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Finding the best accommodations!
When most people start trip planning, they automatically think of staying at a hotel. While hotels can be great and you can score some good deals, there are other options! Don’t forget about staying at apartments and bed and breakfasts; these are great options also. On Expedia, you can even use the vacation rental options to search for non-hotel choices!
Apartments are great because they can help you save costs on food while on your trip and can accommodate more than four people. Many have kitchens so you’re able to cook meals and keep food at the apartment. A quick and easy breakfast before heading out will keep you full and cut down costs. You can also plan to cook a few lunches/dinners to lower eating out costs as well. This is great when traveling with families or large groups.
Most people don’t think of bed and breakfasts in combination with a family trip, but you need to think again! Especially while traveling in Europe, almost all bed and breakfasts are family friendly… and there are quite a few in the US as well. A great perk of a bed and breakfast is that you don’t have to worry about making or buying breakfast each morning. Staying at one is still often cheaper than staying at a hotel and can accommodate more people than a hotel room. One of best stays at a bed and breakfast was at a family friendly one outside of Amsterdam. The hearty breakfast was filling each morning and the homemade jam from their orchard was fantastic!
When looking for accommodations check hotels, apartments, and bed and breakfasts. Compare costs as well as what is included like breakfast, kitchen area, free parking (if needed), wifi, and location to get the best deal on accommodations for your trip!
Scoring a cheap flight!
While one of the best ways to score a cheap flight is to plan in advance and purchase ahead, we all know things can happen so it can be hard to do that. The next best way to score a cheap flight is to watch for sales! Many discount airlines run sales fairly often, so sign up for newsletters to get sales alerts. If you’re flexible about where you want go, you can score some amazing deals by checking Expedia’s specials. They offer Daily Deals, Escape Sales, & seasonal promotions.
Even if you have a destination in mind watch for sales, check prices often, and subscribe to newsletters so you can score a cheap flight.
Getting around your destination!
How are you going to get around your destination? There are often quite a few choices! Rental cars are a great way to haul snacks and food around with you. You can watch for deals on rental cars so you’re in control of where and when you go places. When choosing a rental car, make sure you check for parking where you’re staying and the places you’ll be visiting.
You can use public transportation. Depending on where you are going you’ll find buses, trains, trams, ferries, cable cars, and more. If you’re going to a smaller city or location, these options will be much more limited. If you plan on using public transport check around for the best deal by looking for city passes or tourists cards, like the Oyster Card in London.
You can take guided tours that will take you to the locations on the tour; they will often pick you up and drop you off at your hotel as well. There are also options like taxis, which can be cheap (like in Hong Kong) or much more expensive (like in Guam). Some locations will have options for Uber or other ride for hire choices that can be cheaper than taxis.
Check what options are available at your destination then price out several options to see which is the best deal for the number of people on your trip! For instance, trains can be cheap for two people but much more expensive for a family of five, so a rental car could make more sense. Know before you arrive how you plan to get around.
Finding cheap eats!
There are several ways to find cheap eats when planning your next trip. One of the best ways is to utilize grocery stores. You can often buy a cheap styrofoam cooler in case your accommodation doesn’t have a fridge or you want to carry food in the car with you. We normally hit a grocery store after we arrive to stock up on snacks, drinks, and local produce. We also love to grab meats, cheeses, and some rolls to make quick sandwiches on the go.
Don’t forget to check out local bakeries as well, especially in Europe! While you can find sweets, you can also get sandwiches, savory mini pizzas and pastries, pretzels, and other fun treats. Check out the local markets, which are great places to get local produce, fresh fish, and local cuisine!
To get the most for your money when eating out on the economy, it is advisable to do research and read the reviews before you go! This can save you from spending money on food that is not decent or having an undesirable experience. If you can’t search for reviews before going, ask to see a menu before being seated to gauge the selection and prices. Cafes can also be a great way to get a cheap meal and cup of coffee!
Use grocery stores, bakeries, food markets, and some research can make your money go further and help you find cheap eats on your trip!
Don’t pack the kitchen sink!
Keep in mind you’re going on a trip… not moving there! You don’t need 10 shirts, 4 pants, 3 dresses, and 4 pairs of shoes for a week of travel. Less is more when traveling! Pack light; there are some great travel packing lists out there in the internet world. Take the basics: You can always wash your clothing if needed. You may have a laundry facility where you’re staying, a close local laundry place, or just hand wash in the sink & hang dry (we do that often).
Less luggage means cheaper costs as well! When we travel, we don’t ever pay for checked baggage! We only take carry-ons, which means we are forced to think about what we really need on the trip. It also means you’re not hauling a ton of bags around, making it much easier to use public transport!
Leave the kitchen sink at home, you won’t need it! Pack the basics but don’t overpack. Lay everything out before you pack and decide if you really need to bring it or not. Less luggage will save you money and allow you more freedom on your trip.
Get out and explore find amazing things to do!
Make sure to get the most out of your trip by exploring all the amazing things your destination has to offer! You can often find tours, attractions, shows, and off-the-beaten-path hidden gems. Even in smaller locations you can often find quite a few things to explore.
There are often many kinds of tours available, especially in larger destinations. You may be able to find a free and paid walking tours. Bike tours can be fun and are often family friendly for kids old enough to ride bikes. We did a self-guided bike tour on a girls trip through the tulips fields in the Netherlands. It was amazing! Hop-on-hop-off bus tours are popular because you can get on and off as stops as desired. Our favorite activity is checking out the local food tours. We’ve found some fantastic eats we would’ve never thought to try.
If you’re looking for some of the local attractions, Expedia has a Things To Do link that will bring what is available up for your area. This can range from amusement parks, dinner shows, skip-the-line passes, snorkeling, shopping, and more! Use review sites to find some of the lesser known attractions like abandoned castles, which make for great visits but are often overlooked! Also look for activities you can do at sunrise or sunset, like paddle boarding if near the water. You can often find books at local libraries that are about secret or hidden gems in some destinations.
For your destination location check for tours, must see attractions, shows, and those off the beaten path hidden gems!
Bring something home!
Souvenirs are a great way to bring home a fun memory from your trip. Many places often have souvenir shops stuffed with cutesy or popular things they think the tourists want. My advice is to do a little research of the area and choose something that represents it to bring home. In Iceland, we bought pottery made from Icelandic mud. In Estonia, we bought some wooden utensils which are popular to that area. Another fun thing we do is to look for a book of fairy tales or folk tales from the area: Icelandic trolls in Iceland, Grimm brothers in Germany, and Pippi Longstocking in Sweden!
We love the Bastogne, Belgium area. There is a lot of history there if you’re a history buff. One of the neat things you can buy is a ceramic helmet mug. It was made based of on story of a soldier who used his helmet to take beer to his dying friends in the local church. Each year for the Battle of the Bulge reenactment, the King & Queen of Bastogne throw walnuts from the balcony to represent when the Germans asked Brig. Gen. McAuliffe to surrender, his response was “NUTS!” So we caught some of nuts and now have them displayed in the mug, as shown in the photo. A priceless souvenir with some great stories attached to it.
Make your souvenir something special by finding out what the area is know for and bringing a part of it home with you!