So a lot of times our friends & family ask us how we are able to travel as often as we do since unfortunately (for now) we are not travelers by trade. So we thought we’d write up a little post about the resources we’ve used for certain aspects of traveling and some tips we’ve learned over the course of our various adventure-travels. Hopefully these little tidbits will aid you in getting your travel on!
Ever notice where you want to go can cost a ton? Sometimes more than accommodations when you get there? Are you checking with airports or airlines?
SkyScanner App is one of our first go-to’s for flights & sometimes car rental!
Skyscanner allows you to customize your alerts, price preferences and will alert you if something you’ve looked into has a price change since airlines in particular can jump prices all over the places.
It’s easy to type in “One Way, Roundtrip & Multi-City” (we haven’t had the chance yet but we think this multi-city feature is awesome!)
It will filter out to the cheapest, non-stop flights from your preferred airport to your destinations airport. *if you are like Loren and I, we have 3 airports within reasonable driving distance so we also compare airports for every flight as well.
Want to just get away next weekend but don’t want to just go to your local Holiday Inn to “feel” like you’re away? Think there’s no way you could find something that’s not a million bucks for last minute? Don’t worry Skyscanner’s “Explore” option offers you a multitude of different last minute trips!*fyi: those prices are for international, on potential travel dates of June 16-18 and round trip flights! Be sure to check out the hotels as well and/or car rentals!
Skyscanner has proven to be one of our most valued assets when booking a trip especially with how spur of the moment we can be with our impulsive-adventure booking. (We rarely book any of our travels more then 2 months if that, in advance)
We also reference two other websites and compare all 3 resources:
Hotels and accommodations can be one of the most IF not, the most expensive part of traveling. Often deterring people from actually planning that trip or awarding themselves that much needed get away.
Dependent on where your ultimate travel destination is there are various forms of lodging.
- Hostels – for the young (or older) and the wild. I personally stayed alone in a hostel in New York and Loren and I stayed in one in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Hostels internationally especially are ideal for the free of heart, the either more financially conscious or those that don’t mind sharing one bathroom with 12 other people. In Bocas Del Toro there was a hostel we were told about and for $7 a night you got a beach side hammock in a large common sleeping area. Dreamy to real true-to-the-earth long term travelers. For Loren and I? Less then ideal to have no privacy at the end of a long day of hiking and trying to communicate in a language we don’t know. *We can be quite the grumps when physically exhausted and sweaty
- Shared Room/Hostels – Loren and I attempted a somewhat compromise between a private hotel room & a hostel. The Blue Butterfly Inn in Costa Rica was a mix between a couple private rooms (as small as closets and portrayed much larger online) and hammocks or makeshift beds on the large deck area. Most guests in the communal area were actually paying for their stay by performing cleaning duties around the property. They were real-deal backpackers and quite the eclectic lot of travelers from all over the world. However, in somewhere like Central America, you do not flush your toilet paper (I know, ew) you throw it away. And when you’re sharing a common bathroom and shower it can be…stinky.
- Hotels – Hotels whether international or domestic are always the most expensive choice. Their prices can vary dependent on the season, occupancy and proximity to tourist sites and hot spots in that area. However, if this is your only preferred method of accommodation, we suggest finding another comparative website such as Trivago or Hotels Combined. And you should rarely book your hotel room through the actual hotel themselves.
BUT Loren and my tried and true method of booking accommodations that we’ve had the best experience with is through AirBnb. While there’s always a chance of misrepresentation (like our experience with the Blue Butterfly) if you know how and what to look for, you’ll rarely be let down.
When we choose a destination we have in mind for a trip, international and domestic, we first check out the available AirBnb’s in the area. *fyi bare in mind, the more rural the destination sometimes the fewer the options.
We have app as it makes for much easier access as well.
First, we apply our filters. After our experience in the shared room/hostel situation and deciding that we just weren’t cut out for that kind of accommodation we decided to only look for places that are “Entire Home”.
- We apply our price range.
- Wifi/internet is a must as well especially for the places we tend to travel to less trafficked destinations or if international, clearly we don’t pick up LTE. (Believe it or not, Ashford WA had ZERO cellphone service anywhere in town)
- Private bathroom. Again we are not keen on sharing a place to clean ourselves with people we don’t know. (We barely liked sharing a bathroom with EACH OTHER growing up!)
- They also have other preference filters you can apply like how many beds (we will share sometimes), parking, a gym and multiple other kinds of selections to filter down to exactly what you’re looking for.
All above were Airbnb bookings! Our favorite will always be our chalet cabin in Ashford, WA. (Others were a treehouse in Aguas Zarcas in Costa Rica, an entire house in Palm Springs & our own little studio in Joshua Tree)
AirBnb also allows you to speak directly to the proprietor of the property. You’re able to review not only them and your stay at their “homes” but they also can review (keep this in mind if you’re a slob! Haha!) The direct contact makes for great communication and offers a more comfortable interaction versus hotel staff.
Sometimes the photos actually don’t do the homes justice and you’re happier then you thought you’d be! And if you’re saying “but what about room service?” Most if not all AirBnB proprietors offer essentials like water bottles, coffee makers with cups, cream and sugar as well as snacks. At our treehouse in Costa Rica, Lorena brought us the most amazing delicious breakfast to our deck every single morning!
We would like to mention, this was included in our stay unlike room service. In Ashford, Chris (the sweet wife) came and cleaned up our cabin a bit and restocked us on creamer, sugar, coffee, yogurt and fresh bagels in our fridge everyday.
Airbnb is the WAY TO GO when traveling. Especially if you may be doing a multi-city travel tour. The pricing is considerably cheaper then hotels as well as many property owners offer discounts for stays over 4-7 nights.
And last note on booking, if you’re looking for just whole package and want to save yourself some time, go to Costco Travel and check out all their varieties of packages. *you must be a costco member but can sign up for just $55.
There are are all inclusive packages, multi-city/country packages as well as offering cruises, amusement park deals and so much more. In a previous (and I believe my first) post I wrote about my honeymoon to the Cook Islands. Our beach front bungalow was more than the photos expressed, Air New Zealand was one of the nicest airlines I’ve flown even in coach and there was a basic breakfast offered in the common area every morning. Plus it included transportation to and from the airport! All for $3700! You heard that right. Reference my post about Rarotonga for more details “Rarotonga, Cook Islands“.
Rent a car when planning trips to more rural areas especially if you’re visiting National Parks and want the chance to explore. It’s much easier, and cheaper, then getting Uber’s every time you want to go somewhere! And if possible, stay buoyant with travel dates! Choose a season, but if you can, be open to any dates.
Our preferred method of booking & traveling is not for everyone and I’m sure there’s a bit we’ve left out so feel free to email us especially in regards to anywhere we have traveled to in specific. Hope this post offers some insight into making traveling affordable, enjoyable and personalized to your specific preferences.