November Recap: Traveling on a Budget, Getting the Best Deals Online

travel panel

For many, traveling is considered a luxury, but the panelists from our November event know how to take away some of the pricing sting.

On November 20, we brought together a collection of travel journalists and bloggers to discuss everything from exotic locations to using social media to get great deals. Each panelist brought a differing point of view, and opened our members eyes to what’s around us.

Our moderator, Christina Saull of My View from the Middle Seat, focuses on travel around the world for double income couples with no kids, or DINKS, and has been published in places such as USA Today. She kicked things off by asking about something that affects most of us, traveling on a budget. With there being so many resources available, panelists mentioned that deal sites may not be the best resource.

Matt Long, the world traveler of LandLopers, who has made it to more than 60 countries and all 7 continents, suggested Johnny Jet whose blog features money saving travel tips. Matt also suggested using Airfarewatchdog for finding deals on flights.

National Geographic’s Marilyn Terrell, who I would like to dub Nat Geo’s greatest Twitter based cheerleader, has an amazing background in journalism and travel. Her career started when she answered editorial letters sent to TIME magazine, then moved to the DC area to work with Time-Life Books. In 2001, she joined National Geographic as a senior researcher, and helped get their first blog off the ground.

Marilyn suggests following Christopher Elliott and Andrew Evans, who write for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Marilyn and the rest of the panel spoke highly of their work.

Christina Ricchiuti is also a world traveler, but focuses mainly on exploring the mid-Atlantic region with her blog PackedSuitcase. If you’re looking for some awesome trips within a stone’s throw away, her blog is a fantastic resource. With so many great places to travel around the DC area, her site will be a great resource for traveling on a budget. She also suggests creating a Twitter list with airlines and hotels on them, as they often share the best deals.

The panelists all agreed that while deal sites may help you do research, they typically pull information from the same place. So one site may appear to have a cheaper rate, but in only a matter of minutes the prices can vary. In addition to the typical list of deal sites, most suggested Kayak and Hipmunk as options. Hipmunk is a newer contender that has an “agony rating”, which goes up based on the amount of layovers and other things that will toss stress into your trip. Stress and budgets are always important factors when planning a trip, but where do you find travel destinations?

Besides the  panel’s unanimous love for Andrew Evans, Matt suggested checking out Velvet Escape due to him being a “good guy and great sharer.” We would highly suggest taking a look at the blogs from each of the panelists, and following them on Twitter as well. Each of them covers various travel destinations, so destination inspiration won’t be far off. Overall, the panel suggests watching the hotel brands and airlines directly, as they provide the best deals. Plus, customers who purchase directly through those outlets have preference over those who use deal sites.

This information really only scratches the surface for the great information the panel provided during the event, but you can get a bit more personal with our interview below.

Interviews with the Panel

Special thanks to digital team’s Laura McHugh for putting together this video.

Photo courtesy of Mykl Wu. More of his photos can be found on our Facebook gallery.

Event Data

We love data, so of course we always track the event hashtag. Besides you all causing the event to become a trending topic in DC, here are a few insights:

Usually we have more men to women tweeting, but this time it was 57% to 42%. We often have a few tweeters from around the world, and this time they joined us from Germany and New Zealand. During the hour and half of the panel, 60 people tweeted with the hashtag over 200 times. The three most frequent tweeting users besides our team were @bearfoottheory, @TanOnTheStreet, and @TweeterMJ.

Looking for our hashtag data? Check it out on Keyhole.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank Hager Sharp for providing both a venue and food to our members. They are a fantastic full service agency in DC. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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