There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to traveling. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over the years, but I’ve also learned a number of hacks and tricks to save time and money. Thanks to my fellow travel bloggers I’m always learning more.

I reached out to some of my fellow expert travel blogger buddies to pick their brains about what their number one travel hack is when they travel and received a some great tips that I look forward to trying myself. I hope you find these hacks as useful as I did!
Travel tips to save time and money

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Flight Booking Hacks

 

Save Serious Cash with Error Fares

from Kamelia with the Hackerette

My favorite travel hack of all would absolutely have to be snagging an error fare. Imagine that you have been dreaming of going to Spain, but you don’t want to pay over $1000 for an airline ticket. Then you happen to catch a glitch and you end up getting a roundtrip ticket to Madrid for under $500. Sound impossible? It’s not. I can tell you it happens quite frequently because I find them all the time. So what exactly is an “error fare”? Error fares are glitches in the system that happen sporadically from time to time for numerous reasons.

No industry is without errors and that includes the airline industry. It may be a missed zero or a currency conversion that went wrong. Either way, when they do magically hit, you have to be very quick and grab them right away. You literally have moments to purchase before the error is found and ultimately fixed by the system. There are two cardinal rules of error fares. #1 Be lightning fast! #2 DO NOT ever call the airline! I have saved thousands of dollars on international travel over the years by catching these glitches over and over. When I do find these hidden gems, I usually share them on the Hackerette Facebook page so that others can benefit as well.

Stretch Your Dollar with a Smart Layover

from Marta with Where Life is Great

As a flight hacker, I always try to decrease the price of my flight as much as possible. And I do so with smart stopovers. In the end, why spend money on an expensive flight instead of activities or chic hotels, right? Ok, but what is a smart stopover? For me, a smart stopover is a reasonable and money-saving stop during my journey.
Many airlines flying to international destinations have to stop somewhere, usually at their home hub. What many travelers don’t know is that some airlines offer to prolong a layover to make it a stopover for no additional cost! Flying to Asia from Europe? Stop in Dubai with Emirates or in Abu Dhabi with Etihad! Flying to Europe from the USA? Stop in Iceland with Icelandair! In this way, you will get a free mini trip during your actual trip! How cool is that?

The other smart idea, to decrease the cost of your flight is to switch to a low-cost airline on the way. If I plan to travel within a particular region, for example South-East Asia, I search for a list of all budget airlines that operate between the countries I plan to visit. Why? Some of them are so local (and cheap) that big flight search engines don’t even see them!

Destination Tips

 

Learn the Local Language

from Brian with Hawaiian Brian
When traveling abroad I always learn a few words of the local language before departing.  I practice saying them over and over so that I become comfortable with the foreign sounds rolling off my tongue.  This way I don’t hesitate to use my new words while interacting with the locals because I’ve discovered this small gesture truly goes a long way.

My best and most simple example of this was when I was in a souvenir shop in Paris, France.  I wanted to purchase a scarf for my wife and as I approached the cashier I wasn’t greeted.  This is not to the cashier’s discredit, I’m stating it because her shop is frequented by tourists, most of whom probably don’t speak French, so she probably didn’t think I would notice the lack of cordiality.  Instead, I greeted her with a pleasant “bonjour,” and I could immediately tell a difference in her body language and attentiveness.  Her attitude toward me changed with just one word, and as we finished the transaction I sing-songed a farewell of “Merci, au revoir.”  To that she afforded me with a genuine smile and the feeling that I made her day just a little brighter.

Those three words transformed my experience in that shop from completely forgettable to story-worthy.  Learning words such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you can be the difference between okay service and great service.  Don’t let a few words come between a sincere and memorable interaction.

Welcome the Unknown

from Yazzi with Simple Gold Life

I am a planner at heart, which means I like to detail and schedule my trips. However, the best days I’ve had on my travels are the unplanned ones. Last month, my boyfriend and I went to Mexico City and left a day completely open for the unexpected. We left our AirBnB and walked around the neighborhood of Roma Norte. On our walk, we found a cute coffee shop called Cardinal. They have one coffee called the Voltaire, which is like a cappuccino mixed with Oaxacan chocolate, cinnamon, and other spices. Seriously one of the best coffees we’ve ever had!

 

Afterward, we wandered through the neighborhood and found a haven for foodies called Casa Quimera. It’s an upscale, outdoor food court with different stands. It was hard to pick just one, we decided vegan Mexican for breakfast, Japanese for lunch, and then desserts to go! After, we came across a small neighborhood park. A perfect place to relax. We took a seat and devoured our desserts while we watched dogs play fetch in the fountain. That evening, we stumbled across a small bar where we enjoyed a few mezcals, followed by a stop at a local taqueria. Five al pastor tacos later, we headed home with smiles on our faces. I couldn’t have planned a better day! My advice for your next trip is to embrace spontaneity. It will make for an unforgettable day!

Money Saving Hacks

 

Avoid Unnecessary Fees

from Nathan with thetrvlblog.com
Using your bank card abroad? Noticed a different kind of charge on your statement?  Chances are this is because you are using a card through a financial institution which charges a foreign transaction fee.  These fees, which are charged every time you use your card to purchase or withdraw cash in a foreign currency, usually stand at around 3%.  If you spend $100, you’ll get charged $3.  $3 is hardly going to bankrupt you is it? No, but these fees can certainly add up and take an unnecessary chunk out of your hard earned travelling budget.
I have some good news for you.  Not all financial institutions charge these money grabbing fees.  There are travel cards and credit cards out there which pledge to charge no foreign transaction fees.  As the competition increases in the financial world, the choice on the market increases.  This means you can easily avoid bank fees while you’re travelling.  A little research prior to leaving for your travels, will pay off big time. Less money spent on fees, more money spent on what you enjoy.  After all, you didn’t save your hard earned cash to give away to the banks did you?

Get the Best Exchange Rates

from Daina with Headed Anywhere
Trying to get a fair exchange rate on foreign currency is not as difficult as one might think.  You may be tempted to exchange a large sum of money at your local bank before you depart, but that will likely come with some sort of extra banking fee. Save some time and money by waiting until you arrive and withdraw money from an ATM. Taking Money from an ATM usually yields the most favorable exchange rates from that day and you don’t have to travel with large swaths of cash.

If waiting until you arrive makes you feel uncomfortable, do some research in advance using Google Maps and travel forums like TripAdvisor. You’ll usually be able to find one at the airport. If not, there is likely one close to public transportation or your accommodation.

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Accommodation Tips

 

Book Your Hotel Directly

from Daina with Headed Anywhere
This one may seem counter intuitive. There are so many hotel aggregators around that it seems impossible that you would get the best deal when booking directly with the hotel. With a little patience and research, you might find that you can get the same deal or even a nicer package direct.  If that’s the case, then absolutely book direct.

The reason? If something happens while you are en route and your arrive late, or if they accidentally give you the incorrect room you can work directly with the hotel rather than the third party booking agent. It will make fixing the mishap run much more smoothly and reduce your stress levels.

Let a Local Host You

from Daina with Headed Anywhere
If you’re not into staying at hotels and would rather live like a local, check out AirBNB. AirBNB is a short-term vacation rental website that allows people rent out their free rooms or entire apartment/house.  You’ll usually get a bevy of local tips from the host, if they’re a good one, and AirBNB tends to be much cheaper in some cities than traditional accommodations. You’ll be able to stay in some unique parts of town and AirBNB has some pretty unique rentals.  Use this link to save even more money. People who sign-up for AirBNB will get $40 off their first stay, and I’ll get a travel credit at no extra cost to you.

What are your trusted travel tips? Let us know in the comments!

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