Going away? Go online! The internet has replaced the days of relying entirely on costly travel agents for all-inclusive deals, giving travelers the autonomy to go online and find the best deals themselves for an ideal lower cost vacation. Getting tips, tricks and websites that will help you find a cheap vacation online is just a click away.
Choose a Trustworthy Site
Before you delve ahead picking the site offering the cheapest deals, you need to make sure that the deal you’re sold lives up to your expectations. Therefore, choosing a reputable and reliable site — one with official certifications issued by regulating bodies — offers some assurance. Also, don’t be afraid to compare — there are also sites like Kayak.com, Priceline.com and Expedia.com that do the cross-referencing for you. However, still compare airlines yourself as some only post prices on their own websites. Also, even if you find a package deal via an operator, check separately for flights, rental car and hotels, then compare the price for greater flexibility and choice — and almost always a way to save some money.
Use the Reviews
How do you know which site is reputable or not? Although a rock-bottom prices are nice to find, knowing exactly what you’re getting – especially in a place that you’ve never visited – can be difficult to determine. A good idea is to cross-reference an offer with the user-generated reviews on a site like TripAdvisor. Reviews may not be perfect (rumors say positive reviews are generated by staff, while negative ones are generated by the competition), they should give a general idea of the pros and cons of a given hotel, restaurant or tour.
Narrow Your Search
Save money and time by being super specific about what you want. For example, searching sites like Hotels.com orAgoda.ca (for Asia) is a good way to see all that’s available in a main city, but it can be overwhelming. These sites offer search tools to narrow things down according to hotel ratings (stars), amount you want to spend per night, specific neighborhoods, and satisfaction ratings.
Get the Fees Up Front
Getting a price from a site is usually easy, but getting the final price can be more challenging. For example, certain airline sites display the fare but not the high add-on taxes, extras for baggage, or even fuel surcharge-costs that are only revealed on the final page of the booking process. Read the fine print and do a test booking, stopping just before you have to enter your credit card number.
Also, if you have the option of flying out of two (or three) airports, you may find a better price. Some airport taxes are extremely high adding to the bottom-line cost of any vacation, while some operators offer different prices for different points of departure — some giving better deals from smaller airports where sales are slower.
Book Last Minute
Tour operators begin by offering packages at more-or-less reasonable market value, but as time passes and the departure date draws closer, they rather cut prices than let rooms sit empty. So, if you don’t have your heart set on a specific destination (other than great beach and sun), then booking last minute is the way to go. Start searching sites like Selloffvacations.com and Redflagdeals.com a few weeks before your preferred departure date, and once a deal pops up that fits your budget and wishes, book it — the best offers don’t last long.
Booking in Advance
If you have a specific destination in mind, book early. Prices go up as packages start selling and availability becomes scarce. There’s also no telling beforehand whether a tour operator will eventually have vast blocks of rooms available or just one or two left that they’re offering at a premium.
If you’re not too concerned about weather and are happy to hang out on a hot Cuban beach in July, you will get a much better deal. For example, peak season for Europe is the summer, while for the Caribbean it’s winter. You can score excellent deals if you’re willing to travel off- season.
With these tips, you’ll be all set to do some research and find the vacation of your dreams at a price you can afford!