10 Tips for Finding the Best Travel Deals

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How to Find the Best Travel Deals
Apr 05, 2010

Travel deals - they're ubiquitous on one hand, and elusive on the other. Sure, that $50 round-trip airfare from Miami to New York and back sounds great, but it's only available for this weekend. And you're not going to Miami. And you don't live in New York. Dilemma!

Although you may have experienced this “missed opportunity” feeling before, there really are some astonishing travel deals out there, now more than ever. You just have to know where to look and where to book.

So, we thought we'd round up some good rules of thumb for saving money while traveling. You know us – we’re always trying to make things easier for you! Let’s get to it. 10 Tips for Finding the Best Travel Deals…

1. Book airfare at least four months ahead of time
This is the window of time that airlines typically start to discount tickets. If you’re booking a vacation during the holidays – primarily Christmas or Thanksgiving – you’ll need to purchase airfare even sooner than that. Otherwise, stick to the “four month” rule.

2. Book airfare at the very last minute
If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, wait until the very last possible minute to book airfare (and a vacation rental). Choose your destination based on the best deal! This of course isn’t doable for most travelers, but for spontaneous types, it really pays off.

3. Discover the Off Seasons
Don’t go to Disney World in the summer. Instead, head there in the fall when the weather’s great and the kids are back in school. Plan your annual trip to Vegas for June or July, the slower times of the year. Nearly every destination has off days or off seasons where crowds are smaller and deals are bigger.

4. Travel in a Group
When you travel in a big group – whether that’s your immediate family or your ten best buds from college – you can enjoy discounts on airfare, lodging, and attractions. Example: split the cost of a Colorado ski in out condo with family and friends!

5. Visit an “Unpopular” Destination
Just because a destination’s unpopular doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of visiting. In fact, the opposite is true. Many vacation spots are just now emerging and if you wait to visit them, you’ll pay through the roof on airfare and lodging. See them before they get famous! Think Eastern Europe instead of Western. Nicaragua instead of Costa Rica. New Jersey instead of New York City. Vietnam instead of Hong Kong. The list goes on…

6. Use Twitter and Facebook to Your Advantage
Not only do we offer awesome deals (and coming soon, contests) on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, but so do the top airlines. To get an idea, check out Jet Blue’s deal-based Twitter account, @JetBlueCheeps. If you travel a lot, consider also following insightful experts in the industry, like @TravelSavvyMom, @CarolynWJGB (of WeJustgotBack.com), and @travelblggr.

7. Sign Up for Email Alerts
As you plan for your vacation, sign up for email alerts that will inform you of airfare sales and special deals. Vacation Rentals.com even has one. So do most major airlines and booking sites.

8. Talk to a Travel Know-it-All
Whether it’s a travel agent or your jet-setting friend, get cheap vacation ideas and tips from people you see day-to-day! Someone’s personal experience is a lot more helpful than an article like this, so don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for advice.

9. Research Makes Perfect
The more you know about the travel industry, the more you’ll save. We’ve got a pretty robust Travel Resources section that features destination guides, “top 10” articles, and much more. But the World Wide Web is your oyster, so start googling!

10. Book Accommodations on Vacation Rentals.com
As if we really had to say it…Vacation Rentals.com offers up tremendous value for vacationers. Sometimes that value seems too-good-to-be-true, but that’s just because most vacationers are used to paying outrageous prices for tiny hotel rooms. Upgrade that motel room to a five-bedroom home with a private pool for the same price! Browse our current deals.

For more budget travel tips, click here.

Save on all the things you love to do!