How to find the best travel deals

How to find the best travel deals

I don’t care if all of the political pundits and talking heads are saying otherwise (and don’t even get me started on the Kathy Lee hour on Today!) “Stay-cations” are lame. Well, let me qualify that – Stay-cations can be great ways to really see the city you live in with new eyes. But let’s be honest, Stay-cations are never as cool as the real deal. I’d like to think over the last few years I’ve honed some skills on finding great steals and deals on fabulous vacations. So I convinced S & T to let me share some of my not-so-secret-anymore tips with my wht family. Whether you are just trying to spice up a long weekend in the next state or make your international travel dreams a reality, I believe that you can make anything happen!

AirfareResearch, shop around, then book quickly. I think this is the biggest challenge of all. There are many places that just aren’t practical by train or car. Listen to the evening news on TV or radio. In this economy they are always reporting on fare sales that major airline companies are having. Use sites like SideStep (one of my absolute favorites), Hotwire or CheapOair to find bargain basement prices. If you find a price you like, don’t wait to book! Because often these sites are authorized to sell only 1 or 2 seats at bargain prices and then the deal is gone for good. It also helps to know what is a “regular” price for airfare to your desired destination so you have a basis for comparison. The Travel section at Bing gives you a 30 or 60 day outlook on average fare prices to any destination that you enter.

LodgingGet creative for big savings. Honestly, how much time are you really going to spend in your room? Not much, I hope, so you can definitely afford to scrimp here! Besides scouring the well-known travel sites for deals, check out Craigslist for weekly or monthly private home rentals or home swaps. These are often good deals because if you make the arrangement privately you don’t have to pay broker’s fees. NEVER wire money to anyone first, cash on delivery is the safest option for everyone. Also, rifle through the listings and reviews at Tripadvisor to find deals on lesser known hotels and bed & breakfasts. As always, the off-season never hurts!

ActivitiesDo your homework and act like a local. With all of the money you’ll be saving you can surely afford to pick up a travel book about your desired destination. I have 8 books about Paris and I’ve read them all cover to cover multiple times! These books are packed with tips about restaurants and attractions. They often list the prices or a range of prices so you can plan how, when and where to spend your money. When it comes to dining, if you’re a food-lover like me, don’t be set on 3 squares a day. A light breakfast and lunch leaves room in your stomach and money in your wallet to have a good splurge dinner one or two nights. In larger cities, try to avoid overly tourist-y areas to eat and buy souvenirs. The prices are notoriously higher. If their menu is translated into 7 languages it’s not authentic and usually overpriced. Tripadvisor can also help you find local treasures. For sightseeing, visit the websites of the places you know you’d like to visit to find deals. For example, most museums have evenings that are 1/2 price or free.

I hope these tips help you to get away this summer – and I’m always ready to hear some more!



Cosmetics connoisseur, France fanatic, great gal; this post was brought to you by Katie. Currently living in San Antonio, Texas, she's a bargain-hunter who loves big-time luxury and small-time prices.

6 thoughts on “How to find the best travel deals”

  1. stef

    Oh, I second the buying quick tip. Last year I was looking for a ticket back east, found one then waited a day to talk to my folks about the times and it went up 250 bucks! And that was directly through the airline too. Sometimes they go down, but when they go up-you’re in trouble!

    I’ve got a tip for you too. I’m a hotel stayer. I don’t travel a ton, so when I do I really like all the hotel perks; a concierge, being close to the action, a hotel bar! Sign up for the area hotel’s email newsletters about a year in advance. You’ll be notified of all sales.

    And a note about the concierge, take advantage of them. They know more about the city then anyone. And be specific, “I want a new restaurant that has a good scene where it will cost about $100 for 2 people.”
    .-= stef´s last blog ..Mario Badescu skin care review =-.

  2. suzan

    Great tips Kate! I’ve got a few myself….
    If you are dying to try a restaurant but don’t want to pay dinner prices or can’t get a reservation for dinner, try lunch at that establishment. Many times they offer the same fare just smaller portions and at a smaller price.
    The room may be very important to you and you may want to splurge here. Staying at the Morongo in Palm Springs, the cabana room is worth it!
    Do you really need that rental car? Call the hotel you are booking with and ask them about the public transportation system how late do buses or cabs run and what is the average cost to/from the hot spots? If you are having a girls weekend, I advise against car rental since you may be club/bar hopping so unless you have a DD take public transportation. Look into some all inclusive places if you’re more into sights then food, these places may be the perfect fit for you. Always ask about AAA, diners club etc discounts through the hotel, they may be better then what you find online. You may also want to check with your job, many companies have hotel discount codes as well.

  3. Bed & Breakfasts on our site include 1500 that offer the SECOND NIGHT free. They often choose midweek to offer this deal. But it is incredible, the entire second night at no charge and many who use our program note that everyone else in the inn the nights they are there are paying full price. this program was first developed as a Bed & Breakfast promotion by Nabisco Shredded Wheat with our company and everyone loved it so much we kept it going. Look for FN icons under the inns in the cities you want to visit. Deborah

  4. Just came across your blog today and I’ve read several full pages of posts! Lovn’ it so v. much that I’ve bookmarked it and tagged it as a must read daily with my morning tea.


  5. tyna

    Hey Nicole – thanks for nice words! We’re glad you’re enjoying the site!

    Thanks for some great tips Miss Katie. I especially love the “think like a local” one. Anyone remember Rachel Rays first show essentially about just that? The premise was eating on $30 (?) dollars a day and she always went to locals for recommendations for good, cheap local eats.

  6. Pingback: Saturday Surfing: Makeup and Beauty Blog: Makeup Reviews, Beauty Tips and Drugstore Beauty Finds

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