The more you venture away from home the more you learn various ways to travel. From your experiences and sharing with others you can learn a wealth of how to travel cheap tips.
Today I’d like to feature someone who has built up a wide range of skills to travel smarter. So much so she has written a book about it called The Secrets of a Savvy Traveler.
I had the pleasure of recently interviewing the author, Priscilla Smiley, and she was able to share some of her travel cheap tips with us.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your travel experiences. Where have you travelled to?
My name is Priscilla Smiley and I am a self-taught savvy traveler who has vacationed in four different continents and visited over twenty-five different countries in less than five years. As a child, my traveling experiences were limited due to a lack of financial resources. However, as an adult I was determined and destined to travel the world and to teach others to do the same.
Some of the countries I have toured include: England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mexico, Central American, The Caribbean and numerous states within the U.S.A.
Do you think we can all be a Savvy Traveler?
The definition of a savvy traveler is learning how to master locating the best deals to travel as often as you want, without borders. With that said, after reading and applying the tips in my book, The Secrets of a Savvy Traveler, any and everyone will able to become a savvy traveler and travel the world on their budget.
Japan has definitely been my most savvy trip. I paid less than $75.00 roundtrip to visit Japan, China, Macau and Hong Kong. I was able to reduce my airfare cost tremendously by taking advantage of what I call my 3Ps of traveling. Paper, Plastic, Purchase. The first P, Paper. No obligation required. Taking advantage and signing up for frequent flier accounts with different airline companies. These accounts are absolutely FREE! The second P is Plastic. Rewarding yourself. Applying for the best credit or check card that offer travel rewards. The last P, Purchase. Ready, Set, Go! Knowing how to combine deals and when to get flights and hotels will save you a bundle.
Applying my 3Ps of traveling will teach you step by step on how you can turn your dreams of traveling into an affordable reality by applying for credit cards that offer reward points that can be redeemed for future travel and by obtaining frequent flyer miles/points when traveling.
Your book has a rather amusing story about a GPS in Puerto Rico, what happened and why?
My trip to Puerto Rico was quite interesting. I was so excited about going that I didn’t even consider what I might do once I got there. I didn’t plan any activities. I thought I would merely see what the island had to offer and just go with the flow. I later realize this was a bad idea. Due to my lack of planning, I was forced to rent a vehicle with a GPS to get around the island.
You see once I settled in my hotel, the concierge’s desk was closed for the day so I could not book any excursions. So I took excursion flyers and decided to book activities the following morning. When I attempted to book my excursions the following day, I was sadly informed that many of the activities I was interested in were sold out. I had two options: taking taxis and public transportation or rent a vehicle. I thought taking taxis would be too expensive so I decided to rent a vehicle with a GPS.
Now all the road signs and names were in Spanish and I do not speak Spanish so you could only image my frustrations when my GPS got me lost a few times and how extremely difficult it was for me to communicate with the natives. To top it off, I wasted an entire day trying to plan what activities I should do and missing appointments from getting lost.
All and all, I made the most of my trip. But the lesson I learned is my Savvy Traveler’s Dos and Don’ts #11: Do plan activities before going on your trip. Do not wait until you get there and decide what you would like to do. Doing so will only take away valuable time from your trip.
You talk about passport cards in your book. For those of us who don’t come from the US can you explain what a passport card is and how it is different to a traditional passport book?
A passport card allow international travel by land and sea only. Passport cards are valid for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings and seaports-of-entry. Taking international cruises are possible with a passport card, however, the cruise would have to leave from a seaport within the U.S. and return back to a seaport within the U.S.
A passport book on the other hand, allows you to travel internationally by airplane, car, bus, train, and cruise.
The differences between the passport book and passport card include the size and cost. A passport book is about 5” x 3.5” in size, and a passport card is about the size of a wallet-sized driver’s license. The cost for first-time applicants for the passport book is about one hundred thirty-five dollars for adults and one hundred five dollars for children under age sixteen, whereas the cost of a passport card is about fifty-five dollars for adults and forty dollars for children under age sixteen.
Your traveling style and budget will determine what you will need. I personally know individuals who have a fear of flying and have vowed to never step foot on an airplane, and some of them have not been on an airplane in over fifty years. These individuals have made up their minds that flying is not for them but have not allowed their fear to prevent them from doing the very thing they love, which is to travel. Instead, they take cruises and road trips regularly. For these individuals, a passport card would work best for them.
You have a rather novel set of souvenirs you collect from your travels. What are they and do you have any pictures of them to share with us?
When I began writing my book I had over 50 shot glasses. I currently have around 60.
I recently began collecting artwork. On my recent trip to Honduras I met a very talented and up and coming painter. His artwork really spoke to me because of the vibrant and meaningful colors.
What can’t you be without on a flight?
My phone. I have to have it. I have so many different APPs from The Bible to Music. My phone is a necessity for me.
If you had to pick your 3 favorite savvy travel tips from your book what would they be?
Learning how to combine frequent flyer accounts and credit or debit card accounts that offer rewards points, which can give you the best benefit.
Traveling midweek as compared to weekends can save you money. Research shows traveling on weekends is more expensive because of high demand. However, during midweek, many of the airline companies offer discounted tickets because the demand for seats is lower. This allows savvy travelers to save money, and always remember, money saved on booking a trip can be used as spending money while on the trip.
Avoid traveling during peak seasons when travel is most active and rates for airfare and hotels are at their highest. Traveling during peak seasons will cost you more money.
As you can tell, Priscilla knows a lot about getting the best out of travel. I recently bought her book from Amazon and it really is jam packed with travel cheap tips from a truly savvy traveler. You can also follow Priscilla on Twitter @ms_savvytravel
Don’t miss out on your chance to get these travel cheap tips from The Savvy Traveler, order your copy now.
You can order The Secrets of a Savvy Traveler here.