I haven’t gone on vacation since last December and I am currently going through withdrawal. I am addicted to traveling! I need to book a trip to somewhere with a beach in the next 30 days or I may have a serious meltdown! My friends, family, and even my readers often ask me how I can afford to go on so many vacations in one year. The common misconception among many people is that travel is expensive. It is true that traveling is not cheap, but it can be affordable! There is a way to go on that vacation or last minute getaway for a fraction of the retail price. Being able to travel for less means that the traveler must be willing to adapt accordingly to get the best price. I’m not saying that you have to settle for less but being flexible will help when booking your next getaway. Knowing who has the best deals out there is also an advantage. Here are some of my favorite websites to use when booking getaways!
1. Skiplagged.com I have been raving about this site to anyone who will listen since I discovered it a few months ago. It is a great website for booking flights. Here’s how it works. You book a flight from origin to destination as you would with any airline website. However, this website will look for direct flights to your destination as well as flights that have a layover in your destination. Sometimes the flights from your city of origin to your destination as a layover is much cheaper than it would be if you booked a direct flight to your destination. The only caveat is that you cannot check luggage if your destination is just a layover city. If you do the luggage will end up at that flight’s final destination. So in that instance, you will have to pack a carry on luggage. This works fine for me because I can pack for 2 weeks in a carry on in the summer with no problems. If you are an over packer who has to check your luggage, I would encourage you to only use this website if you can get a direct connection to your destination.
2. Hotwire.com This site is one of my favorites for booking hotel rooms. If you read my post about the advantages of booking hotel rooms at the last minute, you may remember that I live on the edge when it comes to making reservations. Make sure you review that post for some helpful tips and tricks. Hotwire allows you to book hotel rooms for a fraction of the retail price. The caveat to this website is that you will not know what hotel you will end up staying in until you pay. At first, I was a bit leary about using this site because I was worried about the type of hotel I would end up staying in. I can say that I haven’t had a bad experience thus far.
My tips for using would be to compare listings on Hotwire with Hotels.com. For instance, lets say Hotwire has a 4-star hotel listed in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC on their website for $56. I would go to the Hotels.com website, select 4-star hotels in that area and look at the list of hotels with those specifications. Sometimes you get lucky and there is only one hotel with that description so you know for sure where you will be staying. That is what happened when I booked a hotel in Downtown Fort Worth. The only 4-star hotel listed was the Omni. Other times you may have a list of 10 or less and you have to do a little detective work to narrow down the choices. Hotwire gives you “clues” in the description. For instance, I was looking up 4-star hotels in Scottsdale, AZ 2 nights ago. One of the details in Hotwire’s description stated that there was a $22 per night resort fee. That helped make my job at figuring out which hotel I would be booking very simple. I just went through the list on hotels.com website looking for the hotel with a $22 resort fee. I only found 2 hotels with this requirement, the Firesky Resort and Spa, a Kimpton Hotel and The Saguaro, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel. Both of these hotels had amazing reviews on TripAdvisor and the photos looked spectacular. I would not have any reservation when booking the deal on Hotwire. BTW, the deal on Hotwire would have saved me between 40 and 70 dollars a night depending on which hotel I ended up with.
Groupon.com We all have to eat. Why not eat the same food as others for a discounted price? You can easily choose to purchase a coupon to restaurants from the area you are visiting on Groupon. Sometimes you can get 2 for 1 specials, a 50% off coupon, and other great deals to try a new restaurant. There are even reviews from people who have eaten at the restaurant on Groupon’s site so you don’t have to worry whether the food is worth the price. It’s also a great way to stay away from chain restaurants and try something new when traveling.
I will have more websites for you all in a future post. These are a great starting point though! If you guys want any other tips and tricks for booking travel, let me know! I love sharing what I have learned. If you guys have a favorite website for booking travel, let me know that as well!
Remember you don’t have to be rich to travel. You can travel like a boss on a budget!