I use Kayak or Google flights to track the deals. If you can be flexible on your dates, you will save money on flights. For example, traveling mid-week will save you some money.
I’ve also saved a pretty penny driving to other airports if they have a good flight deal. I drove to Toronto and saved $1,200 on two round-trip tickets to Germany. It pays to think outside the box and see what’s out there. Just try seeing how much flights cost from other airports when you’re researching your flight.
Shopping for flights on Tuesdays is a tip I’ve heard from a lot of people, and it actually has worked for me too.
Do yourself a favor and buy packing cubes! Once you get these, you will never pack without them. They help you pack smart and efficiently.
My rule of thumb is if you’re not going to wear it more than 3 times, don’t pack it. Pack for the best case scenario, not the worst. If you do spill coffee on everything, you can always pay $10 and have it dry-cleaned.
I mentally prepare to encounter grumpy people, angry TSA agents and delays. For me, expectations are everything. If I expect delays, I won’t be shocked and frustrated when they happen.
I pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain. I pack a bag of snacks that include nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, chocolate and protein bars. I don’t bother eating at more expensive restaurants because the food quality at the “upscale restaurants” in an airport is the exact same as the fast food options. In fact, in some airports, most of the food comes out of the same kitchen. Just eat the cheaper food and save your money for your trip.
Get an e-Reader and load up on all your guilty-pleasure novels. I like to read gruesome murder mysteries because it keeps my attention and before I know it, 6 hours have gone by!
I always pack ear plugs in case there’s a crying baby or an obnoxious person. I also like to pack a scarf that doubles as a blanket, and bring some disinfectant wipes for the seat and tray. (I’ve seen people clip their nails on those trays, so I like to clean it before I use it.)
I like to break up road trips with stops. I use the Roadtripper App or TripAdvisor “near me now” to see if there’s a park or roadside attraction that we can stop and take in a site. It makes the drive less tedious and gives you something to look forward to.
If you can’t stop, I am a huge fan of audio books, which also make the drive more entertaining. I’ve listened to some great books from comedians who actually read their own audio books (Aziz Ansari, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler). It’s sort of like listening to 10 hours of stand-up. I always try to pack cut up vegetables and fruit in the car. You eat so much salt, and other garbage, it’s nice to have something fresh.
If you’re going to rent a car, there are more ways than just your standard rental car company. We rented a van with a camping set so we could car camp in the national parks. If we do another trip like that again, I’m going to try RV Rental. You can rent RVs directly from locals, which sounds a lot like Airbnb for RVS! Their prices seem very reasonable, too.
Arrival at your rental home
Before you leave on your trip, make a grocery list of the things you’ll need. Go to the grocery store first and unload when you arrive. Then you can settle in immediately.