I’ve noticed a trend lately in the blogosphere of bloggers pushing rewards credit cards to travel for free. This is great, because it’s a tried and true method and is very effective. Most people have a credit card and why not get some free travel for using it?
However, not everyone wants to have to open several credit cards to save on travel expenses, and I know that for me, I already have a credit card with travel rewards but want to save with other methods as well. If you travel more than once per year, typically you won’t be able to churn credit cards to get that many free trips anyway.
Travelling doesn’t have to be extremely expensive. Here are some of the ways I’ve been able to save:
Book Far in Advance
We are booking our honeymoon about a year in advance.
We looked at the prices if we booked just six months in advance, versus a year in advance, and we are saving almost 50% just by planning ahead. Flights, hotels, and even car rentals can be much cheaper when you book about a year in advance.
If you take advantage of a company that does price adjustments if the price of the flight or hotel rooms fall, then you don’t have to worry about a sale happening after you book, because you’ll get the rate anyway.
Use AirBNB or Equivalent
AirBNB is a great way to save money on travel. I personally would prefer to stay in a room or apartment found off of AirBNB rather than a hotel, because I find hotels impersonal and not very comfortable at all.
Finding an accommodation off of these types of websites gives you a lot more flexibility than a hotel chain, too. Just be sure to read the reviews before booking anything.
Priceline or Equivalent
When I went to New Orleans this past summer, I didn’t know about AirBNB yet and we booked a hotel through Priceline.
We got a great deal because we used the bidding tool that Priceline and some other sites allow you to use. This allowed us to name the price, minimum amount of stars, and location that we were comfortable with. Priceline then submits it to several hotels, and lets you know whether or not your bid was accepted.
We saved a couple hundred dollars from the prices on the hotel’s website.
The only flaw with Priceline is that, if you are using the bidding tool, you won’t know which hotel you are staying at until the bid has been accepted and you are committed to that hotel.
Daily Deal Websites
One time I was on Groupon looking to see whether or not there was a daily deal on my favourite restaurant, and I came across Groupon Getaways. I was shocked as to how cheap some of the packages were. The first one I saw was a package deal – hotels, flight, and tours – to China for almost two weeks for less than the cost of an all inclusive beach resort vacation.
These are typically packaged as tours, but even if you use it for the airfare and hotel and ditch the tour, you’re still getting an amazing deal.
This is my personal favourite because, on many of these daily deal sites, if three of your contacts buy the deal, yours is free.
This means that if you are going in a group of four, one of you can get free travel. Living Social has deals like this as well, and I think Teambuy does too.
Travel on the Off Season
Travel is substantially cheaper during the off-season. People tend to want to travel during our summers, when there is time off, or go to hot places in the winter.
You’ll be paying a premium for doing this. You’ll save quite a bit of money by going just outside of the busy season; instead of travelling to Europe between June-September, go at the beginning of October. Instead of going to Cuba in December, try April.
These are the methods that I have been using to save on travel over the last couple of years. How about you?