It turns out, if you know where to look, you can travel the world pretty cheaply. But although the internet has made it extremely easy to research, find, and plan a trip of a lifetime it also has created a problem. Information overload. There are just too many sites and they all claim to have the best price.
If you want to cut through the noise, here are the best resources – like websites and app – I use to find crazy travel deals. I’ve also written extensive articles with tips on how to find cheap flights and finding the best hotel rates and finding the best hotel rates, both which will help save money on travel.
My Biggest Tip
The very best way to save money on a trip is by finding an ultra cheap flight. Even though these deals may be months into the future, the best deals don’t last that long – literally less than an hour, so you have to be willing to act quickly. If I see a good deal, I book it – often times without much thought. I can do this because of the 24-hour rule.
So what is this magical 24-hour rule? Well, It’s actually a law.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all airlines must provide a full refund within 24 hours of booking. This gives you ample time to book the flight and then triple check those dates work in regards to finances, work, family, etc. To take advantage of the DOT policy you must:
- Book your flight at least 7 days prior to departure
- Book directly with the airline (can’t book with Expedia, Orbitz, etc)
- Apply for a refund within 24 hours of booking your ticket
Basically, I lock in the cheap price and then figure out if I can make the trip work. Doing this has saved me literally thousands of dollars in flights. In 2017, I went to South Africa for only $240 roundtrip because I bought the fare within 5 minutes of it going live. 15 minutes later, that fare was gone and that same ticket was $1200 roundtrip.
Best Flight Deals
If you don’t mind tons of emails in your inbox,l I suggest subscribing to newsletters. Sites like Airfare Watchdog, Secret Flying, and The Flight Deal are constantly searching and sending out emails for great fare prices. If you only want to subscribe to one, then it has to be Scotts Cheap Flights. In my opinion, his newsletters are by far the best. I have yet to find another newsletter that even comes close to the deals he sends out.
Best Hotel Deals
Unfortunately, hotels deals don’t happen very often. Instead of a go-to website, I use a trick – or hack if you don’t mind that word – to make sure I get the best rate.
It goes like this: Once I know where I’m going, I use Kayak to set hotel price alerts for entire cities. You can customize your preferences to how often you want to receive emails about price changes. I do daily – this way you can really notice prices changing. Once I feel like I’m getting the best rate, I book it.
Best Show, Tour, and Activity Deals
When it comes to planning the details, I’m a huge procrastinator. Because of this, I basically exclusively use the app Travel Zoo to book last minute tours, shows, and even car rentals. This app lets you search by city for any deals and often they have last-minute flash sales (which works perfectly for my bad procrastination habit).
Best Group Tour Deals
If you’re more into having your trip completely planned out for you and just booking and going then make sure you subscribe to Intrepid Travel (great for small group tours) and Busabout (Hop on, hop off bus trips and sailing adventures in Europe). They will occasionally send out deals and flash-sales to popular trips that are easily booked.
Best Cruise Deals
The only site worth mentioning is Cruise Sheet. Their interface is so easy to use (with minimal ads and popups) and they always have the best deals.
In my next article, I’m going to discuss exchange rates and help you choose the best travel destinations in 2018 for US currency.