five travel hacks when planning a dream vacation, by LD
This article was written for yooou! by 18-year-old, LD.
One thing that quarantine has made abundantly clear to me is that I have a severe case of wanderlust. Now that most of us are stuck in our hometowns indefinitely, I have come to realize how desperately I want to get out of my little bubble.
I have found myself browsing travel blogs and following travel photographers on Tik Tok and Instagram. I can’t seem to get enough of these little windows into the outside world. So with all this time cooped up, I decided it would be interesting to plan my dream vacation, on a budget, of course.
Hopefully, I can apply all the information I have gathered to help plan a real trip in the future. I am going to share with you five traveling hacks (some secret and some not so secret) that I have found throughout my research that will guarantee a memorable and affordable dream vacation, wherever it is that you want to go.
One: Look into your dream destination’s tourism patterns.
Every destination has a peak season, a shoulder season and an off-season. Typically the peak season, where you will find yourself paying top dollar and among the most number of fellow tourists is June through August in the Northern hemisphere, however, it is the opposite in the southern hemisphere because the seasons are reversed (keep this in mind as well). The weather is the nicest during this period and therefore tourism is at its height.
The shoulder season is in between the peak season and the off-season. You will experience decent weather, lower prices, and less tourism this typically takes place from April through mid-June and September through October in the northern hemisphere.
Finally, the off-season takes place in the wintertime, when the weather is a little bit colder and less conducive to tourism therefore, pricing is lower and you are more likely to find affordable dining and accommodations.
Last year my choir took a school trip to Vienna, Austria, and Budapest Hungary in February. This allowed for more inexpensive travel and the weather was beautiful despite it being the “off-season”.
Two: Pack efficiently.
To avoid any extra traveling fees try to pack lightly. The more you can fit into a carry on the better. One thing that I recommend to help keep your luggage condensed into a small carry on is to purchase a set of packing cubes. These keep your belongings neat and use space more efficiently than laying your items into your suitcase.
Three: Be mindful of what you spend on food.
Instead of relying on Yelp! Or Tripadvisor to help you find the best places to eat, ask locals what they would recommend. Restaurants that attract tourism will not be inexpensive.
Another inexpensive option would be to pack a picnic or grocery shop and cook for yourself a few meals a day. Preventing yourself from eating out every meal of your vacation will save your wallet.
Four: Take Public Transportation.
Public transportation is always cheaper than a taxi or even an uber. Transportation costs can add up so this is a really important way that you can cut back on the cost of your vacation. Using public transportation is also a more sustainable and eco-friendly form of travel.
Step Five: Strategically book your flights.
There is a science to booking inexpensive flights. Throughout my research, I found that you can find the best deals when you book your flights 50-60 days in advance and Tuesdays are the best day of the week to book flights.
Additionally, there are plenty of free online subscriptions that will send you information about booking cost-efficient travel, simply open your search engine and google “inexpensive travel email lists”
Now you have a little bit of a sense of how to be cost-efficient when planning your vacations. I guess for now we’ll just have to sit tight with our “inexpensive, fool-proof” travel plans. A girl can dream though, right?