Travel Hacking 101

Travel Hacking 101: Your Vacationing How-To

If you’re like me, you want to pack all your cutest clothes, swimsuits, makeup and hair accessories into your tiny carry-on bag (you need them for the Insta). When it comes time to pack, there’s just no way to fit everything. You’ve already paid an enormous amount for your ticket and don’t have the extra $30 to pay for checked baggage. How do people do it? How do they travel all over, get killer deals on tickets and fit an entire week’s wardrobe into one suitcase? You need travel hacking 101, stat!

Packing 101: Fit the Most in Your Suitcase

The secret to maximizing your belongings in your suitcase is no big secret at all, yet most people aren’t doing it. Unless you were in the military, you probably don’t realize that rolling your clothing, instead of folding and stacking it in your suitcase, is the most effective way to maximize your suitcase capacity. I must say, I use this one all the time when traveling and it without a doubt makes a huge difference. Depending on how tightly you roll your clothes, you can at least double the amount of clothes in one suitcase, if not triple it. Not only can you pack more clothes, you’ll have more room for extras in your bag, too.

When you book your flight, pay close attention to how many carry-on items that particular airline allows. Some airlines will allow you to bring a carry-on bag, a purse and an additional item, such as a pillow. You can store extra items, or small items, in a pillowcase and a purse, freeing up necessary space in your suitcase and giving you the freedom to pack a little more. Just make sure all extras are included in the flight and fit within the airline’s restrictions.

Booking 101: The Best Time to Book Your Flight

When it comes to booking your flight, there is a sweet spot – though, it may not be when you’d expect. Based on data from CheapAir.com, which reviewed more than 350 million airfares between the U.S. and more than 3,000 markets, the best times to book your next flight ranges from 3 weeks to three and a half months.

For domestic flights (within the U.S.), book your flight three weeks to three and a half months in advance for the most savings. International flights are less expensive about two months before your travel dates.

When booking international flights, here are the best recommended times (on average) to purchase tickets in advance: 

Canada: 59 days
Mexico: 61 days
Asia: 90 days
Europe: 99 days
Africa: 119 days
Middle East: 119 days
Central America: 61 days
Caribbean: 76 days
South America: 81 days

In most markets, someone buying a ticket two months before a flight will pay less than someone buying a ticket ten months in advance. Why does this happen? Someone booking their flight way in advance, or very last minute, is usually willing to pay more for their airplane tickets. Passengers booking only a month or two in advance aren’t usually as restricted to specific dates or location, and may not be extremely adamant about taking a trip.

However, it’s important to note that these aren’t steadfast rules, but more like guidelines when booking a flight. These guidelines may not apply around peak travel times. If you see a ticket price that is almost too good to be true way ahead of your trip, make sure you nab that – the offer may not get better down the road and ticket prices aren’t guaranteed to drop any further.

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