Travel Easy - How to save money on Flights and Cars
When you want to save money on your Flights & Cars, start here!
Most Expensive -> Less Expensive
First Class Airlines, First Class Trains, and Black Car Taxis are luxurious and the most comfortable ways to travel, but also the most expensive. If you're set on traveling first class and you have excellent credit, try credit card hacking. Sign-up bonuses vary, but you're usually able to score 50-100K point bonuses after spending a set amount in the first 3 months. We were able to get the 100K point sign-up bonus from Chase Sapphire Reserve when they were offering it, and use them to book flights basically for free. There is a hefty $450 annual fee, but we're able to offset it with the points we earn from purchases, and the $300 annual travel credit. It also includes a Priority Pass membership for airport lounges that has been very useful and convenient. If you do an online search for best travel or airline credit cards you can find one that suits your situation. Just make sure you're going to be paying the full balance at the end of the month!
Expensive -> More Affordable
If first class travel is out of your budget or you don't have enough travel points to trade, flying coach, second-class trains, and peer-to-peer ride sharing (i.e. Uber or Lyft) is a little less expensive. Plan ahead when booking flights and train tickets. Some airlines like Norwegian will offer steep discounted tickets if you book 6 months in advance. When we went to Italy, we found out that we could have cut our train fares almost in half if we had booked point-to-point tickets 120-180 days in advance instead of getting the Eurail pass. We are not affiliated at all, but The Man in Seat 61 is a comprehensive resource for train travel around the world and a site that we wish we had found earlier!
Affordable -> Exceptionally Affordable
Low Cost Carriers (LCC’s) have been growing in the airline industry and made flight travel much more affordable. Sometimes you'll have to fly into smaller airports but they're usually still pretty close to main points of interest. The LCCs don't always show up in flight search engines like Kayak or Skyscanner though, so do an online search for "Low cost carriers in [insert city here]". Then go directly to their site to see their deals. Alternately, you can sign up with a place like Airfarewatchdog to get notifications when flights become cheaper.
In bigger cities with trains and subways, you may be able to save money by getting 1-day, weekly, or weekend passes. Click here to read how we were able to save on transportation in Paris using the Navigo. If Ubers are out of your price range, then taxis are probably also out of your price range. You could look at renting a car. We usually find the best rates on Expedia, and if you use ebates.com you can earn points on Expedia PLUS earn 1.5% cash back. (click here to get $10 off your first purchase through ebates). If you want to save even more money, learn how to drive manual vehicles. You may end up saving around $10/day! Additionally, many countries have plenty of hills and mountains where manual transmission is required. Learning ahead of time is definitely valuable.
Coaches/Buses are generally very cheap ways to go from city to city. It usually takes a longer time to travel by bus, but if you're on a tight budget and have plenty of time, then it's an excellent option. We took Megabus in the UK from London to Sheffield and paid about $4.50 each. If we had taken the train it would've been about $30 each. In the US, greyhound offers discounts to students and veterans, and also if you travel midweek. In Japan there are many different companies, but Jenny usually used Willer Express as they have an English-language site and some of the best prices. A great app to use for finding bus prices and routes is Rome2Rio.
If you're completely out of money for transportation, get your comfortable walking shoes on and start hoofing it everywhere. Walking is great for your health AND your wallet. You may even see a different side of the city than if you drive, take a bus, subway or train everywhere. To travel longer distances for free, you may want to try hitchhiking. If you decide to try it, please choose your rides wisely and stay safe!