One of the things that I’m a wiz at is getting out of dodge! With the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, getting out of town for a little while is a great way to de-stress and get my mind right. It could be a trip to Ohio to see my fam, a quick weekend in Vegas to hit it big on black, or a couple days by the pool in the dessert; which ever option you choose can give you a break from reality and can really reset you mentally & physically. Of course, these sound great, but once you start planning and seeing the cost of hotels, flights, rental cars… it can make you feel defeated. But lucky for you, Curvy Girls, I am going to give you some of my best travel tips to get you in a warm and fun destination before you know it! Ever since my college days, planning quick trips has been my thing; I don’t know if it’s my planner mentality, but I just have a gift for finding travel deals.
So where do I start? There are so many websites, email lists, deals, and social media ads that makes the whole getting out of town thing complicated. I think before I start to word vomit every trick, I’ll break it down into a few categories!
- Tuesday is the Magical Day to book! Before you hit up Kayak.com, let’s start with the best tips to get you a good flight deal. The best time to shop for a flight is Tuesday afternoon around 3p; for whatever reason the airlines reduce the rates during that time. To give you an idea of price difference, my mom was trying to book a flight to LA on a Saturday and it was $450, but when she looked on a Tuesday afternoon, the same flight was down to $385! That extra $65 of savings will come in hand when she need to pay for airport parking or bag fees.
- Name Your Price and Save! Another place I like to look for flights is priceline.com and use the Name Your Price option. I’ve gotten lucky and got a flight for $250 less that it was one the actual airline’s website. Now the biggest thing to remember is that you have to be a little flexible when booking this way because you book by giving a time range for when you’d like to leave and they give you a flight within that range. When I booked a flight this way, my flight was at 7:30a, which seemed insanely early, but when I thought about it, I was in my destination before noon and had more time to get settled (and start drinking cocktails with those little umbrellas in them!).
- Getaway with Groupon! I never paid much attention to Groupon for travel deals, until my best friend booked her entire week-long honeymoon to Hawaii on the site for less that $1500 (amazing, right!?). With Groupon have thousands of deals, it’s best to pick a few locations or regions that you want go to, then hit the site to see the deals for those destinations (no one has time to be overwhelmed). I would also recommend looking at EVERYTHING, not just the hotel deals because sometimes they have great deals for all inclusive packages that include flight from specific airports. If there an airport that’s maybe a little farther away (an hour or two drive away) it might make sense to make the drive and have a mini vaca in paradise.
- Get last minute deals on your phone! We use apps for seriously everything nowadays, so why not hotel deals? My favorites are Priceline & Hotel Tonight because they give you lots of options and price ranges for last minute rooms. With Priceline, they have express deals where you are able to pick the star rating and area you’d like to stay in and they’ll tell you the deals in within the criteria. Now the fun part is that you won’t know which hotel you’ll get until you pay for the room. Yes, this sounds risky, but I have done this several times and haven’t gotten AMAZING hotels. If you’re a bit nervous to leave it to chance, then Hotel Tonight is for you! They’ll show you the hotel deals in your specific location for that night. The chic design of the app makes every hotel look inviting and hip, which can get you pumped up for your hotel experience! Both apps are awesome and will give you great deals, but it depends on how risky you’re feeling, Curvy Girls!
- The Non-Hotel “Hotel” Option! Sometimes hotels seem ridiculously expensive, even with the deals apps and websites I mentioned above that. When I get to the point where the hotels look like a budget buster, I head to vacation home rentals sites like Airbnb, Homeaway, & VRBO. Now this sounds like an unconventional option, but it’s actually starting to be a really popular and inexpensive way to travel. I have used Airbnb in the past when vacationing and found fabulous private homes that were better than hotels. Depending on what your budget is and how many people you’re traveling with, renting a home or room can be over $100 cheaper than grabbing a hotel. Even though you might not get the typical hotel experience with maid or room service, you can get some cool amenities like private pool, free breakfast, access to free parking, and more room than a normal 250 sq.ft. hotel room. If you haven’t tried, take a look at my vacation rentals that I’ve stayed at in the past… trust me they’ll tempt you to try it!
Getting Around Your Destination
- Rental Cars! Sometimes renting a car is a necessity when you get to a destination that’s not public transportation friendly. I typically use Priceline’s Name Your Price (can you tell it’s a great place for travel deals yet?) option for rentals and can get a nice midsize for less that $20 a day depending on time and location. A great tip I learned from a Hertz agent years ago, is that airport rentals are way more expensive than off-site locations, so if you can reserve at a nearby rental car company and just taxi there, you’re better off! I did this once for a work trip and ended up saving $30 per day on a SUV!
- Uber/Lyft! I LOVE these services because they are just super simple to use. If you haven’t downloaded these apps or used them, you can usually get a code to get a free ride (use Marcie114 for Lyft and 533hx for Uber)! Two of my favorite tips about these services is that you can now split the ride between you and another person (super convenient!) and on those drunken nights, depending on the driver, can ask the drivers to take you to get that special 4th meal (pretty dope, right?). The only thing that I have to warn are the surge charges; these are added when the time you try to order a Uber/Lyft is at high volume. I’ve paid 6x the normal amount on holidays, so if you’re planning a trip on a long holiday weekend, keep this in mind because getting a crazy expensive bill at the end of your ride is no bueno (check this article out from NYE!).
Man, I’ve got myself pumped up for a “get out of dodge” trip now! How about you? Hopefully these tips will help you get out of dodge on the cheap, so that you can get some much deserved break from reality. Do you have a great travel tip that’s great for keep a trip cheap? If so, tell me about in the comment section because I wanna here about it! Until next time, Curvy Girls!