It would be real self centered if I shared loads of pictures of my trip without sharing the useful information I found to help me travel cheap. In my post, “20 Things I want for 2016”, my goal was to travel to Puerto Rico, somewhere I had never been for my birthday. However traveling luxurious, all inclusive stays and such was not in my 20 something budget. I searched for months to find the best way to get to Puerto Rico without spending an arm and a leg and here are some of the things I came up with.
How I traveled
- My mother is a seasoned traveler and told me how inexpensive it can be to fly to Puerto Rico. She told me she purchased her plane ticket for $280 so I was stuck on not spending much more then that! I begin to search and to be honest at first the prices were not looking as good as I wanted, and if the prices were cheap it meant that a flight that is normally 4 hours had turned into as many as 24 hours, with extremely long layovers. Some flights I looked at out of Raleigh even had 8 hour layovers in Charlotte, and I wasn’t having that at all on my birthday. I became discouraged until I began to try different things when looking for a flight
Consider the layover
- When flying out of Raleigh an 8 hour layover in Charlotte makes no sense. However, if the layover is somewhere you have never been and you can find some cool things to do in those 8 hours DO IT! I chose not to go with a long layover for this trip. I had things to do in San Juan lol!
Scratch the round trip!
- Instead of purchasing a round trip ticket consider flying out of one city and flying into another. I was having a hard time finding a round trip ticket that I wanted to pay for. Out of Charlotte airport the flights were short with no layover but were expensive (like $500 to $700 expensive) and the round trip flights back to Raleigh airport had ridiculous 8 hour layovers in Charlotte which made absolutely no sense considering I’m an hour away from home at that point.
- So to solve this problem we purchased a ticket to fly out of Raleigh, NC and when it was time to come home we flew into Charlotte, NC. Now this may seem like a lot but we saved HUNDREDS. Our tickets ended up being $312 total (SAVING $200 to $400!!). Now there are roundtrip tickets for this much but be careful there is a reason why they are cheap! It’s called extremely long layovers.
- I prefer to used Airbnb, you get a different experience and a home feel. You can see the pros and cons of renting Airbnb to the right but I have never ran into any of these issues. If you read others reviews before renting a place you will be safe! REPEAT READ REVIEWS!
- I loved the 2 bedroom we stayed in for just $120 a night! It was gorgeously decorated with contemporary furniture and was spic and span clean when we got there. The host was awesome! Also, he made sure we were comfortable and if we needed any help while on vacation, he was always available.
- It was in a beautiful tourist location just 1 block from the beach, so we walked all up and down the streets of Puerto Rico. It was right across the street from an upscale bakery named Kasalta and next door were bikes as well as bike taxis you could rent.
Is a car necessary?
- That all depends, we knew we wanted to visit places that were not easily accessible like the rainforest which was about 45 minutes from where we stayed. However if that isn’t something big on your list, then staying in San Juan without a car is possible.
- There was no cheap way around this for us. It was not easy to get a car and we paid an arm and a leg. If you want a car when traveling somewhere like Puerto Rico make a reservation because they get booked fast and local companies rent their cars to the airport so sometimes they are out of cars too!
Of course we spent the most on food and alcohol! I recommend getting a bottle and instead of eating at expensive restaurants try mom and pop restaurants, food trucks, or buy food from the locals selling true authentic plates on the streets. These options actually taste better and they’re cheaper! Overall, we spent $567 a piece (3 people) on the room and airfare for a 5 day stay and I think it was worth every bit of it. Traveling to San Juan was surprisingly cheap! I can’t wait to go back. I would love to rent the entire building and take a group of people, I had that much fun. I hope this information was as helpful to you as it was for me!