NORFOLK, Virginia (WVEC) – It is on the bucket list of so many of us: traveling the world!
We dream of it and envy those who post pictures of their treks around the globe on social media. Then, we look up the airline prices and snap right back to reality.
But there are bargain hunters who have been traveling the world while watching their money at the same time such as Jen Ruiz, who blogs about her effort to travel the world while spending under $400 for round-trip tickets to places like Greece, Italy, and Aruba.
“I started by reading different books' methods, and I just started putting them to use,” said Ruiz, who is attempting to travel to 12 countries before her 30th birthday in January.
She is now sharing how to utilize the resources she used to find deep discounts on airfares, such as Google Flights.
“Because they have a map feature that allows you to look at the entire world for not even, let's say, a set period of time. But you can specify a week in April and you can see what the best deals are,” she told us.
Another tool she uses to find rock-bottom deals is Travel Pirates, but her favorite is Scott’s Cheap Flight’s, which can locate pricing mistakes made by air carriers and then sends out an email alert to subscribers.
Another tip is to apply for credit cards that give you rewards points, which is what she did while hunting for a deal for a planned trip to Thailand in January.
“I just managed to book the flight back from Thailand. So I'm coming back from Bangkok to Miami, and I got that flight for $70,” as she describes how she found a return flight at a discount, and is currently searching for a cheap flight to the Southeast Asian country.
For accommodations, she told us that Airbnb works in some countries. But if there is no safe Airbnb lodging available, she'll turn to hotels. To find out which hotels have to the best deals for the price, she will use TripAdvisor to get the real scoop.
“It’s not always the star level that I look at, so much as the customer reviews. So if it’s a 2-star hotel but everyone that stays there has a five-star experience; they provide breakfast, they have decent amenities… that’s what I look at.”
Jen's trips average five days, but Nina Ragusa is the ultimate free spirit when it comes to traveling the globe, because she has been at it for nearly six years.
“Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,” said Ragusa, who estimates that she’s been to roughly 30 countries. But she told us that her goal is not to count the number of places she has visited.
While speaking to us at the tail-end of her five week visit to Portugal, she told us that her travels are anything but a vacation. Funding her airline tickets comes from teaching English online and freelance blogging.
“In exchange I was helping this guy, I can’t even call it a factory. It was a room with a bunch of Himalayan salt and all I had to do was help him package and put a sticker on it.” Nina said as she described the time she used the service in Thailand. “I did that work in exchange for not paying for the really cool apartment I was living in the rolling hills of Pai with the cows and rice fields.”