How to travel as much or as often as you can!
I know many people who are wondering how it is possible to travel more than one or two times a year and think it is only very easy for me because of the advantages in my job in airline industry but it is also possible for everybody.
Many bloggers already wrote about that topic but I know that mostly just the travel addicts read these articles or blogs. That is why I want to tell you more about traveling without spending a fortune and maximizing the time abroad.
Ok traveling is not for free expect you decide to hitchhike to save money for transportation, use couchsurfing for a free place to sleep and dumpster diving to spend no money for food but probably this is not the travel style for the most of you.
Maximize travel time
To travel as much as I can I always try to maximize the holiday time. I try to use the most of the public holidays (except for time between Xmas and New Years Eve because this time is the best to get loads of work done in a short time) for long trips as well as just for a long weekend trip. If it is possible I fly on my last work day in the evening and sometimes I just come back on the first work day early in the morning. Especially if I come back from oversea. I know that some of you think I am a bit crazy but this is the best way to avoid a big jetlag because in the office there is no chance to get weak and lay on the couch for a short nap which mostly becomes an hour(s)long sleep. This always helped me to survive the next days without any time difference matters.
Another possibility to extent your travels is taking time off unpaid or working part time as well as using your overtime. At least it is worth to give it a try to ask for if it is possible to manage it money wise.
And yes I did couchsurfing a couple of times but Airbnb (Wimdu, 9flats) is a good alternate for having a beautiful room/apartment and being connected to the local people with all their useful recommendations. The prices mostly are affordable and the locations can be very good and central. It is worth to give it a try if it is conceivable for you to spend your holiday in a self catering apartment instead of a big hotel with all inclusive.
To find the best hotel price I mostly use different websites to compare and find the best price for my hotel accommodation. Hostelbookers or Hostelworld are also worth a glimpse for good prices.
Another option to find a accommodation and save money is house sitting. I ve never tried it yet but already put it on my to do list a while ago.
Travel from A to B
I am not the expert regarding booking flights but i already figured out that there are some very helpful search machines like kayak.com where you can search for several destinations and departure airports at the same search. Skyscanner is a good search engine to find cheap tickets without a concrete destination. Momondo give a good overview about the prices in a certain time range.
For the case that flights are too expensive it is not a secret also not for the airlines that the most people start a trip at a weekend and come back at a weekend. Probably this is the reason why flights starting in the middle of the week are more cheap and also help to save money.
Plenty of blogs will tell you to use a credit card of an airline to collect award miles and you can do this by using a credit card and flying with one alliance but my experience is that the advantage is not that good comparing to the effort because of the mostly not very cheap remaining taxes and fees.
Traveling slowly will also help you to save money because of spending less money for transportation and it is also worth to ask for a reduction at your accommodation in case you decide to stay longer. Another pro is to become more familiar with the people, area and infrastructure. Small local travel agencies can be very helpful to find and book flight tickets, bus or train tickets. Busses are everywhere I had been yet a good and mostly quite cheap possibility to travel also longer distances. I like to use busses, trains and boats because there is very much to see while sit and relax as well as a good possibility to meet locals and other travelers and spend time sharing interesting stories.
Many countries are perfect to get explored with a car. To rent a car it is also good to compare prices and for example in Florida where I rented a convertible I figured out that price differences for 4 days can be more than 300 USD. This experience showed me that booking machines like autoeurope.com or orbitz.com can be a good money saver. In some countries also smaller companies offer additionally to sight seeing tours also rental cars or scooter for very good prices.
Filling the stomach
Ordinary restaurants are the easiest way to fill my stomach but food stalls to try the local “home-made” food are a very good possibility to try the local cuisine. A good place for affordable meals are the local markets where they sell fruits, meat, fish and many more things which are a good provisions to survive a day exploring. Always the food stalls where the locals eat can’t be the worst and most expensive choice.
Also ask the locals for typical restaurants or bar where the locals go to.
Save money while booking and buying other things
I also use the cashback website Qipu to save some percent/Euro… Not only for traveling. To save money I use a DKB credit card for withdraw money world wide without paying fees and/or get it refunded just in case the bank charges for the withdrawal. DKB offers a free or charge Visa Card as well as a cashback program similar to Qipu.