Due to my love of jetting off whenever possible, most people thing I've got a generous bank account or magic Visa. Mais non, but I make it work!
We all have our priorities and mine are food and travel. I splurge on groceries and plane tickets, but I shop carefully, I don't own a car or a home, I work freelance jobs that provide me with free time between gigs, and I travel on a budget.
- Planes and Trains
Before you check a flight compare all of your available options. My favourites are Expedia, Kayak, Cheapo air, and then checking specific airlines. Some airlines offer special deals, for example, if you're flying Air France you can sometimes get a discount for being 25 and under, or for flying with your common law. I also make sure I receive Porter's specials so that I don't miss any of their awesome sales. Last time I flew to France I flew to Montreal 50% off, and then Air Transat from there to Toulouse. I saved hundreds! If you're taking the train in Canada, Via Rail also offers discounts for under 25 and great online deals.
Over the past year I've become a big fan of staying in Air BnB apartments to save money and get a better feel of a city. I always look up apartments based off my specific requirements: private apartment (not a room in a shared apartment), wifi, kitchen, and great neighborhood. I make sure to read all reviews before booking.
If I'm taking the hotel route I will look over Hotwire, Booking.com and Tripadvisor and compare my options. It helps to make a list of options, prices and details. Tripadvisor and Booking.com are especially helpful in finding what you're looking for, as you can search by romantic hotel, family vacation, or business ect.
Occasionally I will book flights and accommodation as a bundle through Expedia, especially if booking as a couple, as this can save a lot of money.
- Finding cool spots
Don't you hate wandering for hours around a city looking for a cool place to stop for a coffee or a warm meal, and you get to the point where you're so hungry that you end up paying more than you should at an overpriced tourist dump? I find it so depressing.
To avoid this I'm a big fan of creating a Google Map of places I want to visit beforehand. Check out Ayah and I's Portland map here as an example.
I'm not one to make itineraries for my days away, but I love deciding on a few places I'd love to stop by, and if they happen to be around where I'm roaming it's a bonus.
I research restaurants, cafes, shops and attractions using Yelp, local blogs, and when possible, Unlike. This helps me find cool spots off the beaten track that won't be overrun with other travellers. I want to make like the locals!
If you're travelling with allergies, pack your purse with bars, nuts and seeds for emergency hunger attacks. I also keep a mini bottle of hot sauce in my purse because I'm a spice freak.
How you pack depends on wear you're going. If you're going to Paris for a romantic vacation, pack a small chic carry on with your best outfits and most stylish purse. If you're going to be backpacking all over Europe, I recommend a sturdy backpack and a smaller rolling suitcase for ease of getting on and off buses and trains and roaming around cities.
Less is more when travelling. I only pack outfits I know I love, will wear on repeat, and won't wrinkle or stain too easily. Anytime I pack too much I still end up wearing those two favourite outfits, so I try to be realistic!
For a smart packing tutorial that will help you save room, check out this video:
Can you tell I've got travel on the brain again? What are your favourite smart travel tips?