When you’re planning one specific trip, or you have one vacation every year or even less often, you should try to be as meticulous in your planning as possible. Know what you want and find the cheapest way to get it. When travel is a lifestyle, however, one of the best tips worth sharing is to be as flexible as you can. Be open to different accommodations, new experiences, and even destinations you haven’t been on before. Here, we’ll take a look at how going with the flow can broaden your horizons, give you access to travel opportunities you’ve never had before and even save you money.
Start a travel fund
No matter what kind of trip it is, it’s going to cost money, there’s no doubt about that. However, you can make travel of all kinds more affordable if you save smartly for it. Instead of planning a trip and using it as a savings goal, consider building a regular travel fund. Find whatever percentage of your income you can afford to set aside to travel every time you get paid, all year-round. Not only will it make it easier to save for that yearly vacation, but it means that you have a fund you can dip into at any time as soon as an affordable opportunity presents itself. You can travel more and travel more spontaneously.
Keep your eye on the sky
Flexibility goes a long way when it comes to catching a flight, as well. If you’re open to moving the dates of a particular trip around, then you may find that you get savings as high as three-figures on flights. But if you want to be truly flexible, then you can use travel search sites to find the cheapest destinations available at any point in the year. In the off-peak seasons, everything at that destination is going much more affordable. Let’s not forget the savings you can make by catching last minute flights as well. You get less prep time, but it can be worth it for a truly cheap vacation.
Watch for luxury discounts
It’s not always about traveling as cheaply as possible, either. Sometimes, having a flexible mindset allows you to afford things that would normally be way out of your reach. Consider the private jet, for instance. How much does it cost to charter a private jet? If you get in touch with nearby providers and ask about “empty leg” flights, it can cost up to 75% less. These are flights where the plane has to be up in the air and reach a certain destination, but it doesn’t already have passengers. There are discounts for all sorts of luxury experiences, from spa’s to scuba diving, if you’re willing to take a closer look.
Sign up for everything
The discounts mentioned above are often unplanned, due to cancellations or just pure luck on your part. But let’s not forget how many businesses, especially restaurants and hotels, have regular deals. The only way to be fully aware is to keep your ear to the ground. Now you can do it electronically. Sign up for hotel subscription emails and you could get a much better rate for your room. The same goes for restaurants. If you have a destination you plan on going to, find the most highly rated restaurants and sign up for their emails. You might not necessarily get a voucher or coupon in time for the trip, but it’s always worth taking the chance. You can often find discounts like this through sites like Groupon. They have Marriott discount codes available right now.
Make your own way
Of course, if you want to be more flexible with your plans, then one of the best ways is to simply take control of the trip yourself. Road trips offer you full control. Control over where you go, where you stay, and what you do. It also offers you the chance to make huge savings, if you’re willing to invest in a tent and simply camp more often than you stay in more standard accommodations. Road trips do take a lot of planning to ensure you’re hitting gas and food stops, as well as avoiding getting lost. Not to mention, you need to ensure that your vehicle is fit for the road. So, while they may be adventurous and freeing they should never be entirely spontaneous.
Go off the beaten path
If you’re willing to look at destinations that other tourists might not think of quite as readily, then not only can you save a lot of money, but you can see some truly fantastic sights. It’s a good idea to follow travel bloggers closely precisely because they are some of the best sources for tips on travel hotspots before they get discovered by the hordes of tourists. Check out some of the current lesser-known gems worth exploring. You never know when such places are going to surge in popularity. When they do, not only do they become more expensive, but they bring all the noise, all the hassle, and all the pickpockets that the larger tourist destinations often see.
Always be prepared
You want your trip to be as stress-free as possible, but how do you do that when you’re keeping your plans open and you’re willing to try things you’ve never done before? You can be prepared while still being flexible. There are tons of handy travel apps that can quickly inform you on things like prices, local services and shops, health risks, directions, and much more. Any sensible modern traveler will have a travel guide app to do just that. It’s a good idea to have some of the more common travel necessities ready for the suitable climates, such as different sets of clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kits and so on. Build a flexible travel kit by having the right items ready to go instead of reactively buying after you figure out where you’re going.
The age of exploration might be over, but there are still plenty of ways for a traveler to really surprise themselves. Be flexible, be prepared, and be ready to set off at a moment’s notice. You will have a much richer travel life for it.