Travel can be an expensive business, but it doesn’t have to be. Heading off on the adventure of a lifetime or planning your dream vacation shouldn’t break the bank, and with a little planning and a few helpful tips, you can totally find amazing travel possibilities at bargain prices.
Being flexible with your destination, scouring the internet for amazing packages, and even being spontaneous and booking super last minute – there are a bunch of hacks that can make exploring the world more affordable. So whether you fancy an affordable city break on the East Coast, want to book a last minute cruise from Florida, or just need to throw a few things in a bag for a quick road trip, take a look below at some of the best tips for booking affordable vacations.
Book at the right time
When you book various elements of your vacation can have a huge impact on the price. Airlines often lower their prices on Sundays and Tuesdays for last-minute bookings, so if you are looking for an adventure next week it is worth searching on those days.
Booking in advance if possible is usually the best option when it comes to getting good prices on flights. Domestic flights tend to be priced most attractively between one and four months before departure dates, while international flights benefit from even more extensive planning with the best prices available around nine months in advance. However you shouldn’t discount the discounts that can be found on last minute offers, if you are lucky enough to find them!
Be flexible on dates and destinations
If you don’t mind where you go, or even when, you’ll be assured of getting the cheapest deals around. Avoiding travelling at peak times of the year (around school breaks, at Christmas and so on) is a no-brainer, but if you are comfortable travelling at any time at all you’ll always find the cheapest options. Hotels are almost always cheaper out of season and even sometimes during the week, and flying on unusual days or at unpopular times can save you loads of money and help you avoid the crowds.
One very helpful hack is that many flight aggregators like Skyscanner allow you to be extremely vague when it comes to details. You can set your destination as an entire country, or even anywhere in the world, and you will get shown the cheapest prices for a range of destinations. You can even choose to search for flights by the cheapest month!
Use social media
Social media can be a brilliant way of keeping up to date on the latest deals, offers and packages. Following your favorite hotel chains, travel companies and even airlines can mean you are the first to know about special offers, and can take advantage of sales, promotions and competitions when they crop up.
Social media is also a great way to find out about things like error fares and last minute deals. Follow accounts like Hotel Tonight, Expedia, Secret Flying or Cruise Sheet and you’ll get access to a world of under the radar travel options.
Rent a house rather than stay in a hotel
If you are happy to self cater you can save loads of money by renting a house or an apartment rather than staying in a hotel. For one thing, cooking your own meals, even if it is just breakfast, will cut costs significantly, and when you go through a platform like AirBnB or Vrbo you’ll almost always find great options that are significantly cheaper than a traditional hotel. Sure, you won’t get a turn-down service or a mint on your pillow, but some sacrifices are worth making!
Sign up for emails
In the same way as with social media, signing up for the right email newsletters can let you in on the best exclusive promotions and secret travel hacks. Websites like Holiday Pirates or Scott’s Cheap Flights will send you news about good deals, cheap flights and bargain destinations, while somewhere like Priceline can offer amazing deals on hotels as long as you aren’t too picky about where you stay. Newsletters from hotels and travel agents are also the best way to get your hands on exclusive promotions and money-off offers.
A classic travel tip, but still relevant today. Loyalty points and credit card air miles are a great way to lower the cost of your holiday. Making sure that your credit card is offering you a good reward system, and signing up to the loyalty schemes of every travel company you use can end up saving dividends in the end.
A final note on cheap holidays. While there are loads of ways to grab a bargain, if a deal looks too good to be true it just might be. When you are looking for affordable vacations, intensify your research. Not only will this make sure you don’t get scammed, or end up booking something that isn’t exactly what was promised, but it will also help you find the best deals and lowest prices around!