Perfect your timing.
Booking affordable travel is part art, part science. The science has to do with timing, both in terms of when you book and when you fly.
Airlines offer their best fares on Tuesdays. Some claim this has to do with Monday marketing meetings where competition is surveyed and prices are dropped. Regardless of reason, Hump Day Eve is your key to booking cheap travel.
Timing your travel is more of an art. Generally, 50 days notice is ideal for finding the best deal. Worst timing? Three days’ notice. In airlines’ minds, that means emergency, not spontaneity. Mere hours before, another wave of plane-packing deals hits.
Master the red tape.
Air travel is full of rules. Small bottles. Perfectly sized suitcases. Single-file lines. Frequent flyers know their way through (and around) these rules. A few of our favorite hacks:
- Carry on a duffle bag instead of a hard-sided roller. Even if you’re oversized, flight attendants can squeeze a duffle on.
- When selecting a TSA lane, look for the line with the most frequent travelers (business people, etc.) They’re likely to breeze through the line much, much faster than the family adorned with Mickey ears.
- The most efficient way to pack? Roll. Roll your clothes to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
- Those hotel shower caps have another smart use: keeping shoes from dirtying your clothes while in transit.
- Use contact lens cases to pack small amounts of liquid from otherwise forbidden containers, like foundation or other makeup. No need to purchase pricey travel size versions.
Make life easier on the ground.
The booking, packing, and flying are behind you. Now, the fun part. Make the most of your vacation by adhering to a few choice guidelines:
- Download the local area from Google Maps before you depart. You’ll be able to pinpoint your location without using any roaming data.
- Beat jet lag by booking a flight that arrives in early evening. Then head to bed around 10pm.
- Bring a water bottle. Not only will you save money, but you’ll save time searching for hydration while you avoid unclean water.
- Unplug. Really want to maximize your rest? Be present. Checking into other people’s worlds on social media is not going to improve your vacation. Look at the sunset instead of photographing it. Enjoy your meal instead of Instagramming it. And savor the moments that only you can truly enjoy.