Transportation is one of the biggest costs that goes into traveling abroad. Honestly, I hate paying too much for airline tickets because it cuts into my souvenir budget. This section is going to talk about my favorite budget airline, price comparison website, and my all time favorite travel app. My first recommendation for anyone who wants to travel without breaking the bank is to check out budget airline options in their area. Jori and I were able to get tickets to Paris during high season for around $450 each round-trip flying out of SFO by flying with WOW Airlines. Tickets were around $1000-$1200 during those same dates with other providers. WOW airline is known for their crazy cheap flight specials- one tip for those located near a WOW hub is to sign up for their email list. On occasion they will throw incredible cheap sales and promotions.
Another tool I use to keep my eye out for cheap flights is the Hopper App. Honestly I love this App so much. If you have ever wondered when is the best time to book a flight, Hopper will tell you. You input the destination, the date, and range of your trip and Hopper will look at a TON of different airline data and tell you if the current offerings are a good price or if you should wait before booking. When prices drop, the app will send you notifications and a recommendation on whether or not you should book or wait.
Expedia gets an honorable mention as I have had some success in booking really cheap flights from them. Expedia is a great way to compare a large amount of airline and hotel prices on one site. However it can be overwhelming and they do not partner with every single airline. I was able to get a round trip ticket to Budapest for under $400 last year (full disclosure It did have multiple layovers at awkward times).
Housing! Hotels in Paris are EXPENSIVE, especially when you’re booking relatively last minute. One of my favorite travel app’s is Airbnb. With Airbnb you can select the range of dates for your trip and your budget per night. I was able to rent a Parisian apartment one mile away from the Eiffel Tower for $50 per night using this app. Also, you get an entirely different experience then you would have if you were staying at a hotel. I’ve used Airbnb for both of my Paris trips, as well as Budapest and Barcelona. I loved how the hosts would include recommendations and tips in the booking. Another (typically cheaper) alternative that I’ve used before is Flipkey. It is similar to Airbnb, but I have found it to be slightly more expensive and less user friendly.
Eating out is one of my favorite parts of exploring new places. I love trying different cuisines, but Paris in particular can be really expensive. During my last trip we typically ate at a restaurant once a day but shopped at various bakeries and grocery stores for the rest of our meals. Some of my favorite Paris memories were picnicking by the Eiffel Tower or on the Seine. Jori and I shopped for groceries at the local Monoprix in the apartments neighborhood and at Leaders Price. We saved so much by adjusting our eating habits.
Let me know your recommendations for saving $$$ while traveling in the comment section!