How To Make 2017 Your Year Of Travel

This post originally appeared on WerqueDominique.

This year has already been a whirlwind of jet setting and destination hopping for me. I’ve been on five trips in the past two months and have two more planned coming up in the next two weeks.

When I decide it’s time for me to literally get out of town and get some much needed R&R, instead of trying to figure out how I’m going to afford going to a certain place, I let the plethora of flight deals guide my moves. While I love to be whimsical and dreamy when thinking of where I’d like to go next, the truth is that not everyone can afford to travel that way, including me. In fact, many people who travel often (at least 4-6 international & domestic trips a year) don’t. While that may sound drab, it’s actually really fun to travel based on travel deals! There’s a certain vigilance you need when chasing glitches, and error-fares, and your lust for spontaneity must be constant. I never know where I’m heading next, and I always end up in the most unexpected, but dazzling places.  There is beauty in the unknown, and that’s how I like my travel to be.

Spontaneity is the name of my travel game, but of course, even spontaneity requires planning. If you’re interested in more not-so-planned travel, look no further! I have five super helpful tips to share that anyone can use to travel more frequently and spend less money.

I want 2017 to be your year for travel, don’t let a shortage of coins or work get in your way! Here are my tips, below!

1. Cruise flight deal sites daily

If you’re itching to get out of town and don’t care where to, curated flight deal sites are your BFF. My three favorites are The Flight Deal, Secret Flying, and Airfarewatchdog. Let them be your guide. I check these pretty much every day, and even have it setup to where I get emails when there are deals out of San Francisco. The great UAE glitch fare of 2014-2015 was discovered via one of these deal sites, and there have been thousands more since then. Finding error fares is not science, and there isn’t an elite class of people who are exclusively allowed to enjoy them. The trick is to stay woke, and check back daily.

2. Use those long weekends

Not everyone has the luxury of randomly booking a trip a week in advance and just jetting off. No, ma’am, that 9-to-5 ain’t something everyone can play with. But guess what? We all get 3-day weekends (*does the 3-day weekend dance*) and that precious extra day is perfect for squeezing in some much needed travel. What I do to get the most vacation time with the least amount of days off is plan to leave Thursday right after work. Then, I come back late Monday night or early Tuesday morning before work. That gives me about 4 days to enjoy whichever city I’m in and I only miss one day at work. If you can’t afford to miss even one day, try negotiating a day to work from home.

3. Learn the basics of flight hacking

Flight hacking is a bit complicated to breakdown in a short paragraph, so I recommend going here to learn more. There are many elements to flight hacking, but my absolute favorite is skipping a leg of a flight. It’s not the easiest thing to plan, but when you find and insanely cheaper deal to a destination that would normally be 3x more expensive if you flew straight there, you gotta go for it! After you find a flight that makes the stop–book it.

4. Budget ahead of time

So you’ve found a deal you want to book, but wait, where is this magic money that all these travelers seem to be growing on trees coming from? While these tips are going to help you save a ton of money on travel, you still need to have the money in the first place. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a travel piggy bank. There needs to be money on deck that’s not attached to anything that you can use to book these spontaneous trips.

What I like to do is take $100-$200 out of each of my paychecks and put them in a sub-account solely designated for travel. Each month I save about $200-$400 which is enough to buy a roundtrip ticket almost anywhere. Whether you save $25, $50, or $100, when a deal pops up at least you have the peace of mind of knowing you can afford it.

5. Keep an open mind

Last, but probably the most important thing on this list is to keep an open mind. Some of my best trips (Dubai, Istanbul, Cancun, etc.) were places that I NEVER thought about going to. I went based solely on how cheap the plane ticket was and that hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

What are your favorite ways to get cheap flights? Do you have a budgeting tool you swear by? Let’s chat in the comments!

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