where and when to find the best travel deals; FLiP W Magazine August 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine August 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!
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Where and When to Find the Best Travel Deals 
By: Aeri Rose
Once, while tanking up at a gas station in the middle of deserts of New Mexico, a hippie wanderer told me there were three things worth going into debt over: education, health, and travel.  Then he climbed back into his 1987 Chevy Van and drove away, trailed by a cloud of exhaust fumes and Bob Dylan tunes.
While I agree that travel is one of the most important things to do during your life, I don’t think anyone should have to go into debt while adventuring. So this month’s topic is travel deals: where, and when to find them.
The internet is a great resource for every kind of adventure. From planning transportation, to activities, to lodging all things can be learned on line. Travelers LOVE talking about what they’ve done, so there are tons of great travel forums, blogs, and wiki sites just waiting to share their knowledge with you.
For transportation, two of my favorite sites are kayak.com, and vacationstogo.com.  Kayak is my go to site for flight booking. They seem to consistently have the broadest selection and the lowest rates for flights.  And they have this really awesome feature called “Explore” that I absolutely love playing with whenever I need to spend some time daydreaming about my next adventure. You pick your departure airport, time frame and price range and it shows you all the flights all over the world that fit your requirements. So, say you have 20 days and $700 to spend on a flight in November. Kayak Explore just told me that I could get from D.C. to Hong Kong, Moscow, Cairo, Dublin, Peru and more for that or less! The possibilities are endless!
Or, if you are more of a boat girl than a plane girl, then maybe vacationstogo.com is more your style.  Here, you can find lots of cruise trips around the world offered at a last minute discount rate. Crossing the Atlantic by boat is definitely on my bucket list, and when the time for that adventure comes I will definitely be checking out vacationstogo.com.
If you are flexible on your time or season to travel, try to find out what your destination’s off-season is. Often everything from flights to lodging to activities and meals is much less expensive in the off-season. Enjoy the solitude and beat the crowds- embrace the perk of traveling when most other tourists are at home.
If when to travel is important, when to buy is also important. Lots of research, including an in-depth report by Expedia, has been done on when exactly is the best time to book tickets. The majority agrees that buying tickets on Tuesday or Sunday is best, and planning in advance can really pay off. Everyone agrees it is best to buy tickets at least three weeks in advance, but research seems to think that 57 days in advance is the absolute best day to buy. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing 57 minutes in advance, so 57 days seems like a real stretch to me. Yikes! These timing recommendations are definitely something to keep in mind…but don’t be disheartened if you have to book that last minute trip. Remember- there are plenty of companies looking to fill empty spots at the last minute too!
So, you’ve got your “to” and “from” figured out. What will you do while you’re there? For this, I believe in “knowledge not reservations.” Thinking about and researching potential plans is one of my favorite pre-trip preps.  I like to know what to look for once I arrive, but I don’t like to be bound by schedules before I even get there. What happens if I meet this really cool person in the hostel lobby who is about to go on the most awesome adventure ever, but I booked a ghost tour of the local art museum before I even arrived and I have to turn them down? Totally lame!
For my pre-trip research I turn to travel community websites like Lonely Planet, and in particular their Thorn Tree Forum, as well as Wikitravel. These forums have great searchable databases where travelers have helped each other answer questions about everything from how to catch a public bus in Bolivia to when the best time to find the Norther Lights in Alaska and everything in between.
And remember: life and travel is often about the journey rather than the destination. You can often save time, or money, but not both. So if you’re down for an adventure and trying to save some dough, don’t look for the most efficient path when there is a road less traveled to explore. Take a bus rather than a train, a boat rather than a plane, and embrace the rewarding experience that this totally immersive slow travel can provide.
Check out these websites when planning your next trip:

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Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

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