Monday, November 17, 2014

Travel Tips: How We Travel For Cheap

"Traveling is the one thing you buy that makes you richer." - Unknown

Let's be honest - travel is expensive! We have been really thankful that Southwest has allowed us to travel as much as we do. We're cheap people by nature, so we still always try to save money where we can. Here are some money-saving tips we've picked up along the way:


1. Work for an airline! Domestically, Southwest is free for us. Internationally, we pay departure taxes. Even fares on other airlines are taxes and small fees. It is standby though!

2. Research ALL the time. I love using If you're not picky about where you're wanting to go, you can use their site to find cheap routes from whatever city you're based out of. It's great for last minute deals.

3. Go off the beaten bath. It seems that flights to Asia are often cheaper than the shorter flights to Europe. If you book early, flights to Bali are $900/person where as flights to London are $1500/person.

4. Bring a box of chocolates for the flight attendants on international flights. This secured us multiple free drinks (for many US-based airlines, these are about $7 each), 1st class goodie bags and economy plus rows for each of us. Even if you don't get anything out of it, we've found them to be very appreciative and we will always do this from now on! At the very least, if you're traveling non-rev, introduce yourself and thank them for allowing you to fly on their airline.


1. Get a rewards credit card. We have a Marriott Visa Signature and love it. We rack up points on our monthly spend and end up getting multiple free nights based on promotions that they run. It also has no foreign transaction fees which is a MUST for us. 

2. Go with the tried and true - (good rewards program), Agoda (for Asia), and Always try to book a hotel that offers free breakfast and wifi.

3. If you are a government employee like me, military, AAA, etc., you can get a deal! Also, see if your company has a partnership with any hotels. For example, Southwest has discounted "crew" hotels that we can use.

4. Ask for an upgrade. Or tell them you're honeymooning...whatever! :)


1. We have to book last minute due to the nature of our travel, but we often find that rental cars are crazy cheap the day of. It's definitely a gamble though.

2. Eat (and drink) cheap when you can. We're not big foodies, so we're totally fine eating street food, going to the local grocery store and stocking up, grabbing some duty-free alcohol at the airport, and bringing granola bars from home. When we do eat out, we eat and drink local - ramen & sake in Japan and bratwurst & beer in Germany!

3. Have a long layover and don't want to pay for a hotel? Buy a lounge pass on eBay for around $20. They often have food, drinks, showers, and even places to sleep.

4.  Because of our credit card, we get club access at certain Marriott hotels. In Mexico City, the club served every meal and offered free beer and wine. We always take advantage.

My favorite tip though: Don't be too cheap. You're spending all of this money to get there -  spend a little extra on something memorable like that pub crawl, private cave tour, or lounge chair at the beach. If it's something you really care about, you won't regret spending that extra cash to do it!

Rick Steves has plenty more great tips here

Do you have any great money-saving tips?

No comments:

Post a Comment