5 Easy Steps To Get The Cheapest Vacation

Cheap Vacation DealsWith most people taking summer vacations, or starting plan something for the fall, here are some fail-proof ways to ensure that you are getting the best prices available for where ever you are traveling. I can’t guarantee that where you want to go is cheap (say, the Seychelles), but where ever it is, following this simple, easy guide will make sure that you are paying the least possible.

 

Step 1. Check The Main Travel Sites

Checking the main travel sites will give you a great baseline as to where to start your travel search. These sites include Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak. It is important that when you are booking your trip, you check each of these individually:

  • Flight, Hotel, Car all bundled together
  • Flight and hotel bundled together
  • Flight and car bundled together
  • Each individually

In many instances, hotels and airlines offer discounts for bundling. For example, if any student books an Island trip to Hawaii during spring break or any other holiday break, then searching online is the best choice to find the best deals. Hawaii travel can get rather expensive however, for affordable options you can find some of the best hotel ideas in Hawaii online. All the necessary travel information can be found online, from pricing to availability and if you have a little more to spend you can still book your entire trip in one package deal.  Sometimes, however, they charge more and you won’t know it unless you check each out individually. Also, sometimes these main travel sites offer discounts themselves for using their preferred hotel/rental car chain. This can also vary by the month depending on any specials being offered.

 

Step 2. Check Costco and Other Travel Agencies

After you have a base line for prices using the main travel sites, you should go to Costco and see if they have any packages that match where you want to go. They mainly offer discounts to major vacation hot spots, such as Hawaii and Mexico, and also on cruises.

There are also many larger travel agencies that serve specific destinations. For example, Pleasant Holidays is one that serves Hawaii. They sometimes have great package deals, or even individual deals, for vacations. Just like above, compare the rates offered if you bundle your entire vacation together, or if you book it separately.

One of the benefits of booking with Costco or another travel agency is that you usually get some perks you don’t find on the travel websites – such as room credits, room upgrades, free shuttles, etc. This is something you should price out when making a selection.

 

Step 3. Check With Your Employer

One of the most unused employer perks is travel discounts. Many employers offer travel discounts to employees, especially large companies that have partner airlines or hotels. Make sure that you check with you HR department to see if this is a benefit offered by your company. If it is, you could see fare reductions by up to 10%, which is a nice savings.

 

Step 4. Check With Your Credit Card

After checking the above options, one of the last internet stops you should make is your credit card’s website. American Express is widely known to offer travel discounts to their card members, but many other credit card companies do offer travel services as well.

In fact, when I was looking at booking my last vacation, American Express’s Travel Services offered the lowest airfare/hotel bundle of anyone – the only condition was that I use my American Express.

 

Step 5. Call The Hotel/Car Rental/Airline Directly

After completing steps 1-4, you should have a pretty good idea of the market, where you want to stay, and how you want to get there. The final step in ensuring that you have the best deal is to call the hotel, car rental, or airline directly and ask them what it would cost. Sometimes, the clerks that you speak to have incentives that can beat all of the sites above; sometimes they have worse offers.

However, by completing this final step, you can ensure that you have the best deal. And it never hurts to try and negotiate with them over the phone. If you mention that you were considering another hotel, because they were offering a specific rate, see if the clerk will match or beat it.

 

If you follow these steps, you can feel comfortable about getting a great price for your future vacation. Every few dollars that you save on the essentials of travel is a few more dollars you can add back into your vacation “fun” budget.

Readers, have you utilized any of these strategies for saving money on travel? Do you have any secret tricks that I’m missing?

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  • http://www.totallymoney.com/blogs Harri @ TotallyMoney

    I have this tip on good authority from someone who worked in marketing in the airline industry. When you’re looking for flights online disable your cookies. A lot of flight websites use cookies to show higher prices the next time you visit and search for the previously visited flights.

    If you disable the cookies the site cannot tell that you’ve visited those pages before and as such will show you the cheaper prices.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      That is a great tip! Especially when comparing sites!

  • http://www.moneytalkscoaching.com/blog-2 Ashley @ Money Talks

    I didn’t know that Amex offered travel discounts. Good to know.

    I have also booked on priceline and then called the hotel and asked for a free upgrade to a suite. I didn’t get it free, but I got the upgrade for half price.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      Nice job. Calling the hotel is a great strategy to see what they have to offer.

  • http://blog.findthebestcarprice.com Car Negotiation Coach

    I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard that you can get pretty good deals on rental cars through Priceline. I’ve always been leary of booking flights because I never have a flexible travel schedule, but I think with cars it’s a little different and you can be exact with your pickup date/time.

  • http://www.moneycone.com MoneyCone

    Also always check for peer reviews and ask if there are AAA discounts (if you are a member).

    And great tip Harri!

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      Great call on the AAA discount!

  • http://www.prairieecothrifter.com Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    We find staying in hostels works really well. You can get great rooms for a lot cheaper than a hotel. Hestelworld is a great website for this.

    • Reilly

      I agree. I trust only hotels which have 4 stars or higher. After all, nobody can screw with my well deserved holidays.

  • Economically Humble

    When I travel I usually pick a mix of hostels and top hotels. If I’m traveling and bouncing through a town I’ll pick the hostel, but if Im there for a few days o want some good R and R, I stay at a top hotel. I also find that calling the hotel directly results in a great deal…. and if Im willing to pay in advance I might even get more of a deal.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      That can be a pretty odd mix – hostels and hotels. I don’t know if my wife would go for that.

  • TrippyCusp93

    Great tips! My fiance and I are dying for a vacation and could really do without the added stress of worrying about finances. We’ll definitely be using this for advice, thank you!