My name is Ramie Frantz, and for me, travel is a form of research for my painting. I paint to tell stories, so when my repertoire is lacking, I’ll book a last-minute trip to do exactly that. Sure, it sounds glamorous, but if I can’t find a cheap flight AND a cheap hotel room, I’ll stay local. To be honest, I’m generally good in the hotel department (see hack #1 below), so if you’ve got any additional flight tips, don’t hesitate to share your magic.
My experience as a traveling artist makes me an expert of sorts, and as a self-proclaimed expert, I’m stoked to share my two favorite travel hacks with you. Oh, and to be clear, I don’t carry paintings around with me everywhere…or do I?
1. Save boatloads of money by booking with a hotel wholesaler.
And by boatloads, I mean up to 70% off the price you’d be paying if you booked directly through the hotel or through a travel site like Expedia or Hotwire. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard the term “hotel wholesaler”, but basically, a wholesaler has multi-year leases and existing relationships in the hotel industry, which allows them to pass on the savings. Seriously, who knew this kind of thing even existed?
You get the best deals when you 1. book last minute—less than 21 days before the date of your stay—and 2. when you travel on weekdays. As someone who travels often, I always try to incorporate at least one of those two booking hacks. Before you can book though, you’ll have to become a member of their wholesale network, which used to be reserved for large travel agencies and business travelers. Thankfully, companies like Unlocked are making it easier than ever for individual travelers (like myself) to take advantage of their wholesale prices.
I personally took advantage of a seasonal special Unlocked was running on the membership fee—um, it was like $35/year—so be sure to wait until they’re running a special before you sign up. Browsing wholesale hotel rates has become a new hobby of mine.
2. Save that precious suitcase space by roll, roll, rolling your clothes.
Not to go all Marie Kondo on you, but you’ll be shocked by how many more clothes or toiletries (or paintbrushes) you can fit when you’re employing this magical Japanese travel hack. I’m not gonna lie—I got it from Marie’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up when I was trying to get my apartment organized. And since taming that chaos, I’ve used what I learned across the spectrum. Most recently? My suitcase.
It’s as straightforward as it sounds: Roll or tightly fold every individual piece of clothing you plan to pack. Yes, underwear and socks too. When you’re done, begin stacking your rolls one by one. If you’re fully loaded and still have more to go, begin stuffing clothing rolls into toiletry bags, shoes and every other unoccupied corner of your suitcase. I personally like to create a packing list so I’m never overdoing it, i.e. planning my outfits for each day I’ll be away. Trimming the excess is the first step to being minimal in the packing department.
So there they are, my two best travel hacks for the average traveler, travel guru, or the aspiring travel-aholic. If you have any cheap flight tips, travel hacks or if you just want to connect, let’s meet over on Instagram…see you there.