For most people, vacations are a rarity. Typically, we splurge on one—and only one—vacation each year, saving our money as much as possible.
We limit our travel because we think vacations are expensive. With the cost of airfare, rental cars, hotel stays, and even excursions rising every year, few of us can afford to shell out thousands of dollars for more than a single trip.
Guess what? You can travel more often than you think.
Everyone can afford to travel, to enjoy a vacation. Scoring vacation deals is possible—you just need to do a little research. Find deals and discounts that make hopping on a plane and exploring a new locale cheap, and you can both save money and take a vacation.
Here’s your guide to the websites that are sure to help you to save on flights, hotels, entertainment, and include some great tips, tricks, and expert advice. You’ll be surprised, but traveling on a budget is easier and more fun than you think.
Find Bargain Flights
Airfare can be one of the biggest costs of any vacation, totaling more than $500 roundtrip for a single person.
You have two options when you want to save: you can choose to fly a budget-friendly airline, or you can scour third-party sites to find deals on most major airlines.
Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier, and Spirit are the top affordable airlines. Though their routes are a bit more limited than the bigger names in air travel, you can find fares for as little as $69 one-way to locations.
Prefer to look for deals on other airlines or to different destinations? Stay away from the airline websites; instead, visit:
- The Flight Deal
- Secret Flying
- Holiday Pirates
- Cheap Flights
Be flexible when picking your flights. Opting for a less convenient time, like a middle of the night redeye flight, or a less convenient airport, such as Long Beach instead of Los Angeles, also helps you save when booking online. You’re going to get the best deal possible if you’re open to other choices— most people want the easiest travel, meaning airlines will cut the cost of less desirable flights.
To increase your potential savings, set up alerts for flight deals by subscribing to every airline’s newsletter and loyalty club. Frontier, for example, offers crazy deals every other week (you might able to catch a limited-time $20 flight!).
Search Off-Site for Hotel Deals
Hotels deals are pretty hard to find. Most hotel chains keep a tight cap on the discounts they offer, and they’re resistant to lowering prices for other websites. However, if a hotel has vacancies, the best place to find discounted room rates is one of the following third-party sites:
Can’t find a deal? It’s common to see hotel prices unchanged across the board—but you may have a discount hiding in your own wallet. AAA and AARP members typically get a small percentage off hotel stays. Also, be sure to join the rewards program for any hotel chains you stay at. Each stay will earn you points toward a free or deeply discounted future stay.
Check for Cheap Cruises Online and In Person
When it comes to online deals, there are two ways to find discounts: the individual cruise lines’ websites and CruiseSheet.com. CruiseSheet.com collects the lowest-priced cruise choices as well as the cruises offering the biggest discounts on one site. However, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you might be able to find a deal directly from the cruise line you’re interested in.
Cruise lines offer their lowest fares during three periods: when a cruise first goes on sale (about a year in advance), when a cruise is about to depart, and during the off-season (fall and winter). Search and book during these times or seasons, and you could save big.
Take the Vacation You’ve Dreamed of for Less
The vacation you’ve been putting off or saving up for is in reach— you can make it happen with these smart deal-hunting websites and tips.
Now that you know where to find the best deals on every type of travel, you can start planning your next trip. Why wait?