5 tips to travel with champagne taste on a beer budget

People often wonder how I am able to live the jet set life, knowing full-well that I am journalist.

(For the record, most journalists are not wealthy. See my post: 10 Side Hustle Jobs If You're On TV)

But, no doubt, everyone loves to travel.
But, making travel my career is a dream I was dedicated to pursue when I left traditional broadcast news. To do my job, I have to be on location at the destination and I have to make it look like I am having the time of my life. And because I have a production company and we film travel videos, my crew needs to be there too. These days, I can be found in an airport up to 10 times a month, and not every trip is courtesy of the host destination (i.e. press trip). Generally, the flights are the most expensive part of travel, but I adopted a strategy to minimize those costs, along with the other elements needed for the rest of the trip, all without sacrificing luxury.

These are tips that we use professionally that you can apply for your own personal travel.

1. Be flexible to go everywhere
You’ve probably heard about setting fare alerts for places we want to go, on sites like Airfarewatchdog and Kayak. So, the idea is that you know when and where you want to go, then you set the airfare alert to let you know daily or weekly the price of the flight. But let’s rethink this process.

If you know when you can travel, but don’t care where you want to go, then use Skyscanner.


I love Skyscanner! Simply select your departure city and dates of travel, then type ‘Everywhere’ in the destination field. The next page will populate with with what’s on sale. I did this in 2014, when I suddenly had a week free and extra cash. I found tickets to Greece for $800. I wanted to go to Greece two years earlier. A greek friend told me she had never seen a fight lower than $1000. So when that $800 ticket popped up, I knew it was time for my visit.
Screenshot taken July 12, 2017

Have your eye on a particular destination? Enter that in the "To" field, select "cheapest month" for "Depart" and "Return" and you'll see a list of options.

For ultimate deal using this tool, be flexible with both the time you can travel and destination. Select "cheapest month" in the "Depart" and "Return" fields, and you'll get a list of destinations to choose from.

Being flexible is key, because you could find yourself in far off lands like Sri Lanka or Morocco in no time!

2. Find glitch airfares
You’ve heard of folks finding round-trip flights to Dubai for $200. Recently there was a flight from New York to South Africa for $212, and Los Angeles to Sweden for $220.

Those were glitch fares. They occur 5-10 times a month, and when they do, you need to book almost immediately. But, don’t worry, most of the time you can book your trip 1-8 months out...if you catch them.

Learn more about Glitch Fares in a recent post:

What Exactly Is A Glitch Fare & How To Find Them

How do you find them? You need someone who spends all day, everyday combing the internet, hunting all the resources for them. My favorite and most affordable website is Fly Glitch. For just about $3-bucks a month, you’ll get an email whenever a glitch fare pops up, with specific instructions on how you can book it. Also, the fares will be curated to your region, which is why I love this service above others. (I live on the east coast. So, I certainly could have taken advantage to the NY to South Africa deal, it likely would not feasible for me to buy the L.A. to Sweden one.)

You can support our travel show "Beyond the Usual" through Patreon and get a discount to Fly Glitch's premium email service for an even deeper discount - just ~$2/month. Check out this link for more info: patreon.com/BeyondtheUsual

3. Travel in the off-season
Luxury hotels are cheaper, the crowds are not so in-your-face, and even the weather can (sometimes) work to your advantage. For example: Europe in summer can be scorching. Europe in October can be beautiful. Europe in November can be cheap.

One of the advantages of traveling in the off-season is avoiding the crowds.

4. Rent an apartment instead of a hotel
If you’re in France and Italy and want to be near the top destination sites, hotels can cost $600+, but a night for an apartment in the same neighborhood can be $100 - $200. We know about about Airbnb. - instead of searching the cheapest rates, which is practically couchsurfing, search the location and then look for higher-end properties. Also, sites like Expedia offers rentals.

With the right timing, you can find yourself upgraded!

5.  Always ask the upgrade
People are always intimidated to do this. But this can be done from everything to picking up your rental, dining at a restaurant and checking in at your hotel. The key to it all is to be kind. Ask you've likely seen, most times employees in the hospitality industry are overlooked and overworked. By simply acknowledging the worker as a human being - making eye contact, smiling, etc - you have already left a positive impression with that person. When the time is right - it's not busy or they are not overwhelmed - simply ask for an upgrade. Next thing you know, you could be in the Presidential suite! This approach works for discounts, too!

Looking for a travel show that inspires you to go? Have you started watching "Beyond the Usual" yet? CLICK HERE to find where to watch.

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