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Where’s the best place you’ve ever been to?  When is the best time to book?  Can you help me plan my trip?!

These are questions I often get asked from friends and family. I wouldn’t consider myself wanderlust just yet, for the fact that I haven’t seen quite as many countries as I’d like to, but I do travel with every opportunity presented! I’m considered the hobo of the pack or the gypsy and I’m ok with that. I actually embrace the gypsy lifestyle!

Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that I consider essential when it comes to planning and booking a trip. By simply doing a little research for writing this article I’ve picked up a few more that I plan on putting to good use.

“Seek and you shall find” has definitely proven beneficial in this instance, by simply seeking to find inexpensive options and cut down where possible, asking Google the ‘right’ questions and doing my homework, I now see how easy it is to bag a bargain for less.

Cheap flights are possible, you just have to know where to look and when to buy. I’ve even picked up a few freebies along the way, and now you can too! Trust me, you will soon be putting those extra pennys towards doing things you love on holiday ☺

So let’s jump right in… I’ve broken this section into 5 useful categories:

1.Choosing the Destination
2.When to book
3.When to go
4.Where to stay
5.Saving Air miles & getting free flights

What does your ideal holiday look like????






1. Choosing the Destination

Everyone expects different things when it comes to that well-earned break. Some people like to relax by the beach; others prefer to party the night away at a lively resort. Then you have the adventurers who need to be actively on the move, soaking up the culture or actually jumping out of planes. Whatever your tipple, I think we’d all agree if we could get it for a fraction of the price, we’d enjoy it even more!

Choosing the destination for some is a no-brainer. It may be a city they’ve always wanted to see, a trending travel resort, an annual festival, or the thought of sampling new cuisines. But for some, they simply want a break from the norm with the freedom to roam and relax. One thing I would suggest when finalizing your choice is to ‘do your research’. All too often people choose a city or country just because ‘it’s the place to be’. Think about it….if everyone heads to the same place, flights will increase, restaurants will be more expensive and hotels will jack up their prices. All because you, the consumer, give them full permission to, by agreeing to pay the price!

Think outside the box

If it’s a beach you want, wouldn’t it be amazing to soak up some rays at a private beach? Something that’s impossible at a trending spot!
If it’s city and culture your crave, wouldn’t it be amazing to share your travel experiences and inspire others to seek what you’ve found, taking advice from your travel itinerary on those hidden gems.

Start with a continent

Narrow down your expectations and desired daily activities. Read a few blogs! You can bet that someone, somewhere has been to where you’re thinking of and has written about it. Get some tips and recommendations first, don’t just book on a whim and opt for the obvious. Yes it’s nice to be among hustle and bustle and to people watch occasionally. But it’s also nice to enjoy a delicious meal with an amazing view and not pay over the odds due to inflation.

If it’s hustle and bustle you love, that’s ok, we do too! There are numerous cities, towns and ‘off the beaten track’ locations that get their fair share of tourists, just enough to feel that holiday vibe but not get smothered in the stampede.


Look out for ‘Up & Coming’ as opposed to ‘Hot Right Now’


A final note on selecting your sanctuary is to ‘predict the price’. Research how much things will cost in the city of choice using sites like, among others available that will give you real time information. This is crucial in determining your spending budget. We usually narrow it down and ask ourselves “How much will we have per day to spend?” For us, this budget usually includes Food, Accommodation, Travel and Activities.

With regards to the budget I realize this can be controversial for some, as holidaying is a chance to splurge and not think about budgets. But the ‘smart traveller’ always considers his/her budget beforehand to maximize their travel experience.

2.When to book

This is a pivotal point in the planning of any trip and one that is very much overlooked by many. Impulse booking when the holiday hype is heightened can cripple your travel plan and see you forking out a fortune. Logical thinking and careful resistance can save your well-earned cash for more enjoyable luxuries. It’s an obvious one but try to be as flexible as possible with your travel dates as this gives you freedom to choose the best priced deals.

With so many theories on best times to book and cheapest days to fly and so on, it’s understandable if you get information overload. Here’s my simply tips for making these decision easier. I’m not saying its gospel, but its worked for us all these years of travelling and saved us a few $$’s.

  • To book far in advance or to book close to your travel date… that is the question!
    I’ve found that its generally best to book 6-7 weeks in advance.  A few years back it would have been possible to arrive at the airport and get a stand-by flight but unfortunately that ship has sailed. These days its best to be equipped with a plan – destination… check, patience… check and when the time is right… pounce. Booking a year in advance is not always best practice and in most cases not always the cheapest.
  • Best day to book?
    I did the research on this and for one month I monitored flight prices of a particular flight. I found that flights booked on Tuesday @ 2am, flying on a Wednesday, worked out the cheapest. There were some stipulations to this. In order to avail of the best price, I needed to call and speak to an operator from the airline I was booking with. That meant that it needed to be Tuesday @ 2am in the location of the airline I was calling.

For example, if I wanted to book a flight through American Airlines and their office was based in Dublin, Ireland. I would call @2am GMT time.


3.When to go….When to fly?

It goes without saying that flying when other’s don’t will always be cheaper. Yet so many people still choose to fly in peak season. According to a few travel blogs and podcast that I’ve been listening to lately, there’s a travel season termed ‘the shoulder period’. This refers to the period just after ‘summer’ and just before ‘winter’ peak travel times.

Basically the last two weeks in august and the first few weeks in September. Travelling during this time can save you a bundle on everything from flights and hotels to food and activities. So why don’t we take advantage? This is still a mystery to me!

Summer rolls around, the weather gets better, people are generally in a better mood and then everyone takes off for ‘sunnier’ climates. This baffles me! Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy the ‘best weather’ of the year in your own country, plan a ‘stay-cation’ or a few at least, and then take off to hotter climates when the weather turns sour?

Not only will you get two holidays per year, you will likely find you’ll get two for the price of one.

A great thing about shoulder season is that most times the weather is still great, if you choose your location wisely. Hotels will also be less expensive and you can be assured to get a seat in the popular restaurants without waiting in line. Win-Win!!

The only downside, in my opinion, is that some things will not be opened. For example, when my mum and dad came to visit me in Seoul, S.Korea in September/October time, a few water slides were closed in the water park.

But the more I thought about it, this was not a downside at all. In summer, lines get so long you may find your standing in the sun for 2-3hours (been there, done that!). And you never get to ride everything, you always run out of time.

So for me, it just saved unnecessary time choosing which lines were shorter and which slides to ride. A more enjoyable experience overall, for a fraction of the price!


4.Where to stay?

Everyone has different standards when choosing where to bed down for the night, and sometimes it can depend on the type of trip. When travelling for longer periods, staying in luxury hotels can take it’s toal on your credit card and certainly put a dent in your budget. But a city break in a hotel for a few days won’t break the back.

There are so many options when choosing where to stay, so these tips are designed to save a few $$’s or ensure you get something in return.

Paying by credit card….

If you don’t already have a credit card that either gives you cash back on your hotels or at least a points system, it’s time to cut it up & get one that does. There are so many options out there and card competition that it would be scandalous not to get something free with your purchases.
Check it out, go online and use comparison sites. Find the best card for you in terms of spend & start saving points now! When that ‘free night’ or more comes around, you’ll be glad you did!!

Using Air BnB…..

There are various sites depending on location, but air bnb has certainly ran past the rest in the last few years. With accommodation to suit all types, at a lower cost than hotels, you can see why.

If you haven’t heard of air bnb it’s time to crawl out from under that rock. It’s hip and happening and all the cool kids are taking advantage of it. Basically the idea is that *normal people rent out their apartments, houses, bnb’s etc, and you can find and pay them through this website. The ‘Host’ (owner of said acc) will sometimes, but not always, meet and greet upon arrival.

Once you depart, you will give an evaluation/review (as will the host with you (as their guest)) for others to see. This allows both you and the host to see how good, clean and accurate your descriptions on your profile are before you actually stay.

A plus side to air bnb unlike hotels, is that if you stay for a longer period, usually 1 week +, you can often ask for discount on the overall price.

If you opt for an apartment/ house, you will enjoy all amenities available to you which will include a kitchen, sometimes a balcony and if you’re lucky, a ‘private pool’; all less than the price of a hotel.

Join up now and start building your positive profile.

5. Saving Air Miles & Getting Free flights

FREE FLIGHTS ARE COMING YOUR WAY!!!!!! Here’s how to work towards getting those free flights to your dream destination (taxes are not included – always read the fine print!!!) Coming from the UK, the banks don’t seem to be as generous as US banks when it comes to handing out air mile bonuses on Credit Cards. However don’t let that deter you! If you can master the art of everyday spending on an air miles CC – your one step closer to ur location.

If you travel and your current Credit Card gives you no rewards… bin it … NOW!

Ok a bit extreme but you can sense my urgency!
We have recently just got into availing of air miles through spending, so stay tuned for the do’s & don’ts of our air mile journey…

So there you have it …THE DO’S AND DONT’S OF TRAVEL…..get booking, get travelling and share your stories with us! We love to hear new travel hacks and ways to save when on the road. If you’ve a secret your willing to share ~ comment below and let Karma work it’s magic.

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Janine & Janice | Irish Travel Bloggers | Portugal Based Work Smart | Travel Often | Explore More Two Ladies on a mission to life an Unconventional Life, full of Love & Adventure.

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