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If you like to travel and you wish to do it more often, I’m sure that you want to discover how to find the best travel deals that allow you to save money on your vacations. As traveling is my greatest passion, I am always searching new ways to find great deals and to afford to travel more, so along the way I’ve discovered some very helpful tips and I am sharing them here, hoping they will be useful for you too. You will find here tips for booking cheaper flights and finding good hotel rates, but also some tips about spending less on museum tickets and car rental.
If you have any other tips that helped you find good travel deals I would be glad to find them out and to use them in our future vacations, so please feel free to share them here!
How to find the best travel deals for flights
Finding a good rate for a flight can be sometimes very complicated, but there are some tricks that are really useful and can help you save a lot of money.
1. Using Skyscanner in a smart way
Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine and it usually helps me find the cheapest airfare for my destination. They compare millions of offers from all airlines and help you find the available best price. I also discovered some ways to reduce the costs, even more, I think they could be useful for you too.
If you can be flexible with your dates, it’s more convenient to search using the “whole month” option. Instead of selecting particular flight dates, you can select the whole month for a separate tab and you will be able to see what dates are the best choice for you. If you are really flexible with your dates, the best idea is to select the “cheapest month” option and you will find the best deals in the entire year for your selected destination.
If you enjoy traveling and you can be flexible with your destination, you can find the best deals by typing “Everywhere” as your destination. Skyscanner will provide you a list of possible destinations with the best available prices and you’ll have the chance to discover a lot of very cheap flights!
Another useful option is to choose to search for “nearby airports” too. Especially if you plan to rent a car for your vacation, it could be more convenient to land at a nearby airport and take a short drive to your destination. For example, if you travel to Paris, the flights to the main airport are usually the most expensive, but if you choose to land at a nearby airport the prices become more affordable.
2. Clear your browser’s cookies or use the incognito mode when searching for airplane tickets
If you keep checking a site to book airplane tickets, your search can be tracked by the system and it may never show a lower price or even show you a higher price next time you check. A lot of search engines remember your searches and can increase the prices when you search several times.
The best way to avoid this is to clear your browser’s cookies before every search or to use the incognito mode in Chrome. I always use the second method and it’s really useful. I even made some tests to see if the prices really increase when I don’t use incognito mode and they do, so it is worth trying this!
3. Find the best moments to book your flight
In the last years, there were several pieces of research done to discover what dates are best for booking flights and what dates are more convenient for departure or return date. The results have shown that we should avoid flying on Friday and Sunday because they are the busiest and most expensive days of the week. If you can be flexible with your dates, it is better to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
4. Use Kayak.com as a research tool for your destination
I recently discovered Kayak.com and it’s a great resource for planning a trip. They give advice about when it is better to book tickets for popular destinations and they even have a section dedicated to family travel where they give information about the best destinations for family trips in the US. They also have great guides for a lot of destinations around the world and they provide information about what to do, where to stay or where to eat.
What I like most about this site is the fact that they provide personalized information about when it’s best to travel to a particular destination. In the “When to go” section of the site you can choose a destination and you’ll receive information about the median airfare by month, the median airfare by time before departure and how a good deal for that destination should look like. (you can find below an example for a flight between San Francisco and Madrid)
How to find the best travel deals for hotels
If you manage to get a good deal for your airplane ticket, the next step would be to find a great deal for your accommodation too! Here are some tips that could help you.
5. Use the lists on Booking.com to save your favorite destinations and compare prices
I’m sure everyone knows about booking.com, so there is no need to tell you more details about it. I use it for most of my vacations and it was always helpful. One option that is not so very well known is that you can create lists on your profile and you can use them to help you find great deals. I use the lists in 3 different ways:
– I have a list of hotels that I like and are suitable for a weekend break (so they are not so far from our home) and every time I want to go somewhere over the weekend I just need to add the dates and I will get the availability information and the prices for all of them. This way I can easily find a place to go in a very short time without searching for each hotel individually. This is a great tool for last minute trips!
– When I plan to go to a destination but I don’t have exact dates yet, I make a research, I select the hotels that I like and I add them to a list. This way I can make different simulations using various dates to see when the prices are more convenient and which of the hotels is the best option.
– I also use lists when we go on a long road trip and we don’t want to make all the reservations in advance because we want to be flexible during the vacation. I add to the list all the hotels I like that are along our route and when we want to find our next stop I just need to add the date and to see what hotels are near us, available and have the best price.
You can find below an example with one of my lists. To create a list you must be logged into your account. To add a hotel to a list you must press the “add to favorites” button near the hotel name.
6. Use Airbnb to find affordable accommodations for your vacation
If you don’t want to stay at a hotel, Airbnb.com is a great site for finding a place to rent during your vacation. Usually, it is cheaper to rent than to go to a hotel and you can also find some amazing places to stay! I always use the “super host” option in my searches, to be sure that I don’t have any issues with my renting.
If you plan to stay in a place for a longer period of time you can get great discounts, so this option will be much better than a hotel. Another advantage of renting a house is that you will have access to a kitchen and you will be able to save money by having some of the meals at home instead of going to a restaurant. Airbnb is also a good option for last minute bookings because they usually offer discounts.
7. Use Trivago to compare prices
If you already chose a hotel for your stay, you can make sure that you get the best rates by searching it on trivago.com. They allow you to compare hotel prices from more than 200 booking sites, so you have the best chance to find the cheapest price.
8. Use Hotel Tonight for last minute deals
I recently discovered this app and I heard good feedbacks about it so I plan to try it soon. It allows you to find great last minute rates for tonight, tomorrow and next week and you can make the booking on any mobile device.
Other useful tips for finding the best travel deals
I gathered here some tips that we often use and help us to save money on our trips, I hope they will be useful for you too!
9. Use the public transportation instead of taxis
This is a much cheaper option and in a lot of most destinations, you can choose a weekly ticket that will allow you to use all the public transport at a very good price. Another option for taxis is to use Uber: you just need to download the app and make an account and you’ll be able to find a ride quickly and at a better price.
10. Buy museum tickets in a smart way
If you are visiting a big city with a lot of attractions, the total cost of the tickets can become very high. To save money you can choose a city pass that allows you to visit a list of museums at a discounted price. Another useful idea is to book the tickets online, on the museum’s site. A lot of museums offer discounts for online purchases and they are also great because they allow you to skip the line at the ticket shop.
11. Search for free attractions
All the major cities have some interesting free attraction that you can visit. You can also try the free walking tours, they are a great way to discover a destination on a budget. There is also helpful to make a research to see if the museums you want to visit offer discounts on particular days or hours, some of them even offer monthly free days when you can visit them without purchasing a ticket.
12. Sign up for newsletters from airlines and travel websites
This way you will be the first to know when they have a promotion and you’ll be able to take advantage of the discounted prices.
13. If possible, travel during the off-season
This is a wonderful idea that we used in the last years and it really worked for us. Traveling during the off-season has a lot of benefits: you get better deals on flights and hotels and you also get to visit nice places when they are not crowded. Here are two helpful resources to find the off-season period for a lot of destinations: Find Where to Travel by Month During Off-Season Travel and A Global Guide To Off-Season Travel.
14. Save money on car rental
If you plan to rent a car at your destination, use CarRentals.com to find the best deals. They compare more than 33 rental car companies to find the cheapest rates. They also have a “price drop” alert that notifies you when prices for your destination low, you just need to select this option from the bottom of the page.
I hope that these tips will allow you to spend less on your vacation and to be able to travel more! If you have any other recommendations to add to the list, I would be happy to find them out.