One of the main questions we are asked is, “How do you plan for such cost-effective glampings?” The short answer is, “We use all the available resources we can find.” We always strive to have a plan A, B, and C. Over the years we have planned and successfully executed many glampings.
We scour the web to find best deals available to glamp in four star style with a two star budget. Although, it is not possible to list all the resources we utilize; below are some resources we use the most. We firmly believe that the resources listed below are the best in their respective categories. We update our lists periodically. Check back before you plan for your next glamping.
When it comes to glamp; two main expenses are: Airfare and Accommodation. Fortunately, Google Flights covers both. We like Google Flights’s “Explore Destinations,” feature. Enter departure city and dates; and explore cost-effective airfares and hotel rates. We also search without entering dates to see if better deals are available.
Seems like many of us are forgetting about this gem. TravelZoo used to be what TripAdvisor is now. We found many great deals on TravelZoo. Good for both hotels and flights. If you do not have travel restrictions, start here.
This is our all-time favorite site to plan. When it comes to searching for accommodations, nothing can beat TripAdvisor. Another great feature is, “Things to do.” Many times we booked our tours, flights and accommodations via TripAdvisor. We highly recommend reading reviews prior to finalizing your plans. TwoGlampers regularly contribute to reviews on places we visited.
No airline can beat Southwest when it comes to domestic traveling. We find many low cost, low airfare airlines during our planning phases. However, after adding additional fees none beats Southwest. Two free bags and low one-way fares easily compliment international flights; especially when you are traveling from spoke airports like Kansas City.
This is by far our most favorite site when it comes to booking air travel, accommodation, and car rental. It provides every possible combination from Flight+Hotels to Hotel+Car. We have saved a lot money by bundling flights, hotels, and cars. Additionally, we like Expedia Rewards feature as it accumulates quickly to some great savings. We recommend using mobile app for earning double points.
This is one of the best airfare sites when it comes to no frills. If you have no seat priority then this might be the best booking site to book your flights. However, if you like to book your assigned seats in advance; we recommend booking at the other sites. We like “My Rewards,” feature. Points can be redeemed for a CheapoAir Gift Card, Flights, or Hotels.
We regularly used, “Fly,” back in the days and found many great deals. We still refer to it from time to time. Fly scours the web for you and provide you with great deals in a clean and easy to understand format. The site also provides comparisons between various other traveling sites. However, Fly is not a booking site.
If any website that has ever beaten Expedia in international travel; especially to Asia, it is Agoda. Agoda is part of the Priceline group so it has one of the largest inventory of hotels and other accommodations around the world. If you are glamping in Asia and Pacific; we recommend searching through Agoda first.
As our most favorite site; we regularly book our hotels and accommodations via Expedia. We tried many hotel booking sites, as well as search engines, and found Expedia to be as competitive if not cheaper than the most. In our opinion, Expedia is more clearer in detailing rates than many of its counterparts. Expedia lists points as well as points value in dollars, and automatically factors in either points or dollar amount when displaying rates.
AirBnB has gotten quite a word around lately. We were impressed when we used it. As you know, twoGlampers neither share accommodations, nor bathrooms. However, we must admit we use AirBnB for quick stopovers; especially, when we are driving. This being said, our only choice under Room type: “Entire home.” And yes! We have found better deals than the hotels in some areas on quite a few occasions.
When all our resources, to find a great deal, expire; we resort to bidding on Priceline. It is quite fun and bit challenging to come up with a perfect price for a room at a great location on our selected dates. Depending on a location, we have had both hits and misses with using Priceline’s bidding tool. If used wisely, one can find a great deal on rooms much cheaper than any of Priceline’s counterparts.
We book direct with Enterprise when we take road trips within the United States, and have not bundled our bookings. Enterprise is also our primary choice when we bundle via the booking portals. Enterprise is available at all major airports and many cities. Many times we found much better deals on rates and free upgrades than its counterparts on Enterprise website.
One thing we like about Exedia for car rentals is that it bundles hotel accommodation, and/or flight with car rental and provides a much discounted car rental rate than if booked separately on a car rental site. We often bundle car rental with airfare, or hotel, or both. Expedia also provides comparisons of various car rental companies; therefore, making it easy to select desired transportation from a desired location at a desired rate.
Hertz is our first choice when we glamp international. Hertz has been in business for many years and has established locations in many countries. Hertz is also a great choice when we directly book rentals through hotels' reservation systems. Hertz partners with many major hotel chains to provide cost-effective rates to the guests. At times, we found better rates through Hertz partners than Hertz's own website or locations.
When we are not renting cars our first choice is public transportation, minus cabs/taxis. Our second choice is Uber. Many times we were at places where public transportation was not so great. A few quick clicks on Uber app, and we were safely at our destination. Uber is available in almost all major cities. It also shows exact fare upfront – we learned the hard way - and one does not have to carry cash or cards as all transactions occur online.
When there is no Uber; there is Lyft. At times we found out that other car share ride services were more expensive than Lyft. TwoGlampers are all about saving money. We also found out that Lyft, during some major events, partnered with the event organizers to drop off passengers when roads were blocked off and no other transportation was allowed. If you do not like to drive to a crowded event, or pay a hefty parking fee; do check to see if Lyft is partnering with the event organizers.
If you are not from Asia or have not been to Asia often, you would not know Careem. Careem is a Dubai based company providing services in 53 cities in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. We used Careem in Pakistan and saw no difference in service or price in comparison to other ride sharing services. In Dubai, Careem was little expensive than other ride sharing services. However, Careem is a great service when there are no other cost-effective modes of transportation when traveling to Middle East, and South Asia.
When we plan to travel to a major city in the United States; we always look for the CityPass availability. CityPass provides admissions to seventy-eight attractions at very cost effective prices in twelve cities. We have utilized CityPass on many occasions not only saving money, but also time. At many attractions we just skipped the ticket and waiting lines using FastPass lanes that came with CityPass as added service.
Needless to say, Emirates, one of the world's best airlines in the world, partners with GetYourGuide to provide bookings for tours, activities, and attractions to its customers. Additionally, it is the world's largest online platform listing more than 30 thousand activities at almost 7,200 destinations. GetYourGuide does not provide actual services, but partners with local tour companies. We call GetYourGuide, "Google of activities."
Viator is a TripAdvisor company that provides booking trips, activities, and tour services to its customers. Viator is not as big as GetYourGuide, but it still provides tickets and passes in 2,000 destinations through its 3,000 partners. Passes and tickets can be directly downloaded to Viator app or via a computer.
We purchased ninety percent of our electronic equipment on eBay. Many times, we saved enough money to have a great dinner for two, or even paid for gas for the whole trip. We recently purchased Nikon 1 J5 camera, through eBay, and saved almost one hundred and fifty dollars. We normally tend to stick with electronic purchases on eBay, but do not shy away, if we find a good deal on other stuff.
We are all about saving money so we can glamp in style. All our medicines, toiletries, and food for travel comes from Costco. Buying in bulk not only saves us money, but it also lasts longer. We breakdown larger containers into smaller bottles to carry with us in our carry-ons. Even if we lose them, we still have plenty at home.
For smaller items, batteries, cables, and SD cards we always shop at WalMart. WalMart also has wide assortment of carry-on toiletries, which we purchase for all our flying glampings. WalMart is one stop shop for many items such as custom engraved luggage tags, TSA approved luggage locks, and safety belts for our luggage. The best thing we like about WalMart is that it is open twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week.
Looking for Gears & Gadgets?
We use Waze when we drive around the United States. Waze is community based turn-by-turn navigation app providing real time updates on police checkpoints, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams. It also diverts and re-routes to avoid any traffic delays. We have also used Waze to see where our friends were at and vice versa.
We use Google Maps when we are traveling abroad, or when we require public transit. Google Maps is also great for finding places while on foot. Satellite view of the location tells you exactly where you are at. Additional features include traffic updates, places to eat, gas stations, and marking your parking spot.
We use Uber mostly when we are traveling abroad and there is no great public transport system. We also use this app to assess how much fare we should be paying if we are to use local cabs and taxis. A few times, due to too much luggage, we could not find Uber XL. So, we used fare from the Uber app to haggle with the taxi driver.
When we are attending a major event like fireworks on the fourth of July in Nashville; we look for Lyft. We have noticed that Lyft partners up with the local organizers to reserve a drop off/pick up spot much closer to the event. A time or two we witnessed whole area blocked off for any traffic, but Lyft. We also found Lyft, at times, to be cheaper than Uber.
This app has come to our aid many times when we wanted to find a parking space on our driving glampings. Many times, SpotHero not only found us great parking places but at very cost-effective rates. On our road trip to Chicago we saved more than hundred and sixty dollars with SpotHero. Not only the savings, SpotHero also found us the parking garage right next to the hotel.
This is a great app for frequent travelers with TSA Pre, or Global Entry cards. The app not only updates users about airport delays but also directs them to the TSA Pre Open Lanes. Live assistance via phone, twitter, and Messenger is also available via the app. It has saved us time and face at many occasions.
This is a great app when we are not eating out, or are trying to be within our budget. Uber Eats delivers almost every type of food; from a Big Mac to Baskin Robins ice cream. All the menus are well laid out with prices for each dish. Best thing is Uber Eats is available in almost all major cities including our most favorite city and home: Kansas City.
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