Updated: Sep 28
While you are in vacation planning mode and doing your research take a look at these tips to help you save money while booking your next vacation. Below are some very useful tips in getting the best airline prices, discounts on car rentals and hotels and other accommodations as well as when and how to book. Your pre-planning should save you not only time, but money as well.
Strategically Time Your Travel
Research when people travel and when people don't in regards to your particular destination. Is there a shoulder season that offers better rates yet the same experiences?
Keep Your Cookies
Cookies are a web sites way of tracking you. Now, many of us don't like to be tracked online, but this could be a potential cost savings measure for you. When a web site has tracked that you, for example, were looking at a hotel in Denver, Colorado, and you searched but then left the web site for some reason. They try to find out why? Was there no selection? Did the times and dates not work? It is really difficult for them to process, so they will assume it was price and entice you with a lower offer. So keep your cookies on and do not delete them. Visit sites during your research often and when you return you will see lower prices and discounts each time.
Book on a Weekend
There are several urban myths as to what day is best to book on. Some sites say Monday or Tuesday but statistically, if you book your airfare on a weekend you save around 19%. It is an odd statistic that doesn't really have a definite answer. The best guess is that corporate travel agents work Monday to Friday and have the weekend off and sales go a little slower. Also, web sites figures you are not a business traveler and you are using your own money to travel and when we do that we tend to look for the lowest cost first.
Not All Budget Airlines are Budget Friendly
When you book on a flight, you may look for the cheapest one available but budget airlines are designed to make money as well, and depending on your trip, the low cost that initially enticed you ends up being an inconvenience because of the time of the flight, the stop overs, the extra costs to bring on carry-on or select your seat. In one study the savings per ticket were about $25 in total over regular airlines. There are some new budget airlines up and running and some are doing it better than others. It is best to check all the options and see if the savings are worth missing a days vacation or paying for your own meal or having to go to a smaller airport and pay for a transfer.
Adjust Flying Times
Flying at unpopular hours, such as the red-eye or early in the morning increases your chance of getting discounted flights.
Fly Over Night
If you can sleep on a plane book a flight that flies over the midnight hours. You will get rest to start fresh on day one of your vacation and you will save money on the flight as well as skipping the cost of a hotel or accommodation.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest times, and try and avoid holiday periods where mark-ups are usually 70-400% more.
Use Experience This 360's Cheap Flight Finder to find the best dates and times for your selected flight and compare airlines all in one simple screen. Eliminate the airlines you do not want to fly with and compare the airlines prices to see what is more affordable.
Save on Car Rentals
My favorite car rental agency is Carrental8 out of Florida if you are traveling in the United States. They typically can save around 50-70% off the cost and they work with all major brands including Enterprise, Avis, Hertz etc. If you are traveling outside the United States then I would suggest using Economybookings.com. They typically can save about 20-40% off the price and also work with all the major brands. Another tip is when you arrive at the counter, ask if there is any free upgrades. If you rented an economy car and there is high demand for them, they might upgrade you to a midsize, sports car or minivan absolutely free because they already reserved an economy car for you and they would much rather free it up and rent it out while you take a different car.
Save on Cruise Ships
For the most part, cruises are an affordable way to travel but a lot of the money they make is not on the fare itself, but on the up-sells. Once aboard, you sometimes have to pay for everything. Some cruise lines even charge for drinks. Do your research and see what is included and what is not. Cruise Ships also make a lot of money off shore excursions. They charge tour operators a percentage of revenue to offer up tours once the ship has docked in a particular location. Most of these shore excursions are extremely overpriced and they are looking to maximize profits for those on the boat that had no pre-planning or previous research. Once you have your cruises itinerary, you can plan your own excursions through various companies not tied to the cruise ship itself. Typically, you can save between 40-60%. Start by checking out web sites like Viator, a TripAdvisor Company that sells cruise ship excursions tours.
Only use a carry on to save on luggage fees, handling fees and you will never overpack and lug a giant suitcase around. Sometimes you have to roll things, sometimes you have to make hard choices, but if you forget something you get to shop and that’s always fun.
Save on Hotels
Book your hotel in advance and price compare. Our Hotel Deal Finder app on Experience This 360 does just that. It finds hotels across all the discount sites and presents them all. Then you choose which one fits your budget and what booking site you would like to deal with. Typical savings are 20-40% off.
Find the Right Room
Depending on your travel needs check out apartment rentals. They usually are about the same price as a decent hotel, but they offer multiple bedrooms at no cost, a living space and a fully stocked kitchen. If you are traveling with friends or in a group – the cost is split and you get more bang for your buck. Airbnb may also be another option, but I have found that a lot of the more inexpensive options or ones with good reviews tend to be booked solid leaving little choice and flexibility. Another option is to check out Tripping.com, a web site designed to find accommodations of any kind including apartments, guest houses and house rentals.
Stay More Than One Night
Many hotels, hostels and certainly apartments provide their best deals when you stay over more than one night. The Hotel Deal Finder is another great choice for finding cheap accommodations. They have over 3,800,000 properties world wide including hotels, apartments and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.
Stay on a Sunday
Many hotels receive Friday-Saturday night bookings from leisure travelers and Monday-Friday bookings from business travelers, so there can be a a drop in Sunday business and they may offer a discount.
More often, hotels, airlines and travel sites are promoting special deals on social media. Go like and follow the travel sites on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social media platforms you are part of. When the deals are made available you will be the first to know.
Check for Family Deals
If you are traveling with children ask about discounted rates, free meals for children, and an upgrade at check in. Many hotels don't publicly market these upgrades, and the only thing they can say is no – so give it a go!
Do your research to find travel discounts and coupons for the areas you are visiting. Check our sites like Groupon for coupons on dinners and activities in your area. Check out the brochure shelf in the lobby of your hotel and visit the local tourist information offices for free maps and ideas.
Stay in a Hostel
Hostels can be very affordable and are not just catering to solo 20-something travelers. A lot of hostels are now offering private rooms. Some even offer private family rooms at very affordable price. Our go-to hostel web site is HostelWorld.com. They have 36,000 properties in over 170 countries with over 10 million verified guest reviews and 24/7 customer service.
Rent a Bike
Depending on where you are in the world, renting a bike is often a cheap alternative that is not only more comfy than a bus, but more versatile. Bikesbooking.com is an excellent source to finding the best possible price in bike rentals.
Get Travel Insurance That Covers Everything. We highly recommend World Nomads Insurance that is not only super affordable, but backed by great customer service. It covers absolutely everything so no matter how adventurous you are – they have your back!
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