Step 1: Love bike polo/ or traveling
Step 2: Be friendly.
Step 3: Internet really well.
Step 4: Become romantically involved with Google Flights and Airfarewatchdog.
Step 5: Pack your stuff and go.
Okayokayokayokay. Traveling and ballin’ on a budget, doesn’t come quite that easy or fast, but with the following advice, it just MAY.
A friend introduced the websites airfarewatchdog and escapehouston to me a couple of years ago. Since then, I have religiously received alerts to whatever cities I am currently interested in exploring. Years of watching flights leaving from Houston to certain national and international destinations, have educated me of when a flight is a steal, and when to attack+buy.
Sign up for alerts! Search constantly, during a length of time, and strike when you see a bargain.
I would recommend subscribing to alerts to your destination city, 6 months or more, before take-off date. This way you can see the prices fluctuate and acknowledge when the price has reached it’s ultimate lowest, and when to pull the trigger & buy. For example, I’ve seen flights, RT to San Francisco from Houston, for as cheap as $115. Conscious of this secret information, I would not buy a round trip ticket for more than $200. Such highway robbery! As for alerts, you can always modify, add, or remove cities that you are interested in. There are even options to received weekly or daily updates.
Don’t forget about your points, man!
Frequent flyer pro tip #101 is to take advantage of as many promo codes, deals, or points that you can get your stinkin’ hands on. Remember to use your special frequent flyer rewards number, when booking flights. I know that with airlines like Southwest, United, or American, you are able to redeem your points and book another flight! Free stuff is the best stuff, right, y’all?
Release your inner Social Media Guru
Email alerts are pretty rad, but I know most of you nerds are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter addicts. Don’t lie to me! I’ll search your browsing history! :O No, but seriously, following your favorite airline or travel website on social media, could earn you a fast, unexpected, sweet, and totally righteous deal, brah!
Be flexible in your searches.
I really wanted to go to a Mexican tournament one year, and after some scratching of the ol’ noggin, realized I could always bus to a nearby city, for a cheaper flight price. I left from San Antonio (instead of Houston) to go to Guadalajara, and I saved about $150 American US doll hairs. @#$%# wot? Crazy? Right, m8s? So, yeah, be flexible in to which city you’re leaving from, as long as it’s feasible getting there, and also in what city you are arriving to. I booked a flight to Raleigh in my previous post, instead of Asheville (actual stop), carpooled, and saved hundreds. It’s totally possible, as long as you have a plan to get to your destined city. For example, carpool, Megabus, or Greyhound!
Also, be open to arriving/departing on any day, instead of arriving on a specific date. That alone could save you hunnits of Benjamins. Trust me! It’s usually cheaper to arrive/depart on a weekday, in my past experiences.
Learn how to disassemble and assemble your bike!
The first time I flew with my bike was memorable. Hours later, after feeling pretty badass having rebuilt my bike, I went to explore the city I was in. A couple of blocks later, I turned my handlebars to make a left. The handlebars surely went left, while I continued to move straight. Tightening is key, y’all. I can’t count how many times I’ve put my bike back together with some errors, and it’s still kinda annoying to this day, but those fools ain’t lyin’ when they say ‘Practice makes poyfekt’. Don’t be scared to ask a bike-savvy bud or go to you local bike shop, to give you a crash course on how to break your pony down, and build it back up. The better you become at this, the less stress you will feel, when you’re trying to catch an early flight back home 😉
What’s in the baaaaag?
Sure, you might feel excited when you see and book a super low roundtrip flight to Miami, but you’ll be cryin’ when you’re at the gate, wondering why it costs more to check your baggage, than your entire flight. Always check dem baggage fees, ya’ll!
First of all, never ever ever ever ever EVAR admit, that it is, in fact a bicycle. I have never spent more than $30 to fly with my bicycle. Fact. I always state it is an art project, and have only been given a funny look once.
Secondly, always always add your checked baggage fee to your total when you are checking out and paying for your flight online. This way, you won’t be caught off-guard with a surprise fee of $50-$100 for your baggage at the airport (coughSpiritcough). Below is a couple of checked baggage fees from Spirit, Frontier, United and American airlines. Keep in mind that some of these companies greedily charge for carry-on’s , also. P.S. Try and keep the weight below 50 lbs, or you might (will) be charged extra.
I love traveling, but if I can save a penny or two, I’m gonna snatch the chance! Doy! That’s pizza or beer money, man. Use transportation search engines as a starting point to your adventures. Like I mentioned before, become real nice and snugly with companies like Megabus or Greyhound. If this fails (too expensive $), use social media to catch a ride with a friend or even a friend of a friend. You’d be doing the atmosphere/planet Earth a solid, too.
During my trip to Europe in late October 2016, I discovered through word of mouth, blablacar. Blah who?, you ask. BLABLACAR, m8. It is ‘the world’s leading long distance carpooling service, connecting drivers with empty seats to people traveling the same way.‘ I would recommend this for the international bike polo player. This is not yet available in the U.S., yet, but it’s basically what you would get, if Facebook and Uber had a baby. This website definitely saved me wads of cash, as an option to travel around Europe, cheaply, instead of via trains or buses. My mind was blown when I discovered blablacar, though. Plus, I made three frens. :B
Save on housing!
Okay, sometimes, your friends might not want you around for weeks at a time while you’re traveling, so look into other methods of housing. This idea is geared more toward international travel. I’ve personally used couchsurfing.org, and have had awesome experiences in the past. If you ever see me at a tourney, stop me, and ask me questions about it. I love advertising this amazing website and I don’t even get paid for it, dudes. :…) :O $$$
Phew. You guys are like, so needy, y’all. I think that’s it. Now, go on and git! Start trolling the internet for your next epic journey.
If you have any secret tips you’d love to share, feel free to comment!