“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” said St. Augustine. Truer words were never spoken, and travel is indeed one of the great pleasures of life that broadens our horizons. And yet, most of us of course face the reality of a limited travel budget. Here are 4 secrets for finding inexpensive travel, listed in order from conservative to adventurous.
Secret #1: Check at least three travel Web sites: The Web-savvy among us already know that checking online travel Websites like Travelocity, Expedia, and HotWire before embarking upon a trip is a no-brainer. These sites are all information aggregators that compare information from multiple vendors, so visiting any one of these is already a smart move when planning a journey. But, take it another step and cross-check the best deal you find on any one of these with your results from the other two: you just may save $200-$300 or more on plane tickets by shopping around. Note that these sites can penalize you more severely for schedule changes or cancellations than when you purchase directly from the airlines.
Secret #2: Look for package deals: Most people intuitively search for airfare, then a rental car, and then a hotel, all as separate items – even though in the back of our minds we know that buying package deals instead could save us $100s or $1,000s. To save more money, try doing a search for available package deals before committing to buying individual items. By being a bit more flexible with your airline or hotel preferences, you can stand to save big.
Secret #3: Travel seasonally: Hawaii is beautiful in October and Colorado is an awesome destination even in the middle of summer. Consider traveling during the off-peak season to see world class destinations at a huge savings.
Secret #4: Be a true adventurer: Try this one for size: arrange to take some time off (by yourself or with a special friend or family member), pack for a vacation, and then the day or two before leaving, check the Internet for last-minute travel deals. Airlines, hotels, and resorts would rather have you for half the price than have vacancies and make zilch. Take advantage of this fact. Of course, by doing this you give up the ability to choose your destination, but you are guaranteed to save a lot of money. And, the delightful surprises you can encounter on this type of trip can make this type of travel all the more fun.