So you want to travel on a budget. Who doesn’t? Yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the cheap travel tips, hacks and strategies out there that promise unbelievable deals on airfare and hotels.

In reality, there’s only one important tactic for traveling cheaply: being flexible with your travel dates, destination and plans. It might sound simple — or even simplistic — but you would be surprised how few travelers are willing to take this piece of advice to heart.

To be fair, this flexibility-first mindset requires a paradigm shift for many in terms of how they start planning vacations. It requires moving from this type of planning:

“I want to go to Amsterdam from Sept. 5th through 13th.”

To this:

“I want to go somewhere fun in September.”

For some, this degree of flexibility is simply impossible. Yet for those who can loosen their preconceptions about how to plan travel, it can lead to big savings — and maybe even more fun — whether you’re paying with cash or using points.

WHY RIGIDITY IS SO EXPENSIVE

The cost of travel depends on the interplay between many factors, including:

— Demand.

— Supply.

— Randomness.

— Number of options.

When you make specific plans from the get-go, you essentially constrain the last variable — you give yourself fewer options. This means that the cost of your trip will depend entirely on the first three variables, which are completely outside of your control.

This economic interplay will sometimes fall in your favor, and you’ll score a good deal on the exact destination and dates you wanted. But more often than not, you’ll end up paying more than average simply by starting with a severely limited set of options.

HOW TO PLAN TRAVELS WITH FLEXIBILITY

You can still set some boundaries around your search. Example parameters might include:

— I want to travel in the fall.

— I want to sit on the beach.

— I don’t want to spend more than $X.

From here, you can begin weighing different destinations and dates to see which could maximize your preferences. For example, you might start with flights to Hawaii but notice that airfare is through the roof. So you switch to the Caribbean narrow your interest to a few destinations with cheap flights, then start researching hotel prices.

Finally, you can find the dates and destinations that offer the best combination of price and features, then book your travel.

Think about how many times you (or someone you know) have gone about it the other way — by starting with dates and a destination, then accepting whatever costs come up.

THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB

As this flexible travel approach gains in popularity, travel booking sites and services have begun offering helpful tools specifically designed for the task.

AIRFARE DEAL ALERTS

Airfare deal newsletters, like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club, are how many travelers start thinking in terms of flexibility. These newsletters send a blast to subscribers whenever

So you want to travel on a budget. Who doesn’t? Yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the cheap travel tips, hacks and strategies out there that promise unbelievable deals on airfare and hotels.

In reality, there’s only one important tactic for traveling cheaply: being flexible with your travel dates, destination and plans. It might sound simple — or even simplistic — but you would be surprised how few travelers are willing to take this piece of advice to heart.

To be fair, this flexibility-first mindset requires a paradigm shift for many in terms of how they start planning vacations. It requires moving from this type of planning:

“I want to go to Amsterdam from Sept. 5th through 13th.”

To this:

“I want to go somewhere fun in September.”

For some, this degree of flexibility is simply impossible. Yet for those who can loosen their preconceptions about how to plan travel, it can lead to big savings — and maybe even more fun — whether you’re paying with cash or using points.

WHY RIGIDITY IS SO EXPENSIVE

The cost of travel depends on the interplay between many factors, including:

— Demand.

— Supply.

— Randomness.

— Number of options.

When you make specific plans from the get-go, you essentially constrain the last variable — you give yourself fewer options. This means that the cost of your trip will depend entirely on the first three variables, which are completely outside of your control.

This economic interplay will sometimes fall in your favor, and you’ll score a good deal on the exact destination and dates you wanted. But more often than not, you’ll end up paying more than average simply by starting with a severely limited set of options.

HOW TO PLAN TRAVELS WITH FLEXIBILITY

You can still set some boundaries around your search. Example parameters might include:

— I want to travel in the fall.

— I want to sit on the beach.

— I don’t want to spend more than $X.

From here, you can begin weighing different destinations and dates to see which could maximize your preferences. For example, you might start with flights to Hawaii, but notice that airfare is through the roof. So you switch to the Caribbean, narrow your interest to a few destinations with cheap flights, then start researching hotel prices.

Finally, you can find the dates and destinations that offer the best combination of price and features, then book your travel.

Think about how many times you (or someone you know) have gone about it the other way — by starting with dates and a destination, then accepting whatever costs come up.

THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB

As this flexible travel approach gains in popularity, travel booking sites and services have begun offering helpful tools specifically designed for the task.

AIRFARE DEAL ALERTS

Airfare deal newsletters, like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club, are how many travelers start thinking in terms of flexibility. These newsletters send a blast to subscribers whenever

Alyssa Nardslico scored a hat trick to lead the Rome Free Academy girls lacrosse team to an 8-6 victory over host Clinton on Thursday afternoon.

Jace Hunzinger scored two goals and Alexandra Tapia, Isabella Sanzone and Shannen Calandra scored a goal each.

In goal, Alana Iacovissi made seven saves for the 4-0 Black Knights.

For Clinton, Alexis Alteri scored twice and Ava Alteri, Mia Lopata, Chelsea Lopata, Katelynn Deveans each added a goal.

In goal, Angelina Borowiec made three saves for the 4-1 Warriors.

RFA hosts Cazenovia Saturday at 3:30.

Clinton visits New Hartford on Saturday at 3.

Crysler tosses shutout for Oneida

Kerrigan Crysler threw a complete game shutout for Oneida in a 3-0 win at home against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill in a Tri-Valley League matchup Thursday.

Crysler went seven innings, allowing two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.

Olivia Friend singled in the fourth inning then stole second and third before scoring on a passed ball. In the fifth, Oneida built on to its lead. Mikah Albro came on to run and proceeded to steal second and third before coming home on a single by Kaylin Curro. Curro stole second and third, then scored on a double by her sister Kennedy.

VVS starting pitcher Kendal Lehnen gave up three runs, two of them earned, in six innings. She allowed three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.

Oneida improved to 2-1, 2-0 in the TVL. The team will participate in the Mary Testa Softball Tournament Saturday at Union-Endicott.

VVS was scheduled to host Whitesboro today.

Musch homers four times in Camden win

Brooke Musch hit four homeruns and drove in 11 runs in Camden’s 27-1 win at South Jefferson Thursday that was stopped after five innings with the mercy rule.

Musch went six-for-six with four homers, scored five runs and drove in 11. Sharlotte Jones had three hits and scored three times. Avery Prievo had two triples, scored three times and had four RBIs. Kendall Musch had two hits, three runs and four RBIs.

On the mound for Camden, Ryleigh Johnson threw all five innings, allowing two hits and walking four while striking out four.

The Blue Devils will travel to Central Valley Academy at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Westmo 10-run inning powers Bulldogs to win

Westmoreland beat Clinton 13-4 in softball Thursday at home.

The Bulldogs scored three in the third, and Clinton responded with two to make it 3-2. But Westmoreland exploded for 10 in the fourth.

Eighth grader Samantha Ferguson won her second varsity start in the mound. She also hit a triple and drove in four runs. Freshman Autumn Millington doubled and drove in three runs.

Westmoreland is 2-0. Clinton falls to 1-1. The teams were set to square off again today, this time at Clinton.

RFA boys lacrosse suffers first loss

The RFA boys lacrosse team took its first loss of the season, dropping Thursday’s road game at New Hartford, 17-2.

Jared Hussey and Noah Hammon scored for the Black Knights.

Goalie Jimmy DeAngelo made

Getting tired of that same old shirt for those Zoom calls? New Day stylist Darcy Camden has 5 new tops to up your virtual meeting game. #newdaynw

SEATTLE — New Day Stylist Darcy Camden picked 5 tops that can update your ZOOM wardrobe. Remember, pajama pants can still happen on the bottom! 

Featured Zoom top: The Wrap Top by Akala and Chain of Command necklace from Ilene & Co jewelry

 I’ve been wanting something fresh and feminine for springtime, and I need something versatile that goes with a lot of different bottoms. The Wrap Top by Seattle-based sustainable fashion brand Akala is the perfect combination of pretty and professional. I can tie it in the front or in the back, depending on how I’m sitting/positioned on Zoom, and the v-neck is not too low. Chain jewelry is also a big trend for spring, and it’s great for work calls because it’s subtle and not too “blingy”—the Chain of Command necklace by local company Ilene & Co can be worn several ways to complement any neckline.

Featured Zoom top: Bridget Pullover by Shabby Chic

My business partner Tiffany is a make-up artist and hairstylist, she’s not someone who sits at a computer all day but often does need to pop on Zoom for a meeting, sometimes at the end of a long day. She also happens to have lots of beautiful tattoos that she often chooses to cover up for certain scenarios. The Bridget Pullover is such a beautiful shade of greenish-blue, and it’s as comfortable as a sweatshirt, but the detailed sleeve really dresses it up, and the stretchy waist is flattering and comfortable. I also gave her a plant-based wrinkle release spray “Iron in a Bottle” by a company called Tom and Sheri’s, it’s chemical-free and you can literally spray it on yourself to get wrinkles out. 

Featured Zoom top: The Best Travel Wrap by Urban Undercover 

Notes: My friend Simone is working from home these days, but normally her job has her traveling all over the world. This Travel Wrap by Urban Undercover is the perfect cozy piece to wear at home to look put together but feel like you’re wrapped in a blanket, and when she resumes traveling again, hopefully soon!, it will be a great piece to wear on the plane. 

Featured Zoom top: The Sunflower Blousette by AYSHA 

I love discovering something in fashion that is brand new. My friend and across-the-street neighbor Mary are showing off a really cool invention by a cool company out of NY, they call it the “blousette”, and it’s kind of a hybrid of a sheer blouse and a light jacket. Wear it zipped to the neck for a meeting and wear it unzipped like a bomber jacket after hours. I always recommend wearing something with a pattern if you’re Zooming against a plain background (conversely, if your background is really busy, go for a solid). 

Featured Zoom top: Rugby Beach Boyfriend shirt by Tommy Bahama  and Tommy Bahama