Hey friends, I have something really special lined up for you today so I hope you’re excited. You guys know that Sensible Stylista’s all about glam living on a budget, so, I thought it’d be fun to talk about affordable travel since we haven’t really covered that yet. We have Jessica van Dop DeJesus (aka The Dining Traveler) with us today, and she’ll be dropping some serious knowledge so get ready to take notes!
Q: What are some of your favorite wallet-friendly destinations?
A: Any place that I have friends I can stay with, LOL. I would say, Southeast Asia. The tickets may be pricey but once you get there, lodging and food are very affordable. If you’re looking to South America, I recently went to Colombia and found it to be very affordable as well. More than destinations, I also look at seasons. If you travel to Paris in March, it’s going to be cheaper (and less crowded) than doing it in the summer when all the tourists are there.
Q: Are there any loyalty programs you recommend that’ll save one money traveling?
A: I sign up for every mileage and hotel program there is! Due to their routes, I’ve been traveling with United for many years and I find their mileage program to be pretty solid. However, my advice is to sign up for all the loyalty programs out there. Don’t miss out on the miles! Also, sign up for all the hotel loyalty programs. Many offer free wi-fi!
Q: Are there any websites you follow to stay up to date with bargains regarding hotel or airfare?
A: Skyscanner is a good source. I also sign up for the newsletters of my favorite airlines. I also tune in to Twitter to see which airlines and hotels have good deals going on.
Q: Are there any credit cards you use that give you extra great travel perks?
A: I’ve been a United Mileage Plus credit card holder for more than 10 years so I try to travel on United as much as I can in order to collect the max number of miles. People have a love/hate relationship with United but I get to travel to Europe every other year for free with them due to my miles, so I can’t get too mad at them! I am that person that fights to pick up the tab because I know I can get double the miles!
Q: Is there a best time to buy an airline ticket?
A: Traveling in the middle of the week is always cheaper than on weekends, so play around with the dates. There are different theories out there on when to buy a plane ticket. In my experience purchasing 2 months in advance gets you the best deal. I like checking for tickets on Kayak.com because it gives you a forecast of whether the tickets will go up or down in price.
Q. Are hotels the best option when traveling?
A. It all depends where you’re staying and what you want to do. In many hotels in the Caribbean, you can get slapped with a “resort fee” that can creep up to $30 a night. If you’re more about exploring past the resort, you may be better renting an apartment. It’s cheaper, it usually includes parking, and you can make your own meals. For the luxury travelers, I suggest looking for luxury properties away from the city center that are usually 20% cheaper than the ones in the city center. Hostels are a great option too. Although I haven’t dabbled much in those, I have stayed at a few luxury ones, like The Freehand in Los Angeles and it was a pretty cool experience. I also got to tour The Adler in Singapore and I love what they are doing with luxury hostel experiences.
Q: Is it smart to hire a travel agent for budget travel?
A: To be honest, I’ve never used a travel agent because I get great joy in planning my own trips. I think it all depends what your goals are. If you’re traveling in a big group, perhaps a travel agent can assist in getting you the best deal as they can negotiate group rates and advise you on the best times to travel.
A HUGE thanks to Jessica for sharing her knowledge with us today. She’s been blogging for 6+ years, and she focuses on food and attainable luxury travel on her blog & social platforms. She’s currently based in DC, but she travels all around the world. She’s been to 45+ countries – yes, you heard right – but she’s not even close to finished. Follow her for some serious travel inspo, friends! You can find her on facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, and blog. Also, the two pics above were pulled from her website – just in case you were wondering!