Flexible Travel Dates, Discount Diva Tip #1

Farmhouse on a misty day in northwest Ireland

You could say that my husband Jeff and I travel more than the average bears. Just a little. At some point in our marriage, the hubs and I got into the habit of taking two major trips a year, in addition to the usual smattering of side trips that crop up for family events and such. How do we afford this, you ask? Flexible travel dates.

Flexible Travel Dates

We often encounter family, friends, and coworkers expressing how “[they] would love to travel more, but everything is so expensive right now.” And it’s true—travel has gotten much more expensive over the last several years. It’s also true that my husband and I invest more time and money into traveling than most. …But not nearly as much as people might think. Your official Global Debauchery Discount Diva divulges her number one savings secret here: Have flexible travel dates. Being flexible opens a lot of discount doors. Case in point…

Flexible Destinations

Be flexible about your destination. If you have three countries on your “must-see” list, be open about which one you’ll hit up next, instead of locking yourself into a specific destination. This will allow you to find the best deal overall, as opposed to the best deal for this place at this time of the year (which may not even really be that good of a deal).

Flexible Seasons

Be flexible about the season you travel. The single biggest piece of advice I have for fellow budget travelers is to travel during the shoulder season. Jeff and I typically travel one week prior to, or one week after, peak tourist season in whatever country we’re visiting.

Not only does this save hundreds of dollars (yes, hundreds!), you don’t have to deal with suffocating crowds, long lines, and difficulties booking hotels and excursions. Sure, you may have some off-weather days, but I can honestly say that only once in my wanderlust career has my planned itinerary ever been thwarted by shoulder season weather. The closer you can get to peak season without actually traveling in it, the better your odds of having a smooth itinerary with great savings.

Flexible Weeks

Be flexible about the week you travel. Many travel sites, like Orbitz and Kayak allow you to compare flight pricing three days before and after a specific date. Kayak even lets you select flexible weekends or months. This little tool can get you the cheapest week(s) of travel to your destination in any given timeframe. You may have to click around; these features are often hidden in Advanced Search Options links.

Flexible Travel Dates

Be flexible about the day you travel. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly. That’s all.

The Ultimate in Flexibility

If you’re really flexible… Check out Kayak’s “Explore” link. It used to be front and center on the homepage, but was moved for some insane reason and now I can only locate it through a direct link. It lets you view the lowest flight prices all around the world from a selected point of departure. The catch? Your flight could be departing tomorrow, or it could be departing six months from now. Only for the limber traveller.

How much have you saved with flexible travel dates?

Adulting doesn’t always allow us to be as flexible as we’d like to be; however, a little wiggle room in any one of these areas can save you hundreds. Add that to a few of my Discount Diva Tips to come, and you’ve got a whole ‘nother trip in savings! How much have you saved with flexible travel dates? Comment below or reach out via my Contact page.