Top Travel Tips to Help You Be a Better Traveler

This one is dedicated to our top travel tips to make you a better traveler. We are self-proclaimed ‘expert’ travelers and are giving you our best travel tips, hacks, and advice for better travel planning, booking to save money, packing tips, and little things you can do to be a better traveler and make your life easier when you are in the place you’re visiting.

Top Travel Tips to Help You Be a Better Traveler – Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re talking all about expert traveling tips. This entire episode is packed with the best squad tips ever.

2 (1m 8s):
We always say the tip counts. So we’re dedicating a whole episode to just the

3 (1m 13s):
Tips always counts.

2 (1m 15s):
We’re constantly asked about how to choose places to visit how we can afford the trips that we take or how we manage to do all that we do in the short trips that we take. So I’m really excited to have all of our best pieces of advice and travel tips in this episode for you.

3 (1m 29s):
Yeah, we’re sharing a lot of insight in this episode from expert tips, from the pre-planning process, money saving hacks, and certain things that will make your entire vacation experience run a lot smoother too. And one of my favorite things to do is talk with friends and anybody in general wants to talk, travel and throw out Travel Hacks, and have them exchange it with us, us with them. So we’re giving you all that insight here in this one episode, and I’m excited.

1 (1m 54s):
So we’re going to dive right into the pre-planning process, which is one of my favorite processes because I love to plan trips. And one of our biggest tips is to plan a rough draft of a daily itinerary and how you plan to get around. I loved like if I know that I’m going to a city, for example, I love to write down everything that I want to do in that city and then kind of group it by area so that I’m not going all over the place every single day. And then when I write everything down, that also helps me realize how many days I need in that area. If I need two days, if I need three days, cause you never want to miss out on something, but you also don’t want to have a trip where you plan it and there’s nothing for you to do on the last day.

2 (2m 33s):
And sometimes your trip is only a certain amount of days that you have, like it’s a labor day weekend and you have three days and what can I do in those three days? And then other times when we’re planning like an international trip and it’s a little more flexible, that’s when we do a ton of research and then see how many days we need,

3 (2m 50s):
You know, it’s funny, Brittany, you mentioned something. And then it just made me think of a recent tweet that I saw that Kim had been talking about the pre-planning process. You said, write a list of everything that you want to do and then group it together. So there’s not a lot of back and forth. You just had a tweet, Kim talking about how you need to make a list of all your groceries and what section that’s at and trader Joe’s. So you’re not running all around the store. So a travel hack and pre-planning tip can be put in real life. Now I know Kim’s really good in the pre-planning process. She knows that process and she realized early on, I need to apply that to my grocery store, shopping at trader Joe’s

2 (3m 25s):
The most efficient route to get in and get out. That’s the trader Joe’s though, with traveling, you want to spend as much time there as possible.

3 (3m 32s):
That’s true, but you don’t want to hop all over the place. If you’re going to be seeing multiple things that are in a certain area, you need to group it to that day or that certain afternoon or morning that you’re going to be there, right? There’s no point in going back and forth, if you can avoid it.

1 (3m 43s):
And you also want to leave a little bit of flexibility in your schedule because things might pop up that you want to do, and you want to be able to do them. If you are so strict on a timeline, then you might not be able to do everything and then you might even disappoint yourself. So

2 (3m 56s):
I always overestimate. So if something says, it’ll take you an hour to get there. I’ll book in another half, an hour, an hour for bathroom breaks or taking a wrong turn, like when we’re on trips together. And we’re like, what time should we wake up? And Brittany and I are like, okay, it takes an hour to get there. And then an hour for the hike and then an hour for lunch. And I’m always like, and then throw an hour in for bullshit.

1 (4m 16s):
Yeah, because we’re going to stop and want food or someone’s going to have to go to the bathroom or whatever it is you have to plan in that extra time.

3 (4m 22s):
And also with the pre-planning process, one of the things that we really love to do, especially when we’re making our own itineraries is look online at guided tour companies to see their itineraries and what they do. So for example, when we went to Japan, we looked at our favorite gate one travel company, and we saw what their itinerary was. And a lot of the places that they went, for sure, we knew those places, they were going to be on our list anyway, but they also have those off the beaten path, places and things that locals will know. They have the hotels that they’re going to be staying at. So you can get an idea of the hotels also of what are good ones. And when we went to Shyanne, which is in China, also gate one, again, the hidden gems, they take you to this one park where the locals work out in the morning and it’s a whole like festival type thing that they do.

3 (5m 11s):
And if you were just going to be planning something on your own and trying to find the sites and things to do that wouldn’t be on there. So those travel companies always have that hidden gym. And it’s really good to go from there and you can build off of their schedule and alter it and do whatever you want to do.

1 (5m 26s):
Yeah. Another tip too, is any time you’re doing any traveling throughout a country, you’re most likely to have to take planes, trains, metros, all of that book, those tickets in advance, it saves time and it also saves money as well. It can be really frustrating to get to a place and you didn’t reserve something in advance. And then maybe there’s not another spot on the train that,

2 (5m 45s):
Or you have to take a less optimal route because the better routes already sold out.

1 (5m 50s):
Exactly. So buy those tickets for places or trains. Well, ahead of time in advance,

2 (5m 56s):
Not just trains and planes and automobiles, but also any museums or tours or activities that you want to do. Definitely book that stuff in advance.

3 (6m 5s):
Yeah. You want to book it in advance for several reasons, for the reasons you said you don’t want it to be sold out. Number one, but you usually, when you buy them in the line in advance, they’re at a discounted price. So you’re already saving money. And depending on how far out you are in the planning process, or when you’re going to go, even though yes, you’re spending money on these activities or train tickets or whatever, it’s not money you’re actually spending on the trip so that it adds up to feel like, oh my gosh, this is so much all at once. You really spreading it out. So yes, you’re going to spend that money, but it’s not like, oh, I’m coming back. And now instead of spending $4,000, you’ve actually spent, oh, I’ve only spent three on the trip. And the other amount was spread out through however many months till I went, it makes it a lot more palatable that way, in a sense.

1 (6m 50s):
And we went to France, we went to the Eiffel tower and when we got to the grounds, there were huge lines for tickets. And I mean, just the wait in the line could have taken someone an hour plus just to get a ticket.

2 (7m 2s):
It was the same way at the room Coliseum.

1 (7m 4s):
So we had our tickets in advance. We bypass the ticket line, went straight up and we saved one time and money. An interesting thing too was when we had bought our Eiffel tower tickets, they said that we could get to the first and second levels of the Eiffel tower, but that the third level was sold out. But once we were actually at the top of the second level, they had someone there managing like a station and we bought in cash to go up to the next level. So

2 (7m 30s):
That’s a good point. When I was in Mexico city, we had booked a tour to go to and tango, and we booked it on biter, paid with a credit card. And I guess I have two tips, one, they were only selling these in pairs, which was weird. So if you’re a single person, give them a phone call and you can book it. You couldn’t book it online as a single, which is weird. So go ahead and do that. And then second, we had somebody join our trip a few weeks later and he wanted to buy the ticket, but he didn’t end up doing it. So the day before they’re texting me on WhatsApp about the details of when they’re picking us up. And I asked if we can add one more. We paid in cash for him to join the tour last minute.

1 (8m 7s):
Awesome. Those are great tips. And so going back a little bit to trains, planes and automobiles, one thing that Jamal always does and thank God for Jamal, cause he’s always on like the transportation aspect of our trips is he always looks to see if there are special prices for metros and things of that nature. Like when we were in London, we were able to buy an oyster card in advance and load it. And that was a money saving tip. Same thing for Tokyo. I had looked up Tokyo and you can get a three-day Metro pass and it was much cheaper. You can go anywhere you want in those three days, rather than paying like per Metro trip. And it was probably half the cost of what we would’ve paid if we paid for every single one individually.

3 (8m 47s):
Oh yeah. So like the oyster card in London, you preload the price on there. So say I want to put 20 pounds on the card for example, but basically it’s not 20 pounds and I get to use it so many days that you know, a flat cost, but when you have that card, it makes the fair that you are paying a reduced fare. So you’re, pre-loading it. And then your fare as you’re utilizing, it is actually at a lower cost where the reverse was true in Tokyo, you buy the three-day Metro pass. And like Brittany said, instead of paying per time, you go, it’s a flat rate. So I could use it however many times I want for the three days, two days, five days, whatever you wanted to do. And it’s a great money saving hat.

2 (9m 25s):
When I was in Italy, we pre booked some of the train trips that we knew were going to be going from say Rome to Florence. But then there were other trips that we took that we didn’t necessarily have planned, but just ended up booking. And when you booked online, there were some tickets that would automatically upgrade your ticket to the higher class seat in section. And when you pay at the kiosk, that is not an option that’s available. So it does pay to book online ahead of time

3 (9m 53s):
To get that upgrade,

2 (9m 54s):
Get upgraded for free, fuck them hard.

1 (9m 57s):
Wow. So we have so many more tips on the trip planning process, but we’ve really broken that down in episode 17 and the episodes all about how to plan a trip and save money while doing it. So if you haven’t listened, please go back and listen to that section because it really breaks down the trip planning process as a whole.

2 (10m 15s):
And that’s like the best way to preplan your trip, right? You start booking little things. So, you know, Saturday I’m doing this tour, that’s eight hours. So I know maybe I should plan a dinner. There you go. Now you have a tour in a dinner plan the next day. You’re like, I have a free day. All right. These are the two museums I want to see. I can jam them in on this day. So you kind of build your itinerary as you start booking things. I don’t know about you guys, if you would ever do this, but the thought of going to a city with no plans in place and no hotels booked just gives me weird anxiety.

1 (10m 45s):
Yeah. They need a lot of inviting and you’re gonna spend mostly,

2 (10m 49s):
You’re going to spend half your time on your phone or walking around, trying to find a place to stay or something to do or asking questions.

1 (10m 56s):
Yeah. And that’s not how I want to spend my vacation.

3 (10m 59s):
And those are some just general pre-planning tips on how to figure out your itinerary. But keeping with that theme also, the pre-planning you have to book your lodging. So Brittany, again, since you are the planner of the itinerary, usually why don’t you dive us right into here, on how we pick where we’re actually staying.

1 (11m 16s):
I mean, it really depends on the area, but you want to be around where are you going to be going to the most? So either you want to be in the city center and you want to be able to be around all the attractions you want to do around you, or you want to be close to a Metro line. Even if you’re staying outside of the city, a good Metro line that will connect you to everything you need in the city. If you’re looking to save money is also another great,

2 (11m 36s):
Another option that I’ve done, not staying by the things we’re going to see, choosing a place to stay based on how much it costs. So in Rome, for example, we stayed in an area that a lot of backpackers stay and it was semi close to a train, which was nice, but we knew we were going to walk through Rome to the Coliseum and we actually wanted to do that. So we could see the city experience it. We didn’t mind a 30 minute walk. So we were saving money and we were getting to see more of the town by intentionally staying away from stuff,

3 (12m 6s):
Brittany and I did something like that. When we were staying in Amsterdam, we stayed in a hotel that was outside of the center rink area of all the canals that they have out there. And we did it for a couple of reasons. Same reason you said, we knew we kind of wanted to walk and explore. And to the further out that you stay, the cheaper, the hotel itself is going to be. And by cheaper, I don’t mean it’s a rundown place either just in terms of cost. That same branded hotel that we stayed at in city center would have been doubled the price. So we opted for that 30 minute walk. Then you get to explore those streets and off the beaten path, places on your own. And Amsterdam’s really quite interesting. They don’t have any natural lines. They have above ground street, cars and trains that you can take throughout the city, but not like any metros.

3 (12m 49s):
Whereas again, when we were in London, we stayed in a place outside city center, right by a main Metro line. So we’re like, all right, it’s going to take us 15 minutes on this line to get to city center, but we’re not in city center. So we’re saving the money and easy access to the Metro line. So those are the things that you should really look at in terms of figuring out transportation also, but then also saving money on where you’re going to be staying in. Okay. You’re not in the middle of the neighborhood, but it’s not an inconvenience cause you could get there fast and easy.

2 (13m 13s):
Definitely depends on how much time you have what you’re looking to do, what your budget is. I know when we went to Venice, I didn’t want to stay off the island where it’s a lot cheaper and take the train in. We’re only there for one night. I wanted to stay right in the middle of it and spend a little bit more. But we went with Airbnb in that case. And I think that’s another good tip is to look at all your options. Look at the hotels, look at the Airbnbs, look at every site to book on, to compare the prices of the same place. And what’s nice about Airbnb. I think in addition to it can often be more affordable is that you get more of like a local vibe, local experience when you’re there. I know when we went to Venice, the Italian man opened up his place, gave us muffins to have her breakfast told us where all the good places where to eat.

2 (13m 60s):
And it was just a very local Italian by

3 (14m 2s):
Yeah. If you get a good Airbnb hosts, they’re going to give you that insider information of not necessarily. Okay. Yeah. Here are touristy places, but these are also places that I like to go and I’m recommending to you. So you do get that experience. We actually have a whole episode on this episode, 79, where we talk about hotels versus Airbnb versus hostel versus timeshare. And so that episode really breaks down the pros and cons of each and also too. It really depends like you were saying for that authentic experience, if you’re going to a place where it’s known for the food and you know, you’re going to be eating out a lot also, right? You’re not really going to want to cook for yourself, but if you’re going to a place where obviously everywhere has food and restaurants, but the cuisine, there isn’t anything that it’s known for to die for.

3 (14m 46s):
You’ll save money by staying in an Airbnb because you can actually cook for yourself if you want it to that on your trip. So that episode really dives into that. And it’s all about that pre-planning process. Where am I staying in wide pros and cons on each

2 (14m 59s):
With Expedia? I know, and maybe some other platforms do this too. If you pay, when you book, sometimes you can get a discount off of the price versus say, paying at the hotel when you get there. And I’ve also had Airbnb hosts that have messaged me after booking. That will say, if you cancel, I’ll give you this for say $200 less.

1 (15m 19s):
Yeah. Because they have to pay like the platform a fee every time that they get booked through there. So they’re trying to do it, you know, and save some money. And so even when we were in the us Virgin islands, our Airbnb hosts said, Hey, if you know anyone that wants to come here and wants to use our Airbnb, give them my number direct. They can book directly and it’ll save them some money. And it was, I felt like for the us Virgin islands, it was already cheap and like a good price. So what even better deal. But while you’re booking, it’s always important to make sure that you’re booking places that have flexible cancellation policies. You never want to get stuck and have to cancel your trip and then not be able to get the money back. So make sure that you’re always booking places that have pretty flexible cancellation policies.

1 (16m 1s):
You can even filter for that on Expedia, Airbnb, et cetera,

3 (16m 4s):
Especially now in the days of COVID. Yeah.

2 (16m 7s):
Or you never know when a random worst in a hundred years, snow storm is going to roll in overnight.

3 (16m 14s):
And that happened to us. One of my biggest pre-planning tips that I could give you guys is notify your banks of travel. You’d be surprised how many people go overseas and don’t tell their banks that they’re actually going. And then they use their ATM card to try to pull out money or try to use their credit card. And then they’re denied access. And now you have to make an international call and try to get hold of your bank or go online, get internet access, and put that notification in there. It’ll save you a lot of hassle. So you don’t get that fraud warning and hinder your ability to purchase things in that moment. If you absolutely have to can’t wait. So do notify your banks of travel. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard don’t do that. And it just blows my mind and then they always have that story.

3 (16m 55s):
Yeah. I got flagged for fraud while of course,

2 (16m 57s):
Yeah. I’ve been denied drinks at a pool party in Las Vegas even, and that’s only a five-hour drive of travel because the banks will shut your car down, even traveling in between states.

3 (17m 7s):
That is very true, but it’s really funny. They look for those random things that should be fraud or something abnormal. And I don’t know what about that is abnormal that they saw on your account, Kim, by

2 (17m 18s):
I probably saw a $50 drink price tag, and thought that cannot be normal.

3 (17m 23s):
That’s what it was.

1 (17m 24s):
It could be that another important thing to do is to print your documents, make copies of your passport credit cards, hotel reservations. Sometimes the internet doesn’t work or you’re in a place without service, or you might lose something. It’s always good to have copies on hand before every trip, Jamal prints out all of those documents and we carry it in a folder in our backpack while we Travel

2 (17m 44s):
And don’t just print them out, but keep your eye on them throughout the trip. You know, as 10 day trip goes on, you could lose this paperwork. When we were coming back from Mexico, this weekend, I’m going to call out Chelsea. I don’t know what she did with her paperwork that she printed out, but she was having trouble with her phone accessing internet. So she couldn’t find her confirmation number for the flight. So she couldn’t check in. So she had to wait in this huge long line to get a boarding pass printed because she lost her paperwork. And then she also lost her return CVX pass. So she had to buy a, another pass to cross back the border. So wasted money, wasted time, and a lot of added stress. If you lose your paperwork,

3 (18m 19s):
Well, don’t lose the paperwork and lose the online booking. But if you can’t find it electronically, that’s why the paperwork is important. So you actually have that physical access to it. If you can’t access the wifi, you know, God forbid a wallet gets stolen or you lose it for that matter. Yeah. And if you have to call your credit card company and say, my stuff is lost and stolen, cancel it. You know, now you actually have the number for the credit card company, your credit card number. So you have all that information to provide to them. You lose a passport, you could go to the embassy. This is my stuff. I’ve lost. It. It makes the whole process easier. If you have it, God forbid the worst is to have,

2 (18m 54s):
You know, it’s true. I mean your phone and your wallet can both get stolen.

3 (18m 57s):

2 (18m 58s):
True. All you’re going to have is that printed paperwork to get you back.

3 (19m 1s):
I’ve had a phone stolen. I know all about it. Kim Also travel medical is so, so important, especially again in the day and age of COVID. This is a pre-planning thing that you must must do, especially if you’re going international. A lot of countries now require you to prove that you have health insurance. That covers COVID. If you are traveling internationally, it’s a requirement and stipulation for you to get in the country on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. We have a link for you that you can actually purchase your travel medical insurance, but I never traveled internationally without getting this. So you guys should too. It puts your mind at ease. And it’s a great thing to have

1 (19m 40s):
One of your clients that purchased it from you, Jamal chipped his tooth and took advantage of the insurance. Didn’t he?

3 (19m 46s):
Oh yeah. He was in another country. He had that issue happened to him. He was able to go to the dentist, get reimbursed. They did his filling cap, all that stuff. So, I mean, it’s not even just like medical. Oh, I’m in the hospital that covers those little miscellaneous things like that. Also.

1 (20m 1s):
Yeah. Another part of the pre-planning process is research in currency. I mean, there’s so many different things. Like how much cash do you bring versus can you use your credit card there? For example, Japan, Japan is a cash based society. And every time we went out to a restaurant, they didn’t accept card. You had to pay for cash versus a lot of places in Europe, we could use card pretty much everywhere. And then at the same time, it’s always good to travel with some cash just to have it on hand. I mean, I remember when we went to South Africa, someone on our group didn’t bring cash and they needed American cash to get the visa, to go into them Bob way. And they didn’t have cash available to them.

3 (20m 40s):
You should always travel with cash number one. But in terms of us, you know, I always like to use credit card if I can, because I get points. So why not utilize that? But again, to what you’re saying, Japan cash based society, lots of places are cash based society. Yes. If you’re staying at a hotel, they’re going to take credit cards, but vendors on the streets, small mom and pop shops, you know, they want that cash where again, you gave the equivalent to Europe and other places too. You could use the card more freely. So it’s good to have that general knowledge going in.

1 (21m 8s):
And if you are going to use a credit card, make sure to use one that has no foreign transaction fees so that you’re saving money.

3 (21m 13s):
Yes. And speaking in the theme of cards, still one thing to look at in the pre-planning process, is it better to take your cash and exchange it at a money exchange place or pull money from the ATM. Now, most people don’t realize this. When you use an ATM in another country, it’s really going to give you the even exchange rate, but ATM’s have fees, right? So it’s up to you to kind of really do that research. Okay. The ATM has a fee. I’m going to pay this much money to get an even exchange rate. But if I take my physical currency and exchange it, they take a commission on it too. So find that balance and really figure that out. As an example, in Latin America, they would prefer to have dollars.

3 (21m 54s):
So sometimes the exchange of physical cash will be better for you than pulling from an ATM. Whereas in Europe they’re like, well, we have euros. Their currency is strong. They don’t really care. So it’s actually better to pull from the ATM because they charge a high commission to change your us dollars to their currency.

2 (22m 11s):
Yeah. It really depends. But either way, you’re going to lose a little bit of money, but it’s not a ton that you need to be like super concerned over. You can also exchange money with your home bank. If you do it a few days ahead of time, and they’re going to take a fee as well. And then you can enter into that country already having the currency.

3 (22m 28s):
Yeah. One of my favorite things to do, though, if I do pull from the ATM is when I come back from the trip, I just asked my bank, if they could wave that ATM fee and I have a 90% success rate of them actually doing it. So you won’t get the fee waived from the ATM that you actually pull from, but your bank will Institute a fee on YouTube. Just ask them to waive it more often than not. They probably will.

2 (22m 48s):
I’ve also noticed in other countries, their ATM fees are a lot lower than the us. Like over here, we could have like a four or $5 non-bank ATM fee. I was in Mexico and it was a dollar.

1 (22m 59s):
Well, I think it really depends on where you’re at. Cause some places in Europe, they hike it up. But like in Latin American countries, it’s not so expensive. So I think it really depends on the region. You’re traveling to, Hey travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our Travel Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip itineraries one week in Hawaii

2 (23m 19s):
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3 (23m 21s):
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1 (23m 56s):
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3 (24m 10s):
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1 (24m 22s):
But while we’re on the topic of money, we’re going to dive into some more money saving hacks and how this can save you time and make your life easier when you’re there. And one of those tips that we have for you is to recheck your hotel prices, your rental car prices, your flight prices, especially if you have these amenities that you can cancel and rebook, sometimes you can call the hotels directly and see if they can beat the online price. Southwest always has sales. So I’m always watching to see if they have a sale. Cause then I can cancel my original flight, rebook it and then get the balance in a travel fund. And you can save a lot of money that way.

3 (24m 57s):
Yeah. And on the rental cars, we’ve mentioned it so many times, but it’s worth repeating again. That’s why we are. I don’t know if you book direct with car rental companies like Hertz budget direct as an example, we as Costco members book our rental car through Costco. So there is no money to be paid upfront. We just make the reservation you pay when you pick it up. But we’ll book the rental car in advance. And maybe once a week until the trip actually comes, we’ll go back online, check the prices sometimes. And more often than not, we’ll find that the rental car price has dropped. So let’s say we’re going somewhere for a weekend. They’re charging $150 for the rental car and now, oh, it’s only $115.

3 (25m 38s):
Well, we’re going to cancel that original reservation and we’re going to book it for the one 15. So you save money that way too. So do check that out.

1 (25m 45s):
Another tip for you is to consider traveling in off seasons. We love to travel in shoulder seasons. One. I don’t really like crowds, so it’s a great way to avoid the crowds, but also it’s often cheaper because prices will drop because it’s spring or fall. And so you can save money that way when you travel in the off season and you know what, it’s just as beautiful when you go during that time

2 (26m 8s):
Prices for different experiences or excursions could also be cheaper in the off season.

3 (26m 14s):
Always. I mean, it makes sense of a business, knows more people are going to be here at a certain time. Why would they not charge more? And if less people are going to be there to encourage people to come, they lower. The prices make sense. I love traveling and shoulder season. And also, I mean, we touched upon this earlier in the pre-planning process, but it’s worth repeating again. Especially if we’re talking money, saving hacks, one, repeat it, pay for those museums and attractions beforehand. They always have sales online. They’re usually cheaper and discounted when you purchase them ahead of time. And again, you save time because you don’t have to wait in line at the place to purchase the tickets.

2 (26m 46s):
And we always talk about using a credit card with really good travel points and travel perks. And not only do you get to build points that you can then redeem for hotels or flights or whatever in the future, but when you book your trips with the credit card, there’s little hidden perks that come with it like travel medical insurance to a certain degree of coverage. There’s also trip insurance that if something happens to your booking, you can get your money back through them.

1 (27m 11s):
Lounges lounges have free food, free drinks. If you don’t have to pay for a meal in an airport, that’s amazing because your port prices are more expensive. And I actually recently got the chase Sapphire preferred card and they were offering the most points that they’ve ever offered before. If you spent a certain number of dollars in the first three months, they were offering a hundred thousand bonus points and the annual fees only like $95. And so when I redeem that for travel, it’s over $1,200 worth of travel. Wow. Yeah, that’s amazing.

3 (27m 44s):
So for $95, you’re going to get 1200 plus dollars worth and travel for that. So always look at those credit cards, offering those perks, especially if you’re not abusing the credit cards, I’m going to have issues with taking it out and purchasing on it. The really, really good money saving devices

1 (28m 1s):
And most travel credit cards have no foreign transaction fees. That’s usually one of the biggest perks that they have as well. So make sure the card that you’re looking at has that. And if you want some more information on travel credit cards, go back, listen to episode 67, we give you some of the best travel cards that are out today.

3 (28m 18s):
Speaking of the perk game here, find hotels with perks. And the first one I’m going to say right off the bat, find one with a free breakfast buffet or have not just a free breakfast in general, but what a perk of saving money in that sense already, don’t have to buy breakfast,

2 (28m 33s):
Saving time too, of going out and finding a place to eat.

1 (28m 35s):
Yes you are. Absolutely.

2 (28m 37s):
When I was in Mexico this weekend or two weeks ago now the hotel that we were staying in, came with free minibar And every day they restocked it.

3 (28m 47s):
It was the best hotel perk I’ve ever heard of

2 (28m 51s):
No free breakfast, but there was free many

3 (28m 53s):
Bars that makes up for

1 (28m 54s):
It, them for it.

3 (28m 55s):
Definitely. And let me tell you something though, if you’re in Mexico, I wouldn’t want to have a free breakfast at a hotel in Mexico because I would want to go out and actually eat real authentic food for breath.

2 (29m 3s):
You know what? They did have a breakfast buffet, but you had to pay for it. I think it was like 13 bucks and I went in to scope it out one day and it looked amazing.

3 (29m 12s):
I’m sure it did, but

2 (29m 13s):
No, it had a lot of authentic Mexican food in it too. And I was planning to get it the next day or last day, but I was way too hung over and could not wake up early.

3 (29m 22s):
See, but the counter to that though, even though $13 for a buffet is a really good price. Especially if you’re saying the food looked good and it was really authentic

2 (29m 29s):
And there was mimosas and Mitch a lot is

3 (29m 31s):
Nice, but you know, very well in Mexico, you could go to a restaurant and get a legit breakfast for like five to $8 also

2 (29m 39s):
Too. That’s not the only perk that hotels come with though. I’ve definitely seen different like wine or beer hours offered at some hotels. They often will pick you up from the airport or give you a ride back to the airport, which is really cool. And then, you know, there’s just different amenities like pool. You could have a pool day and that’s built into your itinerary of what you want to do, or maybe they have discounts on different excursions that they offer. If you book through them, they also usually offer free robes, which you can’t beat that.

1 (30m 8s):
Oh my God, every place in Japan that we stayed at had free robes to wear while you’re there and slippers

3 (30m 15s):
Kimonos, Brittany.

1 (30m 16s):
Yeah, I guess were

3 (30m 17s):
Kimono kimono with a row.

2 (30m 19s):
Another money saving tip is the day that you fly does matter. You can save a lot of money by flying on a Tuesday morning compared to a Thursday evening. So my recommendation, I really like to use Google flights and in where you’re going and then start picking days using the calendar feature, but kind of keep it open. You’ll be able to see how the price is changed day by day and how it changes based on the combination of days that you choose to fly out and fly back in on. And you can just identify where the prices are going to be cheaper. There’s different settings you can set for excluding certain airlines or only looking at one airline. You can make it. So it’s, you’re only looking at nonstop flights because sometimes when you’re searching in there, you’ll see it say like 120 is the cheapest of all this month.

2 (31m 5s):
Right. And then you click on it and it’s like a 15 hour to stop flight for something that could be direct three hours. Right. So definitely put the settings in that you’re looking for first and then run it.

1 (31m 15s):
That’s a really good tip because you know, sometimes I see those really good prices and I’m like intrigued. And then I see it’s gonna take me 15, 18 hours. And I’m like, Hmm, no, not worth it.

2 (31m 24s):
Time and money. You have to balance that.

3 (31m 26s):
That’s true. But that calendar feature is clutch because you could really look at it and time accordingly. I mean, if you’re trying to go somewhere on a weekend trip or a holiday weekend, I mean, that’s not really going to do anything for you on that end, but if you’re really planning an actual vacation and you’re flexible on the day that you’re going to be able to leave because, oh, it’s just going to be seven days. Yeah. Why not do it midweek when it’s going to be substantially cheaper or if you can extend it a day and you’re going to save $300 on an airline ticket from Monday to Tuesday, why would you not?

2 (31m 55s):
Yeah, we’ve definitely come back from trips. I know as a squad where we could come back on a Sunday night late, or we could come back really early on a Monday morning before work and we save so much money that we do Monday, it’s actually worth spending another night in the place to get that much of a discount.

1 (32m 12s):
Right. Especially as we travel as a squad, we’re going to split the hotel. And so we’re splitting the hotel price three, four ways sometimes versus, you know, if the flight home on Monday night is $50 more per person that adds up pretty quickly. But as we’re talking about flights, you know, not only do the day of the week, matter on when you book the flight, but when you actually book the flight, how far in advance you book the flight out. Because if you book a flight out, you know, six months in advance, you’re probably going to get pretty good past that the prices may not be so good. But then if you’re booking something within like three months, the prices are going to continue to rise as you get closer and closer and closer to the date.

2 (32m 50s):
Yeah. I’ve watched a lot of flights and it does seem like once you hit three months, you’re probably not going to get the best rate you could have. Had you been looking at it for a few months ahead of time. And with Google, when you’re doing that search and you find which route you want to take, you can select a button to watch that flight. And every day it will send you an email with what that price is going for or what that flight price is going for. And so if it’s been 600, all of a sudden you see it at 400, you know, you need to book it right away.

3 (33m 17s):
And I know it seems kind of counterintuitive. We’re talking the closer you get here, the more expensive it’s going to be, but we’re talking about for flights. So when, if you remembering back, when we said, keep checking that hotel, the rental car, other things to see if they’ve gone on sale. Usually sometimes they do the closer you get, but flights, I feel like that’s not the case at all, unless it’s just all of a sudden a flash sale for whatever reason.

2 (33m 39s):
Yeah. I would say there are sales that pop up in say the eight months before that you’re looking to fly. But then the three months is like the rare flash sale,

1 (33m 49s):
Another money saving tip. And we’ve used this all the time is sometimes when you’re looking at that sale, let the sale dictate your trip and where you’re going to go to. You might have a huge list of places that you want to go, but just put in those different destinations. If they match up for that time of the year, if there’s a sale for that jump on it. We just recently jumped on a sale for Hawaii. And we’ve been in Hawaii a few times in the last few years. It’s not a new place to us, but it was a different island, but the sale was so good. We couldn’t pass it up. I mean, round trip for Jamal and I, we literally paid less than a hundred dollars for our round trip tickets.

2 (34m 24s):
That’s crazy.

3 (34m 25s):
But again, we’ve talked about it before we let a sale dictate our trip to Boise. We worked the scene, things that we kind of wanted to go, but then the sale was there and we’re like, all right, well, we’re just going to have to book it, even though it wasn’t like, we want to go there right now, but why would you not? And again, sometimes those unsuspecting places are places. You have no preconceived notions of what I want to do or what there is to do there. You’re going to have a really good time. Obviously, you’re going to do this pre planning research that we’re talking about here to make it. So it’s not that anxious, induced feeling that you just said, Kim, of going somewhere and not knowing exactly what to do and having to figure it out when you’re there, but you’ll have a good time if you let the sale dictate that trip.

2 (35m 4s):
And then when you get there, you have already planned your trip. It’s amazing. You’ve saved a ton of money. We have a couple of tips for how to make your life easier while you’re there. And while you’re navigating around

1 (35m 14s):
First tip that we have for that is to use and utilize the offline map feature on Google maps. We talk about this in most episodes and we pertain it a lot to like hiking in remote areas. It’ll work perfectly well for that, but it’ll also really work well when you’re out of the country as well. Because a lot of the times you don’t want to pay for internet in another country. So you might not have data or access to that. So if you put offline maps and you download the area that you’re going to be in, usually I just do like a whole big city area, or sometimes if the country small enough, you can download the map for the entire country and you can navigate yourself around the country at any point in time, regardless of if you have service or not.

3 (35m 53s):
Yeah. So it’s really great to have it functions as if you are online so that you can help navigate yourself. And Brittany’s talking about in cities, but if you’re going out in nature also for example, that you know, going on a hike here in the U S or even internationally, there’s not going to be service anyway, even if it’s not an issue of pain for data or having access to it. So do download that and keeping with the theme of downloading Google things, download Google translate. This is more particular if you’re going internationally. So just like offline maps, you can download Google translate. And basically if you go into a country, you don’t know the language, you don’t have data. This is going to help you get around. And you just put in what you want to say and translate, and it will translate it to your preferred language and you don’t need the data or service for that because you’ve downloaded the language.

2 (36m 42s):
And then I think the best tip while you’re in a place is to talk to the people that are around. You ask them for directions, ask them what’s the best place to eat in. If you have an Airbnb host, they are going to be more than happy to give you all of the local information. That’s really where you’re going to find the hidden gems, the best restaurants, the non touristy things that are going to make your trip special.

1 (37m 2s):
When we were in the us Virgin islands, our Airbnb hosts told us that it was going to be lobster night at one of the restaurants down the street. And you had to have reservations. And we called and they’re like, no reservations. We’re all booked up for the night. So we thought we were out of luck. And we told our Airbnb hosts were like, oh, we’d love to go there. But they said that they’re all out of the reservations. He literally called them up and said, Hey, I have these people that are running from me. Please squeeze them in for tonight. And he got us a reservation there.

3 (37m 30s):
Yeah. He was a regular and friends with the owners. However, even if it doesn’t go that far in your host is friends with the owners of the restaurant to be able to get you in. That’s still a good tip that he gave us of that place had lobster night. That’s not anything I’ve ever seen online when we were doing our research. And it’s probably one of those insider local things that people know that he was able to share with us.

1 (37m 52s):
So is there anything else we want to dive into before we get into questions of the week?

2 (37m 57s):
I mean, we covered a lot of really good tips right now and I think the biggest tip is just do it, do it, do it. We gave you the tips. Now do it. All right. Questions of the week. Everybody. We have two questions today. So thank you for sending those in the first one is I am planning a trip to New York city. It’s really expensive. What do you recommend I do to save on costs?

1 (38m 28s):
My biggest tip for that is look up the free things to do. I mean, central park is completely free. Also. You may not want to stay in downtown Manhattan because that is a really expensive area. You might want to stay. And like Brooklyn or some of the other

2 (38m 41s):
Long island city is also very close to Manhattan just to short Metro way and much, much more affordable. Yeah.

1 (38m 48s):
So look up the free things to do, stay in an area that isn’t right in downtown, but you can still access downtown really quickly and easily.

3 (38m 57s):
I was going to say what you just said, references back to a tip that we gave earlier, New York. I’m sure we all know has a solid subway system stay outside the city and it’s going to be cheaper for you and you have that quick access end. So

2 (39m 10s):
Well, that’s another good tip. Use the subway. Don’t bother with Uber and Lyft saved money by using the subway.

3 (39m 16s):

2 (39m 16s):
And there is so much to see from the buildings. You can take the free ferry over to Staten island and you can, You can see that and you can also see the statue of Liberty. There’s a lot of stuff you can see for free in New York and actually not have to spend much money at all.

3 (39m 33s):
I haven’t done this in New York, but I can imagine there are many of them and probably really good ones. And this isn’t just for New York. This is for anywhere, but I feel like it would be really good in New York, look into free walking tours. Kim loves a free walking tours. I love a free walk into her too, but at the same time, you could have a real good one in New York. And I guarantee you, you’re going to get like a different type of history perspective of the person who’s giving it to you. So it’s more the getting insider information and the history that’ll make the trip even more enjoyable.

2 (40m 0s):
I bet you, there are some good looking New York city accent, men who are giving those walking tours

1 (40m 7s):
I’m right up. So we have another question of the week and it says I’ve never been out of the country. What would be a good place to visit for my first trip? And that’s,

2 (40m 17s):
That’s a good question.

1 (40m 18s):
It’s a really good question. Yeah.

2 (40m 19s):
If you’re nervous about navigating the world and language is obviously a big part of that, then maybe start with a international country that also speaks English or English is widely used

1 (40m 30s):
Like Canada or the UK.

3 (40m 32s):
Well, not even for the language, but even for the culture, even though it’s going to be different, it’s still a little bit the same of American culture in a way.

1 (40m 39s):
Yeah. When we went to the UK, when we were in London, I mean, all of the signs are in English, so you can get around really easily, but you know, they do have a different accent and it’s a different culture. So it’s still really fun.

2 (40m 50s):
Yeah, Canada, their accent is not too much different, but it’s probably the most American like place. But I would also say if you want a little bit more of the international experience with a little bit of culture change, there are a lot of countries out there that even though they are nothing like American, they do not speak English. English is widely used. Peru was a big one,

1 (41m 11s):

2 (41m 12s):
Thailand. There’s a lot of places out there that actually you can get by just fine with English.

1 (41m 17s):
Yeah. In the Philippines. There’s a lot of signs in English, actually. It’s very

2 (41m 20s):
Interesting. The Thailand. Yeah.

3 (41m 22s):
You know, the many times that we’ve been to the Philippines, Brittany, I feel like every sign and everything is in English. The only thing I heard in the native language was the news when it would come on at night, but rest assured you could walk any hotel and speak English and don’t even have to feel bad about the fact that you’re not even trying to speak in their native language. Like that’s how prevalent it is over there. So Philippines and a lot of those other countries in Asia, like you mentioned, Thailand also, they’ll give you that different cultural experience, but with the comfort of not having to worry about a language barrier,

1 (41m 51s):
Well, those are really good questions. Thank you guys for submitting those.

2 (41m 55s):
And thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week. We hope that you are learning something. We hope that we’re inspiring you to travel. Keep the adventures going with us on our Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in more of your questions of the week.

3 (42m 8s):
If you found the information, this episode would be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (42m 21s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

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