Top 10 Tips For Finding Cheap Flights

Need a vacation, but short on cash? There’s no need to break the bank in order to fly to an exotic destination and enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed getaway. With these top 10 tips for finding cheap flights under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your destination of choice on a pocketbook-friendly budget.

  1. Book as early as possible
    Make sure to book at least two to three weeks in advance if you want to find cheap flights. The further in advance that you book, the cheaper your ticket will be. Airlines reward early bookers. Sure, it’s occasionally possible to find an excellent last minute bargain, but are you willing to take the risk of not finding it?
  2. Be flexible
    The more flexible you are about your travel dates and destination, the more likely it is you’ll find cheap flights. Even adjusting your departure date by one or two days can make a notable difference in the cost of airfare.
  3. Shop around
    Don’t settle for the first airfare you find. Shop around on various budget airfare websites to find the best of them. You can also check directly with airline websites to find out if they are offering any special sales or promotions.
  4. Sign up for travel deal alerts
    Want to be one of the first to hear about a great deal on airfare? Sign up for airfare deal alerts on travel websites to receive notifications of cheap flights that fit your criteria. The deals will conveniently be sent to your email inbox, so you don’t have to spend any time scouring the net for good bargains.
  5. Fly on a weekday
    Rather than flying on the weekend, when everyone else wants to fly and cheap flights are harder to come by, fly during the week to obtain great deals.
  6. Stay over a Saturday night at your destination
    Typically, cheap flights require that you stay overnight on a Saturday at your vacation destination, so plan accordingly.
  7. Fly on a no-frills airline
    An increasing number of no-frills, budget airlines are cropping up around the world, to the benefit of budget travelers. You can find very cheap flights by visiting the websites of these budget airlines directly. Bear in mind that most of their airfares are not posted on aggregator sites. You may have to sit on a plastic chair and pay for your snack of peanuts and beer on board, but the savings you get on airfare make it worthwhile.
  8. Utilize credit cards that offer miles with each purchase
    There are several credit cards available that are linked with frequent flier mile programs. Sign up for these credit cards if you’d like to earn miles with each purchase you make with the card. If you accumulate enough miles, you’ll practically be able to fly for free.
  9. Fly to or from nearby airports instead of major airports
    Rather than flying to or from major airports, consider flying to or from a smaller airport nearby. Not only will you be able to avoid big crowds that way, you will also be able to find cheap flights. For example, rather than flying into LAX airport, you can fly into the airports of Burbank or Orange County.
  10. Fly during the low season
    Cheap flights are abundant during the low season. Plan your trip for the low season if you want a discount on not only airfare, but also on accommodations.

Tips For Finding Cheap Train Tickets

Competition among railways, not to mention the airline industry, has made it easier than ever to obtain cheap train travel. Although not as rapid as planes, travelling by train allows you to enjoy the scenery more thoroughly.

Ways to Get Cheap Train Tickets

Schedule your travel during the off season. Summer is the peak time, so tickets will cost more and be harder to get. You should instead travel sometime around autumn/fall. If you plan your spring break early, you can be assured of getting low cost tickets, especially on the Net.

Not only will you get cheaper tickets, but you will also get good deals on food and lodging. The other plus of course, is you can visit those tourist spots without too many tourists.

Visit Online Train Websites

These are good places to look for cheap train tickets and special deals. Make sure you compare the offers from various companies; they are always trying to outdo one another, so you have plenty of choices.

Some train companies also offer tickets at half price if you are bringing kids. Some even waive the fee if the child is two years old and below.

Visit Travel Agent Websites

These sites also offer discounts and specials. What these sites share in common is that the deals encompass several aspects of the trip. It is not just the tickets, but also the lodging.

Purchase train tickets as early as possible. Most train companies release the tickets 12 weeks prior to the scheduled travel date. The earlier you purchase the tickets, the cheaper they will be.

Other Ways to Get Cheap Train Fares

Go to passenger train websites and examine their fare finder capabilities. Using this tool will give you the flexibility to locate the most affordable tickets around.

By expanding the date range for your trip, you lessen travel expenses. This happens because you can select from a wider range of days. Again, do not travel during the peak season as the costs will be high.

Research is the Key

Special deals and offers come in the form of promotional codes, special discounts and more. To make research easier, enter your travel destination and the date. The search engine will return numerous hits. Now you can compare the offers from the various companies.

Other Tips and Hints

Stick with one train service; this will entitle you to ticket discounts and other special deals. Most train companies have a points system of some sort; every time you travel, you rack up points. When you reach a certain number, you become eligible for discounts or freebies.

The rewards can range from gift certificates, items and more. Also check if the company offers discounts for senior citizens, students and war veterans. They usually do, although the rates may differ.

Finding cheap train tickets is actually easier than you may have thought. You just need to do some research on the Web, and you are bound to find a deal that will save you quite a bit of cash.

 

 

Budget Travel Tips Stay Local and Keep it Short

Lots of us are cutting back on our travel budgets this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get away. You might be surprised to find what a relaxing getaway you can get without going very far and by not staying away for very long.

Taking a brief, semi-local vacation means that you won’t have to take a full week from work, which can bring in some more cash – or it can mean you have some time to finish the nagging household chores that you’ve been putting off. The peace of mind that comes with finishing something like that is priceless in itself.

Instead of planning a week or 10-day bank-breaking excursion, try scheduling your next adventure for a simple four-day weekend. With all the money you’ll save, you’ll be able to plan another getaway as soon as you need one, rather than waiting until next year.

First, visit your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Center to discover if there are any tourist attractions, dining, or activities that you haven’t tried in your own town or region. Play tourist and explore the place you’re living during a “stay-cation.” Try a new restaurant each day. Hike or bike new trails during the day and, in the evening, go to plays or other events that you wouldn’t ordinarily have time for.

If you exhaust the local options, see what you can explore within the distance you can reach with a single tank of gas. What destinations in your state have you not yet fully explored? Make your short trip even more exciting by inviting along a group of friends that you just don’t see often enough. With the money you save on airfare and by cutting the length of your trip, you can probably afford a luxury hotel for a night or two – and perhaps a couple of spa treatments.

The Internet has so many great resources for planning trips close by. Try the Road Trip Finder by Hotels – dot – com. Just enter your zip code and this online tool will give you information on destinations between 1 and 6 hours of your home. Then you can read about entertainment options, lodging, dining, and other area attractions.

More Budget Travel Options:

Now that spring is here, you can enjoy the ultimate budget vacation: a camping adventure. Pack the tent, van or motorhome and take off for some R & R in the woods or on the beach. Make sure to bring the bikes, the fishing poles and a pile of good books.

If you don’t enjoy tent camping, and you don’t have an RV, many campgrounds now offer cabins. These are generally fairly rustic, but can be a nice middle ground for people who don’t want to sleep on the ground but do want to enjoy the great outdoors.

Another way to save money: take the kids to grandmother’s house and plan a getaway for just the two of you. Book a couple of days away in a romantic bed and breakfast. Find one with a hot tub or Jacuzzi right in the room.

This short time away might be all you need before hurtling back into life again at full speed. With the time and money you save, you’ll be able to take frequent mini-vacations whenever life gets overwhelming.

Budget Travel Tips to Save You Money

Saving money while traveling does not mean you have to scrimp on your vacation. You can enjoy the sights and sounds as well as the traveler who paid full price. And unlike the traveler who paid full-price for his/her vacation, you will have the benefit of knowing that you have money left over to plan your next money saving trip!

  1. Rent an automobile: sometimes the cost of renting a car can be cheaper than taking the airport shuttle. If driving on your next vacation, you can save money by renting a car that has better fuel economy than the one you own – not to mention the wear-and-tear that you save on your own vehicle
  2. Book your own reservations: One of the ways I have saved money for traveling is by booking my own hotel, air, and car reservations. Visit the all-inclusive websites (Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.); when you see a price that is appealing, go to the individual airline, hotel, or car rental website to book the reservation yourself. Become a frequent traveler and you may save even more! See about booking your own entertainment venues online as well – museums, theme parks, historical sights, etc.
  3. Eat meals in your room: you can save money while traveling by eating breakfast or lunch in your room or at the local park or beach. Go by the local grocer and pack a great lunch and, weather permitting, have a picnic! This is not only a great way to save money while traveling but can be an opportunity to get outdoors with the family or a romantic interlude for couples
  4. Travel during the off-season: in many cases, travel locations have a peak season (most expensive) and an off-season. If you have a flexible schedule, consider traveling during a non-peak season; this one budget travel tip can save you $100’s.

These are just a few tips to help you save money on your next vacation. Saving money while traveling is half the fun when planning my trips. I have found that budget travel affords me the same benefits as those who pay full price, and I do not sacrifice any enjoyment. Challenge yourself and see how much money you can save while traveling on your next vacation!

Three Sailing Tips for Sailing Up to a Dock

If you are anything like me, you want to know the best sailing tips that put you in command of your small cruising or racing sailboat. Forget the iron genny. Turning on an engine won’t increase your sailing skills. Use the main propulsion your boat came with–the powerful mainsail–and become the true master and commander of your boat–under sail!

Prepare before You Enter

Sailing seamanship means being prepared to change your planned docking side in an instant. Better prepare now when you have time. That means fenders on both sides. Docking lines on both sides. Boat hook out on deck, extended all the way, and ready to use in an instant. And don’t forget to have a small, “throwable” anchor, attached to a light, small diameter line. Attach the anchor line to a stern cleat. This gives you an emergency anchor to use in an instant if you need to put the “brakes” on.

There are some that say you can use a roller-furling headsail to make an easy docking. While that may be true, it also adds unnecessary complexity to this maneuver. More than one furling unit has failed just when you need it the most. And, the headsail gets in the way of the sailing crew on the bow. They need a safe, clear area without the clutter of sheets or flapping canvas to get the docking lines over right away.

So, for this article, we will discuss how to use just the mainsail–your “main” propulsion unit. For best control, make your landing with the bow pointed into the wind. This insures that the mainsail will luff and help stop the boat. Use just enough sail to give good control and minimum speed. Reef the main as necessary, or slack the halyard to de-power the mainsail as you make the approach. At all times, you must keep sailing speed to less than 2 knots.

1.Wind Blows OFF the Dock

– Approach the dock under close reach.
– Ease the mainsheet to slow down. Tighten the mainsheet to speed up.
– Let the mainsheet out all the way when within 2-3 boat lengths from the dock.
– Drift up to the dock with the bow pointed into the wind.
– Put over the bow line first to prevent the boat from drifting aft.

2.Wind Blows ON the Dock

– Approach with just enough mainsail for good control.
– Spin up into the wind when within 2-3 boat-lengths from the dock.
– Let out the mainsheet all the way to luff the mainsail and allow the boat to stop.
– Stop faster when you push the boom out against the wind (called “backwinding”).
– Drop the mainsail and allow the boat to drift sideways to the dock.
– Put over the bow and stern lines.

Some boats will “sail” without any sail up with a wind on the beam or aft of the beam. Use this technique in light winds when your speed can be kept to less than 2 knots. That way, you will be able to stop the boat once alongside the pier, without damage.

3.Wind Blows from Astern

– Use this approach in light air. You must be able to keep sailing speed to less than 2 knots.
– Approach with just enough mainsail for good control.
– Lower the mainsail as you make your entrance. Any amount hoisted will create enough windage for steerage. You may also sail in under bare poles as long as you keep speed to a bare minimum.
– Haul down the mainsail when within 3-4 boat-lengths of the dock.
– Put over the stern line first to stop forward momentum.

Use these three sailing tips to gain the confidence and skills you need to learn the art of sailing control. You will join that small percentage of sailors who are the true masters and commanders of their small sailboats.

Budget Travel Tips For Disabled Travelers

Is it really possible to travel on a budget when you use a wheelchair, cane or walker? Can disabled travelers find those same great travel bargains that are available to their able-bodied counterparts?

The answer is a qualified yes. The deals are out there, if you know where to look. The good news is, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to hit the road if you need accessible services. With that in mind, here are a few money-saving tips to help you stretch your travel dollars.

  • Many budget properties offer excellent access, so seek them out whenever possible. For example, Microtel gets consistently high marks for access, as all of their properties are constructed from the ground up with access in mind.
  • Consider staying in a hostel to trim your lodging costs. Although previously only an option for young travelers and backpackers, today hostels welcome everyone. Many hostels are wheelchair-accessible, and some even have private rooms.
  • For a zero cost lodging bill, consider a home exchange. Although most home exchange services don’t specifically list accessible homes, the Institute on Independent Living in Stockholm has a great message board filled with accessible home exchange options (www.independentliving.org/vacex/index.html). Best of all, it’s free!
  • The YMCA is another budget lodging option that’s often overlooked by disabled travelers. Most Ys have swimming pools and some even have weight rooms; and many offer excellent access.
  • When flying in the US, save your taxi fare and choose a hotel that offers free airport transportation. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if a hotel has a free shuttle service, they must also provide accessible transfers at no charge, even if they have to contract out the service.
  • Most major museums have good wheelchair-access, while many offer special free days every week or month. Check the museum website for information about their free days, and then adjust your schedule accordingly.
  • Many college campuses also boast top notch museums, which offer free admission. Most of these are wheelchair-accessible because they are on campus. Contact the college visitors center to see what they have to offer.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors, with the America the Beautiful Access Pass, from the National Park Service. This free lifetime pass is available to anyone with a disability. It provides free admission to all national parks and national monuments, and offers a 50% discount at all national park campgrounds. It’s available at any national park entrance.
  • Be on the lookout for free cell phone and MP3 tours. You can take these tours at your own pace, and most cover downtown areas that are largely accessible. Many Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) have them available as a free download on their websites.
  • Many factories offer free or low cost tours with lots of samples and other fun freebies. A good resource for searching out accessible factory tours is Watch It Made In The USA, by Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg. This detailed volume contains information on over 300 factory tours across the US.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget about cruising, as it’s a very accessible vacation choice. To save a little money, get a group of friends together and book as a group. In most cases, you’ll get one free berth for the first eight cabins you book, and a full cabin for the next eight. You can take the free cabin yourself as the group leader, or sell it and pass along the savings to the entire group.

Three Sailing Tips for Safer Sailing Today

What sailing tips could you put into play today to make your small sailboat a safer platform for her sailing crew? Do your inexperienced crew members know the body motions they must use for safety at sea? Follow this simple sailing safety advice and pass it along to your crew.

Falling overboard remains the #1 nightmare of sailors worldwide. Serious injury from the fall could render a person unconscious. Darkness and heavy seas hamper recovery efforts. If coastal sailing, you must set up the deck to aid the crew in moving about the boat.

Rig jacklines from a stout bow cleat back to a large stern cleat on both sides of the boat. Wear a safety harness if alone on deck, at nighttime, or during heavy sailing weather.

Equip harnesses with dual tethers armed with carbiner or quick-release hooks (such as those made by Wichard). Clip on to the windward jackline to move fore and aft. Keep the crew inside the cockpit as much as possible.

Practice these three basic sailing body motions for safety at sea in any sailing weather. When the heavy stuff hits the fan, you and your sailing crew will be ready:

  1. Grasp a Handhold

Hold onto something whenever aboard, whether at the dock, at anchor or underway. Grab lifelines, grab rails, sailboat mast or boom.

It’s rare to find proper overhead grab rails down in the cabin. Mount several between the galley and forward v-berth. Handicap grab bars provide a good alternative to teak handrails at a fraction of the cost. Cover them with rope fancy work for a practical, attractive, salty look.

  1. Look Before You Move

Look down, then forward before you move. Step over headsail sheets, winches, rope clutch gear, deck cleats and slippery boat sails. Keep lines coiled and out of the way to prevent injury.

  1. Squat Below Upper Lifeline Level

Keep your knees below the level of the uppermost lifeline. If thrown against the lifeline, this offers more area to brace your body. Squat like a linebacker to move fore or aft. This lowers your center of gravity toward the deck. In heavy weather sailing, lower your center of gravity even more. Crawl on your belly if necessary.

Pass these sailing tips along to your sailing crew today to keep them safe and sound on the waters of the world. You will enjoy stress-free sailing once you do–wherever in the world you choose to go cruise!

Budget Travel Tips For Families on the Move

There is no doubt that there are lots of people who are spending thousands of dollars on their one week getaway. But this shouldn’t always need to be the case as there are lots of budget travel options that can let anyone save a few bucks when traveling. Anyone can stay on their budgets and still experience a remarkable and fun-filled trip with their families or kids if they only know how to use their creativity and knowledge.

Traveling by plane can be quite expensive but many still opt to travel by air over land because they want to save time and gasoline cost. To lessen your airfare, it is wise to check the Internet for some great discounted online fares or last minute flight fares. To save some bucks even more, it would be good if you can have flexible travel dates. Oftentimes, the days that have higher rates are Monday, Sunday and Friday. So it would be best if you schedule your trip on Saturday, Thursday, Wednesday or Tuesday in order to obtain better rates.

There are lots of online booking websites that allow travelers to check which day has a lower rate and find out what options could be best for you. Getting your ticket earlier or later can help you save some money on the price of your ticket. You may also check the airports that surround both the arrival and the departure city. In most cases, an hour drive or two may be needed to reach the arrival or departure airport but if it can help save you a few bucks on each of your ticket, then it will be worth the drive.

Another budget travel option: if you’ll be driving to your destination, is to pack a cooler that is filled with foods. It may be a bit tricky taking up some space in the trunk for your cooler but eventually you’ll take in the cost savings of not eating out at restaurants or food chains each time someone feels hungry and you’ll be glad you have brought food with you.

To save a few bucks on lodging, explore the Internet for cheap lodging or hotel options. Most well-known holiday destinations typically have multiple hotels and almost of them have a Web presence. Through the Internet, you can easily make some comparisons of the room rentals and land on something that could offer you maximum value. Typically, good hotels and vacation homes also offer a few add-ons, such as free or discounted breakfast, free sight seeing, inexpensive pre-arranged tours and more.

The Internet is always a good option for budget travel. It can also be a good tool if you’re planning to shop around or look for shopping centers near your holiday destination. Traveling on a budget does not mean you have to cut back. It may means you need to be flexible and creative. As long as you know how to find cheap sources or budget travel options, you will be able to at least save some bucks.

Steps and Tips to Buying Cheap Tickets

With just a little planning and flexibility, it is possible to reach your desired destination without breaking your bank. Follow the steps and tips given in this article to make sure you buy the cheap tickets for your travel.

Step 1: Always update yourself on airfares by reading the newspaper and watching the news. Wait for the announcement of promotional cheap tickets and fares released by different airlines.

Step 2: Have a flexible flight schedule. You can normally buy cheap tickets for flights scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, late-night or red-eyes flights, very early morning flights and flights with at least one stop.

Step 3: Ask airline companies if they offer travel packages so you can save some money in some areas. For example, you can get discount for a hotel room or rental car when you purchase them with the airline ticket or vice versa.

Step 4: Inquire if the fare stated on their website is the cheapest. It’s also best to check more than one site and make a comparison of the rates.

Step 5: Ask for standby fares if you are planning to fly off-season. It’s bad to fly standby during high season because most airline companies overbook their flights, making it hard to find cheap tickets for available seats.

Step 6: You can buy cheap tickets from consolidators as they purchase blocks of tickets and offer them at discounted prices to help airline companies fill up their available seats. You can find ticket consolidators from the newspaper’s travel section.

Step 7: Book flights early. You can buy cheap tickets if you will reserve your flight 21 days ahead.

Step 8: Use the same airline for the entire trip so you can receive connecting or roundtrip fare discounts.

Other Tips:

  1. Refund and exchange policies on airline tickets are quite strict especially on sites offering tickets at discounted price.
    2. It’s a good idea to join a travel club if you travel frequently in a year.
    3. If you have the same trip to different countries, ask your travel agent if you can have open-jaw flights.
    4. Ask airline companies or your travel agent if you can get student, military or senior discounts, or whichever may apply to you.
    5. Cheap tickets are really cheap and may save you money but before purchasing them, make sure to read refunds or exchanges policies as well as the terms and conditions of the sale.

Light Wind Sailing Tips

Learn to sail like a pro with these sailing tips for light wind sailing. Use these easy tips for light air sailing in the gentle winds of dawn’s first light or the ghost-like breezes of a moonlit night.

Keep Your Boat Moving Forward

Imagine that you have your foot on the accelerator of your car, moving ahead at a slow speed. All of a sudden, you run out of gas. You need to find a place to pull off to the side of the road. You see a spot way up ahead about a half mile. Your car slows down more and more.

You will need to use every trick in the book to keep your car’s forward momentum going to make it to the pull-off ahead. You could try to keep the wheels straight to provide less resistance, look for inclines to build up a bit of speed, keep the tires on the smooth part of the road, or steer as straight as possible. All of these could make a difference in the acceleration or deceleration of your “out-of-gas” auto.

You can use these same techniques in super light air in sailing. For this article, we will concentrate on winds of 0 to 5 knots. Some sailors call these winds ‘zephyrs’ or refer to this type of sailing as ‘ghosting’. Your #1 goal will be to maintain forward momentum at all times. Just like the opening scenario, you want to keep moving to reach your objective. Slow down too much or stop and it will be difficult to get her going again. Follow these five fast tips to maintain momentum in light air sailing.

Use Smaller Sails to Fill and Go

You might think that light wind means you need a bigger sail to catch all the wind you can. But sails have weight–lots of weight–and weight won’t keep your boat going forward. Use a little-known strategy and go for a smaller sail on a super light air day. Choose sails that are smaller, lighter weight to help your boat maintain forward motion in zephyr winds.

Under Trim Your Sails

Wind flows onto both sides of your sails. Your objective will be to keep that wind attached from the luff to the leech as long as possible. In light air, you will have more wind near the top of the mast. That’s because less surface friction allows the wind to flow without resistance. Ease your sails more than you think necessary. This will cause the upper part of your sails to ‘twist’ just a bit to help the wind stay attached longer. Use the magic of under-trim in ghosting conditions and you will often be rewarded with better performance.

Move Like You Whisper

Ask your crew to move fore and aft along the center-line as much as possible. Keep the boat level to prevent loss of speed. If they need to shift to the other side, move at a slow pace. This will help keep the boat flat with forward momentum.

Sit Forward and to Leeward

Sails have a tough time in light air. The weight of sailcloth can cause them to flap like clothing on a line. Shift the crew weight forward and to the downwind (leeward–pronounced “loo-ward”)side. Weight forward lifts the stern a bit, which means less hull friction; weight to leeward will help the sails fall into their natural shape through gravity and prevents ‘slatting’ (flapping in light air).

Use Swooping When Beating to Windward

Use swooping to maintain forward motion when your destination lies upwind. In light air on a close hauled course, your speed may drop off quite a bit. When it does, fall off to a close reach course. Wait for the boat to build up speed again. Use a slow, smooth motion with the wheel or tiller to ‘swoop’ back up to your close hauled course. Keep sailing close hauled until your speed starts to drop off again. Then, fall off the wind to a close reaching course to build up speed; then swoop back up to your close hauled course. Repeat this swooping sequence to keep your boat moving with good forward motion when beating in super light air.

Learn to sail like a pro with these light wind sailing tips. You will experience more speed, power, and performance in the gentle breezes over the water-wherever in the world you choose to sail!