It goes without saying that planning a vacation and making your dreams a reality involves careful and strategic planning – and this planning can be pretty overwhelming. So, here are some tips, tools, and gadgets that can help you to cut costs, time, and stress.
Do your research
Perhaps the first point of call when organizing a vacation is to thoroughly research before booking your flights and a place to stay, in order to get value for money. Additionally, searching in advance allows you the advantage of being able to plan other factors e.g. excursions and activities, around the confirmed flight/accommodation arrangements.
Luckily, these days, you don’t have to manually scour the internet yourself to filter out the available options. When canvassing for flight options, there are many reputable brands on the market that use AI-powered search engines to pull up all the flights that match your criteria. For example, with eDreams flights, you simply pop in your home city, destination, date of departure and return, and whether you prefer direct flights. After scanning a multitude of different airlines, the broad range of flight options is then categorized into the cheapest, fastest, and best value for money, so you can make an informed decision on the best solution for you and your needs depending on where your priorities lie.
After you’ve found the flight that works best for you, ABC News recommends that you try and book them as far in advance as you can – particularly when the vacation overlaps busy times such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or during school vacation. Typically, the cost will be cheaper the further in advance you book, so booking early can help you avoid dreaded last-minute price hikes that could rock your budget and increase your stress levels – not what you want just before jetting off on vacation!
With accommodation, a similar rule of thumb applies. There are many comparison sites online that allow you to enter the dates of your stay, which area you’d prefer to stay in, boarding options, accommodation types, and any accessibility needs. Following your input, the sites then gather all the available places that fit your requirements.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can sometimes pull up flight and accommodation packages, which streamline the process a little. Again, another top tip from us here at save money while travelling is to book far in advance if you want to avoid expensive resorts while traveling on a budget.
Utilize apps and technology
In the modern era, there are apps, gadgets, and websites for pretty much everything – and these technological advances serve to make time-consuming and stressful situations as straightforward as possible. With this in mind, it’s worth taking advantage of all these solutions to make your vacation more stress-free.
Take transport, for example. The last thing you want is to step foot off a long flight and have to fight the crowds to get to the next cab, attempt to understand the local public transport system or stand in line to rent a car. It can be even worse if your flight is delayed! Instead, you can book your airport transfer in advance using a comparison tool or downloadable mobile app, as these brands typically will automatically reschedule pick-up if your flight arrives later than planned. If all else fails, if it is supported in the country, you could also book a taxi through the Uber app – but, be aware that some airports don’t allow Ubers and, if they do, surge prices will apply, so you might need to walk to a more suitable nearby pickup spot.
Another tip to make traveling less stressful is to download the mobile apps for the airlines you are flying with, or the platform you booked through. These apps often allow you to check in using your phone, leaving one less thing to do on the day. In addition, you can also track your flight and opt to receive updates and notifications prior to takeoff so you know you’ll be up-to-date with any delays, changes, or unfortunate cancellations.
Further to this, as said by Alexandra Potter, “just in case” is the curse of packing! Not only can this mean you are forced to lug around more than you actually need, but it can also lead to unexpected baggage costs if your baggage ends up over the airline’s weight limit. To avoid this issue, you might consider downloading an app on your phone that can estimate the weight of your packed bag – or, you can get useful gadgets that allow you to weigh the bags more accurately. You can even pack them in your case to use them on the way back, too.
Invest in the long-term
And last, but by no means least, you’ll want to ensure that your stuff is functional, durable, and in it for the long haul. For this, you’ll want to think long-term. Now, of course, this can mean spending a bit extra on a new backpack or suitcase, but consider it an investment. Armed with your new baggage, you can have peace of mind that the baggage will protect your clothing and personal items during the journey.
In addition to this, it’s also worth investing in reusable toiletry bottles. You can typically pick these up fairly cheaply from a drugstore or superstore. If they are clear and hold a measured volume, this can be particularly helpful for backpackers taking liquids through airport security. Even better, it’s more sustainable and reduces plastic waste and the overall carbon footprint of the vacation.
Once you’ve packed your toiletries in their reusable bottles into your new suitcase, the next thing to consider is the safety of your belongings whilst they are out of sight. According to The San Francisco Standard, baggage theft and mishandling are on the rise, with an average of 6 out of 1,000 bags being delayed or lost during transit. In order to reduce the risk of this happening – or, at the very least the worry that this might happen to you – consider investing in an AirTag or GPS tracker, and a trusty padlock for security.
And there you have it – just a few pieces of advice that can help you to reduce the stressors before, during, and after your vacation. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to put your best foot forward and make plans in advance, allowing you to reduce any overarching worries and potential last-minute costs, and saving you precious time.