Iâ€™m going to Disneyland! I recently booked a five-night air and hotel package after extensive (some might say compulsiveâ€¦â€œsomeâ€ being my husband) research. I love booking holidays, especially on a budget. Iâ€™m pretty sure that even if/when I hit the Lotto Max jackpot, Iâ€™ll still spend hours scouring the Internet for the cheapest fares and best deals on accommodation whenever I feel like getting away. I canâ€™t help it, like most RFDâ€™ers I just have to get the best deal!
If youâ€™re on the hunt for travel bargains right now, here are a few of the tips and tools that helped me on my budget-vacation quest:
- Do your homework. There are so many travel sites to book through these days, be sure to visit them all to see where your money goes the furthest. Hereâ€™s a quick checklist of some of the biggies: Priceline.com, Travelocity.ca/com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz.com, Hotels.ca/com, Expedia.ca/com, WestJetVacations.com and FlightCentre.ca
- RedFlagDeals.com Forums. Whether youâ€™re scanning the Hot Deals Travel forum for the latest and greatest bargains or looking for more trip-specific advice/tips from the Travel discussion forum, you can really benefit from the experience and knowledge of the members posting here. In addition to coupon codes and travel sales, youâ€™ll find all sorts of tips on local restaurants and attractions, honest hotel reviews, and advice on everything from affordable airport transfers to the cheapest place to pick up some new luggage.
- Iâ€™ve got a coupon for that! Stretch your vacation budget with a little coupon research. Airport parking, car rentals, museum/theme park admissions, restaurantsâ€¦there are so many opportunities to save. When I have a vacation destination in mind I like to pick up an Entertainment.com book for wherever Iâ€™m going (especially when they go on sale). You can also often find coupons on Tourism/Chamber of Commerce websites, airport websites, or the websites of local restaurants or destinations you may want to visit.
- Think outside the travel box. If youâ€™re booking a first-class flight to Hawaii to stay at a 5-star resort over the Christmas holidays, youâ€™re probably not going to find too many bargains. But, if youâ€™re willing to travel off-season or mid-week, depart from a smaller/further airport, bundle your hotel/air fare, book a condo through agencies like VRBO.com instead of staying at a hotel, pre-purchase tours/admissions/dining plans through discount providers, or hit the airport with carry-on luggage only, youâ€™ll end up with a lot more money in your souvenir-shopping fund.
- Get a Second Opinion. So youâ€™ve put the time in and youâ€™re pretty sure youâ€™ve found the best deal possible. You probably have. But if you want to be sure, contact a travel agent and ask for a quote. I like to tell the agent exactly what Iâ€™ve been able to find, and then politely let him/her know that Iâ€™d be happy to book with them if he/she can find me a better price. If they come back with a lower price, youâ€™ll be saving even more money. If they arenâ€™t able to do any better, you have the satisfaction of knowing youâ€™ve found the best deal!