Despite the sharp depreciation of the ruble, it is quite possible to travel as often as a couple of years ago. You just need to spend a little more time planning your trip and know what pitfalls to get around while reducing your vacation budget.
The best flight tickets
To catch the most favorable price for air tickets, you do not always need to buy them for a year. Each direction has its own time.
For example, when planning a trip to the UK, the most important thing is not to go to extremes: do not leave the reservation on the last day, but also do not do it too early. The best option is to buy a ticket a month before departure.
In the case of Asia, everything is ambiguous. While the ruble was relatively stable, it made sense to think about the flight for the year. However, now no one wants to take risks, and tickets closer to the departure date are not so expensive. You can buy them for six months, and two weeks and the price will be slightly different.
But flights to Europe are better to plan. The farther the day of departure, the cheaper the tickets. Six months is a good time—same story with America.
As for long-distance flights – to Australia or New Zealand, here the rule “the sooner, the better” works for one hundred percent. Tickets purchased per year will be half the price of those booked at the last minute.
On the Internet, a life hack is circulating that tickets are best ordered, not with a Mac, but with Windows because they will be a little cheaper. However, if we buy tickets while sitting in the UK, we don’t have to worry about this: we still don’t know how to analyze the user in such detail.
They also say that tickets on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday rise in price, but this is only partially true. International flights are getting more expensive, and trips like London – Sochi are practically not affected.
But if you have the opportunity to fly away and return on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and not on other days of the week, then your bank card will have a little more money. The fact is that these are less popular and, accordingly, cheaper days for flights. Indeed, business trips are usually sent on Mondays, and on holidays – on Fridays or Saturdays to capture more days.
If you want to save on travel, you have to spend a little more time planning it. Compare prices on different sites to find tickets, and play with various convenient tools invented by the teams of these portals. For example, on a particular site, there is a “Low Price Calendar” service that allows you to pre-calculate the days when the cheapest flights will be available for purchase.
Good tickets can often be grabbed at a significant discount, but you need to do this on time until everyone has figured it out. In order not to miss the moment, you should subscribe to the newsletters of various airlines and search sites that notify of their promotions.
The ticket price changes every 15 minutes – for a variety of reasons. It’s like stocks on a stock exchange. If you have already decided exactly where you want to go, and are waiting for the right time to book a flight, the above site has a convenient service for this: you can subscribe to the newsletter about changing airfare so that you don’t have to update the site over and over again.
Earning bonus miles is a good idea, but sometimes it seems completely unrealizable. In order not to force yourself to fly all the time with only one airline, it is worth finding out which alliances include those carriers whose services you use most often. It’s faster to collect miles. To do this, you need to get cards of these alliances and fill in the data about your travels in a particular form on the site.
If you do not fly at all very often, then miles can be burned. But there is another way: to get a credit card, with which you can earn miles by paying at grocery stores and gas stations. Different banks offer similar programs – read the conditions on their sites and choose the one that suits you.
Search sites allow you to find flights with one or two transfers, which are often cheaper than direct flights. The path is more prolonged and less comfortable, but for the sake of a favorable price, it is quite possible to survive. The main thing is to ensure that the transplant is about two to three hours. If the gap between connections is lower, there is a risk of being late for the second flight or getting very worried. If the difference is longer, you can get tired of waiting at the airport.
Another thing is that search sites do not search for the connection of two low-cost airlines at once, that is, low-cost airlines. However, this can be done independently. Let’s say you fly to Paris. To get started, find the entry point: check all the shares on all sites and select the locality to fly to from London is the cheapest. This city – often Budapest or Krakow – will become your entry point. After that, study all flights to Paris on the sites of low-cost airlines flying from your location.
Savings on domestic crossings
Going on a trip to Europe, do not forget that sometimes it is cheaper to get from the entry point, not by plane, but by train or bus. Five minutes of work in a search engine: You can easily find the sites of various carriers to compare prices and understand which option is more convenient and profitable. To search in this case is better, of course, in English or the language of your entry point, if you know it. Sometimes a trip can come out slightly cheaper, but more tiring. It is essential to decide what you want more: save money, survive the adventure, or get to your destination in the best way.
Most European railway companies offer various travel and discounts for those who take care of tickets in advance. For example, on a specialized site, you can find the cost of a particular travel card that is suitable for traveling to different European countries. Next, you need to compare them with the standard ones and decide whether to use this service. If you still choose, keep in mind that you need to pick up a pass in advance and right in London.
Hitchhiking is, of course, a journey for extreme sportspeople, but still an obvious way to save on transport. You catch the car with your finger raised, the driver stops, asks where you are going, and tosses you free if you are on the way. Before deciding on such an adventure, carefully study all the hitchhikers’ forum – they have their own culture. Be careful: not all drivers are safe.
Many people have long and successfully used mobile application for traveling around the UK and the world. You create a profile, indicate where you are going to go, and drivers who go in the same direction write or call you. Sometimes you can find transport and completely free, in other cases, you will be asked to pay, but most often a symbolic amount – only to repel gasoline. This option is considered safer than the good old hitchhiking, as both drivers and passengers create their profile and leave contacts in the public domain.
Free housing, museums, and excursions
The couchsurfing site is a kind of social network for travelers. People create their accounts, fill them in English, add photos. Some are ready to host guests from other countries – others do not want to spend money on housing and are looking for such hospitable people. To find a free night, you need to fill out an application – tell us in a friendly and fun way about the purpose of your trip and mark the city and the dates on which you are going to visit it. Try to think and let us know how you could be useful to those people who want to invite you to visit. For example, you are ready to teach them how to cook borsch or read Pushkin in the original language.
Couchsurfing is a unique travel philosophy. It is essential to be a good guest: do not bother when you are tired, be clean, be impudent, try to be useful, and bring souvenirs. You can make friends with the person you are traveling to, and he will show you his favorite places in his city. Be sure to chat with your host on social networks, try to understand if he is the right person, find out if you will be comfortable together for several days. Trust your intuition and remember that couchsurfing is not a dating site, it does not exist to find sex with a foreigner, but rather for exchanging cultural experience.
Students, minors, retirees, the disabled, military, tourism workers, journalists, and some other privileged categories of citizens are often given discounts when visiting museums. But for this, it is necessary to have official certificates with you. Moreover, abroad they must have international status – for example, ISIC for students or a green press card of a member of the Union of Journalists. Take care in advance to arrange the necessary documents, and you can save a lot during your trip.
Many museums have days of free visits. Sometimes for a specific category of people – for example, for students, and sometimes for everyone. Before the trip, go to the sites of those museums that interest you and see if grace days fall on your travel dates. Just remember that on free days in museums there are always huge queues and crowds of visitors, so you usually can’t study anything quietly.
Almost all major cities have companies that conduct free tours in English, for example – Free Walking Tour or Greeter. If you look carefully, in London, you can find many free walks in Canada. The main thing is to sign up in advance. Keep in mind that volunteers conducting excursions, as a rule, expect a tip of about 10-20 euros. No one will take this money from you by force, but not paying can be awkward. So sometimes a paid tour is cheaper.