Planning and budgeting for international travel can be enough to pull your hair out and throw the computer across the room. Honestly, travel planning makes my eyes cross, but it’s a necessary evil since I’m not independently wealthy and need to budget. Instead of making trip preparation easier, the never-ending selection of travel websites further complicates things and increases travelers’ anxiety. Especially when on the hunt for the best deal, the plethora of sites is more detrimental than helpful. Here are a few resources that have simplified by deal hunting and travel planning.
It’s important to remember to take your time and not overthink things. I usually keep a spreadsheet with dates, prices, locations and other pertinent details in order stay organized.
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#1 Create your own itinerary and unique travel plans instead of going with the cookie-cutter options advertised. Pull up the country you want to travel to in Google Maps and search for airports. For an example, I searched Italian Airports. Determine where you want to start and finish. You do not have to fly in and out of the same airport. On my next trip, I plan to fly into Rome and out of Naples.
#2 There are many blogs, resources and tools online to help you determine when is the best time to purchase plane tickets. It varies for domestic and international travel. It also varies based on airports, countries and time of year. Check out this handy tool by CheapAir.com – Interactive When to Buy Flight tool. You plugin where you want to fly into and out of, and it tells you how far in advance to purchase tickets.
Based on this, CheapAir.com suggests I purchase tickets from Miami to Rome between 45 and 128 days in advance. Additionally, I can search flights right there on the same screen. Love this tool!
#3 Another helpful tool to help you maximize savings and automate decisions, is to set fare alerts at Air Fare Watchdog,featured in BuzzFeed, NPR, Popsugar and more. You can sign up for a fare alert by filling out your email and travel details. When fares drop, you’ll be alerted to purchase. This can save you hundreds!!
#5 Skip Hotels.com and the other main hotel websites and head over to HomeAway
You won’t believe the places I found in Rome for less than $75/night.
HomeAway vacation rentals in Rome, Italy
OMG! For only $82/night this apartment is close to Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza) and the Trevi Fountain. It also has a spiral staircase in the room leading to a loft bedroom! The photos are great, but the space is! Book Totius Home Spanish Steps
I could go on and on featuring properties from HomeAway . I suggest you search for yourself.
These tips and resources should be a good place to get started. Make sure to subscribe to this blog, and leave a comment.