As a solo backpacker I am always on a lookout for the best travel deals, and i am constantly looking at ways how i can stretch my dollar or… looking for ways to channel my daily spendings to get airline miles.
1. Sign-up with the major airlines to get updates and promotional mails from them. Firstly, they are free (if you don’t mind receiving junk emails). And you get enrolled to their frequent flyer programme. Typically, at the beginning of each year airlines will blast out promotional flights to the major cities. The rationale for having such promotional deal is to up their passenger load factor, to gage how efficient they are to fill up seats and generate fare revenue. In short, it is a win-win situation. Passenger gets a cheaper rate and airline gets to make a better fare revenue forecast for the next coming months.
2. Skyscanner. A must have tool or pit-stop for every traveler when doing their travel plan. What this site/mobile app does is it searches all the available airline schedules according to the search criteria you key-in, and returns you the cheapest flight it could find. However, the cheapest available flight might not be the quickest way to get to your destination. I do use Skyscanner to help me narrow down my search for the airline which i am interested, but i do not make my reservations with Skyscanner. Why? That leads me to my next point.
In where i’m from we have cashback website. What it does is the website i subscribed to pays a percentage of money earned when i purchase goods or services it affiliates to. With the help of Skyscanner that helps me to identify those airlines which the cashback website affiliates to and that translate a further savings! I also use the same method to make hostel bookings. First, using Expedia/Hotels.com/Bookings.com to do my search. Subsequently, go to Expedia/Hotels.com/Bookings.com (depending which is affiliated) via the cashback website to make my hostel bookings. Do not underestimate such chores, from the past experiences savings could come up in a couple of hundreds for a 10-15 days trip.
Free Guided Tour or Planned Itinerary?
Try Rick Steves’ Audio Europe (apple / android). It’s a free self-guided audio tour for most European cities. For other continent you might need to do a search. I’m sure there are similar free audio guide in the mobile apps space.
Alternatively, you can try Google Trips (apple / android) which covers the major cities. It provides a sample itinerary of sights or activities which you could do.
Do you know you can download an offline copy of the google map to your phone? An offline copy comes in very handy when you arrived your holiday destination and the telco booth is not open for business. Click here for instructions to download. You should download and save all locations you plan to visit including your hotel/hostel location in your home country via wifi. That will save you all the hassle to search hostel/hotel location.
Save your travel itinerary online and you’ll never need a hardcopy. If you have a Gmail account, like me, it comes with a suite of Google services including Google drive. Google drive is a cloud services which you can save, upload and store your documents and photos online. And retrieve them as long you have access to internet and a computing device. Do consider to use Google drive when working on your travel itinerary it will save you a lot of hassle.