Birute – former J-1 Trainee
You probably want to take advantage of the extra one month the J-1 visa is granting you after your internship / training ended. And you probably also want to take short trips on some of your weekends during the program too. To help you out, I compiled a short list of where to look for deals and how to travel smart!
- If you want to explore the nearby areas, talk to the locals first – ask your colleagues, host family, local friends – they will be full of awesome ideas and great tips! They might even take you on their next planned trip and show you around!
- Check coupon websites for discounted getaways like www.groupon.com , www.livingsocial.com, www.travelzoo.com and any other sites your colleagues suggest.
- Be flexible with dates – instead of setting a date and trying to book everything for those particular dates, check on which days you can find the cheapest airfares, train tickets, special deals etc.
- Use alternative solutions to book your accommodation like www.hotwire.com and www.priceine.com where you place an offer for a 3 star hotel for example and wait to see which hotel accepts your offer and www.airbnb.com where you can rent a room or an entire apartment from locals. Also check the most popular booking sites www.expedia.com , www.orbitz.com, www.hotels.com , www.kayak.com for deals.
- Food: avoid booking hotel breakfast – it’s usually more expensive than going out an eating something from a local bakery for example.
- If you are a group of interns close to each other in the area, consider renting a car and going on a road trip. Make sure to buy insurance as well for your rental car to avoid any inconvenience.
- Last minute travel. While planning ahead can save you a lot of money, sometimes the opposite can be the cheapest – going somewhere on a last minute deals. Subscribe to the newsletters of the above mentioned websites and be ready to travel!
- The best accommodation / travel review site in the USA is www.tripadvisor.com – before booking something on a suspiciously low price, check the location on tripadvisor – maybe there is an unpleasant reason why the deal is so good. While you want to save money, you don’t want to ruin your vacation.
- Pack smart – if you are travelling by air, study the airline’s baggage policy to avoid extra charges. Many airlines only allow a carry-on luggage for free.
- If you are a member of a frequent flyer program in Europe (for example Miles&More), you can get miles for flying with the European airline’s US partner. Make sure you notify them and request your miles. This might not save you money immediately, but on the long term definitely!
Enjoy your internship and traveling in the USA!!