I don’t do too much of traveling these days (can’t afford it and don’t have time), but when I was doing a decent amount of traveling, I always did it in the most economical ways I could find.
I used to travel to Los Angeles a lot when I was trying to decide if I would actually like to live there. Flying directly from Portland, ME to Los Angeles was never really an option I wanted to use. 1) It was not a direct flight so that meant long travel days and I wanted to have as much time as possible in LA, 2) the ticket was usually close to $500. NOPE.
The first time I flew out to Los Angeles, I actually flew out of Boston. This was great for many reasons. The first, a bus from Portland went directly to Logan Airport for $45 round trip. The flight from Boston to LA was direct so I didn’t have to worry about making any connecting flights. The biggest winner for this flight is that it was usually only about $200. Just traveling 90 minutes south on a bus saved me over $200 worth of travel.
I never go to an airlines website to buy a flight because this is a guaranteed way of buying the highest price. My go to website to buy flights and reserve hotels is Kayak.com. It compares all discount travel sights to find you the best deal. Trust me, I do my homework on finding cheap travels and this is one I swear by.
Every time I was in Los Angeles, I always rented a car. Unfortunately, when I tried to find cheaper ways of renting a car, it just made it a more difficult process, so unfortunately I don’t have any tips for this.
One of my last times I traveled to Los Angeles from Boston, I also wanted to make a stop in Las Vegas. Because I knew I was going to be renting a car in Los Angeles, I figured I could just drive the 4 hours out of Vegas instead of booking another flight. When I looked further into it, I found that a direct flight from Boston to Las Vegas was about $75 cheaper than to fly to Los Angeles. That $75 could go towards the gas it was going to take to drive to and from. So I changed around my original plans and had my 2 days in Vegas at the beginning of the trip rather than the end. Overall, I am suspecting I saved about $150 from changing around days and flights.
The biggest tip I can give for traveling cheap is to be open minded and be willing to change dates or even airports. The saying is true that you pay for convenience. I have never felt stressed about driving a little farther to save a few bucks. For me, if I end up where I planned eventually, that is good enough for me.