When thinking about international travel, most people’s first thought is to hire a travel agent. Why? In several years of travel, I have never been able to find a travel agent who can beat the deals I find for myself. It does take a little more time, yes, but it makes the trip all the more worthwhile when you realize you are the one who designed the trip. It belongs to you.
Research your destination The first thing you should do is research your destination. If, for example, you are going to England, decide if it would better suit you to drive or take the train. If you decide to drive, you will need to investigate things such as insurance, rules of the road, and mileage. You also need to figure out what interests you – do you want to see historical sites? Do you want to visit amusement parks? What strikes you as fun? Use the internet to find the tourism sites for the area, but don’t neglect YouTube or a simple internet search to find out what others have found in the area.
Cut your biggest expenses The first expense you will encounter in international travel is your airfare. There are many sites out there that will be of use to you. Cheaptickets.com, Travelocity.com, and Kayak.com are just three of the sites. A few sites allow you to receive email alerts when the price drops. Start looking several months out and make sure you check out nearby airports. It seems strange, but sometimes smaller airports can have even better deals than larger ones. Check out fares daily or at least every other day.
For hotels in Europe, I’ve found that it is best to mix and match. Travelodge or Premier Inns are great inexpensive hotels that are kind to the wallet, but it is also nice to splurge a bit. Bed and Breakfasts are one fairly inexpensive ways to do that. Don’t forget to factor in that you are saving money on breakfast!
One way to find an inexpensive hotel is to simply type “cheap hotel Paris” and look at the results. Make sure you check out reviews on the hotel, though, before you book!
For transportation, one inexpensive car rental clearinghouse is AutoEurope.com. Simply type in your destination and the site pulls up the best rates it has. If you can find a cheaper rate through a rental agency, AutoEurope’s customer service agents will often match it. Also, check to see what the cost for gas is in your chosen locale. If you are staying close to major cities, it might be best to stick with the train or bus, as it is not easy to drive in a large town. If you are planning to drive and visit a major city, plan for that city to be last and drop the car off beforehand. Paying for parking will often be expensive.
Despite the current economy, travel is still a luxury that you should not give up! With a little planning you can enjoy a wonderful vacation and go exactly where YOU want to go. No pre-packaged deals for you!