3 easy steps you can take to start spending less on travel

If you’re at the point where you want to travel more but don’t want to spend a ton of money doing it, this post is for you.

Below are 3 steps that you can take right away to start spending less on travel:

1) Apply for credit cards with significant sign-up bonuses

If you’re based in the United States, you’re living in the golden age of credit card sign-up bonuses. It’s not uncommon to see sign-up bonuses of 50,000, 100,000, or even 125,000 points, which can be worth as much as $2,000 (or more, depending on how you redeem the points).

There are plenty of blogs that track these credit cards offer and the worth of these points (such as The Points Guy, who offers this helpful point valuation chart, which is updated monthly).

For example, just today, after reading a post on the Boarding Area, I was able to sing up for a Chase Ink Business Cash credit card that has a 50,000 point signing bonus, which is valued at $1,000 based The Points Guy’s valuation. These points can be transferred directly to United and other airlines on a 1:1 basis (as an example, a one-way ticket to Europe is 30,000 United miles), or can be redeemed for cash or travel at varying rates.

2) Subscribe to cheap flight newsletters

There are a few websites that are dedicated to showcasing amazing flight deals — my favorites are The Flight Deal and Secret Flying.

Both of these sites have daily newsletters which are worth signing up for. Even if you’re not in the market to book a trip, keeping track of these flight prices can help you later determine what constitutes a good deal and can give you ideas for future travel.

Remember that these deals are usually only live for a few hours or a few days, but that American airlines are required to give you 24 hours to cancel penalty free. So if there is an incredible fare that you’re interested in, it’s sometimes worth booking it and then cancelling within the 24-hour deadline if you’re not able to make concrete plans.

3) Look into flights from nearby airports before booking trips

Traveling from a nearby airport can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars on airfare. For example, I was recently looking up a flight to Hawaii and the cost from SFO was roughly $200 more than the cost of leaving from Oakland (OAK). Although OAK airport is actually closer to the city of San Francisco than SFO, based on conversations I’ve had throughout the years, I’d wager that most San Francisco-based travelers won’t even look up airfare at OAK before booking a trip.

When it comes to international travel, the difference in airfare between two cities can be substantial.

As a result, whenever you book travel — particularly international, long-haul trips — you should use Google Flights to check the price of flights departing from nearby airports. If you’re based out of Philly,  for example, you should look into flights departing from JFK, EWR, IAD, and LGA, and if you’re in SF, look at flights leaving from LAX and Portland.

What are your favorite tricks to saving money on travel?

Flight Review: EuroAtlantic 767-300 Economy Class | Chicago to Budapest

It’s rare for me to look up flights and see an airline that I don’t recognize.

In September, I was preparing for a trip from San Francisco to Budapest with a layover in Philly as Hurricane Florence churned its way up the east coast. Wanting to avoid possibly missing my flight, I searched for other routes to Budapest and found a 30,000 mile ticket available on United, that had me flying through Chicago and flying EuroAtlantic Airways between Chicago and Budapest.

I booked this flight, not really knowing what I’d have in store. From my research, it seems that EuroAtlantic is an airline that basically leases itself to other airlines — for, for example, during a Norwegian flight, you would be given the same services that you would be offered on Norwegian metal.

One frustrating part of flying with EuroAtlantic is that not many people have flown it yet, so it’s hard to find accurate information on SeatGuru. For example, I booked a window seat, hoping I would have an amazing view of landing in Budapest, but instead was looking at a wall the entire flight.


Flying experience

Despite only having a wall to look at, I had a decent flight. Luckily, I had the entire row to myself.

There were screens and power charges behind each seat, although the screens were not turned on and the charger didn’t work until after takeoff. After we were in the air, an announcement was made that EuroAtlantic was going to provide the “standard of services of LOT Polish.”

There was not an amazing selection of movies, with most selections from 6+ months back, and which included Wonder Woman, The Shape of Water, and Battle of the Sexes. The TV selection wasn’t amazing either, but there was at least one episode of Fraiser (pictured below).


The first service were drinks and choice of pretzels or peanuts. About 30 minutes later, we were offered drinks and dinner (chicken or beef options). I took the chicken option, pictured below, which tasted alright.


The tray table was so small that I wouldn’t have had enough space to both eat and have a drink without a lot of difficulty (but luckily I could use the middle tray as well).

The seat recline was hard to find and there was no WiFi on the flight. But they did give out comfortable pillows (way more so than on United flights).



Flying economy to Europe from the U.S. is rarely glamorous, and I would rank this flight as basically the same as a standard United or American flight to Europe.

Los Angeles Trip Deal: $440 round-trip from LAX to Phuket, Thailand on Air China

A great deal to Phuket from LAX with Air China! Flights start at $440 round-trip, after taxes. Air China is a Star Alliance member.

I found this fare on a fluke and have so far only been able to find the following dates:

  • February 25-March 5

To get the fare, you need to book on Expedia (linked below). Note that this fare books as “L” class on Air China, so you’ll only have 50% of the miles count on United towards your PQM.

Support Josh Trips by booking through the link below.


United Airlines announces new daily flight service between San Francisco and Madison, Wisconsin

Starting June 7, 2018, United Airlines will begin new daily service between San Francisco, California (SFO) and Madison, Wisconsin (MSN). The east-bound flight will be a red-eye and will be operated by an Embraer 175 regional jet.

United will also be adding a second daily non-stop flight from SFO to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PIT).

In addition to the new San Francisco routes, United has announced other new routes, including:

  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Eureka, CA (ACV)
  • Houston, TX (IAH) to Dayton, OH (DAY)
  • Denver, CO (DEN) to Norfolk, VA (ORF)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD) to Bismark, ND (BIS)

I’ve heard so many amazing things about Madison and am hoping to finally visit after the new daily flight service from SFO begins.