Tag Archives: budget travels

Are You Letting The Airlines Get The Upper Hand On You?

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Today, there are so many on-line travel search engines that it can get overwhelming for the average person to know if they are getting the best fare for their flight. You can spend hours looking, searching and still not find the best fare.

Flexibility, even if you can’t be flexible, is the real key to searching for the lowest fare. If you can be flexible, even by one day, you may save hundreds of dollars. If you can’t be flexible you still need to make the airlines think you can.

Before we get to deep into how to find your flight, there’s one trick you need to know about. All booking sites record web browsing data. Some will use this information to increase prices when they know you are interested in a certain flight. Have you ever searched for a flight and get one price only to go back later and search it again only to find the price has increased? Always clear your web browser before you search again. You might just find the original price again. Now you are ready to shop.

Another tip, is don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight. Three months ahead is the best time to book and some airlines will give you an early-bird discount. Over three months really doesn’t have any dramatic advantages.

If it’s a vacation you are planning, you might want to consider going off-season. Various regions have different Off Seasons. If you can fly during these times, depending on your destination, you can usually fly cheaper. I have listed the off-seasons below:
* Australia & New Zealand – August
* Asia:January- February
* Europe: November- March
* South America: March – November
* The Caribbean: November – March

Make a list of the airlines you usually use and follow them on Twitter. Do the same for the Hotels and follow them. Some especially Jet-Blue and Virgin Atlantic are very active in promoting their hottest deals in real time. (Facebook doesn’t offer this, so its no use to add them there.) Hotels are great about posting their deals on twitter. Don’t forget that each and every time you do a search for an online fare, delete your cookies, cache and search history first.

Start your search with Kayak. It works for flexible or fixed dates on domestic and international flights. They also give you complete price, with taxes and fees, if for some reason you prefer to use another site, Skyscraper is worth looking at. It also has a flexible search tool. 52% of its customers are return users, which is a testament in itself.

Travelocity used to be the best travel search site, but today the company is not even in the running. They have a record for high-prices and poor customer service.

Some of the newer and better rated travel search sites are Vayama.com, Hipmunk.com, Google flights (www.itasoftworre.com). Google is great at pulling up every fare accurately, but the downside is you can’t book directly through google. You need to link out to anther site in order to book your flight.

Another way of getting cheaper flights is to fly into an alternate airport. Sometimes the alternate airport might even be closer to your destination. Even if you have to drive, it might be worth hundreds of dollars of savings to do so.

Now let’s talk a little more about the flexible date option, even if you can’t be flexible, Typically, how it works is you will put in a range of dates for your departure and return then you pick your original dates from the list. Some of the best travel websites to use when you are using flexible searching are :
* Kayack
* Skyscanner
* Orbit
* Hotwire – Only US flights
* Travelocity – only domestic flights

Word Of Caution: When using flexible date options with some travel searches, the taxes and fees are not added until you select your flight. Fees charged by the airport can vary dramatically.

Bottom line-Don’t make your final decision on price until your flight is selected and you receive the final total.

After you have found the fare you like, always compare it to the airline’s website, just to make sure their fare isn’t lower. One other point, when you are checking travel sites for fares, make sure you check the box to also search for alternate airports, near-by.

My last tip to help you get cheap flights is at auctions. You can save thousands of dollars, but auctions are not for the timid. If this sounds interesting, the best thing to do is first spend some time on the sites to see how they work. And always read the fine print before you bid. SkyAuction.com seems to be the best auction site, but there are others that are good also as long as you remember to read all the rules. Each one operates differently. Some of the others are LuxuryLink.com, FlightFax.com, and CruiseComplete.com – used for cruises. Priceline.com is good for rental cars and motels.

I hope some of these tips might help save you save money the next time you fly. If you find a deal using one of these methods or you have a different way that works for you, we would definitely love to hear from you, if you wouldn’t mind sharing. If you find this article useful I would appreciate you sharing it with your friends and family.

Where Would You Travel To If You Could Stay There For Free?

Europe, New England, Australia, or somewhere in the United States? Think about it for a minute. Dare to dream. Just where would you travel if you could stay there absolutely free?

lake housePicture yourself setting in a log cabin by a beautiful Lake. You’re setting in a comfortable leather recliner looking out of three big bay windows where you can see tall pines covered in healthy green moss and the shimmering of the big lake nearby. Maybe there’s a big ole chubby grey cat curled at your feet. You’re so relaxed. You have no electric bills, no gas bills, nothing to worry about except buying your food and putting gas in the car, which you have access to also.

If this scene doesn’t strike you as what you are looking for, imagesthen dream of a beach house right on the beach, a cabin in the snow, a cottage in Ireland, a ranch in Colorado, where ever your imagination can take you. Now would you like me to show you how to make your dreams come true? Because, they can for single people, retired couples and even families.

What I am talking about is House-sitting. As a housesitter, you are able to experience what it is really like to live in certain areas. Most of the people (but not all) have a pet that they also want you to care for. It might be a cat or a dog or a horse or maybe some other pet. You choose from a very large selection images (1)of people from all over the world. They, themselves, are usually going on a vacation somewhere and they need some one to take care of their home and their pet while they are away. You stay for free and get to enjoy all of the scenery and/or events that might be taking place where you are at.

I found this great little hand-book that teaches you everything you need to know about how to become a house sitter. It’s written by two full time sitters. They are retired and enjoying just traveling all over the world. Whether it be for a week or two, a year or as a full time lifestyle this book tells you all you need to know to do the same. They show you how to find and get the perfect house sit. The handbook’s 10 chapters are organized to walk you through the process from total inexperience to the completion of your first housesit. They teach you how to make the most of the benefits and opportunities that exist for house sitting worldwide.

This book is definitely worth reading if this sounds at all interesting to you. House sits are available for weekends, long weekends, weeks, and months. You have so much to choose from. This book shows you everything you need to know, because not only do you have to find a house, they also have to approve of you. After you have done it for a while, it gets easier. Take your time and check it out. It won’t be a waste of time. Also check out this link, house-sitters, to look at getting started. Inside the book you will find links to several other sites.

Budget and Stick To It

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Vacations are well deserved treats and money shouldn’t be a cloud over these precious times away. You shouldn’t be counting pennies while trying to have fun. I have a couple of tips to offer that may help prevent this from happening.

  • Start planning early with a budget in mine – When planning your trip, balance your total cost based on:
    1. Where you’re going
    2. How you plan to get there
    3. What you’ll do once you get there
  • Create a daily cash allowance -After you decide on what the cost of transportation and hotel will cost,  create an expected daily allowance for food, drink, activities and souvenirs/ shopping, then inflate it by 10 to 15 percent to allow for emergencies or unforseen expenses.
  • Practice the “Cash Diet” – Place each days allowance in separate envelopes – Stash the envelopes in the Hotel Safe. Each Day, use only what’s in one envelope.

The so called “Cash Diet” is not anything new. A lot of people have started applying it to their every day lives to help them get out of debt.

My site is dedicated to helping you to vacation on a budget, but if you learn to control your credit and possibly get out of debt you may be fortunate enough to be able to set more money aside for vacations. If you are interested in learning more about the “Cash Diet”, I would encourage you to look it up and read more about it.