is better than folding when you pack your suitcase. It saves space and reduces wrinkling. Contact your Airbnb or hotel to see if they offer free laundry services. If they do, you don’t have to worry about packing as much.
The Ultimate Destination
Wherever you decide to go, don’t forget to secure the belongings you’re leaving behind. Two-week vacations are just long enough to warrant the purchase of a self-storage unit. While you’re globe-trotting, you can put essential items into the secured facility to ensure safety. We would recommend it even if you have someone house sitting. Self-storage units come with security measures that will protect your valuables. With self-access, you can drop them off and pick them back up at your convenience.