By Noah Henry • October 10, 2013
Traveling is an endlessly rewarding experience. What's not rewarding is the cost. How does one enjoy the luxury of a getaway without draining the bank? Well, by taking advantage of these tips to save hundreds on your next vacation, of course:
1. Book Unpopular Destinations at Unpopular Times
One of the hidden secrets airline companies don’t want you to know is it’s cheaper to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The absolute best time to book is Tuesday at 12 p.m. Pacific. Most discount airfares are pulled by Thursday, so be careful.
There are also perks to visiting unpopular destinations. The savings involved in going the path less traveled cannot be understated. If you’re destined to travel domestic, you could experience the beauty of relatively uncharted Lake Havasu in Arizona; you could explore southwestern gems like Santa Fe, New Mexico or quaint town of Mackinac Island in Michigan. There are many articles out there about the most underrated places to visit.
2. Hit Flash Deal Sites
You can save hundreds at flash deal sites before planning your escape. Sites like Living Social offer sections dedicated purely to travel. You can browse different travel packages and revel in the savings. Currently, Living Social is providing the hot deal of $189 for a two-night stay at the Signature in Las Vegas.
But that’s not the only one—Groupon’s Getaways page provides monumental discounts for families and individuals. Ever wanted to go Palm Springs? You can currently buy a night at The Saguaro hotel for only $64. The CLYMB, though not dedicated solely to travel deals, provides members-only prices of up to 70 percent on gear you might need for your next adventure.
3. The Magic of Craigslist
You may be turned away by the sketchiness of dealing with Craigslisters, but there’s nothing sketchy about the deals. It features a Vacation Rentals section for prospective travelers looking for short-term vacation rentals. There’s a cabin currently listed in Big Bear, CA for only $100 per night, lodging up to seven people. It is a perfect way to make a killing on your stay while traveling with others.
4. Seek Hotel Alternatives
Most people by default book hotels because they see no other alternative. But there are possibilities out there beyond that traditional route. Only-Apartments.com allows you to save up to 50 percent booking actual apartments in 103 countries worldwide. HomeExchange.com and HomeAway.com lets you hook up with homeowners leaving for short periods of time. As always, there is the hostel possibility—dorm-style accommodations. Available for booking through sites like Hostel World and HostelBookers, hostels are generally a lot cheaper than hotels.
5. Check Hotel Sites
Every traveler should go to a hotel deal aggregator site to get the most bang for their buck. Doing otherwise is simply irresponsible. Hotels.com, HotelsCombined.com and Orbitz.com are just a few offering stellar low rates on hotel accommodations. Need more? You can find hotel deals from just about every major player in the hospitality industry.
6. Ask a Local, Live Like a Local
Abstain from visiting the tourist traps. Ask locals where the best spots to eat are, where the best spots to play tourist are, where the best spots to veg out are. Most of the time, they’ll provide answers that reflect their own tastes. Generally, they’re a lot cheaper and rewarding.
7. Book Last-Minute
This only applies to cruises and tours. Booking two weeks or less before the departure date can easily save you as much as 25 percent. The reason? Companies never want to send out an empty ship or an empty tour, so they’ll attempt to fill up the spaces in any way possible. You can visit sites like lastminute.com and Last Minute Travel to find these amazing bargains organized and constantly updated.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!