I am happy to bring you a guest post today from Ari at ATL Deal Finder about how to save traveling! =) Big thanks to Ari! Enjoy everyone! Brandie?
I can’t stress this enough – living on a budget does not mean you have to forego the things you love. Travel is no exception. Whether you’re seeking a cure for cabin fever or a fun summer getaway for the family, here are some tips to save you money on traveling in the upcoming season.
Timing is everything when it comes to booking air travel. It’s a hard pill to swallow that the person sitting next to you on a flight could have paid half of your ticket price, but it’s not a long shot. Supply and demand are typically the number one determinant of airfares and while there’s no foolproof system to finding the lowest price, here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way.
1. Book in advance, but not too far in advance.
Although flights may be published up to a year in advance, that’s not always the best time to book it. In fact, I would recommend against this, especially for a non refundable domestic flight. Keep in mind that so far in advance, many airlines haven’t even published all the flights that may become available for that route. As more flights are added, prices will fluctuate and might even bring about a great sale in order to get those filled up.
Also, don’t count on getting a great deal on a flight less than 14 days in advance. It’s not impossible, as last minute offers do come up, but if it’s a destination you have your heart set on, don’t wait that long.
2. Look for price drops on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Not every flight will drop on these days, but there actually have been studies conducted on this theory. In monitoring a certain number of routes, it was determined that there were the most price drops on fares between Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Thursday and Saturdays happened to be the days with the fewest price drops.
3. Be flexible.
This applies to your dates of travel, as well as airport destinations. Of course, it’s usually more expensive to travel on Fridays and Sundays, but sometimes you can find significant savings by changing your airport. For example, while one airport is most popular during the week for business travelers, you might be able to find a better deal there on weekends.
Hotels and Car Rentals
My number one recommendation for booking hotels and car rentals is to go through the deep discount travel sites, such as Hotwire or Priceline. These sites also offer airline deals and vacation packages, but I’ve personally relied on them for hotels and cars. I’ve managed to get 4 star hotels for as low as $59 a night and an $11.99/day midsize car rental – Seriously!
Of course, there are a couple of tricks to using these. First, you’ll get the best deals within the week of your travel. Closer to the date, hotels and car rental companies get desperate…I mean, eager… to get the most sales. That is when the ball is in your court and you get to take advantage of the lowest possible prices.
Secondly, since Priceline’s Name Your Own Price feature only allows you one “bid,” I recommend visiting Hotwire.com first to get an idea of what the “going rate” is for closeout prices on hotels and cars in the area. Then, visit Priceline and attempt a bid at a few dollars less. That way, if your bid is rejected, you can still save on Hotwire.
Dining and Entertainment
Ok, you’re there…now what? Use your fantastic deal finding skills in whatever city you’re in. If you’re staying in the US, you can plan ahead by checking out the Groupon and Living Social, or Half Off Depot Deals for discounts on dining and other entertainment in the city you are visiting.
Now, have fun, enjoy family time, and pack plenty of sunscreen!
These are just a few tips, but please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions you may have about any of these!
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