Becoming a savvy traveler takes experience and countless mistakes. It often involves getting lost, spending over budget, and suffering through lousy accommodations or poor service.
Thankfully, with this special report you’ll be able to avoid the most common travel mistakes while learning how to become a master traveler who knows how to:
Travel more, for less. Find out how you can save money on virtually everything associated with your trip.
A lot of work goes into planning the perfect vacation. From spending hours on review sites to asking friends and family for recommendations, we often spend a lot of time trying to get everything just right. I’ll show you where to go for the best, genuine reviews from real travelers.
Save Your Sanity!
Planning a trip can be stressful, especially if you aren’t an experienced traveler and aren’t sure where to begin. This report was designed to take the guesswork out of travel planning so you can enjoy your trip with less worry.
So without further delay, let’s transform you into a savvy, master traveler!
Save Money with Off-Season Travel
When it comes to being able to travel and see the world, it’s important that you set a budget and stay within the scope of your estimated costs.
Traveling without a budget in place can lead to financial disaster. At the same time, you want to make sure you leave some elbow room for those unexpected costs or the occasional splurge!
One easy way to stay within budget is to plan every aspect of your trip while learning from the travel experts who know how to tighten those purse strings and get more out of every trip, for less.
Here are a few tips to get your travel hustle on so you can save a ton of money without taking away from your experience:
Timing is Everything
You can save a ton of money when traveling just by timing your trip correctly. Certain times of year are always going to be more affordable as they’re deemed “off-season”. This is especially true for tropical hot spots or beach vacations.
While you don’t want to lose out on enjoying the key areas of a location simply because you visit in the off-season, timing your trip so that it aligns with the final days of off-season can help you save a tremendous amount of money as hotels will be significantly more affordable.
As a popular travel expert, Tausha Cowan has said, “If you want to travel to a certain place, be flexible about the timing. If you want to travel at a certain time, be flexible about the location. Choose one – not both.”
The off-season is the time of year when there is less tourism, which means hotels and even restaurants will offer special time-limited deals to garner business and encourage activity.
But saving money isn’t the only reason to consider traveling during the off-season. Because of the decrease in tourism, you’ll find lots of deals on local activities with fewer line-ups and crowds, even at the local hot spots.
Oftentimes, the low season begins around October and ends in late April or late May, depending on location. For example, in Southeast Asia, the off-season typically runs from March to October and in Mexico, the offseason (or low-season) runs from May to mid-December.
Save on Everything
As mentioned, in off or low-season months, you’ll find great bargains and special discounts on hotels and restaurants but that also applies to flights!
One thing to keep in mind is that with airlines, what qualifies as the low season will vary. Some airlines will offer lower-priced flights based around seasons while others on the destination or even school schedules when airlines know that families will start looking to go on vacation.
And finally, traveling during the offseason will open up new opportunities because you won’t be disappointed by tickets to local attractions quickly selling out like you would during peak season. That means you’ll have the flexibility of changing your schedule and itinerary as you choose.
Savvy Packing Tips
If you want to become a seasoned traveler, you need to learn how to pack efficiently. Not only will this save you money at the airport by avoiding over-weight limit costs, but you’ll be able to travel lighter while ensuring you still have everything you need.
How many times have you packed for a trip or vacation only to discover you didn’t really need or use half of what you brought with you? It’s easy to over-pack or include unnecessary items because you haven’t carefully planned out your trip.
Here are a few tips to help you become a savvy packer:
Purchase a Travel-Savvy Backpack
Whether you plan to check luggage or not, a travel-savvy backpack can help you bring the essentials while saving weight and room in your suitcase. Backpacks will fit into carrying on storage compartments while giving you one centralized place for all of the important documents you need throughout your travel.
Plus, a backpack just makes traveling easier, freeing your hands and helping you better navigate. This is especially true if traveling Europe with cobblestone roads that will tear up even the highest quality suitcase wheels.
When choosing a backpack, make sure you invest in a high-quality travel-ready bag. You’ll end up paying more for it upfront but if you select a high-end bag you’ll never have to buy another one again.
You want your backpack to be flexible in size and shape with comfortable straps and even weight distribution.
You can check out a full review of the top backpacks and travel bags
Roll Your Clothes
This is a packing hack I discovered years ago and it saves me a ton of space in my bag but it also surprisingly helps decrease wrinkles in a lot of my clothing. Simply roll your shirts and pants into burrito-style packages to save room and fit more into your luggage.
Group your Luggage
This tip came from an experienced flight attendant who wanted to make sure she got through customs quickly during each leg of her flight.
By segmenting your luggage, you are placing all liquid items into separate plastic bags, grouping your luggage by type. This will make it a lot easier if you’re asked to open your luggage for quick inspection through customs.
Pack a Pen or Pencil with a Thin Notebook
There will be plenty of times you’ll likely require a pen during your travels, including when filling out custom and immigration forms.
Pack pens in a Ziploc bag to prevent them from leaking, or bring extra pencils in the event one breaks or snaps. Not only will a pen or pencil be handy when it comes to filling out required travel documents but you can use it to jot down reminders, notes, or when asking someone for directions.
Choose a Colorful Suitcase
This is a great tip, especially when you travel a lot and find that you’re spending a lot of time looking for your luggage on the carousel.
By choosing an unusual color or pattern when buying a suitcase, you’ll be able to easily spot it at the airport. And make sure you add a luggage tag to your suitcase that includes your full name and address should you lose your luggage.
Pack Chargers with Devices
Whenever possible, keep chargers with associated devices. If your luggage is lost or delayed, at least you’ll still be able to use the devices carried in your day bag.
Be Careful with Over-the-Counter Medications
While certain medications are permitted in some countries, you’ll want to double-check before bringing any medication with you. Some areas, such as Japan, don’t allow common medications like Sudafed into their country.
Tape Bottle Lids
Tape the lids of bottles closed before travel to protect against potential leakage. Just a piece of masking tape will do the trick and you can easily remove it when you settle in.
Also, keep in mind that visiting higher elevation areas like Nepal or North India can cause toiletries to be under pressure; they’ll spray when you open them. Plus, those reusable plastic bags will come in handy during your travels.
Consider Lithium Batteries
If you need to pack batteries, consider lithium as they are lighter and often last longer. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that many airlines require that lithium batteries be carried on board and not checked into luggage.
Choose Powder Over Liquid
Whenever possible, choose powder based options over liquid. This includes things like deodorant and laundry detergent. The powder is a lot lighter and will help you reduce weight.
Above all else, don’t pack to capacity. Ideally, you should pack at least a week before you’re set to leave. That way you have time to reconsider items, organize as needed and not be stressed out packing the last minute (which will also increase your chances of forgetting something!). So, start packing at least 5 days in advance. Packing is best done modularly. Try to pack in “kits” based on need.
If your luggage is even remotely close to capacity, you’ll want to set it on a scale to ensure it’s not over the weight limit.
Don’t go into survival mode! Pack only what is necessary. No bloat bags. The last thing you want is to be charged an extra $50-100 at the airport because you failed to double-check weight limits.
Also, remember to leave room for souvenirs or gifts you may buy while traveling.
We’ve covered some of the essentials of becoming a master traveler. You’ve learned how to pack efficiently, as well as how to save money by traveling off-season.
It’s time to look at the darker side of travel: the risks involved and how you can stay safe.
Avoiding pickpockets isn’t always the easiest thing to do. After all, they’re often highly trained. But keeping an eye out for obvious red flags is important, especially in busy tourist areas where pickpocketing is common.
Start by placing your most valuable items in non-visible compartments or areas that are easily accessible. This means, avoid packing important items inside pockets or in the outer area of your backpack unless you have anti-theft measures in place.
Get rid of any bags that feature logos or brands known as being high-end or expensive. It’s a flag to pickpockets that you may be carrying a valuable item. This includes a camera and laptop bags.
Pack your valuables at the bottom. When using a backpack, place your most valuable items at the very bottom of the bag and your fewer valuables on the top. That way if a thief manages to reach into your bag, they won’t have time to dig into the bottom and end up with less expensive or important items.
Keep in mind that theft can take place anywhere, from a busy street, an interesting tourist attraction where you might end up distracted and caught off guard to an unmonitored hotel room. The best thing you can do is always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect your valuables.
One of the most common items that are on the radar of thieves is your credit cards, passport, and currency which means you’ll want to go the distance in safeguarding these items by placing them in RFID sleeves and keeping them in secured compartments.
If you end up being a victim of theft while traveling abroad, begin by writing down everything that is missing and then file a police report for immediate help. If you aren’t sure who to contact, reach out to a local American embassy who will be able to point you in the right direction.
Always have a contingency plan! Create copies of important documents so you can show the police what was taken and always leave multiple forms of contact with the local authorities after reporting a crime so they can follow up with you. Providing an email address is often better than providing an International phone number that may not deliver messages to you in time.
Being diligent when it comes to safety should begin long before you leave for your trip. This includes being cautious with too-good-to-be-true online travel offers.
When it comes to travel scams, more and more people find themselves a target via smartphone and email offers, promising free airline tickets, or free access to attractions or events.
Always be cautious when receiving unsolicited offers regarding upcoming travel. Double-check review sites, including TripAdvisor, and check hotel, car rental, or attraction websites for information about potential scams.
If you’re looking to save money on travel, visit Groupon.com instead and keep an eye out for time-limited offers that have been verified.
Pro Travel Tips
Here are a few savvy travel tips to help you get the most out of your trip:
Laminate Important Documents
One of the smartest things you can do is laminate important documents like a copy of your passport, travel insurance certificates, birth certificate, or driver’s license. Just don’t laminate the original! Those aren’t always accepted. By laminating, you’re able to protect them from potential water damage, ensuring you have safe copies should they be needed.
Use Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card was launched in 2017 and is used by a savvy traveler because of the added travel insurance benefits that come attached to this account. This includes cancellation insurance (with fast reimbursement) to trip delay benefits, baggage delay benefits, and auto rental protection.
Use Flight Discount Sites
The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to score the best rates. In fact, the difference in changing your date by just one day can often mean saving hundreds of dollars.
Pro Tip: Never search for flights based on a group. Airlines will always show the highest priced ticket and then assign seats together in that price group. Instead, search for seats individually so you can score the lowest price point and then reserve additional seats after.
Just the same, book early but not too far ahead. There’s a sweet spot where you’ll be able to secure lower-priced airfare if you book in advance. 6-8 weeks is typically the best time to book.
Become a Couch Surfer
If you want to save a ton of money on accommodations, consider couch surfing. Not only will you be able to save money but you’ll get to know the locals. My favorite site is Couchsurfing where you’ll be able to connect with potential hosts.
Couch surfing is a great way to engage with locals and get to learn about and experience their culture firsthand.
Looking to save money on flights, accommodations, and more? One thing to keep in mind is that there are many myths surrounding the methods used to find discount airfare or secret discounts on cheap hotels.
Airlines base their pricing on a number of things, including season, current demand, weather, major events (festivals, concerts, attractions), and much more. This means it’s somewhat easy to predict when airfare prices will soar, as well as when they are likely to be the lowest of the season.
At the same time, there are many misconceptions surrounding how to garner cheaper flights. Don’t let those myths mislead you. It isn’t cheaper to purchase a flight on a Tuesday, nor is there any evidence supporting any specific date or time period in which airfare is guaranteed to be priced lower.
The best way to save on airfare is to be flexible with your travel dates and times. If you have room to play within your schedule, chances are you’ll be able to find cheaper flights. The same goes for whether you are fine with purchasing flights with multiple stops and connections, avoiding the higher-priced direct flights.
The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to score the best rates. In fact, the difference in changing your date by just one day can often mean saving hundreds of dollars.
Check out the Google Flights tool to explore different dates and you’ll see just how much pricing changes from day to day: https://google.com/flights
Google Flights also makes it easy to see how location really plays a role in the cost of airfare, even when locations are really close to one another. So if you are also flexible with where you want to go, you’ll be able to save hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on airfare just by changing your destination to something similar, yet more affordable.
The airlines themselves set their pricing so you can also save money by going with the budget carriers, such as SouthWest, or if you’re in Canada, Porter Airlines. Europe is known for many budget carriers including EasyJet and RyanAir while Australia and New Zealand have Jetstar.
Here are a few final tips to help you save even more money while traveling:
Consider Free Activities
Nearly everywhere you visit there will be opportunities to gain access to certain attractions for free. Keep an eye out for free activities in the area by looking at local community websites, travel calendars or local guides.
To save even more money, consider self-guided tours instead of paid guides. Not only will you be able to design your own itinerary, but you’ll be able to spend as much time at each location as you wish instead of being hurried along by a bus tour guide.
Choose your Hotel Room Carefully
Reserve a room that has a refrigerator and microwave, or even better, a full kitchenette. This will save you a ton of money by allowing you to shop for groceries locally and store them in your room.
Use Travel Points
If you collect travel points, you can put them to good use if you plan carefully. You’ll want to consider the many different travel points available well in advance so you can begin collecting them locally.
Air Miles, as well as all major chain hotels like Marriott and Hilton, offer a reward system where you can earn free nights stays the more often you visit.
Buy a Multi-Tourist Pass
Cities like New York offer the “New York City Pass”, which includes access to transportation and sightseeing tours all over the city. Just make sure to read through the list of attractions and inclusions before you purchase to ensure you will want to take advantage of enough of them to make it worth the price. You can easily save hundreds of dollars on attractions if you plan your itinerary carefully.
Get an Airbnb
Renting an apartment or Airbnb can save you a lot of money in accommodations while also giving you the full local experience since most of these places will be within rural neighborhoods.
Play as a Tourist, eat like a Local
Avoid restaurants in high-traffic tourist areas as the food will be overpriced. Instead, visit the attractions and places of interest and then get away from the crowds to find lower-cost meal options.
And above all else, plan a budget and stick to it! It’s easy to get carried away when you’re traveling and excited about your trip but it’s important to decide on a budget early on and do your best to stay on track.
That way, you’ll avoid regret when you return home but you’ll also be able to travel more with that extra money you saved!
To your many adventures,