Knowing what you need to pack and not pack while backpacking is a struggle for many people. You don’t want to forget anything, but you don’t want to bring useless stuff that will take up space in your bag. Having the right travel accessories is key to having a great trip!
Here is a list of things that I use over and over during my travels that I can vouch for.
You need a lock if you’re backpacking. Staying in hostels, you want to make sure your backpack is safe (just in case there is that one asshole who is going to steal your stuff). I’ve been lucky enough never to have had anything stolen even when leaving stuff around, but you never know. Most hostels have under bed storage space or lockers, but you have to provide your own lock so be prepared and buy one in advance!
This wallet is GREAT. It fits all of my cards + my passport so I can keep it with me and not leave it at the hostel. I also love the colour, but they have multiple ones so you can choose whatever you like. I like that it’s big enough to fit Euro bills (I’ve had wallets that didn’t, and it was SUPER frustrating) since they can get pretty big.
I actually wrote a whole blog post on this magic stuff (which you can find here) because it’s so amazing. I take it everywhere I go now. You can cut it up as to not bring the whole bar which is a great space saver. But honestly, this stuff is GREAT for stains. I legit spilled red wine all over a couch once when I was in France with my mom, and we were able to get all the stain out with the soap; it’s a lifesaver.
I LOVE these cubes. They are great to stay organized while living out of a backpack. An added bonus is that this one has cute little laundry pouches too which is great. They all fit into one another when you aren’t travelling, so it takes up next to no room. And even better they have super cute colours (I have the watermelon, and it’s so friggin’ cute!).
Okay, guys, this was a revelation when I found these towels – legit one of my favourite travel accessories. They dry super quick and take like no room in your bag. Plus, they have different colours and sizes which is great. I got the 32″ x 60″, and I love it; it’s big enough that I wrap around my body (no awkward openings when I am in the hostel = WIN!).
I used to buy the travel sized stuff at Walmart but eventually, it starts adding up, and you realize you’re not helping the environment (plus you can’t use your own products), so I switched to these reusable ones that I can just fill up with the stuff I use at home. They don’t leak, and they are the perfect size that they don’t take up too much room in my bag.
If you’re taking lots of planes or trains, these are a life saver. They just make those long hours just a little more enjoyable. I like the ones that have a “necktie thingy” so that I can tie it to my bag and it stays on my neck better.
People often forget about these, but you never know when they can come in handy. I always bring a few along just in case. They are really great when you’re following my tip number 2 about saving money while backpacking (you can find that post here).
This is a must have travel accessory. If you want to use any of your electronics while you’re abroad, you need a power adapter. Most electronics today have a broad range of voltage they can take so you don’t need a converter, but you should always check before you plug anything in so you don’t blow up your belongings. I usually bring two with me, so I am sure I won’t be stuck without being able to use and/or charge something.
I personally use each product that I’ve just recommended to you and continue to use them. These are my must have travel accessories that I don’t leave the country without. Keep this post bookmarked and check back often as I will update it as I go!
What is your favourite accessory? Let me know in the comments below.
So Matt and I are heading to Ireland in 61 days, and it just makes me want to relive all my previous experiences. I want to tell you guys about a small town in Ireland called Kilkelly.
As you know from a previous post, I went to Ireland with Jordan and Dani in July 2015, and I had a blast. Ireland was so much fun that I decided to go back for eight days at the end of my trip to drive around the country and see more of it. I decided to find small towns around the country to staying with Airbnb and just go with the flow. I covered a lot of ground this way and ended up staying in tiny towns which were all great experiences. By keeping my options open and not settling on the typical tourist spots, I was able to find the town of Kilkelly in Mayo County.
According to Wikipedia, in 2011, Kilkelly had a total population of 1211 including rural and urban living. That’s pretty small when you look at Dublin for the same year pop. 527,612 and then think of all the tourists added on to that number. It’s just under three hours to drive from Dublin to Kilkelly, and it’s a beautiful drive. I was comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road at this point, so I was able to enjoy the scenery. Although, some of the roads are tiny so when cars came rushing by me the stress levels went up a bit.
Arriving at Kilkelly
When I drove onto the main street of Kilkelly, I knew I had found something special. I was in “real” Ireland and not the bustling city/tourist laden Dublin. The Airbnb I was staying at was right on the main road. I had to go to the butcher’s to call my host and let them know I had arrived. The B&B I was staying at was right over a bar (y’all can appreciate how happy I was about this) which was also owned by the same family (the Duffy’s). I had my pick of rooms, and they had breakfast food for me in the fridge which was very appreciated. Mr. Duffy told me that the bar opened up a little later in the afternoon and that I should come by for a beer.
I showed up a bit after opening and sat down at the bar. Mrs. Duffy was bartending, and she greeted me warmly. I decided it was time to have a Guinness in Ireland and I was not disappointed. I never liked Guinness before, but there was something completely different about the taste. Interestingly enough, I learned later on when I went to the Guinness store house that it tastes differently due to the water used to make the beer in Ireland. I sat and talked with one of the locals and Mrs. Duffy and enjoyed learning about the County I was in.
A bit later on, a group of younger people arrived at the pub. They seemed to be a lively group, and they clearly knew everyone else in the pub. I got up to go outside and dropped my cell phone on the floor and one of the guys in the group laughed at me. That was our introduction.
I explained that I was a Canadian travelling in Europe for fun and he invited me to their table. Everyone introduced themselves, and I will always remember meeting Colette. She spoke SO FAST! Every time she said her name I would just hear “Clit” which I thought was a pretty unusual name. You can imagine awkward me going: “Clit… okay nice to meet you!”. They all laughed, and she said: “No! It’s Co-lette” in an over exaggerated way. I laughed full heartedly and apologized for misunderstanding while everyone else just howled at my expense (another one of my epic blonde moments).
I met many people that night. Each and every one of them made my night amazing and fun. I sometimes had to ask them to repeat themselves due to their accents but it was well worth it.
The beers were flowing, and everyone was having a good time. One of the guys I met, Bryan, decided it was time to get his guitar and sing some tunes. To my delight, he legit pulled up a bar stool, sat down with his guitar and started singing some Irish songs. Everyone sang along (except me because I knew none of these songs) and I was just in utter awe. How cool was this? I had no words, but the smile on my face would have given you a good idea of just how happy I was.
Karen, another of the people I met that night (who was dating Bryan the musician) asked me if I had tried a real Irish breakfast yet. I told her that I had not had the chance yet. Her mom was at the bar with us, and they both invited me over for breakfast the next morning. I was a bit shy about just going over to their house, but they insisted: “just walk up the street – it’s a few doors down and just come in!”.
Breakfast in Kilkelly
I woke up the next morning feeling like death. You know the feeling I’m talking about – the “I am so hungover I just want to die” feeling. I looked exactly how I felt which didn’t help me feel any better. Then I remembered I was invited to breakfast. At that moment, it was probably the last thing I wanted to do. Crawl back into bed with a big bottle of water seemed like a much better idea. However, you only live once, and I knew I would never get such an amazing opportunity again, so I put on my big girl pants and got ready for breakfast.
I was a bit nervous that once the alcohol wore off, things would be awkward but I convinced myself to stop being ridiculous. Funny how we always create our own fears which often stop us from doing awesome things. I walked out the door, marched up the street (I think it was like three or four doors up), knocked lightly on the door and walked in. Karen’s mom greeted me with open arms and welcomed me into her home.
She made a FULL spread. I couldn’t believe it! Bacon (the Irish kind), sausages, tomatoes, eggs, pudding, beans. It was ALL there. Karen and Bryan came down for breakfast, but Karen’s brother stayed in bed (like I said it was a rough night of drinking). I was completely blown away by their hospitality and their kindheartedness.
More of County Mayo
After breakfast, I decided to head out and explore some more of Mayo County. I visited the Cong Abbey as well as Ashford castle. They were both breathtaking even if it was a very windy/rainy day.
Having a car made this infinitely easier but driving those tiny roads in those weather conditions was interesting, to say the least! Kilkelly is located in a good spot where I was close to lots of cool things.
Here is a video I took while at Ashford castle (you can hear the hangover in my voice – sorry not sorry!). It’ll give you an idea of how massive and beautiful it is. It’s actually a hotel now, but I can’t fathom the price per night.
More of Kilkelly & Ireland
I decided to stay in that night and relax. I ended up watching Taken on TV and catching up on some much-needed sleep. The next day, I walked around Kilkelly a little bit and decided to head out again to do more exploring. I drove an hour North East to Parke’s Castle and lucky for me it was a beautiful day. If you hadn’t realized this yet, I have a thing for castles.
That night, I met up with Colette and some others from the gang and went out once again. A few people stopped me at the pubs to welcome me to Kilkelly. It was kind of crazy to have people know who I was before I even met them. Word traveled fast about the Canadian girl visiting Kilkelly (I’m a pretty big deal, m’kay?). We had another great night, and I am so glad I picked Kilkelly out of all the places I could have gone to.
To sum it all up
Kilkelly had some of the nicest and most generous people I ever met. If you like to have fun and you enjoy your pints of beer – you’ll fit right in. I hope I can return one day to enjoy their company once again. I can’t highlight enough just how great it was. And like I said, the location is great to hit up a bunch of different spots in the region. I never expected to write a 1500 word post but there is now a Kilkelly shaped hole in my heart, and I had to share with you my time there.
Time for some promotion
As I said, I met Bryan during my time in Kilkelly. He had an incredible talent, and he’s currently in the process of launching his first album (I believe it comes out in October)! If you guys want to discover a great musician from Ireland now living in Australia, go check him out. His links are below:
Do you wish you had a little bit more adventure in your life? Would you like to have some awesome stories to tell your friends and family?
There’s actually a simple way to achieve this.
Go with the flow. Be brave; dare more than usual.
Here is a great example of an adventure I had in Ireland that could have been a very typical “go visit the nice old castle and go home” type of day but turned into so much more.
Jordan, Dani, and I decided to rent a car in Dublin and head out into the country to see some real Ireland (Dublin isn’t the picture we had of Ireland – it was missing the rolling hills and the beautiful landscapes we had envisioned). We wanted to see the sweeping green landscapes and the castles we had heard so much about. I’m the only one who knew how to drive a standard transmission so as you can imagine; I am the one who got to drive for the first time on the opposite side of the road. I can’t even describe how nervous I was for the first hour – the word terrified comes to mind.
When I had to face my first roundabout (which for the record you need to take from the opposite side as well), I was in complete panic. I got out of the roundabout and stopped in someone’s driveway to calm myself down. Both girls were telling me I was doing a great job and that it was OK for me to take a breath and regroup which really helped me calm down.
Jordan brought her Ireland guide book with her, so we decided to go to Glendalough in Wicklow County to see the Monastic Site which was a bit over an hour drive away.
The site was breathtaking, the ruins were incredible, and the scenery was surreal. It was quite something to find myself sitting on ruins older than my own country.
We walked through the ruins, snapping pictures and enjoying the moment. As you can see from the above photos, it was pretty amazing.
Next, we decided to move to quaint town relatively close by (about an hour away in County Carlow) to check out this small castle Jordan had read about in her guidebook. We drove up to the entrance and walked around a little bit to find out that we missed our chance to see the grounds and the inside of the castle. We are all disappointed and STARVING at this point so we figured we would find some food in town. If you’ve ever been around a hangry (so hungry you get angry) woman you know three of them together could turn into a disaster, so we needed food fast. We found this random tiny fast food place with two tables outside and decided to order some burgers and fries.
As we are eating our food, a group of Irish construction workers in pickup trucks went in to order some food. As they waited for their food, they kept looking back at us and whispering amongst themselves (note that was a tiny town and we probably stuck out like sore thumbs). Some of them took off with their food and others sat down at the other table to eat. They started talking to us a little bit, and we told them we are from Canada and that we tried to go see the castle but it was closed.
One of the guys stays behind after everyone else left. He told us he’d been living in the town for his entire life and he used to play in the gardens of the castle as a child. He says he can take us around and show us a ‘secret entrance’ so we can check out the grounds. The three of us looked at each other excitedly and we jumped on the occasion to have a bit of adventure.
The real adventure begins
His ‘secret entrance’ was actually jumping over a fence and just walking onto the property. We got a little nervous at the idea of trespassing, but it’s was a chance in a lifetime, so went ahead and jumped. This guy was the embodiment of small town Ireland; we could barely understand him when he spoke because of his accent. He tried to tell us stories of him playing on these ground when he was a child, and he brought us to a few cool spots.
Funny side anecdote: this guy was TOTALLY enamored with Jordan and it was hilarious to watch him try to flirt when she could barely understand the words out of his mouth. Awkward for Jordan but hilarious for Dani and I.
Walking the grounds, trying to be relatively stealthy as we were technically breaking the law by trespassing on castle grounds (yeah… I’m a badass!) and listening to this Irish guy talk was a pretty surreal experience. I would have never experienced this had I not gone with the flow and let things happen. We could have just seen the castle from afar, been disappointed and gone on our way but we decided to live a little and it was SO worth it.
Opportunities for an adventure show up when you least expect them in life and it’s the same with travel. You need to let yourself go sometimes and not let a schedule interfere with possible adventures. It’s a crazy world out there and you just need to open yourself up to it to make your adventures even more incredible. So be daring, embrace your opportunities, and go where life takes you.
Do you have some crazy adventure stories from your travels? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Are you a clumsy person? Don’t miss my blog post on a great tool for the clumsy traveler. You can find it here.
When you’re backpacking through Europe, you’re usually on a budget. You can’t spend too much money in one place because you know it means sacrificing something else at a later time. Well, I am here to give you the BEST way to save serious money when backpacking Europe (or anywhere else) on a budget. Implementing this trick will save you SO MUCH money and will allow you to do way more cool things.
It’s a really simple trick that I break down into two parts. Are you ready for it?
The BEST way to save serious money when backpacking Europe is….
Hostels with free breakfast.
Guys, if you’re not focusing your hostel search on the ones with breakfast included, you’re doing it wrong. As you know, I use Hostelworld for nearly all my hostel bookings. I love them because it’s super easy, gives me access to a ton of Hostels around the world, and I can specify criteria when I am searching for a hostel. I usually do a search for a hostel that has free wifi, free breakfast and a bar (but those are just my criteria).
Free breakfast means that you can avoid spending your hard earned cash on an extra meal. Most hostels that offer free breakfast have their prices set very similar to the ones that don’t so the difference is barely noticeable when you’re paying.However, the difference is very noticeable when you start having to pay for breakfast each morning.
Doing this alone will save serious money and ensure you can spend that saved money somewhere else. BUT, I have a way to make it even more worth while and I’m about to share it with you now.
Make yourself some lunch.
So you have free breakfast, and they have all these pieces of bread and cold cuts and spreads available in the morning… Why not make yourself a sandwich or two and save it for later? This is an awesome way to save on food spending. I would make some sandwiches in the morning, wrap them up in some napkins and bring them with me in my backpack for the day. Lunch can turn into an expensive ordeal if you’re not prepared so having some sandwiches on the go is a great way to save serious money. Plus, who doesn’t like a nice lunch on a park bench overlooking a fountain somewhere in Europe? I know I do!
Save serious money – go to a hostel with free breakfast!
It’s a super easy way to save money and put it into your travel experiences! Try it out (and I suggest you use Hostelworld since you can set your search criteria for included breakfast)… and as always let me know what you think in the comments below!
Want to save more money while traveling? Check out my blog post on things you should be doing to find cheap flights here.
Eight things you should be doing to find cheap flights
Flights are expensive. Most of the time, your airfare is the most expensive part of your trip. It sucks when you realize your intended destination is $1500. But, there are several things you can do to find cheap flights and save some money. I touched on two of these things in previous posts: Part 1 and Part 2. There is actually a few more things you can do to find cheap flights and get the most out of your money, and I am about to share them with you.
Flying direct can sometimes cost you way more money. For some added inconvenience (let’s be honest here layovers are never fun) you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in savings.
2) Be open minded about your destination
I covered this in my part 1 post about saving money when flying (which you can find here), but the takeaway is that if you keep an open mind about where you want to go instead of picking a particular location, you can select the cheapest option and save a lot of money.
3) Fly with a budget airline
More and more companies are going the budget route which gives you significant savings by removing some of the fancier comforts. When you’re looking for flights, don’t overlook these budget airlines as they can be serious money savers. If you can go without food on your flight and lose a bit of leg room but save $500 in the process – it’s worth it!
*For example, Ryanair and Easy Jet in Europe or WOW Air which has departures from US & Canada.
4) Don’t fall for the gimmicks of cheap flight searching
Don’t be fooled by the people who say that looking for flights on incognito mode will make it more affordable – there is zero proof of that. As a general rule, flights are not cheaper on Tuesdays so don’t bother waiting for that mythical cheap Tuesday to arrive. Airlines want to make money, so they will switch it up constantly.
5) Be open minded about your travel dates
I talked about this in a previous post, and it’s crucial. Before picking dates for your travels, look up different times to see where you can save a few dollars. If you’re not locked into specific vacation days, you should be looking at your options before deciding on when you’re going.
6) Use multiple tools to do your research
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT only look at one website to find your flights. Shop around, look at various websites, and find the best deals. My go to is Google Flights, but I also look at airline websites like Momondo, Flight Network, Sky Scanner, and sometimes more. You never know what you might find.
7) Use Ebates
This is a tool that I only starting using a few months ago, but it’s pretty impressive; I wish I had started earlier. Ebates is a website that gives you cashback on your online purchases! They are teamed up with so many companies who give them a percentage for sending them customers; Ebates splits that money with you as a thank you for using their service. I have the Google Chrome add-on so anytime I’m doing online shopping, and they have a deal with that retailer it lets me know! You can obviously use it for anything (not just travel-related), but the bigger purchases naturally yield a greater return. It’s not a TON of money so don’t go expecting $100 cheques every week, but it’s pretty much free money just for buying stuff, so it’s worth signing up. I put the money I get back from Ebates into my travel account, so it’s just a little extra help.
8) Get a credit card that offers travel points
If you already have a credit card and you’re not getting travel points, you should change your card. If you’re making purchases with a debit card, you should think about switching to a credit card. Most cards worth getting have some kind of fee, but it’s totally worth it in the end. I got a last minute (like 3 or 4 days with no room for wiggle room) round trip ticket from Montreal to Honolulu in February, and it cost me a big fat $0. I had enough points (and then some) to not worry about the cost and just enjoy myself. I got these points simply by making my regular purchases on my credit card and reaping the benefits with no change in my habits.
Use these eight tips, and I guarantee you’ll find cheap flights!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download my FREE cheat sheet to remember all these eight tips when you want to find some cheap flights!
Hello, travel peeps! I know I said I was going to post about Amsterdam for my next post but I got a message from one of my readers about Berlin and I decided to share with you the best tours in Berlin that I used when I was there. One is a free (donation based) day walking tour, and the other one is a night (bar hoping) tour. They’re both from the same company, and I couldn’t recommend them more.
The free walking tour
If you don’t know already, Berlin is an incredibly special city. It’s the perfect mix of a bustling capital and underground culture. There is a ton of history to learn about and witness, and you should definitely look into the regular free walking tours most hostels offer to learn about all the interesting parts of Berlin.
The tour that I want to recommend is slightly different and does not focus on the regular WW2 historical tour but more on the fringe aspect of Berlin. You get to see some amazing street art (Berlin is famous for it), learn about the different underground culture of Berlin, and even witness it first hand.
The guides are extremely knowledgeable, and you get to learn a lot about Berlin that you wouldn’t usually learn about in a regular walking tour. If you have any interest in learning about ‘the fringe side’ of Berlin I couldn’t recommend this tour more. Don’t forget that this is a FREE tour so if you liked, it tip the guide well!
Here is a pic of my favourite piece of street art which actually has a really cool story. I won’t spoil the story for you guys but I will just say ‘bring back the lampost’, and you will know what I mean once you go on the tour!
You can find more information about the free tour here.
The bar hopping tour
OK, let’s be honest. One of the cool things about travelling through Europe is going out to party with other travellers and having fun. Berlin has a TON of underground bars and clubs that you would never now about unless someone told you to go there. The 666 Anti Pubcrawl is your chance to experience some pretty impressive establishments in Berlin. I got the chance to drink in a 60’s hippy bar, play ‘around the world ping pong’ (ping pong is HUGE in Berlin – it’s very surprising, and you learn about it during the free walking tour I mentioned above), be amazed in a Gothic style club (which actually had a big bronze penis at the top of the stairs – super random), dance in one of the biggest nightclubs in Berlin, and end my night in an underground club. This underground club was in some old factory in the basement (you had to take a freight elevator to get in), there were different rooms, the whole place smelled old, wet and musty, they had german rap battles going on in the back room, and had people doing face painting on random couches. I can’t even tell you how weird and epic it was at the same time.
You get a bunch of free shots, and the tour only costs 12 euros, so it’s definitely on the cheap side and perfect for the young backpacker looking for a good time. I went with a friend I met in my hostel in Prague (we were both on the same train to Berlin and decided to do a few tours together) but we met a few people on the tour, and there were lots of solo ‘partiers’ so don’t let that stop you if you’re travelling alone!
I can’t recommend this tour company enough. The guides were great for both the free tour and pub crawl, I always felt safe, I learned a lot, and I had a ton of fun. I linked the specific tours throughout the post but if you just want to check out the company itself click here.
Have you ever been to Berlin? Let me know in the comments!
If you haven’t already, check out my post about the most important thing to do when travelling here.
So, as you guys know, I was planning a trip to Belize at the end of June. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t always go as planned – especially when you’re in the military! As things usually happen, I got a last minute offer to go on a career course at the end of May until the end of July. This course being a great opportunity for me career wise, I could not turn it down. So this means that instead of walking around sunny Belize, I’ll be lugging a rucksack around Valcartier, Quebec (#upgrade AMIRIGHT?).
Obviously, I’m disappointed that this means I have to wait even longer for my next trip. However, this also means more money saved and more vacation days saved for a trip later on or even go on a few trips!
So, you guys will have to wait a bit longer to read about my planning process and my next adventure, but I promise as soon as I know, you’ll know.
I’m also waiting for a new camera, so that means I will have some pretty epic pictures to share once I go on my next trip! I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Stay tuned for a new post coming out soon on one of the best-kept secrets of Amsterdam!
If you’re about to step off on an adventure or you’re in the planning stages, let me know in the comments so I can live vicariously through you these next couple of months. s
* This post may contain affiliate links which means that I could earn a small commission to help keep this blog up and running. Don’t worry, I only recommend products and services I personally use and trust!
Do you drop spaghetti sauce on your pants or shirt more often than you’d like to admit? Do you spill some red wine on your dress when you get a bit too animated?
I know I do! ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a curse, guys!
I have a great tip for you clumsy people that costs next to nothing and will save most of your clothes from finding their way to the curb. This trick is actually so good that you’ll probably use it at home too. Full disclosure, I have to give my mom a shout out for this tip because she’s the one who showed it to me on one of our trips together.
You know that yellow bar that your grandma probably had in her soap holder in the laundry room? That’s the one! (Click the picture to order some from Amazon)
You don’t even need to bring the entire bar; cut off a piece and stick it in a plastic bag. As soon as you realize you’ve stained your clothes, grab this magic eraser and rub it with some water. I spilled a glass of red wine all over a beige couch once, and we were able to remove all the evidence with the soap. This stuff is legit.
It takes up zero room in your bag, and it will save your ass. Especially when you’re backpacking, and you have little room to bring multiple outfits.
If you’re a clutz like me, give this trick a try and I promise you won’t regret it!
Don’t forget to leave a comment below!
If you haven’t already, go read my post about saving money when purchasing airline tickets – it could save you hundreds!
* This post may contain affiliate links which means that I could earn a small commission to help keep this blog up and running. Don’t worry, I only recommend products and service I personally use and trust!
MY EXAMS ARE DONE! I am finally free… until May 9th when I start two new courses at least, haha! Now I have some free time to work on the blog and plan my next trip!
So, I’ve decided to start a ‘tip series’ section of the blog. Each time I post tips or tricks with regards to travel, I will put tip series in the title. This will make it easy for you readers to see right away that there is some useful advice in the post and it will be an easier way to archive/look through old posts.
So, I posted a couple of weeks ago about being open-minded when planning a trip to find the best deals. This post if sort of a continuation of my previous one. If you combine both of these tricks together, I guarantee you can save a ton of money.
Living in Ottawa, I am suuuuper lucky because I have three major airports within relatively short driving distance. I have the Ottawa airport which is literally in my backyard, I have the Montreal airport less than 2 hours away, and I have the Toronto airport a bit further. For anyone in the same situation as me, that have multiple airports in close proximity: you’re sitting on a ton of savings!
How does having multiple airports access give you savings you ask?
It’s actually quite simple! You can look at the price differences between various airports and find the cheapest option. I’ve had flights leaving Ottawa and stopping in Montreal on a layover be cheaper than the flight leaving from Montreal. How does that make sense? IT DOESN’T! But it’s great news for you and your bank account (happy dance for extra savings!!!).
If you recall in my previous article, which you can find here, I mentioned using Google Flights as an excellent way to look for flights all over the world. Combine that with switching departure airports as well, and you’re laughing at all the savings you can be achieving. Look at the difference:
I did a search departing from Ottawa airport to a few cities in Europe. Here is the price breakdown:
As you can see, London is the only one that varies slightly; everything else has pretty significant savings.
This is pure gold, people!
I can’t stress this enough. Imagine if every time you flew, you saved $100 or more on a flight. That’s some pretty significant money you can put elsewhere during your trip!
If you have the option of going to various airports, I would definitely use it. Sometimes, the cost of taking a bus or a train to another airport will still be much cheaper than going from your local airport. Especially if your airport isn’t as big of a hub as others that are a bit further. Now get out there and start saving some money!
Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!
I have many rules when I travel, but I have one main rule that I will never break.
I want to share this rule with you.
Research is important
Making an effort to research the country and culture I am going to visit is a must, and if you’re not doing this before you travel, you need to change that immediately.
Simple things like knowing what languages are spoken in that country and what religions are practiced are essential to making your trip a success. Finding out if it is customary to tip in that country is also crucial. Many countries don’t believe in the tipping culture so it’s important to to know what’s expected before you go!
Researching key differences between your country and the country you are visiting is also important. Some things that may be considered standard in your country could be considered obscene in your host country or vice versa. In North America, spitting is frowned upon but in China it’s common practice. In Western countries, women can wear whatever they please, but in most Middle-Eastern countries women should cover at a minimum their shoulders and sometimes their heads. There are so many little things that could be different and that you wouldn’t know unless you’ve taken the time to research the country you are about to visit.
It’s easy to buy a plane ticket, book a hotel room, and just “wing it” but chances are if you’re going to a country with a culture that differs from yours in many aspects, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. I can imagine people being completely taken by surprise at how different a country is to their own and have a miserable trip because they did not prepare themselves adequately.
Another important part of research, at least in my opinion, is researching the language. Knowing what the primary language used in the country is great but it’s not enough. I also make the extra effort to learn a few simple words (Hello, goodbye, thank you, I’m sorry, excuse me, where is? Do you speak English?). Honestly, doing this is a great way to get people to help you. Chances are you will get turned around, and you might need some help. Being able to approach someone in their language can go a long way. People are always willing to help, and that’s especially true when you made an effort to learn some of their language.
Cool anecdote time: I remember the day I went into a coffee bar in Italy, and I was able to do the entire transaction from ordering the coffee to leaving the establishment in Italian. As I was walking out the owner of the shop, who had just served me, asked me in English where I had learned Italian. I explained that I didn’t speak Italian, but I studied a bit of the language to get by while I was there. The owner told me that people never really attempted to speak his language and that he appreaciated my effort. He then proceeded to ask me if I wanted another espresso on the house!
Making an effort can go a long way, and I guarantee it can get you out of a bind as well.
Obviously, these are my two cents on the matter, and you’re all free to do whatever you please, but I think you should definitely put it the effort to ensure maximum awesomeness during your travels!