#PROTIPS For Traveling Like a Pro...from a Pro Traveler
This post was a collaborative effort between myself, and my husband (the #protraveler). I wanted to share some of his pointers that I feel have allowed us to travel more frequently, while also reaping the benefits.
You will not find in this post information such as: “How to Pick a Destination” or “How to Save for a Trip”. Those two topics should be constantly at the top of your thought process anyway if you’re planning to become a Serial Traveler.
What you will find; however, are proven practices that have worked extremely well for us over the past few years.
Here are 5 Key tips to get you started in saving money, and (hence the title) traveling like a pro!
1. STAY LOYAL.
Find a company/brand and stick to it! Although in the beginning it is tempting to peruse various sites to find the best prices, there are benefits to staying loyal to a particular brand. Hotels and airlines work in a points system for their respective programs. This is geared specifically towards repaying the loyal consumer who chooses to become a “partner” with the brand. And yes, these points can be used! Used to pay for a flight(s), or hotel stays once enough have accrued.
Building status with a particular airline, or hotel brand of choice will save you money greatly in the long term.
2. PRE PLANNING ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST PLAN.
Often times, we travel with set dates in mind, resulting in being stuck with a set price that you will have to pay regardless. Instead, try traveling based on prices when deals become available. A little flexibility, and spontaneity can open up a whole other spectrum of travel options. FYI: Airlines post deals ALL THE TIME! These deals are especially made known to their loyalty members. *hint hint*
3. GIVE TO GAIN.
We’ve all heard this announcement from the Airline Gate attendant: ‘Our current flight is overbooked. We are offering $$$ for those who are willing to take the next flight’. Ever notice how when the announcement is made that there aren’t too many people hopping up to take the bait? This is because, most people are in a rush to get to their destination as soon as possible, while also thinking of all the inconveniences that could possibly befall them if they decide to give up their seat.
In reality, your new wait time is usually 1-3hrs max, or worst case you get placed on a flight the next day if you are currently on the last flight of the day. The airlines will also place your bags on the next flight for you, and you often end up with better seating for your trouble. The obvious plus is that you now walk away with money towards (or fully covering) another flight.
The second part to this is “knowing when” to volunteer your seat. If the flight is over sold by 3 seats or more, and not enough people are volunteering their seats, the asking price will almost always go up.
Patience is key. Sticking to a minimum voucher credit of $500 is a good rule of thumb.
*Obviously this isn’t suggested if you are in a time crunch, but just a thought if you are not.
4. KNOWING YOUR REWARD PARTNERS.
When you’ve figure out which brand(s) you want to go with, take advantage of the “Reward Partnerships”. Going back to the first tip, loyalty pays off. Hotels and Airlines will often have partnerships established with restaurants, ride share companies, and rental car facilities all of which you can benefit from if you have an account set up.
We are partnered with Delta/Hilton/Starwood (this post is not sponsored). Here are some examples of how we benefit:
- Air BnB: Delta SkyMiles members can earn up to 2x the SkyMiles per dollar spent when booking.
- Lyft: Delta SkyMiles members can earn 1 SkyMile for every dollar spent/up to 2x the SkyMiles received when going to and from the airport.
- Hilton/Delta Dining: Looking up what restaurants are partnered with these brands can earn you $3 sometimes $5 per dollar spent depending on the day of the week.
- Starwood and Delta “Crossover Rewards”: You receive SkyMiles based on the cost that you pay for the room.
5. YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO FLY FROM HOME.
When seeking a way to get to your final destination, it doesn’t always have to be a straight shot from your home base airport. Depending on which city you live in, and where you're going, flights will be more expensive than the next. Below is a real scenario, with Atlanta being our home base airport. We’ve recently discovered that funneling your flights out of the country, with Atlanta as your starting point, isn’t always the cheapest option. Sometimes the dollar amount difference can be anywhere from $200-$400.
Home/Starting Point: Atlanta
Segway City: Chicago
Time: 8Day Trip/Saturday-Saturday
- You are going to need to buy two sets of round trip tickets. One will be from Atlanta to Chicago. This will be leaving Atlanta on your first Saturday, returning to Atlanta the following Saturday.
- The second set of round trip tickets will be from Chicago (once you’ve landed from Atlanta) to Singapore, layovers etc. will be included.
- You want to try and schedule your flights in and out of the country not too far apart from when you land each time. Be mindful; however, that you have not purchased a “connecting flight” ticket to Singapore from Atlanta. If anything happens causing delays to your flight from Atlanta to Chicago that causes you to miss your Chicago to Singapore flight, you will not have automatic first priority to be placed on the next flight as you usually would if this were a connecting flight. Vice Versa for returning.
- Because of the above, you want to really look at the timing of all of your flights. This will take a bit of “seat” time. In this instance, planning is necessary.
- When you check your bags in Atlanta, tell the attendant that Chicago is not your final destination. Letting them know that you are going to Singapore, and to please not send your bags to baggage claim in Chicago. They should then quite simply ask for your confirmation and/or boarding pass to Singapore, in which then they will direct your bags to be placed onto that corresponding Singapore flight leg.
o This step is a MUST. Missing this step will result in your bags being placed in baggage claim once you get to your “first destination”. Depending on how much time you’re allotted in between flights, or the possible unexpected delays, you do not want to go through the hassle of getting your bags, and then going back through TSA.
- These steps should be repeated when returning back.
To sum it up: Research. Loyalty. Patients. Repeat. Think of this as your new relationship.