Everyone is shopping for the best “Black Friday deals” on the internet for their holiday gifts. Why not get the best deals on travel too?
Getting a Better Deal on Airline Tickets
Plan Ahead and look for flights at least five and a half months early. I sign up for ticket sale emails from the major airlines. Virgin America has fantastic sales on tickets, and give you an easy way to find the best days to travel. Just book your tickets at least 14 days before you plan on leaving.
Purchase your tickets at 3PM on a Tuesday. The majority of sale fares start on Monday at 8PM and end on Tuesday at 8PM. Therefore, the greatest number of cheap tickets will be available on Tuesday at about 3PM eastern time.
Schedule your vacation for the off-season when airline prices are much cheaper – look up when the most popular times for your destination and plan your trip before or after that. Try to avoid major holidays and booking weekend flights, as both are more popular for travelers.
Always fly in and out of the same airport, especially if you are renting a car, but find flights with connects as those tend to be cheaper than non-stop flights.
Compare costs on the various travel search sites, but always buy your ticket direct from the airlines.
- Kayak lets you search from both travel agencies as well as the airlines themselves
- Bing, lets you look up the flight you want and it will show you the fare history based on past data to let you know whether or you should book or wait.
- skyscanner.com allows you look at multiple airports in your area at the same time
If you buy your tickets from a travel site instead of from the airline, you may have major problems with the tickets if you have to make changes to your itinerary after you have departed due to health issues, weather or equipment problems. The airlines may look at your ticket and tell you that you cannot make changes to it without contacting the travel site. Have you ever tried to get ahold of Kayak or Orbiz on the phone? It is impossible. This makes the value of the ticket worthless, and may force you to buy a new ticket during your trip. This could cost you a lot of money.
Airlines often have cheaper fares when you buy directly from them that are not displayed on the consolidators sites, so once you find out how to get to your destination, go to the airlines’ website to buy the tickets.
Finding the Lowest Cost Hotel Accommodations
There are several excellent sites to search for hotel rooms at a discount. Try discounthotels.com. Most require you to pay for the rooms up front to get the best deal. If you purchase travel insurance for your trip, include the cost of these rooms in your travel cost so that you are covered in the event you have to cancel for a covered reason.
You will find the best accommodations at the best price renting a room or apartment. Locals rent out rooms and apartments for days or weeks, and the accommodations are great.
Search AirBnB.com – plug in your city of choice and you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive and nice of a place you can rent. AirBnB.com guarantees the accommodations and the deposit. Just make sure to check the reviews that have been left for the person who’s renting the place. Use your common sense when it comes to safety. If you’re a woman traveling alone don’t rent a room in a place occupied by a single guy
Whether renting a room, or picking a hotel – look for accommodations off the beaten path. If you are willing to take public transportation or drive, booking a hotel away from the downtown area can be much cheaper.
Make sure you add travel insurance to cover your vacation. Many of the hotel and airline deals require payment up front and are non-refundable. Travel insurance will cover the loss of your vacation if you can’t go for a covered reason.