I love vacationing, so much but I am my mother’s daughter and by default, a cheapskate. I wanted to do a quick post with some tips and tricks for how I find flights and accommodations for the cheap.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Getting there tends to be the most costly part of vacationing. My first time flying I had no idea what I was doing and used a third party site to purchase tickets to Austin, Texas! Thankfully, the round trip flight was cheap and was a pleasant experience. That’s not counting that I didn’t have to check my bag and lost $60 of my precious hard earned dollars. Lesson learned. Since that first trip I’ve followed every travel blogger and airfare website to learn the tricks of the trade and flight deals. I’ve also done thorough research on the best days to fly and purchase tickets. Planning is crucial when it comes to vacationing. Don’t take short cuts, be thorough and check multiple sites for the best price!
Below are my favorite sites for finding the cheapest fares:
airfarewatchdog is AH-Mazing! It’s user friendly and has the most amazing functionality. Looking for a specific flight somewhere? Have a certain destination you’d like to visit in the future? Not just looking at your home airport? They’ve got you! It’s perfect for last minute or planned travel! Planning happens all year round, it’s nice to see how prices compare throughout the seasons.
Frontier is my main airline that I use for travel. Granted, it does have limited travel locations but if any of the locations are on your list, they’ve got the lowest prices I’ve ever found! I flew round trip to Colorado on a whim for $40 for a long weekend with friends! Even better, they give you a full breakdown of pricing for the entire month, wherever you may be going. They’re also top dog when it comes to daily discounts when you’re a part of their emailing list!
Southwest is an airline I am newer to but they do seem to have low prices and are often running deals. Just make sure you take your time to find the best deal. You really have to dig with this airline, but it’s worth it when you’re saving a couple hundred!
Priceline. I haven’t used it much since I first started traveling but it is a great source for double checking your fares to ensure you’re really getting the lowest prices! They also have hotel and car rentals on here for all your travel needs.
What are your favorite sites? Do you have a airline or third party site that you love? Let me know! I love learning about new ways to save on travel.
I haven’t done much travel via train except to Chicago but I’m hoping to change that soon! I presume the same rules apply to trains as planes. Plan ahead and never book right away unless its a rock solid deal. When it comes to road tripping, those are a no go for me, unfortunately. I am not a fan of cars and don’t drive so don’t expect to hear about any road trips anytime soon. With gas prices being lower lately I’m sure they are a fun and cheap way to see the country! I’d love to hear all about your road trip adventures!
Where to Stay
I am truly lucky when it comes to accommodations while traveling. My mother and sister work for hotels and they are able to get me super low rates on hotels everywhere I go! Occasionally, I use sites like Priceline or Expedia to find cheaper rates. I never use the hotel site directly. The great thing about those third party sites is they pull those rooms that haven’t sold for a lower than the hotel would ever offer! Groupon also has some surprisingly good rates on hotel and resort stays from time to time.
Look ahead of time and be flexible with your dates! Friday through Sunday are the most popular days to travel and airlines and hotels jack up their prices during those days! Think about location. Do you really need to stay downtown wherever you’re going? Does the city have decent public transportation that you can utilize? Look at all your options! There’s almost always a cheaper way to do things.
Food and Activities
The great thing about vacation is there are a million new and exciting things to do! Even better, so many of them are FREE! It’s as simple as Googling free things to do in the city you’re staying. If you enjoy nature, find local parks and take a walk or go hiking! Does the city do free tours? Utilize sites like Groupon to find dirt cheap activities that might normally have a higher price point. If you’re traveling somewhere that has a popular attraction you aren’t that into, skip it! Find something less crowded and off the beaten path to enjoy.
Ask locals, they know best. Whenever I’m on vacation I’ll find a coffeehouse or speak to hotel staff about their favorite places to dine, entertain and relax! Locals tend to know where all the best food is and the best bang for your buck when it comes to attractions or free activities in town! Again, do your research and look ahead for festivals, concerts or markets you’d like to see!
When I vacation, I try not to have any specific plan in mind. My primary focus is to choose a location and go from there. Going to destinations during off season or avoiding popular events helps keep cost low! Research, research, research! Google is your friend and there to keep your money in your bank account for the next trip you have planned!
What are your favorite travel tips? What do you do to save? What’s your favorite way to travel? Let us know! Share the wealth of the beauty that is seeing this world!