Tips for Finding Cheap Flights and Hotels

We all want to travel, but many of us don’t have the budget to do so frequently. That is, we didn’t have the budget to do so, until the internet. Online services have changed the face of travel. What was once a tedious and multistep process has become — simpler, at least. No one would really call it simple. And complex might be better, too. The more services you try, the more chances you can find to save. There are quite a few services that can help you find hotel and airline rates that enable you to travel even with a small budget.

Best flight prices

The greatest frustrating of flying is the price fluctuation. Supply and demand, plus ever-changing fuel prices, mean that airlines are always changing their rates. It’s only luck if you happen to buy when they’re offering their best rate. How frustrating is it to buy a ticket only to see it sold for cheaper a few weeks later? Or worse, find a ticket for a good price but come back a few days later and find it more expensive? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a service to monitor this for you?

Yapta does just that. When you know you’re going to buy a ticket — and hopefully you know many months in advance — you can search for the flight on Yapta’s website. It keep tabs on the price fluctuations, and based on historical trends it lets you know when it’s the right time to buy. Even better, it offers a service that lets you find out if the price of a ticket you’ve already purchased is reduced. If you bought it directly from the airline, you might be able to get a refund for the difference.

Just visit yapta.com to get started with this free service.

Cheaper hotels

While the flight is the roughest part of booking travel, a hotel isn’t much easier. There are so many variables that go into hotels that picking one can be a real gamble. The sweet spot, a cheap hotel with decent amenities, is tough to nail. But with a few online tools we can find the best deals possible on the best hotels possible.

One popular hotel service is hotwire.com. It’s actually something of a game. You let them know your travel parameters — when you’re arriving, how long you’re staying, how many adults and children you’ll need, etc. — and then give you a list of available hotels in the area. But they don’t let you know the actual hotel. They show you the rating and the price. You then pick blindly, finding out only after you’ve paid up. It might be rough going blind, but if it saves you money it can be worth it.

There are tons of other sites where you can find cheap hotels, such as CheapTickets, Orbitz, and Priceline. It’s actually a bit easier to find a cheap hotel than a cheap flight, especially if you check up on all of these services. You’re bound to find one that has a reasonable listing.

Rental car strategy

Renting a car can end up costing you almost as much as your hotel if you do it wrong. Do it right, though, and you can save a ton. We mentioned renting a car on a budget back in June, but it bears repeating. Make sure you scout out rental car companies that are off the airport site. You might have to jump through a few more hoops to get there, but oftentimes the rates at these off-site locations can be half, or less, the price of on-site rental cars. The hassle is often worth the saved money.

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/ Fields of View

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