After years of traveling and travel planning I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to save money while booking travels. From finding student discounts to travel essentials, here are a few of my favorite travel resources!
1. Travel on a weekday, but still be flexible
Flexibility is the key to traveling cheap! Many airlines offer travel deals during the week because that’s typically the time most people are at work, therefore there are less people traveling and the airlines are anxious to fill flights (which means lower prices for us, yay!)
Also, be flexible with the travel search engine you use. Use comparison sites like Skyscanner, Priceline, or Expedia to make sure you are getting the best possible rate when you’re booking a flight or hotel for your trip.
1.5 because this fits between tip 1 and tip 2.
Okay, so I recently started using Ebates a few months ago and I wish I would have started using it sooner. I’m obsessed already. Ebates is a site that gives you cash back for shopping online at your favorite stores! So you’re basically getting paid (earning cash back) to buy things you would normally buy anyway. I booked a super cheap flight on Ebates.com with Priceline for my trip to Hawaii and a few weeks later I got a check in the mail for my cash back. I never buy anything online without checking Ebates first.
In addition to everyday purchases Ebates will get you cash back on hotels, flights, and even car rentals. So you’re basically getting paid to travel right? Sign up here now to get $10 cash in your account for free.
2. Find the cheapest way to get there
As I mentioned before, it is so important to do research before you book any part of your trip.
Skyscanner.com lets you search ‘flexible’ as the destination which basically means show me everywhere that I can go from my home airport. It also lets you search by cheapest month. Want to know what month and day it’s cheapest to go to Thailand? With the click of a button skyscanner will show you.
Kiwi.com works in a similar way by letting you search cheapest month and flexible dates, but another good thing about Kiwi.com is that they also give you the option to do a radius search, which means they will include all nearby airports within a certain radius because it may be cheaper to fly from one of the nearby airports rather than your home airport.
When using the desktop version of Kiwi.com you are also able to see recommendations of cheap trips from your selected airport.
3. Check for discounts
Many people get so excited about their upcoming trips and they end up booking the first thing they see and end up paying more than they should. Don’t be that person. Always see if the hotel or airline offers discounts for your trip (Student discounts, Military, Flight Attendant, Government Employees, Honor Societies & Automobile Club discounts to name a few). If you don’t see a discount listed on the website of the hotel of your choice, call and ask if they are currently running any deals.
Bonus tip: Hotels often price rooms above the price they are actually willing to accept, for example if a hotel has a room listed for $150 call them and ask them if they are able to go any lower than that. I’ve seen this done and it works.
Sites like Living Social also offer excellent deals and discounts on activities, excursions, dining, cruises & they even have an entire section dedicated to cheap getaways. I recently saw a deal for an 8 day trip to Paris and London with flight included for only $799. Always be sure to do research before booking.
4. When flying with a budget airline only travel with a personal item to save money
Discount airlines such as Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines are becoming very popular for their low prices, but a lot of travelers don’t get the deals they should be getting when flying with these budget airlines. I often hear complaints that “Spirit/Frontier charge for bags” that is NOT true. I have been happily traveling with both airlines for a few years and have never paid any baggage fees. ( I prefer to travel with this bag because its big enough to fit everything I need for my trip, but small enough to fit under the seat in front of me = aka its free to travel with). These airlines charge for carry on items and checked bags, BUT you are allowed to bring on a FREE personal item that is 18 x 14 x 8 that must go underneath the seat in front of you. & truthfully, 18 x 14 x 8 is not much smaller than the carry on size of 22 x 18 x 10 that you WILL pay $35-$100 for. So, opt for the free personal item.
You may also like: 3 Things You MUST Know Before Flying Spirit Airlines: Read This Before Flying With Them
5. Do as the locals do
This means travel like a local, eat like a local, stay like a local, and get around like a local. One way to do this is to stay in an Airbnb. Not only will this give you a more authentic visit, it will also help you avoid those expensive tourist prices.
Most of us are used to driving everywhere, so when traveling some automatically want to get a rental car. Unless you absolutely have to rent a car, SKIP THE RENTAL. Take local transportation such as buses, especially in other countries because it is very cheap and sometimes as low as 1$, which definitely beats spending a couple hundred on a rental car.
I visited Paris in March, and saved so much money by staying in a beautiful Airbnb apartment & taking the train and bus while there. This also was considered off season for Paris which is how I scored a flight that was $900 cheaper than it usually is. I still can’t believe I saved $900 on a flight to Paris.
6. Use credit cards with travel rewards to save money/get free travels
Many credit card companies partner with hotels and airlines and offer a generous amount of points per dollar spent which means free hotel stays and free flights! Some even offer bonus points just for signing up!
What are your favorite budget travel tips?
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