How To Travel Like A Pro Without Breaking The Bank
Melinda Fleming is a voice over artist, world traveler, and the creative mind behind the fashion & lifestyle blog, Curated Cool. Curated Cool was built on a question people frequently ask Melinda: Where did you get that? Melinda’s style combines minimal chic and high-end vintage to create a unique personal style we can’t get enough of! Melinda currently resides in Los Angeles, but she has extensive travel experience and previously lived on FOUR different continents. Continue reading to learn how to travel like a pro without breaking the bank! As an avid traveler clocking in over 100,000 air miles a year, the constant question I always get asked is, “How do you do it without breaking the bank?” These are very fair questions, but just because it might appear easy doesn’t mean it is. After years of trial and error, I have a system down pat that I adhere to every time I travel. This is a broad topic, but I’ll just cover the basics to get you going. To get great deals, it helps to have a flexible schedule. Therefore, you can maximize significant savings with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve!
The price is right. Never purchase a full fare plane ticket. Ever. Wait for a sale, wait for a mistake fare (they still happen) or take a longer route, which equals more travel miles BUT a cheaper ticket.
Dedicated sale sites. Whether you’re an avid traveler or just looking to save on your next trip, there are blogs devoted to finding the cheapest fare for you and how to go about booking it. A favorite go-to is The Flight Deal. Trust me; it’s a game changer.
Loyalty. The best way to gain status and membership is through loyalty, which in turn saves you money and gets you points. By growing and earning miles into one program, you will come out ahead as opposed to someone who is spread too thin across a bunch of programs. Status is king! Plus, it comes with a ton of free perks like free flight upgrades, free breakfast, free room upgrade, and elite benefits such a complimentary Wi-Fi, club room access, and more. Decide which carriers you fly the most, and start growing your portfolio. The three top airlines alliances are:
Bonus round. A big part of traveling like a pro without draining the bank is leveraging the use of credit cards. Pick the right ones for you, pay them off each month, then it’s a winning game. You can get bonus points for your everyday purchases by shopping and dining at certain locations. You’re going to buy makeup anyway, so why not earn 7-points per dollar while you’re at it? The same with dining, too! Here are some bonus portals I shop through to gain thousands of extra points per year: AAdvantage Shopping & Dining and MileagePlus Shopping & Dining.
Membership has its privileges. If you have a credit card (or a few), make sure you’re using the ones that can earn you miles or get you a fantastic credit card sign-up bonus. It’s a great way to pay for flights, cars & hotel stays that won’t cost you a dime. Look at what the card covers; travelers insurance? Car insurance? Always be a reader of the fine print and understand the full capacity of what each card covers. Some include free hotel stays each year and perks like airport club access. Also, don’t sign up for anything less than 50,000 points!
Not the only kid in town. Cross-reference prices on different sites to confirm you are getting a fair deal. Meaning, I have found cheaper fares for the same itinerary on Google Flights UK than I have on the US platform (mind blown!). It’s not fair, but sometimes it's true. The same goes for bundled discount sites like Expedia. Therefore, cross-reference with Agoda, which will tell you if you get a free breakfast or not. Expedia isn’t always faithful to that! But, back to Google Flights, book the cheapest ticket, even if it’s the UK site — it doesn’t matter.
Jump & the net will appear. Currently, my status includes free airplane upgrades, hotel breakfast, Wi-Fi, free hotel stays, complimentary club room access, and suite upgrades. These are all done through the tips listed above, in addition to being diligent, flexible, and knowing when to say yes! I have planned trips nine months in advance because I found an amazing sale that lasted less than 4 hours. Even though I didn’t know where I was going to be that far down the line, who cares. It all worked out, and it always does. Have a 9-5pm 9-7pm job and don’t know if you can plan that far in advance? Just book it, and trust me on this. I haven’t paid for a full fare airplane ticket, or hotel room in over four years, and neither should you!