Paying full-price for travel accommodations is a thing of the past; with travel websites, you can get great deals on flights, hotels, cruises, and more.
There’s nothing quite like travelling, especially when the purpose of your trip is good, pure fun. What’s more, travelling has never been easier or cheaper; today, you can log onto any number of websites, choose a destination and dates, and get a whole list of possible flights, hotels, car rentals, and holiday packages that you can buy with a few clicks of your mouse or swipes of your finger.
Of course, different things are important to different people when travelling. For some, finding the cheapest flight is of paramount importance, no matter how many stopovers or hours it takes. For others, finding the nicest hotel is essential, no matter what the cost. And yet others don’t care about the flight or hotel; they just want to visit a place where they’ll have plenty of attractions to visit during the day and where there’s an exciting nightlife to keep them busy after dark.
What’s most important to you when travelling?
If you’re looking for cheap flights, here’s what NOT to do: Do not order tickets directly from an airline’s website. The tickets posted there are usually full-price and don’t give you options for stopovers. (And stopovers can make flights significantly cheaper.)
Here is what you should do: Go to a website that can search for flights for you. Google Flights, Kayak, Priceline, Airfarewatchdog, Expedia, Travelocity, Momondo, and Hipmunk are all sites that comb the internet using various algorithms and methods, and present you with the cheapest flight options.
There are 2 main categories when it comes to travel sites like the ones listed above: Those that accept payments and those that don’t. Websites that accept payments include Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity; this means that you type in your travel destination and dates into the site, get a list of options, and make your payment on the site itself.
Websites that don’t accept payments include Google Flights, Kayak, Momondo, Airfarewatchdog, and Hipmunk. But don’t get us wrong—these flights aren’t free! But as opposed to paying on the actual search site, you’re directed to the airline or ticket seller’s site, and you pay there.
There’s no better or worse when it comes to the 2 types of payment options, it’s just a matter of preference. Some people prefer using search engines that direct you to pay on external sites; this means that you don’t use a middleman and the costs may possibly be lower. Others prefer travel sites that accept payments; in these situations, the sites usually have policies that cover all tickets no matter the airline, like free cancellation within 24 hours.
Hotels & Accommodations
Any of the sites listed above, plus Hotels.com, can be used to find cheap hotels, luxury hotels, and anything in between. Almost every site offers a certain amount of savings when you book a flight and hotel together, which can be good for the thrifty traveller.
Even better for the thrifty traveller, however, is AirBNB, arguably the most popular alternative in the world to hotels. AirBNB listings range from luxury villas to single rooms in a house, and you get to choose the level of your accommodations.
If you’re looking for cheap, you can find it there! If you’re not necessarily looking for cheap, but rather, for features not included in hotels, you can find it there too! AirBNB luxury listings include features like fully-equipped kitchens, private pools, many bedrooms, and more.
Another perk of AirBNB is that you can read real reviews from people who have used the listed accommodations. Of course, if you prefer to stay in a hotel instead of an AirBNB listing, you should always make sure to read those reviews as well.
While flights and accommodations are the biggest expense of any vacation, car rentals are a less-expensive yet perhaps equally important contributor to your overall travel experience. Which is why most of the sites that show you flight and hotel deals also include a car rental search option.
Because you may not be content to sit on the beach all day; you may want to get out on the open road and explore to your heart’s content.
Another reason renting a car while traveling is a good idea?
When you book a hotel or AirBNB listing in the center of a big city like New York or London, the prices are significantly higher than staying somewhere in the suburbs. The prices can be so much higher, in fact, that it may be financially worthwhile to sleep somewhere out-of-town, rent a car, drive to the city and park in a lot all day than to stay in the center of town.
Of course, to determine whether you’ll really save money with that option, you’ll have to do some homework. Fortunately, you have all of these handy travel websites at your fingertips, which makes searching for cheap prices a fairly easy task.
Not Sure What You Want? No Problem.
If you know you want to travel but are not sure when and where, you can take your pick from the best travel sites to help you with your decision.
With Hello Hipmunk, you can email Hipmunk and ask for advice about where to go or search for destinations using custom preferences like “romantic” or “foodie.”
With Google Flights, you can input the dates you want to travel, and Google will tell you if you can find cheaper flights on slightly different dates.
Other sites like Kayak, Priceline, Airfarewatchdog, and Momondo show you current travel deals in real-time, so you can get an idea of what’s out there and choose the package that suits your budget and travel interests.
Once you choose your destination city, Expedia and Travelocity can show you a list of things to do at the best prices.
As you can see, when it comes to choosing a travel site, you don’t need to stick with only one. Each site has different features and strong points, and you can choose any combination to create the ultimate travel experience for yourself.