Low Cost Travel: Peter Greenberg’s Tips

Learn to cut the costs of travel from the best Peter Greenberg
Learn to cut the costs of travel from the best Peter Greenberg

Fighting the Costs of Travel: CBS’s Travel Expert Peter Greenberg shares tips

Traveling is something most of us want to do. However, often, instead of traveling we find ourselves scrolling enviously through someone else’s vacation photos wishing it was us. But unfortunately, travel is something that is unaffordable and out of most people’s reach.

However, that is not the case according to Peter Greenberg, a very smart travel journalist, travel detective, and travel editor for CBS News. He spoke at the New York Times Travel Show and shared these tips in 2014.

The Dreaded Airline Ticket

EasyJet is a great way to get around Europe, photo by EasyJet
EasyJet is a great way to get around Europe, photo by EasyJet

Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed at just the cost of an airline ticket. After purchasing many airline tickets you have already spent your vacation budget before arriving at the destination. However, this does not have to be the case.

Fly International
and Onetravel are good places for comparing websites for international plane tickets.

Norwegian Air, Iceland Air, and Turkish Air offer inexpensive flights to Europe. From there, travelers can book flights to get around with EasyJet. Though, not from the US.

EasyJet flies to hundreds of Europe’s destinations with flights as low as 49 Euro. In some cases, if the ticket is booked far enough in advance the fares can be even lower.

EasyJet’s secret is to service lesser-known airports, with a very barebones level of service. You’ll pay extra for bringing anything bigger than a pack of gum, and the Coke isn’t free, but the fares will blow your mind!

When looking for a way to your desired destination look around for lesser-known airports, many times they can offer inexpensive flights as well.

When booking airlines and hotels together Greenberg recommends Kayak, Momondo, Hipmunk, or Onetravel. These sites can often find less expensive flight and hotel packages than bigger named travel sites because they search a far wider array of airlines and consolidate the fares on one screen. Kayak even lets one compare prices to bigger name websites such as Expedia to ensure the prices are the lowest possible.

But one point Greenberg made is that there are thousands of bus companies around the world and often, taking the unglamorous bus is the cheapest and most direct way to get somewhere. Open your mind–buses are ok and service has much improved around the globe for coach travel!  Wanderu.com has listings for nearly all of them.

If searching around on the internet for a flight is not something you want to do then seek out a travel agent. They can often help find the best deals. Though most agents now cater to the wealthiest class, if they can find you a cheaper ticket, their small fee is well worth paying.

Calling the airline and speaking to a manager is an effective way to find inexpensive flights as well. It’s always worth pushing a little harder, Greenberg says.

If purchasing travel insurance is a necessity do not buy it through the airline. Greenberg recommends Travel Guard, purchased on your own.

But Hotels are Expensive

When trying to find a spot to sleep on a getaway do not immediately rule out one-star hotels. In most cases, they are quite nice and offer everything a hotel with more stars would. As Greenberg says, ‘it’s just a place to sleep, and you can’t tell what the room looks like when your eyes are closed!’

Airbnb also offers a unique alternative to hotel prices. With Airbnb, you can book a local’s spare room. The website allows you to say the maximum you want to spend. This way one can budget properly. One can even register their own room when they travel and make extra money. Booking is also a good alternative to finding inexpensive hotels at your destination.

However, if you are a traveler who loves a lot of options and alternatives book through All the Rooms. This website shows all hotels and Airbnb rooms at the travel destination. This site even includes AirBnb with hotels, as well as Couchsurfing.com too!

Thrifty travelers should also consider hostels. They offer inexpensive and very comfortable accommodation. Hostels often allow you to meet interesting people from all over the world which is a wonderful experience in itself. Travelers can book hostels through HIhostel. If one purchases a membership they receive discounts at every HIhostel they stay at. If you haven’t stayed in a hostel since 1999, give them another look!

Similar to how talking to airlines can help one find better deals on flights so can talking to a manager at the hotel directly. Ask for a room on the first floor, if they can’t accommodate this request, they often come up with other ways to make you happy like a room upgrade. Also, don’t forget to ask for the AAA and or the AARP discounts! Get all of what’s coming to you!

Go-Today takes you to all types of destination, photo by Go-Today
Go-Today takes you to all types of destination, photo by Go-Today

I Want to Travel but I don’t want to Plan every Detail

If traveling is something you want to do but do not want to go through the hassle of planning then book a package deal.

Book a trip with Go-Today. One can find destinations all around the world. For example one can book a 6-night trip, 3 nights in London and 3 nights in Rome for $1199. That includes airfare and hotels.

If one wants to travel to Asia package deals can be booked through Tripmasters. Their prices also include airfare and lodging.

Traveling with a family

Traveling with a family is going to add costs to any vacation plans. Families looking to take a trip should consider looking at Trafalgar Tours. Trafalgar takes families all over the United States and the world.

One trip families can book through Trafalgar Tours is an 8 day trip to Costa Rica for $1625. The tour goes all over the country allowing families to see everything from the beautiful cities to the lush green rainforests.

I arrived, but I need a car

The cost of renting a car can also deter many people from traveling. Unfortunately, at many destinations travelers are at a disadvantage without a vehicle.
Greenberg says to never book a rental car through the airport, do not call the 800 phone number, and do not book online.

Instead, Greenberg encourages travelers to talk to dealerships over the phone. This way one can figure out which days of the week are the least expensive to rent a car. As well as see what other deals the dealership could possibly offer.

I have the tools but where should I go?

Greenberg recommends Egypt. While many see this as a dangerous travel situation, Greenberg says it is a safe place to travel. Some of the world’s most impressive sights are now nearly empty. Be cautious but remember some warnings are listed and expire yet the public still stays away for decades. Colombia is another example, though it’s safe these days, many Americans still would never visit. Be intrepid, be smart but don’t avoid every city you might have once feared.

Greenberg also recommends Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.

In the case of Emergency?

If traveling for an extended period of time, Greenberg recommends purchasing insurance through MedjetAssist. If you find yourself in need in serious need of a hospital and are more than 150 miles from home, MedjetAssist will plan the best travel route and get one to their hospital or to a nearby alternative.

kristen richard

Kristen Richard is a graduate of Umass Amherst and a former intern at GoNOMAD. When she is not writing she enjoys photography, running, biking, horseback riding, and finding new places to travel.

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