I travel a lot and everyone always asks me how I do it. I will be sharing the tools I use when planning my trips in two blog posts. Part 1 will cover the tools I use when traveling via road, and then Part 2 will list the tools I use when traveling via air.
A. Keep your transportation costs down
- RentalCars.com: This broker enables you to get rentals cars for cheaper than if you booked directly from Enterprise, Hertz, or else. For example, I rented a car at LAX airport in Los Angeles for 4 full days and I only paid $85.55! Just make sure you return the car at the same location you picked it up from to avoid the crazy one – way charge.
- TravelMath.com: Ahead of the trip, I like to visit this website to have an idea of my total travel times (including time differences), and also an estimated cost of gas. I really like their map feature. It allows me to see what other cities are on the way that I would want to explore. This is pretty much how we decided we would stop in Detroit, Michigan on our way to Toronto from Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.
- Gas Buddy: Once on the road, you should try to get the best deals on gas and that is when gas buddy comes into play. You can either use the app or the website, and it will let you know where to find nearby gas stations with the cheapest gas. We spent less than $150 in gas driving from Bowling Green, KY, to Columbus, OH, to Detroit, MI, to Toronto in Canada, to Niagara Falls, to Cleveland, OH, and back to Glasgow, KY.
B. Keep your accommodation costs down
- AirBnB: I know it seems like a challenge once you think you will be sleeping at some stranger’s house, but just think of it as spending the night at your extended family’s house. The host provides you with a place to lay your head after a long day of travel in exchange for some money. If you are lucky, you may even get an entire apartment to yourself for an incredibly low price. Jamaine and I spent a night in Toronto for $30 and we had high-speed internet, cable TV, a bathroom, and even a kitchen we did not get to use.
- Priceline Express Deals: This comes in handy when you need a hotel at the last minute. Hotels would rather rent you a room for cheap than not renting it at all. So, if you need a last minute room, get on it, select the area and star rating of the hotel you would like to stay in, and let the magic numbers appear. You will not know the name of the hotel until you finish booking. I usually pick 3 stars or above because you know it will be a decent hotel. My line sister and I used express deal when we drove down to New Orleans after Thanksgiving dinner in 2014. The hotel was really nice! Too bad it was sold out for the following night and we had to go somewhere else.
Come back in a few days for part 2 of my tips on how to travel without breaking the bank!