Now that you know what things to consider in planning your summer road trip with friends or family when it comes to housing and car rental (Part-1), let’s take a look at airline travel, my favorite vacation activities, and music to vacation by.
So if you decide to do a road trip outside of your state or country, flying can be the most expensive part. Here are some key flying tips you need to be aware of.
Tip 1: When looking for a reasonable flight use websites such as Skyscanner, Kayak, Cheapoflights, and Momondo. These are flight comparing sites that can also provide you alerts when flight prices go down.
Tip 2: A lot of articles have told you that buying tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday make a flight cheaper. That is true. Weekdays are always cheaper than weekends and if you buy at night it might be cheaper as well. Flights can change drastically. For example, I had to buy a ticket at the last minute two weeks before I was supposed to leave to get me from Seattle to San Francisco. I saw a ticket for $115 dollars, but decided to wait until the next day when it was exactly two weeks before my flight and the flights jumped from $115 to $140 dollars overnight. If you see a flight at a good rate, get it because more than likely it’s just going to continue going up.
Tip 3: Consider budget airlines. Airlines like Spirit or Frontier are not luxurious, but they have seats, airline staff, safety measures and a bathroom. That’s really all you need. However, with these airlines you have to pay for a checked bag or a carry on. It is always cheaper to pay for a checked bag, but be warned you have to pay for a bag each way.
The way I get around this is by buying myself a small duffle bag. It may look tiny, but it is surprisingly deep as well as wide. You don’t want something that is long because it will look like it can’t fit under the seat. So if you’re going away for a 4-day trip or even a week, a small duffle can work as your one personal item allowing you to bypass any baggage fees.
Tip 4: Consider layovers. I know layovers can be scary and a pain, but you can get cheaper flights if you have a layover. I’m not talking about an eight hour stop, but a stop as short as two or three hours will go by quickly. It will allow you time to freshen up, stretch, and eat some food comfortably before going onto another flight.
For people who don’t like long flights, a layover also helps to break a flight up; so a six hour flight with a layover may be broken down into a two three hour flights. In Europe, sometimes layovers can be amazing because they can be overnight layovers which give you a chance to see a bit of another country for free.
Tip 5: Sometimes buying separate one way flights are cheaper than buying multi-city flights. I recently bought a flight from Seattle to San Fran and a flight from Phoenix to Chicago…all for one trip. Buying them separate and using budget airlines it came to be $231 in total. While looking up multi-city for the same time period, the total came to $360 on a major airline. If you book one way flights early enough, you can find great specials and deals.
Tip 6: Consider outside airports. More often then not it takes you only a little bit out of your way, but it is cheaper to get to. San Francisco, for example, has two outside airports; Oakland and San Jose. Each airport only takes about an hour to get to the city using its Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train. Where flying into San Francisco International airport (SFO) might only take 40 minutes by BART, it is more expensive to fly into and more crowded.
When it comes to activities, I have my main three that I want to hit up. Someplace high up (to get a view), something adventurous, and some place calm. Doing these things doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. Many times getting a view can be as easy and free as going on a hike up a hill that overlooks the city or paying a small price to go up a monument like the Coit Tower or Griffith Observatory or the Sears Tower. You can also get this view by going to a rooftop bar in hotels.
When I say something adventurous. I don’t mean skydiving or throwing myself off a cliff. I’m talking about things that you’ve always wanted to do and these can be simple such as waking up early to see the sunrise in a place you’ve wanted to go, cliff jumping into a lake, trying that new food you were sure you were going to hate, or trying out a new fitness class. Adventure doesn’t have to be crazy, it can just be an exploration of life and the things around you.
Finally, I look for something calming such as a state park or a beach. A place where I can just read a book or take in the view and maybe accidently take a nap. Anything that brings my heartrate down and reminds me of the places I’ve been.
The best part of any road trip is the music! My favorite app to use is Spotify. I set up a playlist on my computer first because it’s easier to see all the titles or songs and not get too many advertisements. After I make that playlist, I use the app on my phone and an AUX cord to play some really upbeat and summery songs. Below is a link to my road trip playlist. Enjoy! https://open.spotify.com/user/11162136976/playlist/3W2XNNWtkXn4jbyEesvLEg.
About the Author: The EM, Inc. Travel “Guru” Kayla Brock grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She chose to go to an international university in London for her bachelor’s degree because it offered her an opportunity to study journalism and communications in ways that she felt she would not experience in the United States. Being overseas was an easy decision for her because she had the freedom to travel and explore different cultures from her own. So far, she has been to 20 countries and has also traveled 24 states out of 50 states in the US. Kayla enjoys travel writing, photography (digital and film), video editing, hiking, and adventure sports.
Photo Credit: Kayla Brock