Life Travel

Affordable vacations are one click away

By Hannah Schadel, Camrose Canadian Travel Writer

There are ways to make vacationing in New York City affordable if you know where to look. Supplied

There are ways to make vacationing in New York City affordable if you know where to look. Supplied

Two weeks ago, I bought a house. Obviously this is completely unrelated to travel, but this is where it begins.  

 

Responsibilities, financial responsibilities. First the house, then the kids, school and sports for the kids, and before you know it, any travel or vacations have taken a very dusty and uncomfortable position on the back shelf. Now don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait for the above things to happen, but for someone like myself who has always chosen travel and seeing the world over other financial responsibilities, a few doubts entered my mind. What if I cannot afford to travel anymore? What happens after every cent I earn goes directly into the mortgage? Will I still have a chance to backpack South East Asia, India and Sri Lanka?  

Regardless of your life aspirations, financial responsibilities or desires, money always seems to be the root of every decision we make. I didn’t want my mortgage to own and control every other financial decision that I make for the next 25 years. So, I jumped on my laptop and book marked every website that has made travelling easier and has saved me some serious money over the years. Sharing these websites not only reminds me that I can have my cake and eat it too, but hopefully I can encourage others to continue to travel as much as possible. Now you can go on that vacation you’ve been dreaming of AND pay the electricity bill… *sigh* 

Travel Pirates  

I believe this may be the fifth time I have referenced this website in my travel columns. If you haven’t visited this site yet, you obviously don’t like saving money, and you prefer spending ridiculous amounts on flights. Everyone’s different. Travelpirates.com will save you up to 75 per cent on flights, hotels and holiday packages. In a short version, this website has essentially figured out a way to be notified when airlines make mistakes. I once scored a return flight from Boston to the U.S Virgin Islands for $200 because of Travel Pirates. So, bookmark this little website and check it daily if you’re looking for a bargain.  

Rome2Rio 

There aren’t many websites out there where you can say, “this website is a life saver.” I use Rome2Rio almost every time I am researching a new destination and how to get there. You simply type in where you want to go from your current location and Rome2Rio will provide you with all your options to get from ‘A’ to ‘B.’ The search engine results will provide you with all the travel alternatives, whether its trains, buses, ferries, flights, you name it — Rome2Rio will inform you. Not only will Rome2Rio give you all your transport options, but it will sort the results for you according to price, saving you money.  

Groupon  

Is it premature to say that “I am a coupon Mom!” without being a Mom? There are so many reasons to love Groupon. The main reason why I love this little money saving site is the way it enables me to discover small, unique businesses that I would never have found without Groupon. Restaurants, activities or spas that I have found over the years often have superb service and unique experiences, which have lead me to be a reoccurring customer. Secondly, Groupon saves you a whole lot of money. Don’t be ashamed, use Groupon and pull out that discount code in pride. 

Skyscanner  

I do not use travel agents to book my flights and I never will. I decided to give it a go once and regretted it immediately when all the mistakes started to unfold. Don’t get me wrong, I know many travel agents who are extremely passionate and successful at their job, I just prefer to let my Type A personality come out and play for a little bit, and book flights myself. Skyscanner is by far the best when comparing prices for flights and airlines. It filters across all airlines and sites and will direct you to the cheapest and most convenient flights.  

Parkwhiz  

I discovered this website by chance when I was heading into New York City. At the time, my better half and I were travelling and living in our van, so we needed a safe and secure place to park during the day as we explored NYC. Of course, you can imagine that the price of parking is astronomical in NYC and we knew that we would be cringing as soon as the page loaded. I came across ParkWhiz where it informed me of all the parking garages in NYC along with a price. You simply type in your arrival time and the number of hours you will be staying in the parking garage, and then it will sort the cost for you. Believe it or not, I scored a spot to park for 12 hours for a measly $15 for the entire day. This website is definitely worth the visit when you’re passing through big cities. 

Spotted By Locals  

This is a fairly new website where local spotters in numerous cities across the World give information and local secrets on where to eat, what to do and the off- the-beaten-track sites. This site is a fantastic source to skip the tourist-heavy landmarks and explore the empty hidden gems. I have also used this site to find restaurants that are favoured by locals for a third of the price compared to others. Travel with a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget and make this website your friend.  

Tripadvisor  

Lastly, the most popular site on my list. Everyone should know Tripadvisor, but if you don’t, jump on board. All I can say is thank goodness for honest, helpful reviewers that will point you in the right direction when finding hotels, restaurants or destinations. 

For more travel articles about how to save on your next vacation, visit www.explorethegoodlife.com or follow us on Instagram at @explorethegoodlife 

 



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