Guest Post by Steven Cuffari
For those of you who travel less than once a year, turn back now.
This article is not for you.
This is for the consummate travel enthusiast who flies at least once a year and is dedicated to traveling more and spending less.
If that sounds like you, then read on.
The internet is filled with so-called tips and tricks to get the best deals on airfares, each one promising a dreamy utopia of fool-proof methods to save the most money.
In reality, flight hunting is an endeavor of ups and downs (no pun intended), successes and failures, victories and defeats.
There are no guarantees.
Just when you thought you found the best flight price and book it, you inevitably hear about a friend or a friend of a friend who found a cheaper one.
Simply put, finding the most affordable flight tickets is a matter of dedication, vigilance and using the right tools:
Sign up for Alerts and Track Trends
It’s the 21st century. If you’re not using apps, alerts and search engines to find the best ticket prices, then you need to step up your game. There are dozens of companies that offer apps, alerts or both. The best ones are free, so you can sign up for several at no cost.
Kayak.com and Google Flights have the most comprehensive listings, but Skyscanner.com, TravelPirates.com and AirfareWatchdog.com are also very good and have apps of their own.
Once you have all your alerts set up, you can track pricing trends on your own or use the built in functions that come with each app.
Plan Ahead but Stay Flexible
Planning ahead is an obvious truth in flight hunting. The more time you have to search, the better your chances are at finding the best price. Staying flexible is a key part of this planning. Most travel websites and apps have a “flexible dates” search option which allows you to view a chart of possible flights for a range of departure and return dates.
Still, last-minute flight deals are a reality and they can pop up without any warning. This can be a joy for some, but a deep sadness for others.
One of the most depressing times in a flight hunter’s life is when they find an amazing deal but can’t travel on the specified dates. Normally, there is not much you can do to remedy this. If you can’t fly, you can’t fly. Such is life.
The only way to take advantage of surprise deals like these is to be ready at a moment’s notice to drop everything and pack your bags. Not everyone can do this, but this flexibility is often the key to finding the cheapest tickets.
Know Where You Want to Go
“Knowing where you want to go” is not what you think. It’s not simply choosing a destination. Knowing where you want to go means research. Learning about your destination can save you money in unexpected ways:
Geography: Knowing airport locations, transportation links and nearby towns and cities can help you save money by flying indirectly to your destination. Often, it is cheaper to fly to surrounding areas which are accessible by inexpensive local or regional transportation from your final destination.
Culture: The cost of flying to most tourist destinations is affected greatly by local holidays and special events. Knowing what they are and avoiding them can save you tons of money, unless of course the purpose of your trip is to visit for those occasions.
Weather: Like culture, weather affects the cost of ticket prices to fly to most tourist destinations. High season (when more people travel and flights are more expensive) is usually during the summer months, and low season is usually during the winter. Avoid high season and reap the benefits! And remember, south of the equator, summer months begin in December, not June!
Be Realistic and Keep Your Eye on the Totals
One of the major reasons this article exists is to emphasize the fact that there is no guarantee to finding the best flight prices. If you become dependent on so-called airfare hacks, you will soon learn that tips and tricks can easily turn into traps.
Being realistic means understanding that you won’t always find the best flight price to suit your needs. It also means coming to terms with having to pay more sometimes. In those cases, you can keep your eyes on the prize by trying to save on other aspects of travel, like accommodations, food and entertainment.
Sites like Airbnb.com, Hostels.com and even Couchsurfing.com can save you tons of money on places to stay. You can save money on food by finding accommodations equipped with kitchens.
In some cases, you can even get a refund from the airline if the price of your flight drops after you book it. The website Yapta.com can help you to get these refunds in accordance with each airline’s rules.
Always Check Multiple Sources Before Booking
You’ve done it. You’ve found the right flight, the right date and the right price. Just click that Book Now button, and start day-dreaming about your upcoming trip. Right?
If you haven’t checked multiple sources for your ticket, then you’re not done. Considering the following techniques to cross reference your price on multiple sites.
Change Your Location: Most websites know what location you are searching from based on your IP address. They can serve you up different prices based on that address. Try using a VPN to change your location when you visit a website. You might be pleasantly surprised by a lower fare.
Use Local Sites and Currency: If you are searching for an international flight, make sure that you check country-specific versions of the site you’re on and in the local currency. Trying this in combination with changing your IP address can produce some interesting and lucrative results.
Check the Airline Website: While it is important to use apps, search engines and price alerts, it is also crucial that you never fail to check airline websites in conjunction with these tools. More often than not, buying directly from the airline does not save you money. Still, you can avoid kicking yourself later by doing your due diligence and checking. At the very least, it’s good to know what the airline’s price is so that you know exactly how much you are saving.
Put It All into Perspective
The above suggestions all have one thing in common:
Keep your options open.
Finding the best deals means leaving no stone unturned. Although we truly believe that, we wanted to get an idea of where the average American finds what they think are the best flight deals.
So, we conducted a survey that asked more than 2,000 random Americans the question, “Where do you find the best flight deals?”
The majority of respondents claimed to find the best flight deals on search engines (28.2%), travel websites (27.4%) and airline websites (20.3%).
Less than 20 percent claimed that they find the best flights deals via mobile apps (6.8%), email alerts (6.1%) and email newsletters (3.2%).
Surprisingly, eight percent of respondents claimed to find the best flight deals the old school way—at travel agencies.
Wherever you find the best flight deals, remember the most important thing:
Enjoy your flight!
This article originally appeared on Couponbox.com
Adventurer’s Manual: How to Successfully Explore Germany
Germany—the Land of Poets and Thinkers—is not only home to world-renowned composers like Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Schumann, and Wagner. It is also well-loved by tourists for its stunning sceneries and landscapes, serene rolling hills, picturesque meadows dotted with grazing cattle, quaint medieval villages, rich culture, and hearty, scrumptious German cuisine, among others. If you want a cornucopia of unique experiences rolled into one great adventure, you definitely have to put Germany at the top of your travel bucket list.
Traveling to Germany for the first time could be a daunting and thrilling experience. At the same time, it can also be overwhelming and intimidating if you absolutely know nothing about the country you’re visiting. For such reasons, it will be helpful to book a Germany guided tour to make sure everything is already taken care of for you so that the trip will go effortlessly smooth sailing. If you are unsure where to begin for your preparations, this ultimate travel guide to successfully exploring Germany is an excellent starting point!
First things first, here are the basic things you should know about Germany before hopping on that plane:
Germany is a Schengen country, which means that tourists from the allied 27 European countries don’t need to present a passport to gain entry to Germany. With little to no border control at their mutual borders, tourists from the other Schengen countries can seamlessly cross borders into their neighboring countries, including Germany.
Now, if you’re from the US, you would need to present a passport to be allowed entry in Germany. This U.S. passport must be valid for at least 90 days beyond the intended departure date from the Schengen area.
The prices of lodging and commodities in Germany are definitely cheaper than in the US, so you would find that most things are affordable here. If you are an average spender, expect to shell out $55 to $90 per day on accommodation, food, and transportation. Meanwhile, mid-range travelers may have to spend around $110 to $160 per day, and luxury spenders may have to shell out $200 or more daily.
Like most European countries, Germany has four seasons, each having its unique charm and appeal. This means that the best time to visit Germany would ultimately depend on your preferences.
If you like to participate in outdoor activities and festivities, it is best to visit Germany during its summer months—from June to August. However, take note that this is also the peak season, so there will inevitably be larger crowds, and the commodities tend to be more expensive.
Meanwhile, if you fancy engaging in winter sports, it is best to visit during the winter months—from December to February. Expect that the quaint German villages will have a snow-capped snow globe-like charm to them. Additionally, prices of accommodations and commodities tend to be lower since the crowds are sparse during the cold winter months. However, take note that many stores are closed down for the winter, except during the days leading up to Christmas. The German Christmas Markets are definitely not to be missed!
Spring and Fall
The shoulder season in Germany falls under both Spring—from April to May—and fall—from September to October. During these months, the weather tends to be milder, the prices of hotels and commodities tend to be lower than in the summer season, and there are also fewer tourists around.
Germany is known for having two essential festivals: the Oktoberfest and Christmas Markets.
Oktoberfest is a festival held yearly in Munich that celebrates beer, food, and Bavarian culture, along with some live music and carnival rides for 16 days straight. This world-renowned festival runs from late September to early October, attracting countless visitors from all around the world.
On the other hand, come late November til the end of December, Germany transforms its tranquil towns into a magical winter wonderland, complete with snow-dusted Christmas trees and cobbled lanes. During winter, everywhere you look, you will see festive wooden huts draped in lush Christmas garlands, sparkling string lights, and handcrafted Christmas ornaments and gifts. The delightful smell of roasted nuts, gingerbread, mulled wine, and German sausage hangs around the air as you make your way through the German Christmas markets. Christmas in Germany is truly the jolliest time of the year!
Germany boasts an extensive public transportation network comprising of buses, trams, U-Bahn (or subways), and trains. You don’t really need to rely solely on driving cars to get around the area, as Germany’s public transportation system is reliable, efficient, clean, and comfortable to use.
If you want to get to your destination quicker, you should ride ICE Trains, which are speedy but tend to be expensive. On the other hand, regional trains tend to be slower in terms of speed but are much more affordable. But if you are on a tight budget, riding the bus will do as it is the least expensive option. You can even plan your travel using public transportation via apps like Deutsche Bahn or Rome2Rio.
To ensure a hitch-free ride, make sure you always validate your ticket at the machine in the stations before you board the train or bus. And do take note of the schedule of the vehicles as the trains in Germany are very punctual. They arrive on the dot, so it is important for you to arrive at the station early so you won’t miss your train. Lastly, you may need to push a button to open the doors so you can get off at your stop, or may need to alert the driver that your stop is approaching.
Germany has a pocketful of mesmerizing sights, medieval architecture, and landscapes to marvel at. At a glance, here are the best places to add to your itinerary:
Germany’s capital city is one of the top tourist destinations, thanks to its marvelous museums, opulent art, and vibrant culture. This is the best place to appreciate Germany’s striking contrasts, where the past and present intermingle as historical buildings stand alongside modern architecture.
It is Bavaria’s capital, which is known as the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest celebration. If you love beer, you will love Munich’s beer halls, most especially the famed Hofbräuhaus.
- Köln (Cologne)
This two-millennia-old city is famed for its twin-spired Cologne Cathedral and its gilded medieval reliquary alongside sweeping river views.
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This German town nestled in northern Bavaria is known for its charming medieval architecture. As you walk its cobblestone streets, you’ll be amazed at the panoramic sight of its well-maintained half-timbered houses. Arguably, this is the best medieval town in Germany.
Back in the Middle Ages, the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg was once considered the most important imperial palace in the Holy Roman Empire. For centuries, the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg stood as a secure base and prestigious residence for the head of the Empire.
- Neuschwanstein Castle
This fairytale-like castle nestled deep within the Bavarian Alps is one of Germany’s best tourist attractions. It is famously known as the inspiration for the castle design of Disney’s Cinderella. This castle was built by the orders of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was infamously known as the “mad King Ludwig.” The ever-so-beautiful castle of Neuschwanstein was supposedly a hideaway for this reclusive mad king.
- Burg Eltz
This 1,000-year-old fairy tale castle is nestled at the heart of the hills above the Moselle between Koblenz and Trier. It is among the oldest castles in Germany, and to this day, it is still owned by the House of Eltz, a clan who have lived there since the beginning of the 12th century.
The Benefits of Bundling Car Rentals with Hotel Stays in Orlando
Orlando, Florida is a favorite tourist destination for vacationers for many good reasons. It’s the theme park capital of the world, the home of the world-famous Magic Kingdom Park that takes you back to your childhood. Going around can be challenging if it’s your first time visiting the city. Tagging children along is even harder considering all the stuff you need to bring for the trip.
When planning your Orlando vacation, it’s always strategic to bundle your car rental in Orlando with hotel stays. Planning your trip this way saves you time, money, and headache.
Why Bundle Your Car Rental with Accommodation?
Bundling an Orlando car rental cheap with accommodation is a smart move when planning your trip. Here are five compelling benefits why many tourists do this and why you should too:
Bundling car rental with accommodation is cost-effective.
The biggest benefit you get from bundling a car rental with hotel stays is cost-effectiveness. A car rental in Orlando may give you exclusive perks and discounts when you bundle your rental with an accommodation booking. Travelers who are on a budget can make significant savings from rental and accommodation bundles.
Bundling car rental with accommodation gives you convenience.
When the kids are in tow, you don’t want to hassle yourself with separate car rental and hotel bookings. A car rental in Orlando that’s booked with a hotel stay makes your whole experience simpler and hassle-free. The car rental will be available at the hotel when you arrive, so you don’t have to book a separate ride to the car rental location just to fetch your vehicle.
Bundling car rental with accommodation gives you control over your time.
A car rental in Orlando gives you better control over your time and itinerary. Although taxis and public transportation are available here, commuting takes away precious time that you can otherwise use to enjoy your vacation. When you drive your own rented car, you don’t have to worry about getting off at the next bus stop or catching the train before it leaves the station.
Bundling car rental with accommodation gives you peace of mind.
Getting a car rental in Orlando with accommodation gives you security and peace of mind. In case you encounter a problem during your trip, it will be easy to contact the service provider because you’ll only have to deal with a single contact person. Getting a resolution is quicker and more efficient compared to booking the two services separately.
Bundling luxury car rental with accommodation makes you more flexible.
You’re meant to enjoy every moment of your trip and getting luxury car hire will help you to make the most out of your time there. With a luxury car rental and hotel booked together, you can be more flexible and enjoy your trip stress-free. So, you can also make last-minute adjustments to your itinerary.
Other Travel Tips when Visiting Orlando
If you have plans of visiting Orlando with your family soon, here are some practical tips to keep in mind that will save you money and make your trip more enjoyable.
1) Know when to best visit famous amusement parks such as Disney World.
You’ll find some world-famous amusement parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World here in Orlando. These parks can be extremely crowded during the Christmas season wherein you have to wait for at least 2 hours for a ride. Beat the crowds by visiting in non-peak seasons like mid-September or mid-January. Book your tickets ahead to get exclusive discounts.
2) Book an affordable car rental at the Orlando Airport, MCO.
Commuting around Orlando can be difficult. Save yourself the headache by booking affordable car rentals at MCO. Book in advance and get your car as soon as you land at the airport. It’s more cost-efficient compared to commuting your way around the city.
3) Take a day trip to nearby must-see destinations while you’re here.
Orlando is the heart of Florida and it’s surrounded by must-see destinations that you can explore on a day trip. With a rental vehicle, you can travel with ease to whatever nearby destinations you’d like to explore. Take photos and go, you don’t have to spend much to enjoy beautiful Orlando.
Bundling your car rental with hotel stays is cost-effective, convenient, and gives you better control over your time. Additionally, booking your car and accommodation together gives you flexibility and peace of mind. To get the most out of your vacation, know the best time to visit the parks to avoid long queues. Book a car rental at the airport to ensure a happy Orlando experience.
The Essential Guide to Exploring Cancun’s Nightlife
Cancun, Mexico, is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and exciting entertainment options. From beachfront bars to high-energy nightclubs, the city has something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or an all-night dance party, Cancun has plenty of options. We’ve compiled this essential guide to exploring Cancun’s nightlife to help you get the most out of your visit.
When dining in Cancun, there are countless restaurants and bars. From traditional Mexican eateries to upscale restaurants serving international cuisine, there’s something for every taste and budget. Head to one of the city’s many beachfront bars and restaurants for an unforgettable evening with friends. Here you can enjoy delicious food and drinks while viewing the Caribbean Sea.
Cancun is home to some of the best clubs and discos in Mexico. Whether searching for a location to boogie or simply wishing to lounge around with friends, you’ll discover numerous sites to fiesta all night. Numerous of the municipality’s nightspots feature live tunes and DJs spinning a range from salsa and reggaeton to hip-hop and electronic music. To guarantee your evening proceeds as effortlessly as possible, inquire with your hotel receptionist about dress regulations and entry fees before venturing out.
The nightlife in Cancun is legendary and for good reason. From beachfront bars to high-energy nightclubs, the city has something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or an all-night dance party, Cancun has plenty of options. Here are some of the best night-outs in Cancun to help make your visit even more memorable.
No expedition to Cancun is consummate, exclusive of a vacation to one of the metropolis’s innumerable beachfront taverns. Here you can appreciate delectable edibles and potables while apprehending the arresting vistas of the Caribbean Sea. Numerous of these beachfront sites as well boast live music and disc jockeys spinning everything from salsa and reggaeton to hip-hop and electronic music. With its marvelous ambiance and picturesque scenery, it is no surprise that beachfront bars are favored among locals and sightseers.
If you take a break from the revelry, why not investigate some of Cancun’s shopping centers? The city is home to multiple large emporiums where you’ll find everything from couturier clothing stores to trinket shops retailing traditional Mexican handicrafts. You can also snag great bargains on jewelry and electronics at one of the city’s flea markets. But, no matter what shopping experience you’re seeking, there’s something for everyone in Cancun.
No journey to Cancun would be finished without a stop at Mexico Cancer Clinic, one of Latin America’s preeminent oncology treatment centers. MCC offers modern cancer care for grown-ups and youngsters with every kind of cancer. The clinic also provides specialized programs for those receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy while visiting Mexico. So whether you’re looking for information on cancer treatment options or need a spot to unwind after a long night out in the city, MCC is worthy of consideration during your stay in Cancun.
As with any famed holidaymaker spot, exercising prudence is essential when visiting Cancun. Ensure you abstain from straying unaccompanied at night and remain aware of your environment. Moreover, persistently keep your identification and other critical documents safe. Finally, if you’re heading out to the nightspots, guarantee you have a dependable form of conveyance so you can get home securely.
Cancun offers a unique nightlife experience that can’t be found anywhere else. From beachfront bars to high-energy nightclubs, the city has something for everyone. So whether you’re looking to grab a bite to eat or spend the night dancing, Cancun has plenty of options. Be sure to also visit Mexico Cancer Clinic during your stay for an unforgettable experience. Cancun will surely make your trip memorable with its great vibes and beautiful scenery.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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