Roaming around the globe for a living means that I’ve spent hundreds of hours on trains, planes, and buses over the last three years. Each one of these modes of travel has their own advantages and disadvantages. However, many times, if I can help it,
I choose buses and trains over planes. There are a few reasons why I tend to choose spending hours on a bus or train instead of another mode of transportation.
For one, it carves out a good chunk of my day and lets me focus on the blog content, edit photos, and read up on my destination.
The internet is a great source to find cheap train and bus tickets. One helpful site when traveling the around the USA is https://www.goticket.io. They combine both bus and train routes letting you find the cheapest option. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First let’s talk about 5 advantages to taking a bus or train
5 Advantages of Taking Trains and Buses
Nowadays, most Airlines make passengers pay for luggage. The reasoning for this is that over the years plane tickets have relatively stayed the same price. However, inflation has depreciated the value of money.
The dollars airlines are making aren’t worth as much and charging passengers for luggage is a way to make up some of the lost cash.
However, it can be expensive. The amount passengers have to pay for luggage varies by airline, but a good base price is right around $30. Adding luggage is usually one of the last things that is asked when booking a ticket.
Many times I get pumped about an insanely cheap flights only to get to the last page and have to tack on an extra $30. It is a major bummer.
One advantage of taking trains and buses, you don’t have to worry about paying extra for luggage. 99% of the time the price paid when booking your ticket includes luggage.
It seems funny to mention saving time when talking about taking trains and buses but wait, hear me out. Yes, both of these modes or travel are notoriously famous for being the slow was to get from A to B. However, I honestly believe that sometimes it is faster taking these slower methods of travel than flying.
Here is an example, let’s say we have a 6-hour train journey. Well, is it quicker to take the one hour flight or the train.
In this example, I would opt to take the train every time because it equals out at almost the same amount of time, and the train is a lot less go go go.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s break it down.
Most airports are at least a forty-five minute to an hour journey from the city center. To the airport and then into the destination city is already adding one and a half to two hours to your overall time.
Plus with airports you have to arrive a couple of hours before your flight. With trains and buses all your need is to get there about ten to fifteen minutes before.
Oh yeah, we also have to add on the one hour flight. Now that one hour flight has turned into about 5 to 6 hours of travel/wait time.
If the flight is international, then you have to go through customs which can take ages. While international trains and buses have immigration as well many times, they are factored into the overall time.
With flights, you are always rushing. A train is smooth and a perfect place to relax and catch up on a good book. Right about now that 6-hour train is look in lot better isn’t it.
Overall prices for trains and buses are significantly less than planes. Let’s say I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand (One of my personal favorite cities).
A budget flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok cost anywhere from 1000 Baht to 2000 Baht ($30 – $60)
However, a bus cost around 500 baths ($15) and an overnight train around 700 ($21).
Plus on the overnight train, everyone gets their own bed, so you are saving on a night of accommodation as well. Train and buses are just cheaper and can save you a lot of money over time.
Trains and buses let you see parts of the world up close that you could never see out of a plane window. Buses and trains go through all but forgotten villages, past rushing rivers, and down into mountain valleys
Trains can go where no roads exist and let you see the untouched landscape of a country. This way of traveling lets you see off the beaten path towns, and untouched landscapes. It is one of my favorite advantages of traveling by bus and train.
Another reason to go by train and bus is because you get to meet local people.
Many locals use trains and buses as their main transport. It is an excellent way to strike up a conversation and talk to some locals about what life is like in their country.
Of course, they are locals on airplanes as well. However, I always feel rushed on planes and usually prefer not to talk.
Trains and buses have many advantages over flying. There are one of my favorite ways to travel and a modes of transit that I use almost weekly with my lifestyle.
Let’s use Kayak Explore and Kayak’s other tools and learn how to find cheap flights.
Welcome to another addition of Finding Crazy Cheap Flights! This time, we will use Kayak Explore to find fantastic deals.
Last year, one of my most popular posts was how to find insanely cheap flights. While this article is perfect, well written, and extremely engaging (*Cough*) it mainly uses Skyscanner, and budget airlines.
This post we are going to switch it up and use nothing but Kayak Explore, Kayak Price Alerts, and Price Forecast ( Flight Price Predictor)
The reason for this is because not everyone wants to use Skyscanner, and certainly not everyone wishes to use budget airlines.
Before we dive into how to use Kayak Explore you need to know that you will find the cheapest flights if you don’t have your heart set on a particular destination, and you don’t have specific dates you need to travel.
To properly appreciate and use these tips you need to the have carefree a mindset open to going wherever the wind (Or in this case, the cheapest flight) takes you.
If that doesn’t sound like you then fear not you can still use Kayak Explore and Kayak’s other tools to your advantage.
What is Kayak Explore?
Kayak Explore is a search option within the website. What Kayak Explore does is shows you low flight prices from around the world.
Say you have two weeks off and you want a beach holiday. You don’t care what beach you visit, all you need is the bright sun, the warm sand between your toes, and an ice cold mojito.
Well, in this case, Kayak Explore is the perfect option for you. When we open Kayak Explore, a massive world map pops up showing us cheap flights all over the globe. Now we can easily find a beach that suits our needs to relax and be lazy.
Opening Kayak Explore
You won’t find Kayak Explore as a tab on the menu which I find funny because it is such a useful option. Here are two quick options to open Kayak Explore.
1- Google “Kayak Explore.”
2- On Kayak menu, you will see a little box in the corner. Scroll over to the box and click the explore.
Using Kayak Explore to Find Awesome Flight Deals
Once we click Kayak Explore the world opens up to us. Isn’t it glorious.
Looking at all the places it is possible to go always kicks my wanderlust into overdrive!
Now we have some options that allow us to play around with the map to find the cheapest flights.
Kayak Explore Options
One the left side of Kayak Explore we see the option panel.
The options are pretty self-explanatory, but we will go over them briefly because there a few things we should note. Specifically the date section.
Airport – The first Kayak Explore option lets us change our departure airport. Fares differ drastically depending on what airport you are using for a departure.
One tip I always use when looking for cheap flights ( Especially international ones) is to fly out of a major travel hub like New York, Chicago, Boston, or LA. International fares are usually cheaper when flying out of these airports.
You can also find super cheap tickets to these destinations. Breaking up the ticket like this can save you hundreds, and it is a technique I use often
However, it doesn’t work 100% of the time so it is something you will need to play around with it yourself.
Date – You can search by season and also by month. Kayak Explore works best if you don’t have dates in mind. If you try to search specific dates on a location, it will take you to a regular Kayak search.
However even if you do you can use Kayak Explore to get a good idea of where it will be cheap to fly.
Price – Kayak Explore lets you change the search based on price
Flight Time – Search Kayak Explore based on the length of the flight.
How to Use Kayak Explore When You Don’t Have Exact Dates
So let’s try it out with the mindset we are looking for that perfect beach holiday.
My options for the search are going to be from CMH. (Closest Major Airport from where I grew up)
Options I used in Kayak Explore for this search
Flight Time: Any
Right away a couple of options stick out to me. At a glance, the cheapest option is Orlando at $168. However, we are on a quest for a beach and the closest beaches to Orlando are an hour or two hours away.
While it is the cheapest flight on Kayak Explore, it is not our ideal option for the beach.
But I see a few other useful options.
I can get to Burbank, San Diego, San Salvador, and the Provincials for all under $400 round trip.I feel my wanderlust tingling.
I’ve never been to San Salvador so let’s go.
Clicking on San Salvador, I see the for this price the departure and return dates for this price. In this case, I would leave early April and be gone for 25 days.
If you don’t have 25 days you can play around with the dates, but the price will change.
If you do have that much time well then we just an international flight to a beach destination for under $400. How insane is that!
Using Kayak Explore to Find A Cheap Flight With Specific Dates
I know what your thinking, “That last example was great Stephen but I only have time to travel in May, not April, and only 14 days of vacation not 25”.
Fret not dear reader. We just have to do a new search and find a different destination.
My options this Kayak Explore search,
Price: under 400 ( We want the same price as the last example)
Flight time Any
Ok, I see I can get to Puerto Rico for under $400 however clicking on it we see that the trip is only 4 days. Not worth it!
So we have to play with the options.
We change the dates and search again. In this example, I changed the dates from
May 10th – May 23rd.
Searching I see that a flight those days the price jumps to almost $450.
That’s the cheapest we can find it unless you want to keep playing around with the dates and airports to see if we can find a better price.
Now we have a couple options.
1- Pony up and pay the $450
2- Use Kayak’s other tools to see if the price will drop.
For this example, which lets us save time we are going to use Kayak Alerts and Price Forecast which makes Kayak to do the work for us.
Related Post: Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico
How to Use Kayak Alerts.
Combining both Kayak Explore and Kayak Alerts makes for one powerful combo.
What are Kayak Alerts
1- Kayak Alert emails you when the fare changes.
2- It also sends you emails about fats to your favorite destinations
3- Informs you of awesome deals
4- In the last example, we couldn’t find a flight to Puerto Rico for under $400.
5- The smart thing is to play the waiting game.
Personally, I think Kayak Alerts work best when we have anywhere from 1 to 3 months before a flight. If you are flying in a couple weeks, then your best there is a good chance the price will rise so you best option is to suck it up and pay the extra or use the flight forecast to see the chances of getting a lower fare.
What is Kayak Price Forecast (Flight Price Predictor)
This is a tool that analyzes the latest trends and lets us know if the price of the flight is likely to fall or rise.
Predicting airfare is a tricky business but the tool is pretty accurate gives you the probability of what the flight is likely to do.
In this example, we see that they are telling us that we should buy. It says that plane ticket has a good chance of getting more expensive in the next week.
Kayak Forecast is a helpful tool that gives us more information to let us make an informed decision about whether or not it is the right time to buy a flight.
More Kayak Explore Tips to Find Cheap Flights
– Open Dates often mean finding the lowest price
– January tends to be the cheapest month to buy flight
– Clear Browser Cookies when you search for a flight
– While not only true many times Sundays are the cheapest day to buy flights and it is usually cheaper to fly out on Tuesdays
– Using a VPN to change your location can sometimes change the price of tickets.
Take some time and toy around with the options and it is possible to find some insane deals. One important part of finding a cheap flight in Kayak Explore is patience using price alerts and forecast to make the best decision possible.
When looking for a flight, I have the mindset of it being a money saving game. Say it takes me two hours to find the flight I want, but I saved $200. Well in my mind I just made $100 an hour. Right?
View it as a game and you will be surprised at how addicting and fun it is finding the cheapest flight with Kayak Explore.
Just like any other type of rewards program, frequent flyer miles are what you make of them. Many people hoard their points in order to purchase flights, and we’re big proponents of that. After all, getting to fly more often means getting to travel more often, and that means opening yourself up to all the unique experiences and lessons that travel affords.
But redeeming miles for flights isn’t the only way to take advantage of frequent flyer rewards programs. Regardless of whether you fly every week or once a year, here are some surprising ways to get the most out of those points beyond the sky.
The Lowdown on Frequent Flyer Miles
Also called airline miles or travel points, frequent flyer miles are earned by participating in loyalty programs offered by airlines or credit card companies (which may or may not limit participants to earning points on a specific airline).
When it comes to airline loyalty programs, miles can be earned by flying or making purchases at certain stores or restaurants specified by the airline. For credit card programs, miles are earned by making purchases with the participating credit card. These miles can then be redeemed toward flights or commercial goods.
Ready to put those miles to good use? Here’s a run-down of the wide array of options available to points holders.
- Book a hotel or rent a car. This can be a good option for people who have earned a ton of miles and can’t redeem them for the flights they want. While miles might not be worth quite as much as if you redeemed them for a flight, applying them toward hotels or car rentals can be a great way to plan a vacation without letting points go to waste.
- Join the club. Some airlines allow travelers to apply miles to an annual club membership. Members enjoy access to airport lounges that typically offer complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wi-Fi in a quiet setting away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport. While your miles may have more value when applied directly to flights, no one can deny the allure of a comfortable chair and some peace and quiet.
- Buy a gift voucher or gift card. These can be exchanged for goods or services at a specific store. By purchasing a voucher instead of a commercial product, you’ll be able to wait to buy the item until it goes on sale, thereby saving some extra cash.
- Buy merchandise. Most points experts advise against applying miles to merchandise, because it’s rarely the best way to squeeze value out of those points. However, anyone looking to offload extra points (or simply feel like you’ve gotten a new iPhone for “free”), can apply miles to any number of items, from sunglasses, to books, juicers, e-readers, smartphones, laptops, espresso machines, exercise systems, watches, and even furniture.
- Share the love. Tired of traveling solo? Offer to let friends or family redeem your miles for their own flights. Occasionally it might even make sense to transfer your miles into the other person’s account so they can redeem points for flights on their own. However, most often you’re better off simply making the purchase from your own account on their behalf.
When it comes down to it, how you use frequent flyer miles is up to you. While you’re likely to get the most value by booking flights, you earned those points and they’re yours to dispose of—so if an espresso machine is calling, we promise we won’t judge.
No one would prefer lugging four suitcases through the airport over picking up a backpack and whistling past the baggage claim. But that doesn’t mean packing light is an easy feat. Develop a strategy for packing light, and you’re much more likely to actually do it in spite of anxieties.
Whether your goal is to pack for a multi-week vacation in a carry-on or you’re just looking to lighten the load and develop better packing habits, here’s how to pack light for any trip.
Why pack two (or more) items when it’s possible to pack one item that accomplishes everything the others would. Think two-in-one shampoo/conditioner, smartphones (they’re a camera, flashlight, GPS, and phone all in one), a small bundle of strong, flexible rope (use it to tie things to a pack, string it up as a clothesline, or tie the bag to the roof of a bus), or a tablet that can be converted into a laptop. While packing, consider all the ways (conventional or not) that each item could be used. Pack as many multi-functional items as possible, and don’t double up—if one item could serve a particular function in a pinch, that’ll do.
Follow the “rule of three”
When it comes to clothing, three pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear, and three shirts should take care of the basics. That way you can wear one, wash one, and dry one all at the same time. Because pants and shorts get smelly less quickly, two pairs will probably do it. Choose clothing in neutral shades so that any of the items can be paired with the others, and opt for fabrics that aren’t prone to wrinkling.
Evaluate everything on a packing list to see if there are light-weight versions of any items. For example, consider packing a Camelbak bladder instead of a stainless steel water bottle. And instead of packing a heavy winter coat for a cold climate, pack light-weight thermals and thin sweaters (One exception: If you’re staying in an ice hotel, bring the heaviest coat you’ve got). You’ll stay warm either way but the latter will take up way less room in a suitcase. Opt for the lighter version whenever possible.
Be willing to wash
Committing to washing your clothes while traveling will save a ton of weight, because you won’t need to pack fresh outfits for every day of the trip. A sink plug and a little soap is generally all it takes to get clothes clean on the road.
Make a “don’t-pack” list
When it comes to packing light, what you don’t pack is just as important as what you do. Leave behind jewelry and other valuables, items that can be purchased at a destination, multiple guidebooks (or multiple books in general), unnecessary electronics, excess toiletries, and most of the items you feel inclined to stuff into the bag in a last-minute panic. Also be sure to adhere to any regulations for liquids, etc., in order to spend less time in airport security.
Pack several days in advance
This affords time to assess everything you’ve planned to pack. A day or two after laying out all your gear, re-evaluate whether each item is essential. If you’re justifying taking an item with the phrase “what if…” that may be a sign that it’s not actually necessary. Packing in advance will also leave time to pack in an organized way, with heavier items toward the bottom of the pack, clothing rolled instead of folded, and the gear you’ll need most often in accessible places.
Packing light is a skill made better with practice, and it gets easier every time it’s done (especially after a few trips prove that things don’t fall to pieces without all those “what if” items). Put these tactics into practice every time you pack for a trip, and pretty soon you’ll be a pro at packing light.
Visiting Rome is a whirlwind of architecture, sites, and history. The eternal city is a perfect blend of the ancient and modern. What other city in the world can you walk down a modern street and the next moment be standing in front of two-thousand-year-old ruins? For many travelers, Rome is a very powerful city.
However, Rome is also a hub when traveling through Europe and people often plan on a few days in the city before flying to their next destination. With some careful planning, visitors passing through can see the majority of Rome’s major attractions in a few days.
This three-day guide to Rome will help visitors see most of Rome’s major attractions and even get off the beaten path a little bit.
Day 1: – Palatine Hill
We are going to dedicate our first day in Rome to the area around Palatine Hill. Spending your first day here will let you see some major sites in Rome and appreciate the historical architecture that the city has to offer.
Sights around Palatine Hill include the Colosseum and the Pantheon. You can also see the market where Caesar’s inspiring speeches helped him rise to power, and just a few feet away, see the ruins of the Roman Forum where he met his demise. On top of the surrounding hills, you can also get some beautiful views of the city.
After all this walking, we need to take a break and explore the local gelaterias. Fresh Gelato will be an experience you won’t soon forget. As we move on to Trevi Fountain, we can admire the works of Michelangelo such as the Piazza del Campidoglio.
Trevi Fountain is the size of a building and is where the five old roads of Rome met, and legend says if you throw a coin in over your left shoulder and into the fountain you will one day return to Rome. After this day of sightseeing let’s head back to our Roman hotel or hosteland rest for the upcoming adventures.
Day 2: – The Vatican
On day 2, we will head to what is technically the smallest country in the world. We will view the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel that left me, and countless other visitors, absolutely breathless. The Vatican is a superb museum and will take up most of the day. From the top of the Vatican, we get one of the best views of the entire city. This is my favorite place to watch the sun set.
We also have the chance to see the Pope delivering a sermon from the balcony of the Vatican. On our way back we can stop at the Spanish Steps, a gathering place for travelers looking to meet other people in the city.
Day 3: – Piazza Repubblica
For our last day in Rome, let’s head to the Rome bathhouses around Piazza Repubblica. Here we can also do some shopping and visit some art galleries like the Borghese Gallery, which is home to some outstanding art. Rome has much more to see, but this guide is a good starting point and will let you explore the wonders of Rome if you only have limited time and want to make the most from the city.
Why Visit Rome?
Rome, also known as the eternal city, has a unique charm and personality all its own that draws millions of tourists every year from all over the world.
If you’re a history lover, you will be filled with awe as you stand under the towering coliseum, picture the roaring of the crowd, or wander through the marketplace of ancient Rome.
You will be captured by images of Julius Caesar making dramatic speeches that resonated with the common people and made them fall in love with him. Their cheers seem to echo through time.
If food is more up your alley, you can dine on delicious breads, exceptional cheese, and superb pasta with mouth-watering sauces passed down from family to family.
Bakeries, sidewalk cafés and gourmet eateries are not hard to find. What is hard is deciding which one to choose as all of them are so good.
Perhaps it is the art that captures your eye. No place else on earth contains so many prominent and recognizable pieces. From life-like sculptures to breathtaking Frescos, you will be thrilled and amazed.
Rome was the first European city that I traveled solo to and it was such a positive experience that it influenced my decision to become the adventure backpacker I am today.
I fell in love with the city and every time I visit Europe, I make it a point to spend at least a few days in Rome.
How Much Does Rome Cost A Day
Europe isn’t the most budget friendly place to travel and Rome especially can be quite expensive, but if you plan ahead, you can save a lot of money.
Daily Cost- If you book in advance, find cheap deals, and mange your money, Rome will only cost you around $50 -$70 a day.
Hostels – Cheap accommodations in Rome will cost around $30 – $50 a day. However, be aware. Prices rise in peak season, May – August. Also all prices rise on the weekends.
Personally, my favorite hostel in Rome is “The Yellow”. The hostel has nice rooms and the staff is insanely friendly. Plus it is just a five minute walk from the main train station. It isn’t the cheapest hostel in the city, but it is a great place to make friends.
Warning: The Yellow is also a party hostel. If you are looking for something a little more quiet, there is a guest house right across the street.
Food – Eating at restaurants will cost somewhere around $15 -$25 if you are being careful.
A cheaper alternative is street vendors or little shops. They will cost around $5 a meal.
If you are wanting to be really thrifty, bakery fare cost around the same amount but it is very easy to stretch bread and cheese into a couple of meals.
Getting Around and Sightseeing
Rome only has two underground lines which make it super easy to navigate, and one of the best European Cities to start backpacking. Chances are wherever you are headed, there will be some walking involved. Rome is a great city to wander if time allows.
If you just explore the sights in downtown Rome, you can easily walk. This will also give you a chance to explore the streets, look at the local art, and stop for some gelato, sweet, creamy Italian ice cream.
It also saves you a little money on the trains and buses. Truthfully, one really needs public transportation only for sightseeing faraway places like the Vatican.
If you have limited time in Urbs Sacra, the scared city, then you might consider getting the Omnia Card Pass.
Omina Card Pass Benefits
This 3-day pass gives you free public transport in the city. It also allows you to skip the lines at the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. (You still have to buy tickets)
Plus, you do get free entrance into two attractions along with discounts on others. At 95 Euros ($150) per pass, it isn’t a bad deal.
However, personally, I feel if you have the time to explore Rome on your own, it will be a wonderful experience. There is just something magical about strolling the ancient city streets, seeing the sights from all angles, and breathing in the culture. Plus, it will save you money.
Best Sights in Rome
Colosseum – The most famous sight in Rome, the Colosseum was a wondrous amphitheatre in the heart of the Roman Empire and is infamous for its gladiator battles.
The Vatican Museum – The center of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican, is filled with ancient statutes of saints, an impressive museum, and of course, the masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel.
Trevi Fountain – Situated where five major roads met in old Rome, Tevi Fountain is a massive building size fountain. An old saying recommends tourists to toss a coin over their left shoulder into the pool to ensure that one day they will be fortunate enough to return to this glorious city. I do it every time I visit Rome.
Roman Forum – Explore the ruins where long passed Roman senators made decisions that affected the entire world. Imagine their debates, struggles, and lives.
Roman Pantheon – This monument was dedicated to all the classical Roman gods.
Estate Romana – This celebration is held every June and is one of the largest summer festivals in the city. The festival is all about art including music, film, and dynamic outdoor performances.
Pasqua – Another word for Easter, Pasqua, is obviously a big deal in the city that was the center of Christianity for such a long time. The city is full of flowers, filling the streets and covering the buildings of the city all the way to the Vatican and the Spanish Steps.
Along the Tevere – Stalls line the banks of the Lingo Tevere. This festival boasts music, live entertainment, shopping, and a lively atmosphere. The event takes place every June.
Rock in Roma Festival – Rock and Roll festival in Rome. Learn more here.
Piazza Navona – One of the most popular parts of the city, Piazza Navona is a charming area with quaint cafes and a wild nightlife. It is also where you will find sights like the Roman Pantheon.
Prati – This area in Rome is a little distant from the city’s center. However, it has some great markets worth checking out and cheaper accommodations. Definitely, budget friendly.
Trastevere – A massive area for abroad students and expats, Trastevere is charming and has an old Italian style. Basically, the way you would imagine the city years ago. However, not many tourists know of this hidden gem despite its charming restaurants, street vendors, and bars. It’s a great place to explore and almost feel like a local.
Testaccio – This is also an old part of the city that many tourists are unfamiliar with but one you should check out. You can find wonderful bakeries and authentic Roman wine and cuisine.
Rome has a lively nightlife for travelers in party mode. There are no shortages of pub crawls, bars, and clubs throughout the city. Some of the best nightlife areas in Rome include Testaccio and the Campo de’ Flori. The first time I visited Rome, I was in all out party mode and made some great friends. I am not in party mode anymore, nevertheless, Rome is a fantastic city to party and meet other travelers.