Many of my readers often ask me how I’m able to travel so often while working a full-time job, being a soccer mom, and running a business. The short end of that question is easy, I utilize apps to make destination planning feasible, pocket-friendly and frequent. So with that said, here are my top 5 Travel APPS that can help you see the world!
We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”Once upon a time, I thought you needed buckets of money to travel, but that’s simply not the case. You can travel but you just have to be hustler about it.
Try Out “Mistake Fares”
I came across the APP, “Secret Flying” off Instagram. Initially, I didn’t think these low fares were real, but they are! For those of you who don’t know, mistake fares are when an airline or online travel agency sells a ticket for significantly less than intended. Apps like Secret Flying and The Flight Deal alerts you of all the deals for booking. I used it for the first time when I visited Amsterdam last March for a whopping $250 roundtrip from NYC!!!
Hidden Hotel Stays
I am an advocate of saving money on hotel stays without skimming on amenities and service. I look for top reviews, pictures from real travelers (do not only rely on hotel professional pics), and proximity to main landmarks and/or tourist spots. I don’t mind taking public transportation (taxis, metros, etc) to get me to the sites. However, I stop it at a 10 minute ride. So if you’re like me, make sure to download these APPS ASAP!
- HOTWIRE– I like that they have both a website and app. This has been my go-to for travel lodging for years! How does it work: When brand-name hotels have rooms that would otherwise go unsold, they use Hotwire to fill them, so you get them at Hotwire Hot Rates — prices lower than any other travel site. So basically, you’re booking your stay without knowing which hotel you will get. However, they do give you hints like the neighborhood, it’s star ratings, and often, a list of hotels in the area, including the one you will get. Once you book your room, they immediately confirm your reservation and show you the hotel’s complete details, including its name and exact location. They also have hot rate deals on car rentals and flights.
- HOTEL TONIGHT– is an online travel app that allows you to find discounted hotel accommodations throughout the Americas, Europe and Australia. Due to the last minute nature of the bookings, the app can offer deep discounts off the listed hotel rate. Although you get the BIG discounts if you book the day(s) before, but I have saved hundreds on my hotel by booking over a week in advance. I used this for my recent trip to Madrid and Barcelona! In Madrid, in my 4.5 start hotel, my total for 4days and 3 nights came to under $200 for my loft duplex hotel room!!
Travel during off season
One of the best cost effective ways to travel on the cheap is to travel during off-seasons. For example, September -school is back in session and typically people used up their work vacay days which means hotels and airlines are in need of travelers. Winter season-obviously people would want to travel to escape frigid temps, however island destinations aren’t usually cheap so I often head to Europe in late February to April. The last couple of years, the weather range on average in the 50s and 60s- totally doable for sight-seeing. Traveling during the off-season will not only get you a cheaper flight, buy you’ll avoid touristy crowds!
Be strategic with your destination . For example, you really want to visit France, however the flight to Barcelona is hundreds of dollars cheaper. Book the flight to Barcelona and split your time between Spain and France by taking the Europe high-speed train, Renfe. Tickets between countries start as little as $50 each way and no fee for your luggage!! Trust me, I’ve used this tactic before and it worked out beautifully plus for one round trip flight, you get to experience 2 different countries! You can either opt to fly back home out of France or hop back on the train and head back to Barcelona. Either way, the cost savings are impressive!
Sign Up for Deals
My 5th tip on how to save time and money to travel, is to sign up to receive emails or text notifications from airlines and travel apps. I get it, no one likes spam mail, but the deals you’ll get from these sites are nothing to roll your eyes at. My two favorite companies are Chea-O-Air and Norwegian Airlines.
- Cheap-O-Air: can always get fares cheaper than the airlines can offer. I’m not sure how they do it, but they’re among the cheapest apps I find to book travel. Also, you can often find a promo code online to use for additional savings!
- Norwegian Air: Sign up for their newsletter as they frequently send secret deals to their email list recipients. Additionally, they have a rewards loyalty plan that allows you to accumulate points which works out like cash towards your future flights. I used them last February for an island getaway to Guadeloupe for $210 roundtrip!
With any good travel deal comes the necessity of efficient travel gear. This trip, I chose CALPAK Kaya Mauve for my luggage. So much goes into picking the right luggage, besides value, you want something long lasting, functional and let’s face it, cute! My Calpak Kaya set definitely fit the mold. The Kaya Laptop Backpack housed my laptop while on the plane and train and my Foder’s travel book and other necessities, while sight-seeing. Its super durable and I like how sleek the design is. Best part: this backpack can easily become your work bag.
I find traveling with a carry-on not only is economically smart, but it prevents hassling with luggage and the dreaded baggage claim pick-up. From Calpak, my Hue Carry-on with pockets was compact and most importantly, the wheels were sturdy. Tell me I’m not the only one who gets fussy about her luggage having smooth wheels! Bonus: the Hue comes in an array of colors that can easily match your Kaya Backpack.
Because luggage isn’t necessarily an item people tend to buy time and time again, I think it’s important to buy durable and quality luggage to safeguard your belongings. Calpak pieces either come with a 1 year or 2 year limited warranty.
PLEASE READ: I polled my followers on IG on whether I should release this blog post I wrote a month before the Covid-19 pandemic, on how to save money to travel. Please do not misconstrue the timing as shrewd as I’m always transparent with my readers. If anything, the tips I share can be saved and used in the future. I highly recommend you pin this blog post on your travel Pinterest board. Don’t have one, make one!“
Thank you Calpak for sponsoring this post. All opinions are true and unbiased.