The holidays are the catalyst for the three F’s: family, friends and flights. There’s something about planning trips to visit loved ones that piques our curiosity for far flung vacations. How many times has a search for a ticket to see mom ended with “I wonder how cheap a spring ticket to Europe would be…” Now that we’re in our thirties we have a few more dollars to spend on travel and we want to take advantage of it. We even gave traveling a shout-out in our Career chapter because we know the benefits of taking well-deserved breaks from regular life. Unfortunately, as we start planning our trips we get caught up in all the deals, sights and sites, which can get discouraging. Once the level of dedication to trip-planning feels like a part-time job it's easier to just give up and take a nap. So for those of you wondering how to we put trips together simply and without a travel agent (yes, they're popular again) or $10K, read on…
Find Your Flight
Scottscheapflights.com was recommended to us by a friend not too long ago. This guy has made it his life’s work (we think) to find us great deals and he doesn’t disappoint. Sign up and Scott will email you a couple of times per week with cheap international flights from multiple cities and airlines. You can pay a small fee for the premium version to get more deals and be in the know faster than when the free service. Right now we’re all about the free one. If/when we upgrade we’ll let you know if its worth it.
Google Flights has been around for a while now and we love the simplicity of the site. Prices are the name of the game and they display next to cities all over the globe. It’s like having the world at your fingertips. Just chose the parameters relevant to your search it will narrow the results. Beware, sometimes the prices are inaccurate so we use is as a reference point. Also, you might discover that not all deals link to a website for purchase. It’s a real bummer to call a Delta agent about a google flight and have him politely call you crazy in his most professional Delta voice.
Kayak’s “anywhere” option basically does the same thing as google flights and you can buy your ticket there with confidence. We wanted to know how far $450 would take us so we typed in our nearby airport and used Anywhere as our destination. After choosing Spring 2017 we reduced the price and took in all the magical results. Total game changer. Now one of us is going to Barcelona in March!
We’re big fans of trivago.com for our hotel picks because it’s easy to find the cheapest rate out there. Since it compares prices for all/most of the sites listing their rates we can quickly make arrangements and move on to planning the activities.
Airbnb. Enough said.
What to do, what to do…
Everyone knows TripAdvisor is the bees-knees when it comes to reviews and “to do’s”. It’s the hub for finding activities and real-people reviews. But sometimes we find that it's too junky and time-consuming when pulling our vacation plans together. Another site that solves this problem is triphobo.com. It shows you the best times to visit popular tourist spots and lets you build and share the hour-by-hour itinerary you just created. You can check out other traveler’s itineraries, too. We find it to be simpler to use for customizing our plans since TripAdvisor’s site has become so crowded with information. Analysis paralysis can be tough to overcome sometimes. We say use Trip Advisor for the reviews after you’ve used Trip Hobo to put it all together. That’s just to make sure you covered all the touristy bases.
Airbnb is back on the list for their new endeavor into experiences. You can purchase surfing lessons, nighttime bike rides, cooking classes, etc. from local experts. This is pretty cool for all the obvious reasons. We haven't used this option before but it might be worth a try for Spain.
There are definitely other websites out there that help you get the job done but this post is about simplicity. These sites reduce our anxiety and our tendency to procrastinate because they don't involve a ton of steps or time. Then we can get back to whats really important like searching Pinterest for golden milk recipes and cake batter pancakes. Let us know where you go for the best deals and ease of use so we can share them with our readers.