Photo (cc) by Michael Bentley
Spring and summer vacations are lifesavers after a long, dark winter, though the cost of travel can make planning a trip stressful. But don’t let a tight budget keep you from having a getaway. There are ways to do it for less that won’t diminish your experience. In fact, some may enhance it.
1. Be flexible on travel dates
There are cheaper days to fly. For “domestic U.S. travel it’s Tuesday and Wednesday, and for international trips it’s usually Monday to Wednesday or Thursday,” according to Airfarewatchdog’s blog.
There’s been a lot of consolidation and change in the arena of airfare and hotel search engines. Expedia bought Orbitz last year, just weeks after buying Travelocity, so some of these sites will turn up the same fare information.
But some search engines offer good flexible-schedule booking features that allow you to see the best price within a range of dates:
- Airfarewatchdog explains how flexible-fare search works at Cheapair, Kayak (owned by Priceline) and Hipmunk.
- USA Today explains flexible airfare search and lists more search options.
- Google Flight Search lets you compare prices across dates with a chart that shows four weeks’ worth of prices (instructions here) at a time.
If you’re confused by all the various travel search options, try first going to BookingBuddy, which can take some of the hassle out going to various, according to a review by PC magazine:
Enter your travel details, and BookingBuddy will point you to the different travel sites to find the best deal. I wish it would search them for me and gather the results instead of just redirecting me to them, but at least BookingBuddy saves you from having to enter your travel info nine times on nine different sites.