Thrifty Travel Tips One

May 8, 2010|By David Lester

I must have deleted this blog by mistake so after many requests here it is again.  Travel well! 

I just booked a flight to Australia to visit some close friends that moved there, and I wanted to share my tricks of the trade on how to get the best and cheapest flight.  The more money I save on the flight and hotels the more I can scuba dive, horseback ride, or visit other cities.  I always aim to have the best trip I can by saving on travel and hotel costs, then spending on the things that will make the trip truly memorable.  


1. First, go see a travel agent and ask for the best rate from your city to the destination.  They’ll give you a price to start with.  Get quotes directly from your city and also quotes from smaller cities that are nearby.  I’m flying from Buffalo to Sydney, which is only a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto but saves me over $300!  There is a cheap bus from Toronto right to the Buffalo airport but I’m hooking a ride with my brother who wants to check out the Brooks Brothers outlet, which is a win win for both of us.  

2. Second, open a window with every cheap flight website you can find, such as expedia, travelzoo, selloffvacations, travelocity, priceline, etc.  There are even sites that will check all of the cheap flight sites for you, like, or  Search all of them, slightly changing the departure and arrival dates until you’ve found the best price.  But you don’t book!  Call up Flight Centre with the flight still on your screen and they’ll beat the price by $10, and in my case they got my Australian Visa for me. I love my money and time!  

3. Travelling to Europe is a bit different.  Find the best rate into a hub like Amerstadam, London or Frankfurt.  Then try to get a Ryan Air, German Wind, or Easy Jet flight from the hub to your destination.  You’ll save literally thousands if you’re flying to a remote destination like I did when I flew to Malta.  That trip cost $800 to London and then $90 to Malta on Ryan Air.  That saved me more than $1,000!  
1. Hotels work the same way.  Open nine hundred windows on your computer and find the best price.  Google for a “promo code” for the hotel that you want and see if you can bring the price down even more.  Make sure you watch for any service fees or taxes before you book.  Click through to the page where you enter your credit card info and compare prices from the total sum. 
2. If you have a company like I do, ask to register for their corporate rate. This will guarantee you savings during the busy months when deals are scarce.  They treat their corporate clients like gold, which is a hidden plus. 

3. Whenever I travel I always aim to stay at the trendiest boutique hotels or historic hotels for less than a discount hotel.  I’ve done this in Greece, Sweden, Germany, Egypt, Malta, LA, and NYC. Why not stay at the best places in the best locations? You deserve it!
4. Get a US$ Credit Card if you stay in the US for long periods of time.  Canadian credit card companies charge 2.5% on top of the exchange rate, so if you are in the US enough to charge $2,000 in hotel and dinner expenses it will save you $50 from that 2.5% fee!  Find the best foreign exchange rate place and pay off the card when you get home.  In my experience the ULTIMATE place in Toronto to exchange money is under the Sheridan Hotel.  Tell her that Dave sent you for an extra special price 🙂 
I’ll be away for two weeks putting shrimps on the barbie, so I’ll write about all the ways I saved money down under!

David Lester
About David Lester

David Lester is a best selling author and professional Financial Coach, helping people be better with their money. David has written a personal finance book that breaks with traditional attitudes towards finance and describes his own philosophy to money that he has gained through his personal and professional experiences. His philosophy on money applies to many areas of everyday life, including banking, investing, goal setting, shopping and entertainment.