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Airports wrote the book on overpriced food. Not getting your fill before you go through security, or not packing enough non-liquid snacks, could mean breaking the bank before you even take off. In the event that you didn’t have time to pack your own grub, traveling on a budget means crossing your fingers and hoping the airline you chose has some complimentary goodies for you. If you really played your cards right, those free treats will actually taste good. Here’s a list of the five best free airplane snacks around. 

Delta serves branded Biscoff cookies. Courtesy of m01229.

Delta serves branded Biscoff cookies. Courtesy of m01229.

1.) Biscoff cookies — The popularity of this delicious little cookie spread like wildfire in the U.S. after airlines began serving it. Until then, it was a treat reserved for Europeans, best enjoyed dunked in coffee. It’s like a gingerbread/shortbread fusion, not too indulgent and just sweet enough. Delta serves a version that has its logo embossed on the cookie, and it should go splendidly with the Starbucks it now serves on all flights. And we can all thank our lucky stars that plenty of retailers in the U.S. now carry Biscoff, so we can get that airplane delight without traveling.

 

Courtesy of Faisal Akram.

Courtesy of Faisal Akram.

2.) Free alcohol — Now here is a rarity. Horizon Air and Skywest, sister carriers of Alaska Airlines, serve complimentary free craft beer and wine on nearly every flight. This is a service those first-class flyers are used to, but it’s novel to us plebeians. The crew picks one craft beer and one wine to serve on each flight. The libations are local to Alaska. United Airlines also offers complimentary house wine and beer for economy passengers on flights between the U.S. and Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

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3.) Pretzels — When you reach peak altitude, there’s really only three food groups that matter: salty, sweet and alcoholic. The pretzel is the Sultan of Salt. After you’ve dished out $6 for a beer, getting a free little packet of these munchies will feel like Christmas morning. ‘Free’ being the key word here. Delta has your back once again for these complimentary noshes. 

 

Terra Blues Potato Chips. Courtesy of Urbanfoodie33.

Terra Blues Potato Chips. Courtesy of Urbanfoodie33.

4.) Blue chipsJetBlue has created a bit of a cult following for Terra Blues Potato Chips. Every flier gets a personal-sized bag of the chips, made from naturally blue potatoes. They are a bit salty and nutty, and you can feel good about them since they are all natural. Or at least a little better than you would after other airline snacks.  

Courtesy of Daniella Segura.

Courtesy of Daniella Segura.

5.) Peanuts — We’d be remiss not to give this classic in-flight snack a shout out. Peanuts are nearly as synonymous with flights as they are with baseball. In the days of yore they were almost always free available. Now you’ll only be lucky enough to get these little packages salty goodness of select airlines like Delta. Peanuts are also a healthier option than it’s rival, pretzels. Hearty? Not really, but at least eating them will kill five minutes while you stare out the window.

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Tagged: Flights, Food & drink, FREE!

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1. Combine multiple modes of transportation.
If time permits, try flying into smaller cities or smaller airports and then taking a bus from there to your final destination. Chances are, the total cost will be less than a direct flight into your destination, especially if it’s a popular city and during high tourist season. Not to mention, you might discover a beautiful hidden village or city on the way there!

RELATED: Alternate airports: Gateways to cheap summer fares

8costabrava

Photo courtesy of Gloria Atanmo ©

2. Don’t pay for tours.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing tours and companies out there with information you’d only learn by talking to a local or someone who’s lived there all of their life; but unless your Google is down and you can’t find the basic fun facts on your own, skip out on the tours and go get lost in the city and explore it for yourself. Meet a local, grab drinks, ask them what they love about their city, and let them take you on a walk through their favorite district. The average local would be honored to show off their city, and you know that their genuine excitement comes from their pride for their home and not a paycheck at the end of the day.

3. Try Couchsurfing.
Couchsurfing is a network of travelers and hosts who share a passion for travel and want to experience a city in a unique way. Locals open up their homes to travelers and travelers open up their hearts to locals. You share stories, you share drinks, and the good karma multiplies. It’s a free service that pays in good karma, because should a former host choose to visit your city, you’d offer that same hospitality to them that they offered to you. People who travel want to see as much as they can and save as much as possible, so this free network allows travelers and locals toconnect in the purest way possible.

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Photo courtesy of Gloria Atanmo ©

4. Avoid restaurants near tourist attractions or on big streets.
Why is it that a restaurant right next to an historic cathedral can get away with charging 50% more on a standard dish? Easy. When tourists just finish wandering a church for a couple hours, they’re probably starving after, and will walk into the first bar or restaurant they see nearby, out of convenience. These places know that, and purposely hike up their prices. Walk just a couple blocks inward and find hole-in-the-wall eateries for half the price.

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Photo courtesy of Gloria Atanmo ©

5. Travel during the middle of the week.
It’s convenient, and therefore common, for people to getaway on weekends, but if you can somehow tweak your work schedule to travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday (the cheapest travel days of the week), do it! Not only will tourist attractions be so much less crowded, but you can enjoy a transportation rate of up to 30% cheaper on most airlines and trains.

6. Search for free attractions on certain days and times.
Most attractions have at least one day of the week where they offer discounted or free entrance to the public. In Barcelona, for instance, the iconic Park Güell is free to the public before 8 a.m. and after 9:30 p.m. Not only is it free, but it’s less crowded and you’re able to capture those perfect selfies that you came there for in the first place.

7. Have a daily budget and stick to it.
It’s easy to accidentally spend a few dollars here and a few dollars there if you’re not keeping track of what’s going out of your wallet. Set a strict daily budget, and jot a quick note in your phone of every time you make a purchase. By the end of the day, you’re able to calculate how well you’ve done,how much you have left, and make a budget-conscious decision on what your nighttime activity will be. There’s nothing scarier than coming back from a vacation and looking at your bank account for the first time since you left. That type of travel is for the rookies (looking at my 2012 study abroad self) and part of smart traveling is maintaining financial responsibility.

IMG_20150503_040057

Photo courtesy of Gloria Atanmo ©

8. Eat your biggest meal in the afternoon.

I never knew that coffee had the power totransform itself into a meal right in front of my eyes. It’s amazing. That, and the fact that because of time zone changes, I wouldn’t feel my appetite kick in until around the afternoon anyway. So saving my largest meal of the day towards the middle of the day kind of covers 2 meals. It serves as a late breakfast, a lunch, and perhaps a snack before dinner.

9. Pre-game before going to the bars or clubs.
Sorry, Mom. Skip over this one. So it’s obvious that bars and nightclubs cash in big by overcharging their drinks and under-pouring their alcohol. Criminal, I know. If you were ever a college student you probably know how to beat the system by pre-gaming before the bars with a bottle of (insert drink of choice here) and some friends. Show up to the bar with a good little buzz, and buy maybe one drink all night. You still want to look and be social with everyone else, but try and make that drink stretch. Especially if you’ve already reached your premiumbuzz level!

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Photo courtesy of Gloria Atanmo ©

 10. Be flexible!

One thing I try to preach is that traveling is only expensive when it’s as convenient as possible. If you try to squeeze a perfect itinerary down to the very second of how and when you’d like to arrive, then you’re going to pay an extra price. Want a non-stop flight? More expensive. Want an all-inclusive cruise? More expensive. Have a specific time you MUST arrive to your destination on a Friday night or Saturday morning? EXPENSIVE! Being flexible is one of the best qualities you can possess as a traveler or tourist and you’ll come to learn that flexible people also make the best travel companions because they’re easy-going and hardly ever stressed. It’s a vacation for crying out loud! Relax, enjoy yourself, and go with the flow! 😉

Check out more of Gloria Atanmo’s travel tips on her blog: The Blog Abroad

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Tagged: Tips & advice, Uncategorized

Gloria Atanmo
Gloria Atanmo is an adventure-junkie currently on a 2-year jaunt through Europe after booking a one-way ticket. She enjoys discovering the unequivocal education of travel, risks, and hustle. Follow her journey on Instagram (@glographics) or her blog (www.TheBlogAbroad.com).
Gloria Atanmo

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Long layovers can be a real drag, but they certainly don’t need to ruin the trip. Venturing out of the airport can add leaps and bounds of enjoyment to your travels, and it’s pretty easy to keep the cost down on your hiatus from the terminal. Just make sure you plan ahead and pack whatever you may need for the adventure in your carry-on, and you should be all set for an enjoyable day away from the airport monotony.

Here are five ideas for cheap getaways outside of some major airports:

Courtesy of Ally Marotti

A scene from Hollywood Beach near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Courtesy of Ally Marotti

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This one is easy — spend the day on the beach. Have the cab driver take you to Hollywood Beach. It’s not the closest one to the airport, but it’s the most happenin’. In about 15 minutes, you go from drab airport life to the tropics. Watch the sunrise over the ocean and grab breakfast beachside at Broadwalk Restaurant and Grill. There are plenty of dining options, ice cream shops and convenience stores along the boardwalk if you need anything like sunscreen. Listen to the Cuban music and bask in the sun during your layover, and make sure to grab a piña colada at Greek restaurant Sahara International.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A view from the Chicago Riverwalk. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD)Chicago, IL

If you don’t have a layover at O’Hare, it’s highly likely your flight out of Chicago will end up getting delayed. O’Hare is an airport known for its delays, partly because it doesn’t have enough gates, and partly because Chicago weather is entirely unpredictable. Lucky for budget-conscious travelers, there’s a train that goes right downtown for only $2.50. The Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train runs between downtown and the airport constantly throughout the day, and it’s only a 40-minute ride either way. Check out the sights, sounds and food Chicago has to offer for the day rather than sitting in the airport bitter about the delay. For free activities, head to one of the city’s beaches or walk along the recently renovated Riverwalk along the Chicago River. If you’re there on a summer evening, there are free concerts at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Mondays and Thursdays, and free movies there on Tuesdays. For cheap eats, head to the French Market in the West Loop–it’s got everything from meatballs to lobster rolls.

A view from the Jackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

A view from theJackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Nikki Wolfe.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta airport is one of the busiest in the world, and so big it has its own zip code. If you have a layover or delay here, make sure it’s actually long enough for you to safely get out, back and to your terminal on time, as there’s usually some shuttling involved. If you are so bold to step into the unknown, take the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) train, which costs $2.50 for a one-way ticket and will get you downtown in about 20 minutes. Once you’re there, head over to the Jackson Street bridge between Cain Street and Highland Avenue for a photo opp (pics or it didn’t happen). Stroll along the recently completed Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile loop around the city of railroad tracks-turned-walking paths lined with restaurants and shops. Sample some of that southern cooking while you’re at it.

A T-Rex at New York City's Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

A T-Rex at New York City’s Museum of Natural History. Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)New York City, NY

New York City buses transport travelers from the airport to Manhattan for $2.75 each way. The M60 bus goes express to all LaGuardia terminals and drops passengers off near West 106th Street and Broadway. The Q70 Limited or Q47 will drop you off in Queens or Midtown. If you’re willing to pay a little more, the NYC Airporter bus departs every 30 minutes and runs between the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central Station and Penn Station for $13. For a close to free day in Manhattan, stroll through Central Park and end up at the Museum of Natural History. They ask for an optional donation at the entrance. If you still have time and are craving some panoramic views of the city, swing by Salvation Taco. It shares a lobby with Pod Hotel 39 on East 39th Street between Lexington and 3rd avenues, has a great and reasonably priced rooftop bar full of Mexican beers and Spanish wines. You can get a beer and a great view for $8.

 

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

A plane flies over Dockweiler State Beach. Courtesy of Andrew Hart.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)Los Angeles, CA

 Los Angeles International Airport often acts as the gateway to Asia and Hawaii, and many a layover is whiled away among its terminals. But if you’ve got the time and you remembered to stick your swimsuit in your carry on, why not soak up some Vitamin D? Dockweiler State Beach is less than a five-mile drive from the Los Angeles airport. It extends south of Marina del Rey harbor, and is operated by Los Angeles County, so there are no entrance fees. You can take public transit there, but it’ll probably be quicker to just grab a cab. Dockweiler beach is known for its hang gliding and plane watching (since it’s so close to LAX), and offers a beautiful view of the sunset. There are fire pits on the beach that anyone can use, so if you have the time and money, swing by the store on the way and grab some hot dogs and all the fixins for s’mores for a true taste of summer.

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Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Flights, Florida, L.A., New York City, Tips & advice

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Have you got gasoline in your veins but dust bunnies in your wallet? Never fear, there are plenty of quirky (and free) roadside attractions to tickle your fancy and keep your road trip cheap. The low price of gas doesn’t hurt, either.

Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas.

This is art, allegedly.

Courtesy of Waxhawian.

Courtesy of Waxhawian.

Jolly Green Giant — Blue Earth, Minnesota.

Because a giant green statue will certainly encourage kids to eat their veggies.

Courtesy of Amy Meredith.

Courtesy of Amy Meredith.

World’s Largest Basket — Newark, Ohio

Really it’s the Longaberger Co. headquarters.

Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

The Corn Palace — Mitchell, South Dakota

The corn art changes yearly.

Courtesy of Kyle Van Horn.

Courtesy of Kyle Van Horn.

Lucy the Elephant — Margate City, New Jersey

This is actually a building too.

Courtesy of Jim, the Photographer.

Courtesy of Jim, the Photographer.

World’s Largest Cherry Pie — Charlevoix, Michigan

Pan. The actual pie was eaten long ago.

Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Courtesy of Ally Marotti.

Spoonbridge and Cherry — Minneapolis, Minnesota

It appears you can walk over it.

Courtesy of Tim Wilson.

Courtesy of Tim Wilson.

Enchanted Highway — Regent, North Dakota

Not to be confused with the world’s largest pheasant statue, which is in South Dakota.

Courtesy of Joevare.

Courtesy of Joevare.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, FREE!

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The same way Canadian geese fly south in late fall, we travel-lusting people of the world all seem to flock to the same locations at the same time—Mexico and the Caribbean in March, Europe in June, Hawaii pretty much anytime of the year.

Fighting the instinctual urge to travel during peak season means cheaper rates and smaller crowds. Avoid paying an arm and a leg; here’s a list of travel-friendly shoulder seasons to take advantage of year-round.

Utah in summer

The Rocky Mountains in general arebreath-taking during the summer. Salt Lake City and Park City draw in large numbers of skiers and snowboarders in the winter, so that’s when they make their bread and butter. The summer months see smaller crowds. Ski-centric towns usually drop their hotels rates by $100-$200 during summer and fall. To the southeast and less elevated part of the state, Moab is home to nature-carved red rocks not to be missed. Strike out on a more frugal outdoorsy vacation from June-September to experience some of the best mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting and outdoor concerts in the nation.

moahb

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah; Credit: Gautam Dogra ©

New Orleans in late summer and fall

Mardi Gras may only come once a year, but New Orleans is full of life year-round. The absolute cheapest time to go is in the peak of summer, but it’s hit or miss on if you’ll enjoy yourself. It depends on how you feel about extremely damp heat. So let it cool down a tad; plan your jazzy trip for the tail end of summer or early fall. The 4-star JW Marriott New Orleans has rates as low as $149 in August, while they reach a high not at $289 during February festivities. The party on Bourbon Street never actually stops, so be sure to pack your party pants.

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner©

New Orleans; Credit: Jeff Turner ©

Ireland in March

You’d think withSt. Patrick’s Day in March, Ireland would be a giant island of festivities and high hotel prices. Actually, the holiday in its homeland isn’t the drinking day it’s become in the U.S. It can cost $200-$300 less to travel during early spring, namely March, than in the summer. Don’t worry about the weather; it’s rare to have anything more than an occasional flurry in Ireland’s winter due to The Gulf Stream, and by March, some of that famous green is starting to regain it’s hue. Book now so you can start planning your itinerary.

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Muckross Head, County Donegal, Ireland; Oisin Mulvihill ©

Mexico in summer

Northern Americans and anyone who shares their latitude, know that the only thing getting them through winter is the dream of a beach vacation in the spring. To Mexico they go! Spring breakers, families, couples, girls weekends, everyone. Except you, you savvy little cheapo, you. All-in-one packages for July travel will only set you back about $800-$900, while the same package in February and March clocks in at $1,000-$1,100. Hold off on the all-inclusive Cozumel package until June or July. It’ll be hot, but you’ll have constant access to a pool and/or beach, and your tan will be legend. Be careful of hurricane season, which is known to pick up in Augusttoward the end of the summer.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Playa del Carmen, Mexico; ramonbaile ©

Costa Rica in July and August

Central America is a beautiful destination where most nations are affected by a wet and dry season. Costa Rica’s wet season runs June to November, which leaves it pretty empty of tourists. No one wants to go and get rained on, true, but this wet season acts a lot like an isolated daily shower. Julyand August typically see the least amount of rain within this time period. The short-lived rains sometimes happen over night and if they strike during the day, it’s usually not enough to ruin your plans.

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©

La Fortuna Falls, Costa Rica; Credit: Kyle May ©

 

Tagged: Beach, Family, FREE!, International, Mexico, Off-season, Tips & advice

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

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Smartmoneylogo In a Cheaponomy, you can still enjoy some simple pleasures.

CheapTickets has teamed up SmartMoney.com to show all the ways you can spend wisely, save, and still leave room for the things that enrich your life — whether it’s travel, shopping or dining out.

Here are some SmartMoney.com tips and resources to help get you started:

Tagged: Uncategorized