Getting places costs money. Travel costs money. But if you buy at the right time, search for coupons and scour the internet for the best travel deals, taking a vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, with these five simple tips, you can save hundreds of dollars by booking online to outsmart the airlines, hotels and resorts and score the best vacation package at the cheapest price.
1. Aggregate the aggregators
Buying airline tickets on sites like Priceline.com and Orbitz.com can be tricky, especially if they show the same flight at different prices. It’s harder to compare airline ticket prices side by side when each of these sites have their own fees and contracts to deal with. Instead, skip all of this hassle and try sites like Kayak.com that compares hundreds of travel sites for the best deal. You can also tag and monitor trips getting weekly email updates on price fluctuations.
2. Pick your time (to go) wisely
One of the surest ways to travel cheaply is by booking ahead of time. Way ahead of time. If you have a week in mind where you want to travel, start looking at flights early. Airline prices typically only increase because the value of seats goes up when more seats get sold. On the opposite end of the spectrum, traveling last minute can yield great deals too. With a lot of luck, you can score cheap airline tickets and hotels from sites like lastminute.com, but be prepared to be flexible on dates, travel flight times and other trip-specifics that you’d be able to plan better in advance.
3. Use coupon codes for better savings
Online coupon sites like Couponsnapshot.com offer coupon codes on merchandise and travel. These codes act like middlemen for online travel purchases because they save you additional money on travel deals that you couldn’t find if you booked immediately through travel companies. When you find a deal, simply plug in the coupon code when you go to make your purchase. Before booking directly with the travel companies, first online for coupons to additional savings. Couponsnapshot.com has a wide variety of travel coupons to chose from–some deals include their BookIt Coupon, Expedia Coupon and Travelocity Coupon that make shopping online for travel deals a lot easier on your bank account.
4. Win a travel auction
If you’re more flexible on where or when you go, try a travel auction at sites like offandaway.com. If you’re interested in destinations around the US, Mexico and the Caribbean this is the place to look for good deals. Most auctions include packages of flight, hotels and more so consider an online bidding war for cheaper overall ticket prices.
5. Don’t let one bad hotel review stop you
Hotel reviewing sites like TripAdvisor.com are great for getting the gist of a hotel’s environment, especially if you can read several reviews. But keep in mind that most of the reviewers aren’t trained review-journalists. One bad experience or one bad review can hinder a good hotel’s reputation, but don’t be too quick to opt for a more expensive option based on one reviewer’s response. Instead, take stock of your sources and read many reviews from many different sites. If you’re finding that generally people liked their stay or hated their stay, you can probably count on the quality of the hotel as such.