Ex-Waitress' Guide To World Travel

How to save money while booking international travel

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

Everyone should experience travel to another country. Sure, Houston is really diverse and has a representation from most countries. There is nothing like being completely submerged in a different culture. There are many people who can afford any trip that they want many times during the year. However, there a lot of us who have to save our nickels and dimes to see the world. Still, there are many people who have just given up on the hope to leave the country. Here are some tips on how to save money on international travel.

For starters, make sure you do these two things before anything else.

  1. Make that sure your passport is valid. It has nothing to do with saving money, but, it would suck to plan and pay for a trip and you have an expired passport.
  2. Research thoroughly and start early. Travel.State.Gov, Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, and Google.

Use frequent flyer miles.

Most people think that you have to be an executive or an old to have frequent flyer miles, but this is not true. I fly United everytime I leave the country, I find each and every opportunity to earn some frequent flyer miles.

Use Travel search engines.

This seems like the obvious answer. Search engines like Kayak, Travelocity, and others give you the unique opportunity to prices from many different airlines at once. Do this in an incognito search. There are cookies on the webpage that track when and how many times you have searched these flights. They will never give you the lowest price after the first search.

Avoid straight flights

Leave the shorter flights for when you are a celebrity or an executive. Use flights that connect in hub cities. What is a hub city? Airlines use certain cities as hubs for their flight traffic. Frankfort, LAX, and Houston are hub cities. Flights that connect through these cities can be cheaper than a flight that connects in other cities.

Book flights on off times.

Book flights to fly out on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Flights are cheaper than traveling on Friday or Thursday. Don't be afraid to fly the red eye. These flights need to be filled, so the tickets are cheaper.

Book hotels with airport transfers.

If you are staying at a hotel, make sure they have airport transfer included. This will save you upwards of $60 and a lot of time and worry.

Book hotels with breakfast included.

While you are booking your hotel, make sure that breakfast is included. That accounts for one meal of your day that you don't have to spend money on. When I went to Iceland, I packed energy bars and other snacks that I could eat while I was sightseeing. It was a great way to save money.

Stay at hotels with an in-room kitchenette or a refrigerator/microwave.

You can eat cereal or make sandwiches. This opens you up for more savings. These places are great, not only to save money, but to stay on your diet. If you are traveling for a race, you need to know what is going in your body. The best option. Guesthouses and Airbnb's offer entire houses with kitchens and laundry rooms. This makes your traveling experience extremely convenient.

I'm sure there are many more ways to save while traveling. While planning your next trip, implement a few of these suggestions and see the savings. Next we will take a closer look at these frequent flyer miles and how you can rack them up.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

The best places to visit in San Antonio

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

One of the great mysteries of Houston life is that so many locals don't take better advantage of San Antonio. Not only is the Alamo City a cultural jewel with more than 300 years of history proudly on display, it is also a strikingly modern city with chic boutique hotels, innovative restaurants, and some of the best shopping in Texas.

In a time when cities across the world are starting to feel numbingly the same, San Antonio has kept its identity. What's travel if not a chance to experience some place unique?

Where to eat and drink

Eastside Kitchenette

After a long period spent renovating its 1906 building, this project from owner chefs Jenn and Jeff White debuted in January with a comforting menu melding the best of Southern and Hill Country cuisine. The dishes — catfish, meatloaf, and even spinach artichoke dip — certainly appeal to traditionalists, but Eastside doesn't exactly deliver home cooking. That catfish is stuffed with sweet blue crab, the meatloaf comes with a side of black garlic broccoli, and the bacon Parmesan streusel topping the dip was never in a Junior League cookbook.

Jet-Setter

The newest player in the downtown bar scene is literally underground, giving it an exclusive speakeasy vibe. Still, once revelers descend the steps, it's clear that its head is in the clouds. Taking style cues from midcentury airports, the lounge has vintage vibes without looking like a Mad Men set. The cocktails are fully contemporary, using ingredients from destinations all over the world.

Lala's Gorditas
The owner of this Southside restaurant, Steve Pizzini, is San Antonio restaurant royalty. His aunt Ernestine Pizzini Chapa founded Teka Molino in 1938 before father Herman Pizzini launched Taco Hut in 1958, and both quickly rose to become some of the Alamo City's most beloved concepts. That's a lot to live up to, but Pizzini rises to the occasion with extravagantly overstuffed gorditas, shatteringly crisp puffy tacos, and deep caramel flan baked every day.

Swine House Bodega
This downtown sandwich shop is serious about its sourcing, using only ethically raised breeds from area farms. For owner Joe Saenz, it's not just a matter of being a responsible global citizen. Pasture-raised meats also taste better, a fact readily apparent in the Swine House's New York-style subs and biscuit sandwiches. Be warned that the shop is only open weekdays for breakfast and lunch. What better excuse to extend a weekend day trip?

Continue reading on CultureMap to find out the best places to shop.

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