How to travel longer cheaper

Hostels are the best way to travel cheaply all over the world. Here are some tips if you’ve never stayed in one, or worse, have the wrong idea of what a hostel is like.

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How to travel longer cheaper

By Geoffrey Morrison

What comes to mind when you hear the world “hostel?” A gaggle of 20-somethings on a weeklong bender? Smelly hippie-types barefoot hiking around the world? A movie series that managed to combine enough torture and grunge to scar a generation?

What if I told you that for the majority of the last five years I’ve traveled all over the world, and in that time stayed at some of the most incredible places … that just happened to be hostels? That I’ve met dear friends and adventurous companions, all while paying a fraction of what a hotel would charge? Hostels aren’t what you think, at least, not anymore. While every hostel is different, I’ve stayed in over 100 across six continents and feel comfortable offering some general observations.

What you’ll find in today’s hostels

In the most general terms, a hostel is just like a hotel, except you usually have to share a bathroom. For the lowest room rates, you’ll also share a room. Additionally, most hostels have a kitchen and a lounge. The most common dorm, or shared room, has 4 beds, usually in the form of two bunk beds. Most hostels will have rooms with more beds that are cheaper per night, and rooms with fewer beds for slightly more money per night. Only hostels in the most touristy areas will have rooms with a dozen beds or more.

The more people in a room, the lower the rates, but it’s just by a few dollars a night. Unless your budget is very tight, a smaller room will generally be quieter and worth the small premium. Most hostels also have private rooms, which are their most expensive rooms, but still usually cheaper than a hotel. These can be good for couples, families, or even just an individual looking for a quiet night’s sleep. In addition to the bed, sheets and a pillow, you’ll nearly always have a locker to hold your bags or valuables. Just like a hotel, almost every hostel locks their doors at night, and has keys, cards or codes required to access both the hostel and your room.

Some hostels have “en-suite” rooms, as in there’s a bathroom attached to the room, like you’d find in a hotel, just shared with the people staying in that room. Personally, I’m not a big fan. Usually that means you’re all fighting for that one bathroom all at the same time. Plus, if someone creates an odorous mess (I’m talking about a deluge of Axe body spray, obviously), then the whole room will smell like that too.

Very, very rarely is there an upper age limit at a hostel. At 40 I’m almost never the oldest, although the average age is younger. Almost all, however, have a lower age limit. Travelers under 18 usually can’t say in dorm rooms. Nearly every hostel will have women-only dorms available, though the majority of rooms are coed.

How to find and book a good hostel

Just like hotels, hostels have review and booking websites to help you find where to stay. Hostelworld and Hostelz are two of the big ones. These feature reviews from recent travelers, lists of amenities, and most importantly, pictures.

The pictures tell a story, directly and indirectly. Sure, you get to see what the hostel looks like, in a best-case “we’re having photographs taken today” fashion, but they’ll also give you an idea what the hostel is about. Is every photo a bunch of people drinking? Party hostel. Are there lots of photos of people reading or playing board games? Probably chill and relaxed. These sometimes go beyond the description and inform you what staying there will be like.

Since you’ll likely be sharing the space, be extra aware of your person and your belongings. For example, don’t eat chips at 1 a.m. Don’t leave your durian orLimburger or lutefisk sandwich on your bed. Also, and this is a personal pet peeve, don’t use plastic bags in your luggage. The loudest sound in the universe is someone packing their belongings into plastic bags at 5 a.m.

But my biggest advice? Say hello and introduce yourself. Most people in hostels are traveling alone. Break the tension with a smile and a handshake. After all, you’ll be living with these folks for a night or more. Who knows, you might even make a new friend. I sure have. As an inveterate introvert and part-time misanthrope, no one was more surprised than I to find that most travelers are good people. Many are amazing and well worth meeting.

Hostels are not perfect, and like hotels will vary considerably region to region. There is an adjustment, of course, needed to sleep next to strangers. But for that adjustment and lack of perfection, you’ll be able to travel longer and cheaper. Especially if you’re considering slumming in a cheap, possibly questionable hotel instead. I’ve stayed in bad hotels and bad hostels, and the latter is far easier to take when it costs a fraction of what a cheap hotel costs.

Oh, and the Wi-Fi is almost always free. Can’t say that about hotels.

Geoffrey Morrison is a freelance writer/photographer covering tech and travel. He's the editor-at-large for Wirecutter and you can also find his work at CNET. He's the author of the best-selling sci-fi novel "Undersea," and you can follow him on Instagram or Twitter.

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Tesla’s move was announced in a Securities Exchange Corporation filing

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Tesla revealed it officially moved its headquarters from California’s Silicon Valley to Texas. 

"On December 1, 2021, Tesla, Inc. relocated its corporate headquarters to Gigafactory Texas at 13101 Harold Green Road, Austin, Texas 78725," the automaker announced Wednesday in a filing with the  U.S. Securities Exchange Corporation.

CEO Elon Musk had said at the company’s annual meeting in October that the move was coming. Tesla had also used Austin as the dateline in press releases since October. 

How to travel longer cheaper

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at the Axel Springer Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Tesla Inc. will be added to the S&P 500 Index in one shot on Dec. 21, a move tha (Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"There's a limit to how big you can scale it in the Bay Area. In Austin our factory is like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown," Musk said earlier this year. 

Musk will also save about $2.5 billion in capital gains taxes by moving both his residence and business out of California to Texas, Business Insider reported

How to travel longer cheaper

03 September 2020, Brandenburg, Grünheide: Elon Musk, Tesla boss, comes to the construction site of the Tesla Giga Factory. In Grünheide near Berlin, a maximum of 500,000 vehicles per year are to roll off the assembly line from July 2021 – and accord

An analyst for Wedbush, an LA-based investment firm, said that he expects some of the Palo Alto employees to not want to move, but expects 40% to 50% to make the move due to Austin’s lower cost of living. 

"The tax incentives down the road, we believe, will be massive when you compare taxes versus California," Daniel Ives said in October. "Getting employees is much cheaper and easier in Texas."

How to travel longer cheaper

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X electric sports-utility vehicles during a presentation in Fremont, California, U.S. September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

The Gigafactory in Austin is a 2,100-acre facility that is expected to employ 5,000 people. It will open this year and plans to build Cybertruck and other models at the facility. 

The new location also moves it closer to the launch site of SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace company, which is located in Boca Chica, Texas.

If you’re hitting the road or taking a flight this Thanksgiving, you’ll have plenty of company. With borders reopening, experts say the number of travelers will look a lot like 2019 but that the industry itself has changed since the last time many of those people took a trip which could lead to long waits.

AAA predicts that overall travel over Thanksgiving will jump 18% over 2020, and that air travel will rise 80% to a level that nearly matches pre-pandemic totals. The overall increase in travel would be the biggest single-year jump since 2005.

Among other things, that means a lot of those travelers will experience new safety protocols and procedures for the first time, especially at airports. Montgomery Regional Airport expects planes to be more than 80% full through the holidays, Interim Executive Director Cliff Altizer said.

“Bottom line up front: We looked at the projected flights and capacities and we expect a busy holiday season,” he said. All pandemic protocols are still in place, and facemasks are required in the terminal and on the planes.

Despite the jump in crowds, AAA found that flights are cheaper and that the lowest airfare averages 27.3% less than last year. AAA is also predicting long lines, and Altizer said the Montgomery airport is asking people to arrive about two hours before departure time to make the experience less stressful and allow time for TSA screening.

Montgomery offers direct flights to Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Washington, D.C.

While air travel costs less this year, other travel expenses could cost much more. Mid-range hotel rates have jumped 39% since last Thanksgiving and car rental rates are up 4%, according to AAA. Gas prices have ballooned to more than $3 a gallon on average in Alabama – their highest average for this time of year since 2011, according to price tracking site GasBuddy.com.

Still, 48.3 million people are predicted to hit the road this year, according to AAA. That’s nearly 4 million more than last year, and AAA is warning people to expect congestion and delays around major cities, especially the airports.

They’re predicting that I-85 south and Claremont Road to MLK Drive around Atlanta will be among the most congested roads in the nation, with peak congestion from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving topping 340% the normal traffic level.

There will be more eyes watching those cars over the holidays in Alabama. “With heavier traffic comes heavier law enforcement on the highways,” state Trooper Kendra McKinney said.

McKinney said drivers should prepare in advance by checking things like air pressure and fluid levels before returning to the road, then be aware of common driving mistakes that could be an even greater danger this year. For instance, state data shows that there were 2,378 crashes in work zones alone last year, leading to 616 injuries and 19 fatalities. And this year there will be a lot more people out there.

Drivers should avoid distractions, from using cell phones to changing the radio, and move to the left lane if possible when they see a vehicle on the side of the road.

These are safety guidelines that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency tries to emphasize each year before the holidays. But McKinney said they’re especially important in 2021 as people return to travel in numbers.

“They’re excited to be riding and going to see family, and they’re anxious,” she said.

Traditionally, those flying long haul purchase package holidays with a flexible booking guarantee as generally they will have better legal and financial protections with a package than booking a flight and hotel separately.

However, it does seem that more holidaymakers are happy to buy flights and accommodation separately for further away destinations this year – a common practice for short haul trips.

But searches are still up for package holidays when going further afield.

Travelsupermarket said that within the last month, there is a greater proportion of winter package holiday price comparison searches in the last month for mid to long haul destinations compared with for the same search and departure period in 2019 to 2020.

This includes searches going up 35 per cent for the US when comparing package holiday price comparison searches to the US pre and post the announcement that it would reopen to double vaccinated travelers.

How to travel longer cheaper

It found 54 per cent more people were looking for trips to Las Vegas, 45 per cent more for New York and 30 per cent more for Orlando.

For winter departures, searches are up 72 per cent for New York, making it the third most popular destination this winter.

Searches are also up 157 per cent to Las Vegas making it the 16th most searched destination for winter.

Emma Coulthurst of TravelSupermarket said: ‘Following the news that travel would resume from the UK to the US, we saw a three-fold increase in people coming to the site to look for US holidays.

‘The US in the last week is the main destination showing an upward trend in visitors to the site for people comparing and contrasting holiday prices and then booking.

‘It’s the third most popular country on our site for package holiday search and clicks.

‘There is a lot of pent-up desire to travel to the US and now it’s opening up again, many people are looking to get away there. New York is the second most popular package holiday destination search for departures this winter from the UK via our site.’

The top searched routes include Manchester to Bridgetown Barbados with an increase of 75 per cent whilst flights from London to St John’s Antigua have also seen a rise of 48 per cent in interest.

More people are also booking to head to America now that restrictions have been lifted.

How to travel longer cheaper

Save: Holidaymakers looking to head to Barbados on holiday could get flights for just £417

Cut price flights

Skyscanner has listed some of the best value breaks holidaymakers can take this winter.

The prices refer to flights only – but it will given an indication of which destinations are cheaper for all round package holidays, as the flight will make up a large chunk of the outlay.

1. Dominican Republic

Average December price: £1,959 (booking in November 2019 for travel in December 2019 from the UK)

Current available price for December: £408 (direct, economy class return from London)

Saving when compared to the same time in 2019: 79 per cent

Average high temperature for December: 29C

What to do: The Dominican Republic is known for its beaches, resorts and golfing.

There are not only rainforests but highlands including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.

Holidaymakers can also visit the capital city of Santo Domingo, waterfalls and the 3 Eyes National Park.

How to travel longer cheaper

Antigua is an island surrounded by coral reefs and known for its many sandy beaches

2. Barbados

Average December price: £853 (booking in November 2019 for travel in December 2019 from the UK)

Current available price for December: £417 (direct, economy class return from Manchester)

Saving when compared to the same time in 2019: 51 per cent

Average high temperature for December: 29C

What to do: The island of Barbados is also known for its pretty beaches, its botanical gardens and marine park.

Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship port that can be visited whilst local traditions include afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.

3. Antigua

Average December price: £1,867 (booking in November 2019 for travel in December 2019 from the UK)

Current available price for December: £471 (direct, economy class return from London)

Saving when compared to the same time in 2019: 75 per cent

Average temperature for December: 28C

What to do: Antigua is an island surrounded by coral reefs and known for its many sandy beaches.

Holidaymakers can visit Nelson’s Dockyard, where Horatio Nelson made his base in the 1780s, includes a marina and the Dockyard Museum.

How to travel longer cheaper

The Maldives is one of the most picturesque islands with visitors able to visit many beaches

.) The Maldives

Average December price: £1,130 (booking in November 2019 for travel in December 2019 from the UK)

Current available price for December: £748 (direct, economy class return from London)

Saving when compared to the same time in 2019: 51 per cent

Average high temperature for December: 30C

What to do: The Maldives is one of the most picturesque islands with visitors able to visit the many beaches as well as take part in watersports such as windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and surfing.

5. Mexico

Average December price: £917 (booking in November 2019 for travel in December 2019 from the UK)

Current available price for December: £346 (direct, economy class return from London)

Saving when compared to the same time in 2019: 62 per cent

Average high temperature for December: 28C

What to do: Mexico is a huge country with a number of beaches as well as ancient ruins that help tell its history.

It is a busy place with plenty of bars, shops and restaurants to entertain.

Here are our best tips for booking domestic, international, and holiday travel.

Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

Finding the best flight deals is a bit of an art form, but there's also some science — or at least economics — involved. There are only two definitive rules: Flights open for booking about a year in advance, and the airfare will change often between then and takeoff. So, as a general rule of thumb, you'll want to book plane tickets well in advance of your trip, as prices spike sharply in the days preceding the flight, taking advantage of any last-minute travelers who have no choice but to pay up.

But there are many variables that impact the dynamic pricing patterns of plane tickets, including the destination and time of year. In some cases, you can book just a couple of weeks in advance, while in others, you're better off booking months ahead (such as a trip over a big travel holiday, when demand is high).

Unfortunately (though unsurprisingly), the pandemic has changed the flight booking game, because, simply put, we travel differently these days. According to the most recent data from Skyscanner, we're not planning as far ahead as we once did, and we're much more likely to book one-way tickets. Nonetheless, good deals are still all about big-picture timing, and while travel logistics are more in flux these days, many airlines now waive change fees, making it easier for us to book well in advance and shift plans later, if need be.

The bottom line is that scoring the best flight deals can be tricky — and the pandemic's impact on travel and the airline industry has added more than a few challenges. But we're here to help you find the best flights for your upcoming travel. Our first tip: Start tracking flight prices as early as possible so you can keep an eye on price fluctuations. Use Google Flights or Hopper to receive price change notifications about your tracked flights. 

Tom Parsons, a trailblazer in the business of sniffing out inexpensive airfares, passed away at his home in Dallas on Dec. 3 after a long illness. He was 67.

“He was so far ahead of his time with what he did,” said longtime friend and protege Stewart Chiron, president of CruiseGuy.com. “He taught people what was really going on and how to beat the airlines at their own game.”

Parsons founded Best Fares Magazine in 1982 and expanded his offerings to include Bestfares.com after the internet took hold. For decades, he was a go-to source for print and television journalists looking for expert commentary on airfares, or on the airline industry at large.

Parsons’ entry into travel stemmed from a stint as a traveling executive at Pier 1 in the late 1970s. According to promotional material that Parsons used at Best Fares, during frequent trips for Pier 1 he noticed the wide variance in ticket prices, even within the same flights. That led Parsons to investigate how to obtain the cheaper tickets.

When Pier 1 adopted Parsons’ recommendations, its travel budget dropped from $2.5 million to $800,000 in a single year.

Chiron credited Parsons with developing innovative techniques to get around airline practices like selling cheaper tickets on itineraries that include Saturday night stays (a practice the airlines no longer use).

To beat that practice, Parsons encouraged readers to purchase what he dubbed “back-to-back” tickets — two roundtrip, Saturday-inclusive tickets between the same cities but with different origination points. In so doing, travelers who didn’t want to spend a Saturday night on the road could still spend less than the cost of one ticket while maintaining optimum control of their schedule.

Linda Rutherford, who is now the chief communications officer at Southwest, said she met Parsons in 1991 while she was a reporter at the Dallas Times Herald. Their relationship grew after Rutherford moved to Southwest, the original low-cost airline.

“He certainly understood how our business worked,” she said. “He would pride himself on calling me to say, ‘I’m just guessing that the time is coming for a super low-fare sale for SWA.’ He was usually right.”

In small pockets of large cities around America, a growing number of people have been walking, biking, or taking public transit to work in recent years. A disproportionate focus on these cities has led advocates and journalists to celebrate the resurgence of car-free forms of transportation.

But the researchers who study overall commuting data see things very differently. “The dominant mode of travel, by far, is the single-occupant automobile,” says Alan Pisarski , a co-author of the latest Commuting in America report, which has been published over the past year. And the car shows no signs of going away.

Indeed, the percentage of Americans who commute by driving alone has actually risen since 2000 (largely at the expense of carpooling). That’s largely because more and more households can afford cars, and the vast majority of people who do own a car are using it to drive to work — by themselves whenever possible:

In all, more than three-quarters of American workers now drive to work alone, while another 10 percent still ride in carpools. The number of people biking or taking public transportation might be rising very slightly, but combined they still only account for about 5.5 percent of commuters.

Driving to work alone keeps getting more common

During the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, three big trends drove changes in commuting, says Steve Polzin, a co-author of the commuting report. The sheer number of commuters was growing (due to the flood of baby boomers and women entering the workforce). More people owned automobiles. And suburbanization was growing.

The fact that more and more people were living in the suburbs meant that for a growing fraction of people, there was only one practical way to get to work — a car. Furthering this trend, governments were investing a lot in highways and relatively little in public transportation.

Originally, a large number of these commuters carpooled to work. But that has declined since the 1980s in favor of driving alone:

Danielle Kurtzleben wrote a great article for Vox on the decline of carpooling, citing a few factors here: the shrinking number of people in each household, as well as the growing number of cars (partly due to cheaper cars and greater gas efficiency).

In 1970, the average household had 1.55 cars. In 2013, it had 2.08. And the number of cars a person owns is the best predictor of the likelihood of driving alone to work.

Car ownership among low-income households keeps going up

Meanwhile, in recent decades, the number of people owning a car has kept rising — as barriers to ownership keep falling.

“When I was starting out, you could forecast a household’s odds of automobile ownership based solely on income,” Pisarski says. “Today, income almost doesn’t matter.”

There’s still a gap between lower- and higher-income households in car ownership, he notes, but it’s shrinking. Similarly, the gap between white households and African-American or Hispanic ones is also narrowing over time.

Meanwhile, the number of miles driven by women is getting closer to that of men. We still haven’t reached total parity in any of these areas, but Pisarski speculates that we might by 2025 or so. “This is a huge shift that we haven’t really appreciated,” he says.

One of the big factors behind this trend has been the decreasing cost of auto ownership. Due to technological advances, cars last much longer than they used to: the average age of a car on the road has risen from 6.6 years in 1977 to 9.4 years in 2010.

This means auto ownership is more accessible to lower-income households. While they still own fewer cars — and walk, bike, or take transit to work in much higher numbers — their commuting habits are becoming more and more similar to wealthier workers’.

Biking and transit get a lot of attention — but are still a tiny share

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Over the past few years, we have seen other modes of commuting finally stop declining — and, in some cases, rise very slightly.

Here’s the net change in thousands of workers using each mode between 2000 and 2010. Note that the number of people biking and walking to work (or working from home) has been rising:

Most of this data comes from the US Census, which is why it stops at 2010. There’s a chance that the increases in biking and public transport have been a bit more pronounced in the years after 2010, though other reports, with data through 2012, don’t show it:

So what’s behind the slight rise in walking and biking to work?

The pessimistic view is that walking and biking to work have essentially bottomed out. In other words, they’ve been declining so much in recent decades that they can’t decline any longer.

An alternate view is that the slight increases are partly driven by the changing preferences of young people now entering the workforce, who theoretically prefer living in cities, rather than suburbs, and commuting by modes other than cars.

This latter idea has gotten a lot of hype in recent years, though some experts are still skeptical — and say the shifts are just the result of the recession, which left young people with less money to spend on cars. In the next article in this series, we take a closer look at the debate.

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Brexit: British expat discusses difficulty of living in Spain

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Spain may have a reputation for being cheaper than the UK, but it may not always be the case. British expats in the country are comparing prices, and they’ve seen a big change over the years.

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How to travel longer cheaper

How to travel longer cheaper

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How to travel longer cheaper

Moving to the south of Europe is a popular relocation option for Britons in search of sun.

With supposedly cheaper prices and a more relaxed lifestyle, Spain is one of the most sought-after country for a move.

But British expats are finding the country to be more expensive than it used to be.

Anna said she loved living in Mallorca and enjoyed “the relaxed way of life and the healthy Mediterranean diet”.

How to travel longer cheaper

British expats are finding the country to be more expensive than it used to be (Image: GETTY)

“I love the al fresco lifestyle and the friendly ‘work to live’ attitude of the Mallorcan people.

“There is so much to explore on the island and the all year round fiestas mean that there is always life and activity going on even in the smallest villages.”

Anna saw the island evolved, and the prices go up.

She said: “In truth since the euro arrived, the cost of living has risen and although less expensive than the UK, Mallorca is no longer a cheap place to live.”

Trending

Lisa, who had moved all over Spain from the UK and settled in Malaga, agreed.

She said: “Living in Spain is not as cheap it used to be.

“However, thanks to the weather, we find that there are so many more things to do that does not cost money.

“We regularly pack a picnic and head off to the beach or inland.”

How to travel longer cheaper

“Living in Spain is not as cheap it used to be.” (Image: GETTY)

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How to travel longer cheaper

Maria, meanwhile, found the “cost of living in Valencia a little cheaper than the UK, but the difference varies depending on what you buy”.

“A lot of items are around about the same price, however, if you avoid the large supermarkets and do your normal food shop by going to the market you can save a lot money, and the best thing of all is that the produce are fresh and locally sourced.”

British expats still found Spain to be cheaper than the UK, especially if they were coming from London.

Simon said: “Barcelona isn’t as cheap now as it was 25 years ago, but it’s still much cheaper than London.

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How to travel longer cheaper

How to travel longer cheaper

How to travel longer cheaper

Moving to the south of Europe is a popular relocation option for Britons in search of sun (Image: EXPRESS)

“Especially if you know your way around. I can eat and drink out at about a third of the price it would cost in the UK.”

And John said the cost of living in Spain was “definitely cheaper”.

He explained: “Our council tax is only 20 percent of what we were paying in the UK.

“Petrol/diesel, alcohol (and I don’t drink) and cigarettes (and I don’t smoke) are all much cheaper.”

Want to get the cheapest flight possible? You're not alone. We're always trying to lock in the lowest price for airline tickets, whether it's to visit family or for that next great vacation. Thanks to the internet and online travel agencies and discount providers that have replaced traditional agents, we now have access to a broader range of prices and options and all at our fingertips.

Key Takeaways:

  • Flights tend to be the most inexpensive between four months and three weeks before your departure date.
  • Seasonal changes and holidays can create price fluctuations in ticket prices.
  • The day of the week that you book a flight does not affect the price.

Understanding Why Airline Ticket Prices Fluctuate

Plane tickets usually don't get cheaper closer to the departure date. Flights tend to be the most inexpensive when you book between four months and three weeks before your departure date.

According to the CheapAir.com 2019 Annual Airfare Study, you can expect rates to go up after that period.   There may, of course, be some compounding factors that can affect this. Seasonal changes and holidays, for example, can impact pricing at different times. Here's a look at how airline prices tend to move, according to the study.

The Volatility of Airfare Prices

Each year, discount airfare company CheapAir.com analyzes millions of flights and ticket prices. In the CheapAir.com 2019 study, the company looked at fares for more than 917 million flights in 8,000 markets. The results show volatility is the main reason behind the prices of flights.  

The company found that the ticket prices fluctuate based on the amount of time between the purchase and the flight, seasonality, and whether the flight is to Hawaii, which is different from booking a flight anywhere else. Day of the week, however, is a myth and does not affect price.  

Six Booking Zones

From its extensive analysis, CheapAir.com identified six booking zones for airfares based on the number of days before departure and what to expect during each of them.

First Dibs (203-315 days in advance)

You will pay about $50 more during this period than if you waited to get the lowest airfare. The positive during this period is that you will probably have more choices when it comes to itinerary and seating.

Peace of Mind (116-202 days in advance)

Tickets cost about $20 more during this period than if you waited for the lowest airfare. Still, there are plenty of good options for seats and flights.

Prime Booking Window (21-115 days in advance)

Push Your Luck (14-20 days in advance)

Fares often rise during this time. The most convenient flight options are sold out, and the best seat options are already taken. But you may luck out and find some lower fares during this period.

Playing with Fire (7-13 days in advance)

The pricing during this period is, on average, $135 lower than it would be if you waited until the last minute to buy your tickets, but it’s still not the ideal time to buy. Flight and seat choices are also limited by this time.

Hail Mary (0-6 days in advance)

If possible, you should try to avoid booking flights during this period unless a last-minute emergency arises. You'll pay an average of $220 more than if you had booked during the prime booking window.  

Electric vehicles (EVs) deliver a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits. When compared with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs can save users on refuelling costs, vehicle maintenance and registration. All EVs tested in the last 5 years have received a 5-star safety rating from the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

There are 2 types of electric vehicles:

  • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
    • powered by an electric motor only
    • energy stored in a battery
    • refuel using external chargers and regenerative braking (kinetic energy captured during braking) to charge the battery
    • typical driving range of 300-600km.
    • partly powered by an electric motor/s (charged by a wall socket or specialised charger)
    • have an internal combustion engine (petrol, diesel, or biofuel)
    • the internal combustion engine is primarily used to generate electricity to recharge the battery or to extend driving range for longer trips
    • have a lower electric-only driving range than BEVs
    • overall driving range of 500-700km, with a full electric driving range of up to 60km.

    EV Costs

    Registration and vehicle registration duty savings in Queensland

    Hybrid or electric vehicles attract the lowest vehicle registration duty costs—get an estimate for vehicle registration duty costs.

    BEVs attract the lowest level of registration—get a registration quote.

    EV running costs

    The upfront cost to purchase an EV is currently more expensive than conventional ICE vehicles. However, EVs have fewer moving parts that require replacing and according to the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia, the running costs of an EV are about 70% cheaper per km when compared to a conventional ICE vehicle 1 . The battery pack accounts for roughly one-quarter of the total EV vehicle cost. With battery prices expected to fall, this is likely to correspond with lower EV purchase prices in the future.

    Researchers and market analysts forecast EVs will reach upfront price parity with ICE vehicles by 2025.

    Compared to the cost to refuel petrol or diesel vehicles, it’s much cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle. The average Queenslander drives 13,400km annually and spends around $1,400 on petrol per year. An EV travelling the same distance would cost around $502 per year in electricity costs or charging could be free if home charging through solar panels (depending on weather and solar system capacity).

    The following table compares the costs of an EV and a fossil fuel vehicle in Queensland.

    This table of information is a general guide based on the following information:

    • Figures based off the average cost of EVs under $55,000 available in the Australian market in 2020 and popular 2020 4-cylinder ICE vehicles.
    • PHEVs and BEVs have a registration duty rate of 2% (compared to 4 cylinder vehicles which have a registration duty rate of 3%).
    • BEVs attract the lowest level of registration.
    • The average distance driven annually in Australia is 13,400km (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018).
    • Note: due to lower maintenance costs, EV savings could be further increased.
    • Compulsory Third Party (CTP) and traffic improvement fee have not been included in this table analysis. .

    For more vehicle comparisons, visit the Green Vehicle Guide.

    How to travel longer cheaper

    Environment

    Approximately 13% of Queensland’s total greenhouse gas emissions currently come from transport, making it the second highest emitting sector in the state.

    EVs reduce total life cycle emission rates from between 16% to 40% for the current (2018) Australian electricity mix compared to conventional ICE vehicles. BEVs produce zero exhaust emissions, therefore, emit no harmful particulates that are responsible for air pollution and an array of health issues. This technology will assist in reducing air and noise pollution, leading to improved public health and urban amenity.

    The energy used to charge EVs from the grid will become greener and more sustainable as the government continues with its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

    Australia is highly reliant on imported oil for most of its transport needs. Queensland is completely self-reliant in terms of electricity production. By using electricity, EVs will help reduce the Queensland economy’s dependency on oil, while supporting the use of renewable and locally produced energy.

    Many owners charge their EVs from a home solar system, making them carbon neutral and free. An EV fully recharged by solar energy can save 2.9 to 3.4 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually when compared to a ICE vehicle (driving 13,400km per year). The Queensland Electric Super Highway, fast charging infrastructure sources their electricity from green energy and offsets.

    EV Batteries

    EVs are extremely efficient, converting over 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power the vehicle. Comparatively, ICEs only convert 12-30% of the energy available in petrol and diesel 2 .

    Today’s EVs have enough battery range to meet the average Australian’s driving needs (480-550km) for over a week. The average Australian drives 38km per day so just like petrol/diesel cars you do not always need ‘fill up’ every day, and you can recharge at home or anywhere with access to electricity.

    Vehicle manufacturers and private companies are increasing research into battery recycling and re-purposing. This has led to significant success overseas, specifically in areas such as grid management demand services.

    Once a battery reaches only 70% of its total capacity, it is no longer fit for use in a vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers and private companies are leading the charge in battery recycling and repurposing in areas such as grid storage and stabilisation. This initiative will contribute to ensuring zero emissions vehicles have a low impact on the environment 3 .

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    Labelling requirements for Electric and Hydrogen vehicles

    Since 1 October 2020, registered owners of hydrogen and electric powered vehicles built after 1 January 2019 (or vehicles modified to be hydrogen or electric powered since that date) are now legally required to display specific labels to the front and rear number plates of the vehicle.

    The rule change has made travelling easier for fully-vaccinated people by removing a number of testing requirements

    How to travel longer cheaper

    The rule change will make travelling easier for fully-vaccinated people by removing a number of testing requirements.

    Here is everything you need to know.

    Read More

    What are the new rules?

    From Monday 4 October there are just two lists – the red list and the rest of the world.

    Anyone arriving in the UK from a red list country must take a pre-departure test in the three days before arrival, and must then quarantine in a government-designated hotel for 10 days, at a cost of over £2,200 per solo traveller.

    Fully-vaccinated people do not need to take a Covid test before travelling to the UK from any country not on the red list, and do not need to quarantine upon their arrival.

    People who are not double jabbed must continue to take a pre-departure test, and must also self-isolate.

    Upon arrival they must quarantine at home for 10 days, and take a test on or before day two and on or after day eight. Quarantine can be left early if travellers pay for a day five private Covid test through the “Test to Release” scheme.

    Fully vaccinated arrivals must currently book and pay for a day two Covid test and add the details of the booking to a passenger locator form, which must be filled out in the 48 hours before arrival in UK.

    However, this requirement is also set to be scrapped, with only a lateral flow test set to be required.

    When will PCR day two travel testing be scrapped?

    The Government has announced that mandatory PCR testing for vaccinated arrivals will be scrapped in favour of antigen testing by the end of October.

    Hopes have been raised that the tests will be axed in time for the half-term holidays, after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs on Wednesday that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is “aware” of half-term.

    Mr Shapps said: “They (DHSC) are aware of half term and are working closely with the private-sector providers to ensure we can do this as quickly as possible.”

    On 8 October the minister gave further cause for hope, telling Sky News: “We want to get this done for half-term for people.

    “I know my colleagues at Health and to some extent the Home Office – they are the people that have to implement this change – are working extremely hard on getting this done. And so we anticipate having it ready for the half-term.”

    In England and Wales, most schools will break up for half-term on Friday 22 October.

    What are the rules for testing before leaving the UK ?

    The important thing to know about testing before leaving the UK is that tests are not mandatory to board a flight from the UK.

    Holidaymakers only need to take a test if the destination country mandates it. The rules often differ by whether you are vaccinated or not, with many countries not requiring any tests if you are double-jabbed, so do check the the Foreign Office website for relevant guidance.

    And be sure to check if your country requires a PCR test or if the cheaper antigen (lateral flow) test will do.

    Check carefully how many days before arrival the test needs to be taken as the timescales often vary for PCR tests and antigen tests.

    What about testing once I’m on holiday?

    Some countries require visitors to present a “Covid passport” in order to so much as sit outside at a restaurant, enter indoor attractions or even travel on long distance public.

    This is usually no problem for those who are fully vaccinated or have proof of a recent infection as either of these will grant a traveller with a Covid passport.

    However, for unvaccinated travellers, a Covid passport’s validity will need to be regularly renewed with regular testing while away.

    For UK holidaymakers, this will come up as an issue for unvaccinated children under the age of 15.

    This is because France and Austria’s Covid passport systems apply to all those aged 12 and over, while Italy’s applies to those aged 13 and over.

    Unvaccinated teenagers in these countries will therefore find themselves having to test regularly while away.

    Customers who pay the Mersey Tunnel Toll by debit or credit card in our toll lanes are able to obtain a card payment receipt via this website. Receipts are available for viewing and downloading up to 6 months after your journey. To request a receipt, please have your card payment details available and click here. (For customers paying by mobile devices (Apple or Android) receipts will be available through your provider).

    Find out more

    Click here to find out more about T-FLOW and calculate how much you can save

    Current Journey Times

    Queensway Tunnel (Birkenhead Tunnel)

    Last Updated: 21:05:01 27/12/2021

    Kingsway Tunnel (Wallasey Tunnel)

    Last Updated: 06:45:01 09/12/2021

    How to travel longer cheaper

    Make your journey cheaper and quicker

    T-FLOW – a more convenient way to pay

    T-FLOW is a video tolling system that reads your vehicle’s registration as you approach the toll lane. Register for an account and, providing your account is in credit, the barrier will automatically be raised so that you can pass through almost without stopping. The toll fee will be deducted from your T-FLOW account.

    T-FLOW is available for all vehicle classes and removes the need for cash. You can check how much you spend and keep track of the journeys you have made via our online account management system. You can pay by monthly Direct Debit, spreading the cost evenly throughout the year, or make a top up payment via debit/credit card as and when you need to. With T-FLOW you pay only for the journeys that you make, if you do not use all of your credit it will be carried forward to the next month. You can cancel your T-FLOW account at any time .

    T-FLOW is the most convenient way to pay for your journeys through the Mersey Tunnels, see our Tolls Fees and Charges.

    T-FLOW is the quick and easy way to travel through Mersey Tunnels and make full use of the benefits that the scheme provides; including T-FLOW Only Lanes to help reduce queue time at the toll plaza and detailed online statements providing a history of journeys made.

    Try our quick savings calculator to see if you may also benefit from savings by using T-FLOW.

    How to travel longer cheaper

    In the past several years, air travel has become more hectic and less appealing for some travelers. Tighter security regulations mean longer waits. Rising fuel prices can lead to more expensive tickets. Yet despite the inconveniences, air travel still holds a number of advantages over car, train and bus travel.

    Speed

    For long hauls such as transoceanic flights, air travel is unquestionably the fastest way to get to your destination, but even on shorter trips planes are often quicker. On Airfare.michaelbluejay.com, author Michael Bluejay notes that on a medium-length trip from New York City to Detroit, a flight will take about 4½ hours (including an hour driving to and from the airport and an hour waiting in the terminal) while a car ride will take 9½ hours, a bus ride almost 15 hours and a train ride about 16½ hours. Buses, cars and trains only begin to become competitive on extremely short trips such as from NYC to Philadelphia.

    Safety

    Plane crashes are spectacular, tragic events that can result in hundreds of deaths. Fortunately, they are extremely rare. According to Chance News, the odds of dying on a 1,000-mile flight is significantly less than that from dying on a 100-mile car ride. Rail, bus and train travel are also more dangerous than flying on a plane.

    Comfort

    Although many airline seats are cramped and crowded, airlines are often more comfortable than some of the alternatives. They offer a controlled climate at a comfortable temperature and reclining seats, both of which are absent from many buses. Airplanes also generally give passengers the chance to stretch their legs during the trip and often provide free beverages. First-class and business-class accommodations include large, premium seating, high-quality complimentary meals and other amenities.

    The cost of tickets for airplane, bus and train travel can vary dramatically, as can the cost of gasoline which, along with the price of maintenance, determines the cost of car travel. In many cases, however, airplane travel is the cheapest way to get there. According to Michael Bluejay, as of October 2008 a trip from New York City to Detroit cost $86 dollars by plane; this was comparable to slightly cheaper train ($75) and bus tickets ($80) tickets and significantly cheaper than car travel ($115). On the longer New York to Los Angeles trip, the advantages of air travel really shined: airplane tickets were more than $30 dollars less than train tickets, the cheapest alternative.

    • Michael Bluejay's How-to Airfare Guide: Is It Better to Drive, Fly, Take the Train, or Take a Bus?
    • Insurance Information Institute: Aviation
    • Chance News: Risk Factor

    Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

    LONG-HAUL holidays to the Caribbean are now so cheap they cost less than a seven-night break in Europe.

    Destinations such as St Lucia and Barbados – which remain above 30C in the winter months – have bargain package deals that will set you back less than a trip to Greece or Spain.

    How to travel longer cheaper

    If you click on a link in this story we may earn affiliate revenue.

    British Airways' Black Friday sale has seven nights in St Lucia at a four-star hotel, with breakfast and return flights, for just £799pp.

    This is in comparison to their Corfu Black Friday deal, which is £849pp when staying at a five-star hotel with return flights.

    Spend just £50 more and you could head to Barbados for seven nights, costing £899pp.

    TUI has even cheaper deals – you could spend a week in Barbados this Christmas for just £549pp with return flights.

    If you book before the end of the week, this goes down to just £499pp thanks to their Black Friday deal.

    And Virgin Holidays has seven nights in Barbados this winter, all-inclusive and with return flights for just £582pp.

    This isn't much more than TUI's cheapest all-inclusive deals to Greece, which start from £517pp.

    TravelSupermarket's Emma Coulthurst said that more people are looking at the hotter, long-haul holidays this winter too.

    Most read in News Travel

    How to travel longer cheaper

    How to travel longer cheaper

    How to travel longer cheaper

    How to travel longer cheaper

    She said: “This time last year, the UK was facing limited opportunity to travel. People were finding that they had booked but were having to cancel holidays as the country went into another lockdown and only essential travel was allowed.

    "Now, restrictions have relaxed for travel back to the UK with only one lateral flow test required within two days of landing.

    "People are dipping their toes back in the holiday waters with a sun holiday rather than a city break as many have not taken a holiday abroad this year or last year.

    "So, sun on their faces and a swim in warm seas is what people seem to be craving the most."

    She added that due to the forms and tests still needed for destinations, Brits aren't opting for the shorter weekend breaks to Europe or the city breaks as much, and wanting to go away for longer to make the most of it.

    Vaccinated Brits still need to have a negative Covid test to enter Barbados, but don't need to quarantine, which is the same for St Lucia.

    Here are some other cheap Caribbean holidays to make the most of this winter.

    How to travel longer cheaper

    This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.

    An overhaul of England’s Covid-19 rules governing international travel will come into force from Monday 4 October, replacing the traffic-light system.

    A single red list of countries will remain, with the previous green and amber countries becoming the “rest of the world” or “non-red list”. There will also be changes to the testing requirements when returning from a non-red-list country, if fully vaccinated.

    From 4am on 4 October, there will no longer be a requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a test in the three days before their return from a non-red-list country.

    Also, from the end of October, they will no longer be required to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival in England or Scotland – instead they will need to take a lateral flow test. If the lateral flow test is positive, they will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test at no additional cost.

    For those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, there are currently no changes to the testing or quarantine requirements. This means if they arrive in the UK from any non-red-list country, they will still need to take a pre-departure test, a PCR test on day two and day eight, and quarantine at home for 10 days. If they are arriving in England, they still have the option to use the test-to-release scheme on day five.

    Requirements for arrivals in the UK from red-list countries remain the same: a pre-departure test and the pre-booking of a mandatory 11-night quarantine hotel package, which will include two PCR tests, taken on day two and day eight, whatever your vaccination status.

    All travellers, regardless of their vaccination status and the country they are travelling from, will also still need to complete a passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before they arrive in the UK.

    The aim of the changes, according to the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is to simplify rules and decrease the burden on people travelling. The new regime is expected to be fully in place in time for people returning from October half-term holidays in England.

    The new rules announced apply to England. The devolved administrations are in charge of their own travel rules, but they have typically been mirroring Westminster’s approach.

    Aside from removing the need to take tests, the change in rules means the overall cost of travel will be cheaper. Test providers have typically charged £60 for PCR tests and £30 for lateral flow tests.

    The removal of popular destinations such as Turkey from the red list will also make holidays more affordable. Having to quarantine in a hotel after returning to the UK comes at a cost of £2,285 for a single person and £1,430 for additional people over the age of 11.

    Over the weekend rumours began to circulate that prime minister Boris Johnson would open up more countries for hotel quarantine-free travel later this week. The Sunday Telegraph reported that the UK’s red list of destinations would be slashed to nine from 54.

    Fully vaccinated arrivals from countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa would no longer have to quarantine in a government-designated hotel for 10 days when they get to England from later in October, the newspaper said.

    On Friday, November 19, federal officials confirmed that COVID-19 testing requirements will be dropped for eligible travellers who are leaving Canada for 72 hours or less.

    From Tuesday, November 30, fully vaccinated people with right of entry to Canada will be able to skip the pre-entry molecular test, meaning they’ll be able to return home without forking out hundreds for a PCR test.

    This applies to people travelling via land or air, as long as they’re able to demonstrate that they’ve been out of the country for three days or under.

    As the COVID-19 tests approved to enter the country can cost at least $100, this update means taking short trips just got much cheaper.

    It also means those driving across the Canada-U.S. border will no longer be required to spend any money on COVID-19 testing, as the American land border does not require fully vaccinated travellers to take a COVID-19 test prior to entry.

    It’s worth noting that people flying into the United States will still be required to take a test before arriving, although rapid antigen tests are accepted.

    Unfortunately for people dreaming of lengthy vacations, the rules will not change for people leaving Canada for over 72 hours. In this case, passengers will still be expected to take a pre-entry molecular test before arriving. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

    If you do still need to take a molecular test, Rexall Pharmacy sells a take-home test starting at $200, while Costco sells do-it-yourself PCR tests for $120. Air Canada has its own version priced from $149.

    Some U.S. pharmacies do offer free PCR testing, although there are some risks to be aware of.

    This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.