Booking travel online is often the best way to find deals. Here’s a guide to help you find the best sites and save the most money on your travel this year.
Half the part of enjoying a trip somewhere is the planning it takes to get you there!
From booking travel online to confirming the reservations, packing all the necessities, and showing up to your flight on time, some people need a vacation from just planning one. But, this process doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are many ways to find amazing deals, and simple processes for booking them too, such as with a site like Loveholidays. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
This may take a bit of digging at first, but once you know all the best online booking sites and travel hacks, it’s smooth sailing. Or, should we say flying?
Below is your ultimate guide to getting the best deals when booking travel online.
Find the Best Sites for Booking Travel Online
Let’s get this out of the way right now – stop wasting your time comparing rates on each airline’s website!
Instead, go to booking sites that have all the available flights for your destination and timing preferences in one place. These tend to have the cheapest offers, in addition to saving you all the time wasted while searching each airline’s website.
Here are the top seven to use when booking travel online.
Kayak works best for the travelers who have some flexibility about flying.
It automatically searches the best flights for your preferences, as well as those around those dates. This gives you the best idea of what booking options are available. You may find leaving one day earlier than planned – or even after – cuts a significant amount of money off the total cost!
The flexible dates may not always be ideal, but they’re options worth considering.
Since flight rates tend to flux with demand, Kayak has built a Price Predictor tool to help travelers out a bit. This helps users estimate about how much they can plan to spend on a ticket now versus later, or vice versa.
Travelocity’s Farewatcher tool works similarly to the Price Predictor of Kayak. But, it goes one step further, sending users notifications about their desired locations rather than waiting for you to check back in.
This is helpful when you’re on the fence about buying a certain flight or waiting for the perfect time to click the purchase button. Not to mention, when you book travel online with Travelocity, you’re bound to get some great savings on everything!
Most trips require more than plane tickets. You need to make accommodation reservation, maybe rent a car, or at least get a shuttle to your hotel. Travelocity bundles all of these services for you – which can be incredibly cost-effective.
The one catch about Travelocity savings is that you can’t take advantage of them with rewards points. Rewards one of the best tools to use when booking travel online; they may be credit card points, airline miles, or hotel loyalty points.
With Expedia, you can often use some mix of these resources.
This is an amazing choice for those who travel all the time and want to make their money stretch further. Some people may travel for work and use their rewards to finally take a personal trip; others may build rewards to take the whole family away using a budget-friendly method.
Also, there are charitable opportunities available through Expedia! If you find you’ve overestimated the number of points you’ll use, send some over to a good cause.
What about if you’re not much of a planner, and you just want to get away? Find a last-minute deal on Airfarewatchdog. This is the place to go when the time to leave is upon you, but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on your flight.
This is made possible by a combination of high-tech search capabilities and real-life people verifying certain offers. By the way, these people tend to be ex-flight attendants or travel agents; they know a thing or two about the way travel fares work.
The combination of technology and industry insight is priceless. It’s like having your own personal travel agent, all from your computer screen! You can even get flight alerts sent to your email or via Twitter.
If you’ve ever been overseas before, you know there’s plenty of airlines most Americans have never even heard of. Think, Ryanair, Copa Airlines, and Easyjet, just to name a few.
With Momondo, you get insights on all of these flights and more. The site searches over 700 websites to gather all the best opportunities in one place. Expect to find everything from big-time, large airlines to smaller, more local flights.
As you’re deciding which flight to take, keep in mind the differences in things like baggage fees, seat assignments, and even the size and comfort of one plane versus another.
6. Google Flights
It’s pretty impressive that a site like Momondo can gather so many different flight plans, routes, and prices in one place. But, no one does search like Google.
The next time you book travel online, at least use Google Flights to compare your rates and travel times. More often than not, you’ll find your flight a little bit cheaper on Google flights. Sometimes, it’s the same price – in which case most people opt for a resource that allows them to bundle and be flexible.
Not to mention, Google finds the best cheap flights, not just the absolute lowest price. This avoids inconveniences like long layovers or hidden fees.
7. Scott’s Cheap Flights
Have you ever looked up flights out of complete curiosity? You know, when you have no intention of packing your bags anytime soon, but you just want to see what’s out there.
That’s what Scott’s Cheap Flights is all about. This is a subscription service that sends you flight alerts when there are ridiculously great prices available. Even if you don’t have an upcoming vacation planned, you may find yourself booking travel online when a roundtrip to Barcelona comes through that’s cheaper than your rent.
This is just one example of the opportunities available on this site.
The catch? You usually have a small window to take advantage of the deal. Still, when such a great trip comes in at the right price, who could say no?!
Know Your Travel Hacks
Whether you like to have everything planned and a copy of your itinerary printed, or you’re more of a casual traveler, it’s worth finding the cheapest way to get to your destination.
This way, you can spend more money actually enjoying the trip, rather than on arriving there.
But, there’s more to saving money than just finding the right booking service for travel online.
Whichever engine you decide to use, keep the following things in mind.
Timing Is Everything
As you browse various flight opportunities, remember the value of time.
This means two things. First, sometimes it’s worth paying more for a flight if it gets you to your destination sooner. Second, the best price may be available when you search in the middle of the night, rather than the middle of the day.
Saving your time is something most people can understand.
It’s better to be on a beach somewhere or hitting the historical sights and museums than to hang out in an airport when you’re halfway there. Getting in at the right time also means you wake up on time for a workout the next day, which helps you stay fit while away (learn more here).
Not to mention, when the trip is over, you just want to get home!
The latter, though, is a little harder to understand. Saving your money is sometimes a matter of working the clock before you even leave.
Do a little comparison next time you want to fly – run a search during your lunch break, then another in the wee hours of the morning. There’s bound to be a difference in the results.
As great as travel booking sites can be, it’s best to try to stick to one airline.
This way, you can rack up miles and go anywhere you want for a little bit less. The more miles you earn, the less you have to pay when you use them. Don’t try to use this travel hack every time you book something, though.
Save your miles for when they really matter – like on an international flight or a trip for two.
Points Make a Big Difference
If you’re bad at keeping up with miles, at least make an effort to earn points on your credit card. Credit cards are amazing travel tools when used correctly.
To get the best value out of them, you have to keep up with payments (in full!) and know how you’re earning points in the first place. Some cards match every dollar for one point. Others will run on a percentage, while even more will go as far as to double the points for every dollar spent on certain items!
That’s a lot of miles, delicious meals, and maybe an extra day or two away. The way you use points is up to you; you just have to find the right match between your card and your preferred service for booking travel online.
Destination Inspiration: Places You Can’t Wait to Book a Trip to and See in Real Life!
Maybe booking your next itinerary for travel online has nothing to do with money or time. Maybe, you just can’t decide where you want to go!
That’s not a bad problem to have. It happens to people who haven’t taken a vacation in years and have no idea where to go first, and to those who are well traveled and need a place to go next, too.
Still, your next destination plays a big role in how much you can expect to pay.
For a little bit of travel inspiration, click here to check out some amazing places!