Cool quote about travel: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” It may be true, but damn, that is one expensive book.
I love travel. I live for it. It’s my favorite thing to spend money on. Because of that, I also try to save money on travel as much as I can. Over the years, I’ve accumulated many hacks, tips, methods and techniques. I’ve written a guide to saving on bills and entertainment. Now check out my guide to saving money on travel.
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Buy on Tuesday
Some travel experts say Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to search for flights. Why? Because airlines hike up prices on the weekends, due to demand. But early in the week, prices start falling again. On the other hand, other travel and consumer experts say this is bunk. But personally, I’ve found it to be true 80-90% of the time, particularly on Tuesdays. It’s worth checking.
Get a Price Drop Refund
You buy a flight. The next day, the price of that very flight plummets. Don’t kick yourself too hard because 1) that hurts; and 2) you might be able to get a refund! Yep, some airlines will actually refund you the difference. Best of all, there’s a site called Yapta that will track the price for you. Enter your flight info, and they’ll notify you if the price drops. For a small fee, they’ll even pursue the refund for you.
The Rule of 54
Flights are cheapest about 29-104 days before your departure, according to data analyzed by CheapAir.com. And flights reach their lowest price 54 days before departure.
The “Hidden City” Method
It’s become a little controversial, but I first heard about this method from a friend. Basically, you find a cheaper one-way flight that has a stop in your city. Then, instead of taking the full flight, you just get off in your city and forget about the final leg of the flight. Some airlines actually forbid this. But I haven’t heard of any passengers actually getting in trouble for it. After all, how would the airline enforce it? There is, however, a site called Skiplagged that’s currently being sued for helping customers save money this way. They’re working on it, though.
Still, there’s one thing that’s stopped me from using this method: luggage. How many times have you boarded a flight and they’ve forced people to check their bags because the plane is full? It’d be a pain in the ass if your stuff was destined for Phoenix and you needed to get off in LA.
Book Flights Separately
Sometimes, it’s actually cheaper to buy two separate one-way tickets than it is to buy one round-trip ticket. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s worth checking.
Also, I’ve found that when you’re buying two flights together–for you and a loved one, perhaps–it’s often cheaper to buy them separately.
Buy Last Minute Rooms
HotelTonight is still a solid app for finding same-day hotel rooms at a discount. Every day, they list a variety of hotels, in different classes, that have dropped their prices in the hopes of filling rooms. It’s been my go-to for finding hotels for a couple of years now.
Search for Purchased, Unused Rooms
Depending on the hotel, sometimes rooms are nonrefundable. Roomer is a website that lets you buy nonrefundable rooms people have already paid for, but can’t use. Bummer for them; savings for you. Actually, it’s good for them, too. They get a bit of their money back from your purchase.
Get a Price Drop Refund
Hotel price dropped? It shouldn’t be too hard to get refunded the difference. A couple of sites can help with that, too: TripRebel.com and Tingo.com. Of course, you can always go about it the old fashioned way, and give the hotel a call. That will, however, involve speaking with an actual human being. Scary, right?
Call the Hotel
This method has never actually worked for me, but some people swear by it. Simply pick up the phone, call the hotel and ask if they can offer you a better rate than a competitor. They may bite.
If you’re a AAA member, you can save a bit on travel. When you book a hotel room, don’t forget to ask if there’s a AAA discount. Some websites will ask for this info when you book online. But if they don’t have a field for this, you might as well pick up the phone and call.
Buy Via Your Insurance Company
Some insurance companies offer discounts at certain car rental companies. In using this tip with Progressive, I found deals for $24/day, including taxes and fees. Visit your insurance carrier’s website, or give them a call, to see what’s available.
Check Your Credit Card Rewards Site
Similarly, you might be able to find cheap car rentals with your credit card rewards program. Visit their shopping portal, see how much rental prices cost with your rewards, and then see if there’s an option to just pay cash, sans the rewards. Many times, the price is really low. For more detail, check out this reader tip.
Try a Peer-to-Peer Service
It’s kind of like AirBnB, but for cars. You rent a stranger’s car. They make money; you save some money. RelayRides is probably the most popular of these services. When I checked prices, they were about $25-$30 a day.
Ask for the “Tourist’s Discount”
Some retailers, restaurants and even grocery stores will give you a small discount if you’re visiting from out of town. Macy’s, for example, offers a 10% discount for tourists. Read more about the seldom-advertised “traveler’s discount” here.
Free Museum Days
Many of the most popular museums around the world offer free days for guests. If you’re visiting on the right day, try to take advantage of it! Check out this post on free museum days in popular cities.
Opt for Happy Hour
Yes, you can do this even when you’re not traveling. But it’s a lot easier to take advantage of happy hour when you’re not stuck on a work schedule. Happy hour menus are a great way to take in a fancy restaurant without paying fancy prices.
Check Your Flight Stub for Coupons
Next time to travel by plane, make sure to check your boarding pass stub. You might be missing out on coupons and deals at your destination. It’s worth a look!
Go on a Free Walking Tour
Lots of cities around the world offer free walking tours. You meet a group, and a guide shows you around the town. Of course, make sure it’s a reputable organization. And you should probably at least leave a small tip.
Once again, these are just the basics. Brokepedia is packed to the brim with in-depth ways to save money on everything. Check out our archives, browse our categories, and make sure to visit us often.