Having been a student living on a casual wage and a very tight budget, every cent counts – especially when it comes to cost effective travel. Often the main issues of getting out there to explore the wide world relate to time and money matters. But fear not there are ways of having a memorable trip for a fraction of the cost than you might think – just requires some planning and useful online resources!
The joys of travel planning – Love or hate it, being organised and planning your trip well before you head of on your adventure really pays off. It may require some extra time out of your day, but when you’re on your trip you’ll thank yourself for it!
My favourite online travel planning and overall helpful resources I cannot go without include:
1. Rome 2 Rio (http://www.rome2rio.com) – Itinerary Planning
If there one website which you definitely should head to first when planning your trip, it has to be ‘Rome 2 Rio’. Coincidently this was created by some clever creatives in my home city of Melbourne, Australia. In short, this awesome website gives you a detailed breakdown of how to get from location A to location B anywhere around the world and by putting the dates of travel provides the appropriate accurate information. Not only this, but offers you all the available transportation options, pricing, the transport providers website, timing/schedules and even as far as suggesting accommodation in the destination.
For example you can be general and search “Melbourne-Australia” to “Los Angeles – The United states of America” with the dates of travel – this will generate the various options for you. You can even be more specific in saying the actual street addresses in the “from” and “to” locations, and the website will even provide you transport options for those very addresses and offer various options. The benefits of this website are endless, as it allows you to save time planning and also provides a means of finding the most cost effective way of travel within your budget.
An example of a specific search from Federation Square in Melbourne – Australia to the Hollywood walk of fame in Los Angeles, California, The United States of America. Amazing ha?
2. Adioso (http://www.adioso.com) – Flight search portal
Another epic online resource (and also founded by some fellow clever Australians), the Adioso flight search database provides you a quick and easy search method to find the best flight for you. There are many ways you can utilise the database by searching on either: specific dates, months, time frames or anytime. Then the flight results generate showing three categories – Cheapest, Fastest or overall the best (the system evaluates the combination of the fastest and cheapest for you for the best option). Not only does the search engine pick up full service airlines, but they also display the low cost airlines offerings too. Plus the website even allows you to then proceed to book the flights which you decide are best.
The benefits of the website are that it allows you to decide the most economical flight option whether you are in a rush or are willing to compromise on time. With a click of the button, this saves you time scouring the internet for the right flight and provides you visibility of your travel options.
An example of a search of Melbourne – Australia to Los Angeles – The United States of America and the results which offer you choice and easy to view information.
3. Airbnb (http://www.airbnb.com) – Accomodation
For a getaway and for an awesome authentic experience when travelling, I find Airbnb a gem to book cost effective and responsible travel accommodation. The database of worldwide accommodation show private home owners providing various options ranging from renting the whole apartment, private rooms to even shared lodging. There are various filters where you can search on your requirements and even down to the neighbourhood within that city you are travelling to.
Airbnb works for both the accommodation provider and the traveller. To make a booking, the traveller requires to have various forms of verifications – in short reference checks. It’s up to the providers whether they accept you in their place based on your verifications and references. But what’s good is that it works both ways, where the accommodation offerings are reviewed by past travellers. My big tip to prevent disappointment and to pick the best accommodation for you is to read the reviews relating to that accommodation and stick with ones which have great reviews – ideally only consider places which have already been reviewed.
The benefits of Airbnb are that not only does it provide you (especially students) cheaper accommodation, as you are staying in a local home you are immersed into their ways of living and they will often go out of their way to help you have an enjoyable stay. Not to mention many of the accommodation on offer have the added benefits of included wifi use and facilities such as kitchen, washing and other valuable resources. For me Airbnb has been a way to explore the world and maximise my travel experience.
An example of an Airbnb search for accommodation in Los Angeles, The United States of America.
4. Jetlag Rooster (http://www.jetlagrooster.com/) – Minimising Jetlag
Recently after travelling from Europe back home to Australia, the aspect of jetlag after a 16 hour flight really took its toll in the days after arriving back. Waking up at 3am in the morning to sleeping at 3pm in the afternoon – I truly turned into a total mess.
Unfortunately for me, I came across a great website called ‘Jetlag rooster” only after my trip. Available to use via the website or also as an app (apple store and android), you enter in your flight departure time and date with also the arrival details. Then specify how many days in advance you wish to start adjusting to the new destination time zone. What Jetlag Rooster will then generate is a sleeping chart and below directions for your sleeping patterns, so you can gradually change your routine in the days ahead, during the flight and also after you have arrived at your destination.
The benefits of this will hopefully be to have less of a shock to your system of the change in time zone and will ideally allow you to get out there to explore much quicker – rather than be very fatigued upon your arrival. See how it works for you!
An example of adjusting when taking a flight from Melbourne – Australia to Los Angeles – The United States of America.
5. Meetup (http://www.meetup.com) – Local interest groups and culture.
Spreading like wildfire around the world is the Meetup phenomenon. Utilising online networking, Meetup is a way to meet like minded people in groups in the city which you plan to travel to (or even live in) according to shared interests. For instance you may like checking out the local music scene and there would be a Meetup group showing up for your city which specialised in outings to local gigs.
Clearly the benefits are that it’s a great way to meet new people in a relaxed environment in a group setting, where your shared interests help you to explore beneath the surface of the city you have travelled to and the best places on offer. And the group areas even range from sport, city sightseeing activities, Latin dancing to food lovers outings.
An example of an extract of some Meetup groups on offer in the Los Angeles, the United States of America area.
Of course there are many other online resources that are of great use to save not only time and money, but the resources mentioned have worked wonders to be able to have a rewarding time overseas within my set budget. See how they work out for you!
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