Travel is essential to personal growth. Seeing new places and experiencing things we've never tried before expands our minds. But often, that growth and the experiences that lead to it cost money. Any savvy traveler knows that overpaying is an easy way to ruin a perfectly good trip. Here's what you should know in order to pocket some extra cash on your next getaway.
Book Early (But Not Too Early)
Domestic airfare is generally at its cheapest about two to three months before the departure date—keep in mind, this can fluctuate wildly so keep an eye out for a great deal. If you get over-zealous and book a year in advance, there might be a flight deal you're missing out on. Definitely don't book too early. And while it's likely too late to book most summer travel on the cheap, you can start planning ahead for the fall and winter. Now's the time to set an airfare price alert on Google Flights or Hopper for trips you hope to take in the near future.
Don't Be So Rigid
If you're looking to travel on the cheap, be open-minded to new locations—cities and even countries that weren't previously on your radar. Utilize services like Skyscanner's "search anywhere" feature or Kayak Explore to discover affordable destinations you may not have previously considered. After putting in the dates you're looking to travel, you might even find it cheaper to travel internationally than to stay close to home.
Sign Up for Deals
If you regularly fly a particular airline, you may benefit from knowing when they have sales or discounts. But if you're looking for the best deals, try Scott's Cheap Flights, a service that emails you cheap or mistake fares that are mostly international as they come up. Founded by travel expert Scott Keyes, you set your departure airport and it details the airline, price range for tickets and how long a deal is expected to last. (Recent find: Chicago to Tokyo for $424 instead of the typical $1,000 per ticket price.)
Use the Five-Block Rule
Try not to eat within five blocks of any major tourist attraction. First off, it'll undoubtedly be packed with loud out-of-towners. More importantly, it will be double the price and half as good as other places you can find. Wondering where where to eat? Use an app like Foursquare or Yelp to find local favorites in the area.
Skip the Hotel
Sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HostelWorld offer nontraditional lodging opportunities to stay like a local. Often you get more space for less money and you end up staying in neighborhoods where other people actually live instead of cloistered away in pricey commercial/tourist districts. Plus, you're often able to cook a few meals for yourself, thus saving even more money.
Be Direct With Drivers
It helps to do your homework and know how long your drive time will be (as well as the anticipated price). Whether you're getting into a taxi or ride-sharing car, it can help to mention the expected fare and how long the ride should take as soon as you get in the car. This way, you and the driver are on the same page. If the driver doesn't agree, and you know haggling is a local custom, suggest a different price, or say you'll have to find another car (which may motivate your driver to come up with a better price).
Volume 10 // 2018
31 Days is back ... And 2018 marks its tenth iteration. When we started this a decade ago, we never imagined that these daily guides to being better men would take off and become one of Valet.'s most popular series of all time. So thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission. This year, we're focusing on productivity—ways in which you can streamline and improve your days to make your job less stressful, your work more efficient and your life run just a bit more smoothly. It's time to raise your game.