If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they wish they could travel like me, I would be seriously rich. Unless poor health is an issue, there’s really no reason why you can’t travel and go to those places you’ve always dream about in the year ahead. It just takes planning, saving and some helpful tips to help you score the best travel deals out there!
I’m not rich—I’m just innovative. Here are five ways to make 2014 your year of travel.
1. Sign up to newsletters
The best way to travel for cheap is to find the best deals out there. So sign up to travel deal newsletters to stay on top of fares. The top three travel deals newsletters are: Airfarewatchdog, TheFlightDeal and Travelzoo. I also offer one at JohnnyJet.com.
2. Sign up to multiple credit cards
If you can pay off your credit card bill each month, then you could be signing up to a number of credit cards that offer larger sign-up bonuses. Don’t do it all at once—wait at least four months between cards. Then, charge all of your everyday purchases so you will earn miles/points. But it’s not worth it in the long run if you can’t pay your credit cards off in full each month. One of my favorite cards is the Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard – Earn 2x on All Purchases®. It’s truly a great deal because you can get an easy 40,000-mile bonus, which you can use to book travel with any airline, anytime with no blackout dates, and it comes with no foreign transaction fees. Plus, whenever you redeem for travel, you earn 10% of your miles back with their exclusive Carry-on Miles. There are other perks too, like the fact that they waive the $89 annual fee for the first year and provide a complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro.
3. Use Twitter and Facebook
If you haven’t already done so, create a Twitter and a Facebook account. It takes about two minutes and you don’t have to put any of your personal information out there. Your goal is to follow all the airlines, hotels, cruise companies, car rental companies and travel experts that you are interested in because sometimes they offer Twitter- or Facebook-exclusive deals. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a master list. You can thank me later.
4. Monitor FlyerTalk & Milepoint
Do you read about all those airline mistake fares, where people are flying across the country for under $50 or to Europe for $100? The way to find out when these mistake fares happen is by monitoring two frequent flier forums: FlyerTalk.com and Milepoint.
5. Consider cruising
If you are one of the 80% of Americans who has never cruised, then you should seriously consider it. I used to be skeptical too … until I went on my first cruise and realized what a great bargain it is. You just have to stay away from the booze and the casino. The cruise industry has so much inventory that they are constantly offering incredible deals (especially in the off-season) like $269 for a 4-night Caribbean cruise and it includes an onboard credit. Note: By the time you read this – this particular deal will be gone but there will be many others like it. Just click this link and keep refreshing to see all the current deals. You can also try CruiseCritic.com’s deals. Tip: If you are really skeptical about cruising, go on a long weekend cruise, just to see if you will like it or not. If you do, then it’s time to book a longer one!
As you can see finding deals does take a bit of time and work – but the payoff is well worth it. If you play your cards right, you can see the world for a lot less money than you think. There are also sites like CouchSurfing.com and HomeExchange.com where you can find accommodations for free. There’s really no excuse why you can’t make 2014 your year of travel.
P.S. If you need more travel inspiration, follow these 14 travelers on Instagram. Their photos will definitely motivate you to get out there and see the world!