You’ve decided that you’re going to book your next holiday, vacation, bachelorette party, bar mitzvah…. so now what? I know it can be a daunting task but I’m here to help you. Below you will find links to help you value travel.
What is value traveling? Value traveling is what I preach on all of my social media outlets, blog posts and when I talk to others about traveling. Value traveling is getting the best bang for your buck.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).
There is so much information on the internet and things can get confusing really fast. Where do I travel to? Do I need a destination? Do I have to spend a lot of money? Is traveling expensive? How do I book a flight or a 5-star hotel? Should I rent a car?
If you prefer, use the subjects below to jump around:
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I understand, it can be hard to know when and where to start planning your dream trip. All of these questions can be answered in the articles linked below.. Grab the best flight prices with my personalized link or go to my partner sites for hotel accommodations. These are world-wide trusted sites that are the best in the industry at what they do. Not interested in flights or hotels? How about booking a road-trip or an AirBnb instead? Whether you know where you want to go or you have no idea, I will be navigating with you, every step of the way.
The following resources are the ones I personally use on my own travels so I trust them 110%. They come highly recommend.
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Most likely this will be the most expensive cost of your trip, unless you’re using miles when possible. I highly recommend investing into a travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. What’s better than flying for free?!
Also, I love the Hopper app and use it religiously. Hopper states on their website that it “predicts prices with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance. No ads, no spam, no stress — just accurate predictions and travel deals.”
Travel Hack: Airlines are more likely to upgrade your seat or flight if you book directly through them instead of 3rd party sites like Expedia or Travelocity.
If you want to get the best prices on flights, look at these two sites as far in advanced as possible; SkyScanner and Google Flights. You will be amazed at the amount of money you can save by shopping around and tracking prices.
Once I have a destination in mind, I will have notifications sent to me from all three websites (Hopper, Google Flights, SkyScanner) so I can track the best time to purchase my flight. These apps or websites cost nothing to use. That’s the best part, they are free!
So, what’s the catch? The catch is that if you want to save money on your trip, you have to be ready to pay once your get a low-cost airfare alert. It seems simple, but you have to be ready with credit card in hand. These deals can pass by within an hour or two. So, saving on your flight is a big deal, just be prepared.
Speaking of credit cards, I use two major credit cards to book my flights, hotels, AirBnb’s and rental cars. These two cards offer me the most value, but your situation may be different. Check current credit card deals before applying.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The first travel credit card I use is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Chase card is great for beginners and travel-hacking seasoned veterans. If you apply for the card at the right time, you can earn up to 60,000 bonus miles. However, the spending amount is higher than most cards at $4,000 in the first three months to be eligible. Chase requires a $99 per year fee to hold the power of the Sapphire Preferred card and its benefits. If $4,000 seems like too much, how about using the card to pay for utility or re-occurring monthly bills. Other ideas include house repairs and renovations, car repairs, birthday gifts or my favorite, a Christmas spending spree.
So, what is my method to earning travel credit card bonuses? I usually apply for a card in mid-November, before my Christmas shopping spree. That way, all of my purchases go towards earning those important travel miles for the following year.
Anyways, on to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal!
Chase rewards are great because they are incredibly flexible for award travel. You can transfer Chase point to 13 different airline and hotel travel partners. Those options make it easy to book everything from beach-side resorts to lie-flat business-class seats. But did you know you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for more than just fancy hotels and expensive flights with travel partners?
Read More: Chase Travel Portal & Benefits
Capital One Venture Card
The second card I always have in my wallet is the Capital One Venture card. Believe it or not, this was my second travel rewards card I ever used and I’m still using it today! With Capital One + hotels.com, I can earn free hotel nights and 10x the miles for each hotel I book. This is great value in my mind and I’ve earned over two free nights in the last year alone.
Now, that means I’ve been traveling a lot. So, pick your poison, but that’s the reason we are all here!
For all purchases with the Capital One Venture card, you are earning 2x the points for every dollar you spend. Like the Chase card, there is a $95 fee after the first year of ownership.
In addition to the hotels.com benefit, like my Chase card, I’m also covered for car rental insurance and trip protection. For those who travel internationally, Capital One offers a $!00 credit on Global Entry and TSA Pre-check.
If you can’t find a good use for your Capital One miles, feel free to transfer them to 10+ travel partners in the Capital One network. Talk about perks!
Whatever your preference; Bed and Breakfast, Hotels, Apartments, Campsites or a new friend’s couch, I can help you! Below you will find some of the best sites to book any of these accommodations.
Hotels.com is my preferred hotel partner for travelers looking for hotel accommodations. Pair this with their perks program and every 10th night is free!
AirBnb is great if you’re looking for something unique. This is my preferred method of travel as I’m always looking for cool and trendy places to stay. I don’t want to stay at the Holiday Inn, sorry major hotel chains. I want to stay like a local.
AirBnb offers locally owned houses, condos, apartments, yurts, tents and other unique places to stay. If you’re looking to stay at something other than a hotel, I would highly recommend that you check out AirBnb.
By signing up via this AirBnb link, your first booking will get you a discount credit! Recently, AirBnb started offering experiences such as cooking classes, local tours, dance classes, yoga re-treats and many other exclusive events.
Check out this unique AirBnb property that I stayed at in Monteverde, Costa Rica!
Wouldn’t you love to try something spectacular like the yurt above. It was amazing and the only thing I regret is not booking two nights instead of the one!
Additionally, if you have a home or space to rent, AirBnb is a great place to market. To help create comfortable, reliable stays for guests, all homes and hosts must meet four basic requirements. Be responsive, accept reservation requests, avoid cancelling on guests and get positive reviews.
Responding quickly when guests reach out shows that you’re an attentive and considerate host. Accept reservation requests, no guest likes to have to send 4 or 5 requests to find an available place. Avoid cancelling on guests because AirBnb takes cancellations seriously. Guests like to know they can expect a consistent level of quality
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Google It” before? You can google almost anything these days but, the information may not always be accurate.
So, when Googling-it just wont cut it, I look to guidebooks. Time and time again I have referred to at least a couple pages of these books when I travel. Out of all of the ones I’ve read, the following are my favorites.
Lonely Planet is the most well known guidebook series of them all, and there is no doubt why they are so popular. As a comprehensive guide, you’ll find information about destinations new and unknown with lots of features you would have never considered. I occasionally find myself writing down notes and taking pictures of important info.
Travel Hack: Taking pictures of important maps or information in guidebooks is easier than bringing the actual book with you on your adventure when space is limited.
Rough Guides is a second highly rated guidebook series that I use before my trip. The tips about secluded whereabouts and the landscape pictures really help guide my itinerary. As is also the case with Lonely Planet, keep in mind that pricing in these books become outdated almost instantly- especially in countries with high inflation. Use the pricing structure in guidebooks with a grain of salt. This might be information better-off Googling than relying on a book post-dated.
Viator makes it simple for travelers to find exactly what they want to do on their trip. With direct access to more than 200,000 bookable activities, travelers can easily discover and book incredible experiences. Optimized for mobile booking, Viator lets travelers plan in advance or book on-the-go to skip long lines and sold-out signs. They also feature:
- 24-hour cancellation policy
- The lowest price guarantee
- Millions of customer reviews
- 24/7 multilingual customer care
Look at some of the excursions available for Spain below. Click on any of them to see more excursions or browse your destination. There are a ton of options to choose from!
World Nomads is a premium travel insurance company that will help keep you and your belongings protected during your travels. We had to file several claims against our policy when the train station in Seville Spain wouldn’t accept our tickets we purchased online weeks before our trip. And then again when our car was stuck along a countryside road on our Costa Rica trip.
Like you, travel is in our blood and exploring is our way of life. Our mission is to help you get the most out of your adventures and support you when things go wrong.World Nomads
When I visited the Dominican Republic, I made sure to check on safety alerts before I left for my trip. And I always do this before I leave the country. World Nomads has useful articles on their site to help keep you safe when traveling. They are a great resource on and during your trip!
I’ve always wanted the best gear but never wanted to spend the money. The best camera is the one that’s with you at all times. How can you take a picture or video, if you forgot your camera in the hotel room or at home? Chances are, your cell phone is always with you and readily available.
But, if you want to step up your IG game, upgrade to an actual camera or GoPro.
While I have upgraded from my trusty Sony A5000, I still have not bit the bullet to spend over $800 on a travel camera. The camera I am using now is the Panasonic Lumix G85.
As you can see from the photo’s above, the camera is small, portable and practical when traveling. It is a micro four thirds mirrorless camera. And while not a full-frame camera that captures every single megapixel, it does not carry the weight. My favorite feature is the weatherproof housing. The camera body and the lense are weatherproof and sealed. Now, this does not mean I can submerse it in the Caribbean Ocean or drop it in a Costa Rican crocodile infested river. But, it will stand up to the elements such as high wind, sand and even pouring rain.
I feel like its a great alternative for somebody who is always on the go and it doesnt break the bank. I wont go on and on about camera specs, but, I’ve been using it for two years and I love it.
The DJI Mavic Pro goes everywhere that I go. I chose this drone over the competition because of its portability and easy of use. Capturing moments from the sky to get a unique perspective and a birds eye view brings happiness to my soul. I bought the Mavic Pro when it first came out, along with the Fly More Combo. I have a ton of YouTube videos of my flying it. You can find the unboxing video and also flying in Punta Cana here.
A quick tip if you’re flying your drone over the ocean or in the brighter hours of the day, get an ND filter. An ND filter blocks out the harsh sunlight and cuts down on reflections. What this does is give you a broader color spectrum to edit without washing out any of the highlights in your frame. Grab a set of nice ND filters, you wont regret it. Polar Pro has been in the business of ND filters for awhile and their products are top notch. They are a brand you can trust.
Packing cubes are great for organizing your luggage and freeing up space for more take-home or souvenir items.Try them out on your next trip!
Not all plugs are created equally, which is why having the right wall adapter set is key when traveling abroad. This five pack covers most of the destinations you’ll visit around the world with few exceptions. (So far the only additional plug we needed to purchase out of 69 countries was for South Africa). Not bad at all!
I have been using GoPro from the beginning and that’s how I got started vlogging. For around $450, you can’t beat the portability and different uses for a camera of this size. A GoPro is a great tool to have in your arsenal on a trip. Pair it with your phone, literally and figuratively, and you will have a fantastic and mobile vlogging set-up. The best camera you can have while traveling is the camera that you can bring with you. It’s small, lightweight and rugged.
Are you thinking of opening a blog to cover your long-term travels? Or maybe you had an inspiration to build a new website as a result of something you’ve experienced on the road? I also design web sites over at www.slysdesign.com. Check out my website or drop me in an email and let’s build something together!
I have a great web hosting service, InMotion Hosting, for you to get started. Their prices are industry standard and their customer service is top notch.