How I Save Money on Plane Tickets

Expensive airfare can be the largest hindrance preventing people from traveling. By utilizing technology, plane tickets can be more affordable. 

Here’s how I save money on plane tickets.

Book early

The sooner you book your travel, the lower the rate.

Traditionally, the target booking window is 50-70 days before your flight to find the best prices. The only exceptions are spring and summer breaks when the ideal time to book is 90 days out. 

Pick affordable days

It’s proven that Tuesday and Wednesday are the most inexpensive days to fly while Sunday is the most expensive. Holidays and other seasonal circumstances can also affect pricing, so it’s best to book around those periods when possible.

For example, it’s expensive to go to Paris from the United States during the summer and fall. I got a non-stop ticket from Chicago to Paris on United for about $350 in February 2018. It’s not the most popular time to travel and it was cold, but the ticket was very inexpensive and lines at attractions like the Eiffel Tour and Notre Dame were incredibly short.

Use Google Flights (but clear your data or use an incognito browser)

Google Flights is my favorite tool to compare airlines and rates. It will automatically calculate each leg of your journey and I like how you can sort flights by the number of layovers, etc.

If you use Google Flights or any other travel website, be sure to clear your data or use an incognito browser. Web pixels track purchasing behavior and are designed to slightly increase the price and show competitor flights at higher rates to incentivize a quick decision.

(Note: Southwest flight information doesn’t appear on Google Flights, however.) 

Fly from a major city

If you live in proximity to an airport like Chicago O’Hare, JFK, or LAX, flying from international airports can lower costs significantly.

Even connecting here can be more affordable than a direct flight in the U.S. from the airport closest to you.

Stay loyal to an airline and/or use a travel credit card

Choosing one airline will help you familiarize yourself with the best rates, times to fly, and allow you to accumulate rewards.

If you use a travel credit card like Southwest, Delta, or Capital One, points can accumulate pretty quickly.

To get to Europe and the Middle East, I use my Southwest points to fly from Chicago or Indianapolis into JFK in New York. From there, I’ve found one-ways to London as cheap as $100. 

Subscribe to Next Vacay

If you have a flexible schedule or want to travel but need some inspiration, I highly suggest you subscribe to Next Vacay.

Next Vacay is a database that scans for cheap flights based on your “home” airport. You set 3-4 airports that are closest to where you live and Next Vacay will email you with inexpensive deals to destinations around the world with links to actually buy tickets. It takes a lot of guesswork out of travel prep and in my opinion, pays for itself.

This is how I found my inexpensive roundtrips to Iceland and Paris in 2018!

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten emails with deals from Columbus to Hong Kong for $575,  Cinncinati to Amsterdam for $450, and Chicago to Bali for $800 – and these are all-round trips!

Have an idea of standard ticket prices

The more I travel, the pickier I get about ticket prices.

For example, I’m not impressed by round trips to New York from Europe for $500+ when I know that I can probably find something cheaper from Chicago without having to use my flight points or spending the time to get from Indianapolis to NYC.

The way I see it, round trips from the Midwest to major cities in Europe like London, Paris, or Zurich are reasonable if priced $400-$600. It’s an incredible deal if you can find a round trip like this for $400 or less.

One ways to Europe from New York are reasonable for $200-$300 but are especially good deals if you can get $200 or less.

And any flight from the Midwest or East Coast to Asia for $1,000 or less is always a great deal IF they are nonstop or have one short layover.

Any more than one layover on a flight that’s more than 10 hours gets tiresome and it’s worth it to me to spend a bit extra to avoid sitting for hours in airports.

7 Creative Writing Apps Every Writer Needs

Whether you write for a living, for your blog, or just for regular email, it’s important to create quality content and work.

Regardless of your expertise, here are apps you need to excel as a writer.

Grammarly

Free and easy to use, Grammarly can be installed immediately on Google Chrome. Essentially, Grammarly is like your own virtual assistant for writing. This app can detect errors as you draft emails and offer suggestions for word choice, comma placement, and more. Additionally, Grammarly integrates with other project management platforms and social media.

Hemmingway Editor

Hemmingway Editor is an app that serves to help you create content that is bold and clear. It can easily be installed on your desktop and highlights even the most complex of grammatical errors in your content. 

The Brainstormer

The Brainstormer helps combat writer’s block by generating new ideas and topics to write about. With ideas regarding various topics, this app will help tap into your creative instincts with prompts to get you started, allowing thoughts to flow more naturally.

Wordbook

An easy and accessible dictionary, Wordbook allows you to search rapidly for language to use in its dictionary and thesaurus. It includes pronunciations and etymologies for increased understanding in addition to bookmarking and notetaking features to broaden your vocabulary and enrich your work.

Scrivener

An all in one solution, Scrivener allows writers across genres with long-form writing. More than a typical word processor, Scrivener includes different features like outlines and organizational tools, keyboard shortcuts, side by side editing, and much more. 

IA Writer

The perfect solution for shorter projects, IA Writer is a clean and distraction-free writing environment to focus your mind. Highlighting their plain text and total focus solution, this easy to use software serves as a word processor to allow you to focus on your craft.

MindNode

For visual learners and processors, MindNode allows you to get thoughts out with a visual representation of your ideas. If you’ve ever enjoyed mind maps in school, MindNode will enable you to take your ideas to the next level by providing a clear and cohesive structure to your thoughts.

How to Look Put Together On an Airplane

Most frequent flyers I meet want to be comfortable without compromising their appearance while traveling. (They also want to make their connecting flights, free drink tickets, and/or bumped up to first-class.) 

Although traveling across time zones can be extensive and exhausting, it’s still important for most folks to look (and feel) presentable while flying. 

Try some of these tips to cultivate the perfect look on your next trip. 

Dress up athleisure wear

Ditch your sloppy sweat pants and dress up athletic attire. Try pairing black leggings with a pair of slip-on sneakers and a cardigan for a comfy casual look, or add a blouse with your favorite slimming joggers. 

Add slight touches of makeup

Though red-eye or 4 a.m. flight can be exhausting, adding slight touches of BB cream, tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a little lip gloss can go a long way if you want to look more presentable. You’ll have light coverage and feel more confident after you wake up from a mid-flight nap.

Use layers

Airplane temperatures vary, so use dressier jackets you may not be able to fit in a suitcase to tie your outfit together so you can save precious luggage space. Find pieces to layer like scarves or bomber jackets.

It’s all in the shoes

Though pumps are typically not the best option for navigating around an airport, if you’re tight on time, keep them in a bag to switch out with a pair of flats. Bulkier boots or pointed ballet flats tighten up any look.

Add a blazer

Even the most casual outfits can be made more elegant with a blazer. Consider wearing your favorite stretch skinny jeans, a comfortable graphic tee, and throwing on a blazer to add a more professional flair when necessary.

Use a backpack or purse organizer for your small item

Being put together extends beyond clothing, and no one wants to be behind a person rummaging through their belongings to find personal items. Instead of searching through your purse, use a backpack as your personal item and sort your necessities by pocket. If you insist on carrying a purse, purchase a purse organizer to better access what you need – because no one likes the person who can’t find their passport in the TSA line.

Invest in better luggage

If you’re traveling a lot, it may be time to purchase a protective suitcase with four wheels in order to navigate airports more easily. Cheap luggage easily breaks and looks…cheap. I invested in AWAY luggage last year and haven’t looked back. 

Automatic Savings Tools to Grow Your Emergency Fund

A recent survey found that 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. 

Yikes!

Saving money can be hard, but even on a tighter budget, here are some resources to ensure you have money coming in over the long term.

Albert

Though some become uneasy about the thought of sharing their financial information on their phones, Albert is a secure financial service that can help automate your finances.

From overpayment protection to automatic savings in addition to smart investing, Albert is a financial planner you have access to directly from your mobile device.

Albert will analyze your income, send you overspending notifications, and reminds you when bills are due.

Clarity Money

Calling themselves the “champion of your money,” Clarity Money helps users understand the broader picture of where their money is being spent.

One aspect that Clarity does well is managing subscriptions and most frequent recurring transactions.

Acorns

An intuitive investment app, Acorns invests your spare change to grow your wealth over time. Acorns take the change generated from a transaction and invest it for you.

For example, after you spend $3.13 on your iced coffee, Acorns invests the remaining 87 cents. They’ve recently upgraded their plans from $1, $2, or $3 to help you save for retirement.

Tip Yourself

Though it isn’t an investment app, Tip Yourself provides a great opportunity to make sure you are saving for yourself.

Because Americans are used to tipping in service-based industries, this app ensures you’re also setting aside cash for yours truly.

Bank savings

Just as your paycheck is directly deposited in your account, you can log in to your bank and ensure it is also being automatically saved on the same date.

Almost like a bill, this approach will make sure you’re not dipping too much into your own savings account.

Cash envelopes

As old school as it may seem, cash envelopes are an effective way to save for major purchases and can help you get back into manageable financial habits.

It’s easy to overspend with debit and credit cards, but by using cash envelopes, you can quickly see how much you’re spending.

(Plus, once the money is gone, it’s gone!)

How to Stay Healthy While You Travel

Traveling on a consistent basis – especially for work – can truly become exhausting. What appears glamorous at first glance can quickly become draining if you aren’t intentional about maintaining your health.

Here are some easy ways to continue implementing healthy practices on the road.

Have a hotel exercise routine

Every little bit counts, so even if you aren’t planning on running 4 miles, incorporate physical activity into your travels. Create a note in your phone of some workouts you can do from your hotel room, use a workout app, or if you’re visiting family plan time to walk or jog in the morning.

Bring snacks

Lack of access to food leads to binge eating while traveling in airport terminals or at restaurants. Instead of indulging every meal, bring healthy snacks like almonds, RX bars, or other protein bars to feed your appetite. Your body will thank you later.

Stay hydrated

Though we all despise the idea of asking the person next to us to move during the flight, drinking water is important. Since water flushes out toxins and provides more energy, it’s important to keep your intake high. Buy water in the terminal, and either try to purchase an end seat when you can or start practicing your pitch to tell the person next to you you’ll need to use the restroom on the flight.

Sleep 

Lack of sleep not only weakens your immune system – but it also affects your recovery from being sick. In order to fully enjoy your travels and set yourself up for success upon returning, sleep must be a priority. Try using the Calm app or noise machines on your phone to help rest if you are anxious sleeping.

Have an emergency kit

Carrying emergency items like Emergen–C, Excedrin, hand sanitizer, granola bars, caffeine pills, medication – really, whatever you need to function – can offer peace of mind. Keep a small pouch of airplane-friendly items in your purse, briefcase or backpack with a steady supply that’s ready in case you need it.   

Stick to a routine or establish one quickly

Though the nature of your travel can drastically vary depending on if you’re on vacation, attending sales meetings, or simply working remotely – do your best to establish creating some system to adjust more quickly. For instance, if you’re leisurely traveling from the east coast to the west just for a couple of days, try to stay on your east coast time clock. Or, if you’re visiting a new country for a period of time, try sleeping on the plane or scheduling time to adjust to the new time zone.  

Pro tip: Don’t touch your face. I’m serious. When you’re out and about touching surfaces like counters, handrails, doorknobs, or table trays on an airplane, germs can build up. If I’ve been out of the house, but especially if I’m traveling, I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer before I touch my eyes, nose, or mouth.

It may seem a little crazy but it works for me, plus, I haven’t had a cold or the flu in almost ten years. (Sinus infections are another story, however.)

Instagram

  • "You should dye your hair."⠀
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"I hear Americans get drugged."⠀
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"Are there terrorists?"⠀
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I've stayed in a lot of places that are considered "dangerous" and these are the comments/questions I get the most. ⠀
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My response is always the same.⠀
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Altering my appearance to "blend in" is silly and not all parts of Central & South America or the Middle East are dangerous. In Israel, you're going to see soldiers with machine guns in public places. Expect to see the same in most of Latin America outside of resorts. ⠀
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If you're looking for trouble you're bound to find it, regardless of location. (And as a writer who covers oppressive/corrupt governments, I know I'm not always going to be the most welcome wherever I go.)⠀
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But, I choose not to live in fear. ⠀
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(#TBT to these crystal clear waters in the Dominican Republic)
  • Drunk or just drunk in love?? 🥂😅🧐
  • With #BlackFriday quickly approaching, be cautious about ads featuring "cheap flights" or "great vacation deals." If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. ⠀
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If you're looking to book your 2020 travel soon, have an idea of standard ticket prices as you search. ⠀
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For example, I’m not impressed by round trips to New York from Europe for $500+ when I know that I can probably find something cheaper from Chicago without having to use my flight points or spend the time to get from Indianapolis to NYC.⠀
⠀
The way I see it, round trips from the Midwest to major cities in Europe like London, Paris, or Zurich are reasonable if priced $400-$600. It’s an incredible deal if you can find a round trip like this for $400 or less.⠀
⠀
One ways to Europe from New York are reasonable for $200-$300 but are especially good deals if you can get them for $200 or less.⠀
⠀
And any flight from the Midwest or East Coast to Asia for $1,000 or less is always a great deal IF they are nonstop or have one short layover.⠀
⠀
Read more about how I buy cheap plane tickets #ontheblog ⠀
(Oh and I booked Colombia 🇨🇴 Send your recommendations my way!)
  • Hey, @kylepierce17 can we just get married next weekend? I’ll see what our priest has going on. #307DaysToGo 😆
  • #TenYearChallenge (Closer to 9 years apart, though.) Same hair cut, same desire to wear all black, SAME PIECE OF HAIR THAT STICKS TO THE SIDE!, better eyebrows! 🤔🤣
  • An honest review of camel milk: the series. 🐫 SWIPE 😂
  • I went with a bare face to TWO meetings this morning?! I’ve always struggled with my skin and finding a good dermatologist, skincare from @the_lassi_indpls, and @michianamicroblading have been instrumental in taking care of acne and scarring from my teenage years + thin and frail brows. Plus moisturizing. And drinking water. And washing my hands before I touch my face. And wearing sunscreen. #AsSheIs
  • One of the biggest reasons why Americans don’t travel abroad – other than not having a passport – is the cost of airfare. Rising taxes, hidden fees, and baggage add-ons don’t help, but if you can manage to travel only with a carryon and during the offseason, then it IS possible to travel frugally. ⠀
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My roundtrip from Cincinnati to Iceland? $300⠀
Chicago to Paris? Close to $350⠀
One way from JFK to London? $290 ⠀
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I don’t usually travel outside of the U.S. during Q4 (because it’s expensive) but I’ve got Colombia, Peru, Iceland again, and wherever we decide to go on our honeymoon on my list for 2020. I’ve written a list of the biggest ways I save money on plane tickets #ontheblog. ⠀
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Where do you want to go in 2020?
  • *me, looking to find something witty to say about the time change; really it’s all a racket by the federal government*🇨🇭photo taken during my trip to Switzerland this past spring with an overpriced latte
  • Damn what a month. 4+ AIER titles on Amazon, wedding planning in full swing, clients served, and my article reprinted by @entrepreneur!? Like what!? 😳 
You CAN turn your passion into your dream career. It’s not easy but the adventure is worth it. ❤️ Read the full article at the #linkinbio
  • Five years ago & a lifetime to go. #PerfectlyPierce ❤️
  • Wishing I had more photos of me with camels so I could post one every hump day (Wednesday.) This fella loves Kit Kat bars, giving kisses (he had some nasty breath tho 🤢), AND he sports a nose ring.

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