Summer’s here and it’s the time of year when we think about heading off to some exotic location for a nice, relaxing vacation. With a family, though, it can quickly become a very expensive proposition to travel. Here are some easy ways to get a good travel deal on your next vacation.
How to Get a Good Travel Deal on Hotels, Cars, and Airfare
*This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own as always.
How to find travel site deals
Use travel sites as a budget or guideline price, then shop for better deals. There is a ‘bounce back’ strategy that some travelers use to get a better price. First you find a deal and start the process of reserving it up until the point of payment. This is akin to leaving items in your online shopping cart, and should generate some email discounts for your package. Because the travel sites don’t want to lose your business, they will offer a better rate to entice you to buy from them. Some of our favorites for finding deals are: TripAdvisor (you can read property reviews before booking), Booking.com (their site is easy to use and offers a variety of accommodations), and Hotels.com (they have a frequent visitor discount). All worth considering when booking your next trip.
Have flexible travel dates
Be flexible on the dates. If you are flying or renting a car, leaving midweek will generally get you a better deal. We found great deals through Auto Europe when we went this past November, and found they had very competitive pricing.
If you aren’t locked in to taking your vacation during the busy season, off-season travel can be a great bargain. Some of our best trips have been in March and November when we found cheap airfare and accommodation. As an added bonus, places are less likely to be crowded and as busy as during the season.
Consider booking a tour package
If you are going on a destination vacation like Walt Disney World or Hawaii, look at the packages that might be available. Try to be flexible if possible. Sometimes you can gain an extra day or two by traveling on a weekday, as opposed to the weekend days. Also, take time to compare packages as some include a rental car or extras that can add up to a huge savings. UndercoverTourist is a great one to look at for Walt Disney World tickets and package deals. We’ve always found discounts by using their service.
Sign up for rewards programs
For any company you may want to use, join their rewards program. Most offer discounts and perks to their members, and you can earn free nights in a hotel or free rental days with a car rental. They are free, and sign up for as many as you might use. If you travel for business, earn free nights during the year to use for your family vacation. Being a rewards member supplies other perks, too, such as free wi-fi, room upgrades, extra points, etc. We’ve found success with programs like Hilton, Marriott, United, and American. If you’re not loyal to one brand, look into cards that allow you to accumulate points to use for multiple travel companies such as Capital One Venture and Chase Sapphire.
Use a travel agent
Don’t be afraid to contact a travel agent. In this day and age when so much information is available on the internet, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can navigate it to find the best deal. It costs nothing to contact a travel agent and see what they can find for you. Their commission is paid by the hotel/airline/car company, and sometimes they can get you an even better deal and extra perks.
Look for additional travel discount codes
If you are renting a car, check for any discount codes you may have available to you. This could be through your employer, credit card, or organization like AAA or AARP. Even some of the hotel rewards programs have car rental discounts. As soon as you know the dates you want to rent, make your reservation. When you get close to your rental date (a day or two prior) call and see if they might have an upgraded vehicle available. Generally, if you ask nicely, they will do their best to accommodate.
Getting the best deals in travel takes some planning and persistence. For any travel plans that haven’t been paid in advance, check back periodically to ensure there isn’t a better deal to be had. The key to the best price, though is to allow for some flexibility in your plans.
How do you get a good deal when you travel?
Looking for more travel advice? Check out 12 Helpful Tips to Prevent Jet Lag and The Essential Travel Gear Your Family Needs on Vacation.