Travel Tips, Tricks, (and Treats!)
I travel a lot! Just in the past year alone, I’ve taken 14 flights, 12 bus rides, lots of Lyfts, and the occasional subway. During the school year, I rent a car at least once a month. You could say I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling smart, saving money, and most importantly, saving time. Read on for some of my best advice!
Buy early: Whether it’s plane tickets or bus fares, buying early is always your best bet! Plane ticket prices are often cheaper the earlier you buy. The closer it gets to the travel date, especially if there’s a holiday nearby, the higher the prices go. With bus fares, it is a lot better to buy early, or you run the risk of the bus you want running out of seats. This also applies to renting cars; because my college is in a small, rural town, if I do not book a car at least a week in advance, they won’t have any available.
Switch to a frequent flyer credit card: Even if you don’t fly all the time, it is well worth signing up for a frequent flyer credit card. My favorite card is through JetBlue. Not only does JetBlue have some of the most competitive airline prices, but you also earn points really fast! Once you rack up points, you can redeem them for any seat on the flight; there are no black out dates, and the points don’t expire! If you qualify for the JetBlue Plus Card, you earn points even faster, and you immediately receive a free checked bag on every flight. Just paying off your credit card bill could earn you a free flight in no time!
Sign up for TSA PreCheck: Waiting in long security lines is never enjoyable, especially during the holidays when everyone is traveling. TSA PreCheck only costs $85 and lasts for five years. After applying online and completing an in-person security interview (really fast and easy), you’ll be able to spend fifteen minutes or less in the security line. I often get through security in about three minutes, so it is well worth the investment. Instead of getting to the airport two hours before your domestic flight, you can easily show up just one hour before. Also, for those who travel internationally, it is worth exploring Global Entry. It gives you all the same benefits of PreCheck, as well as expedited entry into the United States from international flights.
Actively look for deals: If you sign up for airline email lists, you will often receive special deals. If you have a flexible schedule and can travel on short notice, you may be able to get roundtrip weekend getaways for under $100. As for bus fares, if you travel the same route frequently, companies often offer discounts for round trip fares or buying fares in bulk. If you’re going to be in a major city for an extended period of time, check to see if they have better long-term pricing for the subway or bus systems instead of paying individual fares.
Use AAA or other discounts: Having a AAA card is one of my best tips! Whenever I rent a car, AAA waives my underage driver fee and gives me another 10% discount on top of the regular price. AAA can also give you discounts on vacations at hotels and on cruises!
Happy traveling, and remember to stay safe!