Things have been crazy – I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling this year for work (for those of you who don’t read my blog here‘s a post about the traveling aspect of my work). Any who, traveling is something I’ve done a lot of in my life. My first “big” travel trip what on my first birthday when my family and I lived in Italy and we were going from North to South to visit – and for me to meet – some family (while other kinds have big parties on their first birthday I was on a train, but I did have two cakes so I can’t really complain :p). From then on my family took trips to southern Italy practically every year, and my first international trip came in June of 1999 when we moved to beautiful and sunny California. After that there were a few trips back to Italy, a road trip to Washington state, and over course my most memorable trip yet – traveling for my year abroad in England! 😀 Whist there I did some light traveling (and I do mean light, even tho everything is so accessible I only took three trips – two to Italy and one to Spain). In 2013 the travel bug hit me again and I…can you guess it…when back to Italy and England. If you haven’t noticed those are pretty much my go to places, one for family and the other for, well, home. I absolutely LOVE England, for me there’s nothing better, the people, the culture, the history…But back to whats relevant. Now in 2015 my traveling has become more domestic, but just as exciting. Whereas before I was visiting places I’d already seen, now I get the chance to explore my backyard – America.
Ok, ok, you’re probably reading this and going “Nancy, you titled this “Travel Tips: Booking Your Trip”, so where are the tips!?”
Well here they are:
First off traveling tips are not one size fits all, although a lot of them are extremely helpful no matter what kind of traveling you’re doing, other’s are more tailored towards you’re specific traveling situations I will be sharing my travel tips for airplane travel – both international and domestic.
Ok let’s get started.
First thing whenever you’re planing on traveling is to actually book your travels, i.e. flight, stay, transportation, ect. There are plenty of sites with low fairs and/or comparisons out there, but my personal favorite is SkyScanner. What’s nice about this site is it lets you search for flight “Everywhere” … and no I don’t mean you can just search for flight anywhere in the world, but you can actually put “Everywhere” as your destination and it will search for flights anywhere at lowest cost. This feature is especially nice when you’re traveling in areas like Europe where so many different countries are so close together. Also, searching for flights on specific days and times of day will actually generate different price points – and if you’re one of those people who is hesitant about booking flights and likes to check back multiple times, make sure you do it from a different IP address. Travel sites track that info and when they notice you’re checking back for the same flight they’ll start raising the price on you. Although I haven’t really notice that happening with Skyscanner much.
Next up is your stay. This is where things will be extremely dependent on what kind of traveling you’re doing. For example, are you traveling for business? Pleasure? Is it domestic or international?
If you’re traveling for business chances are you’re company will be paying for your stay (or at least reimburse you) which means you’ll be staying at a hotel. Or if you’re company is rather large and sending employees to the same location multiple times a year for extended periods they may have a company home for you to stay at. Not the chances in my case, but I’ve heard of that sort of thing happening. Also, if it’s a business trip it’s likely that they’re going to take care of all the bookings for you, but if not hopefully these tips can help you get some better deals.
If you’re traveling for pleasure and depending on your budget you’ll likely be looking at hotels or hostels – I’ve noticed that hostels are not quite as popular here in the US, but if you’re going anywhere else in the world (especially Europe) they are everywhere and many times closer to the touristy destinations and at a much cheaper price than a hotel. The only “downside” is that you won’t have quite as much privacy as you’ll likely share a room with other travelers, but I find that to be a plus as you can meet potential travel buddies.
If you are set on a hotel, but are a bit flexible on location (also I would only recommend this if you’re traveling in the US) Hotwire is a good option. You can choose to do the Hot Deals* which means you book your hotel without knowing the name of it. You’ll be told the general location, but only once you book will you be given the name. A lot of people find this to be a little too risky, and it can be but with a little research you could be staying at a 5 star hotel for less than half the price! If the idea of booking a hotel without knowing the name is just too much of a risk, Hotwire also allows for general booking, but there’s also Hotels.com, Expedia, and a plethora of others. If you’re someone who travels a lot, I highly recommend singing up for the reward programs that some travel sites offer. You’ll get points every time you book something which you’ll then be able to redeem for cheaper flights, hotels, or car rentals.
*Be advised that Hot Deal reservations cannot be cancelled or changed.
Visiting friends or family? Perhaps you’ll stay with them, which will cut down your lodging expenses by quite a bit. If I’m visiting friends – like I’ll be doing this Fall – I always try and stay with them, if not for the whole trip a least for a portion of it. It’s always good to check with them before booking your trip to make sure they’ll be available however – don’t just show up on their door lol.
Still with me? I hope so 🙂
Again, this will all depend on where you’re traveling and for what. If you’re traveling domestically within the US or even internationally, and you’re visiting friends or family most likely you won’t have a need for a rental car. However, if you’re not traveling to visit friends or family, or you’re traveling for work a rental car may be needed, and this is where booking your trip through a site like Expedia becomes beneficial because you can book it all as a bundle. Also, if you have a rewards account you’ll get added points which you can use for later trips. If this is a work trip your work will most likely have an account with a rental car company or pay for it.
For international travel – and again depends on where you’re going – I suggest to not bother renting a car. The majority of my international travel has been specific to the EU and in my experience a rental car is not needed, especially if you are traveling to the larger more touristy cities – like London, Milan, Rome, Paris – as their public transportation is impeccable.
I hope you guys have found these initial tips for booking your next trip helpful. I am by no means an expert, but as I said I have traveled quite a bit in my time and have learned some tips and tricks.
Please check back for my next travel tips post where I talk about being being as comfortable as possible on a long flight.
*This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own*