Saturday, July 9

Travel Tips & Deals

Since many of us are planning Summer vacations  - I though I would share some of my traveling sites and tips to find great deals on travel.

A few sites that I like for all travel needs are:
-Kayak: This site allows you to compare hundreds of travel sites all at once so that you can get the best deal.
-Travelzoo: Sends you a weekly email with the top 20 deals. Most of the deals include airfare. This can be a great resource if your available to make last minute travel plans on an extreme discount. I also like that you only get one email a week with the best deal, you are not bombarded with various offers.

The rest of the sites I have broken down into categories: 
Never book your airfare out more than 5 months, and 3 1/2 months is the perfect time to book your airfare because this is when airliners begin to reduce their fares. is a great resource to find great airfare deals. They use a database to compare airfare prices and will advise you with the arrows below whether you should wait a few days to come back and check on prices or whether you should buy now. is a great resource for airfare if you have flexible dates. They will show you a calendar with various prices so that you can pick the cheapest dates to travel.
(Thanks @ Rachelrayshow)

-Blind Reservation: Hotwire and Expedia will get you a cheap hotel if you do a "blind" reservation. If your willing to purchase the hotel room without knowing what hotel you are staying at - you can save more money. You can choose the city and the distance from the city center and you can also choose the star rating for your hotel. I wouldn't suggest anything less than 3 stars.
-Call the Hotel directly - use Expedia, Travelocity, hotwire, etc. to get a price point for a room, but then call the hotel to find out what the best price is that they will offer you. Also keep in mind that most travel sites such as Expedia or Travelocity will charge you a cancellation fee. Most the time when you make reservations directly with the hotel - they will not charge a cancellation fee as long as you cancel with in a certain time frame (usually 24 hrs) before your reservation.
You may have to speak to a supervisor to get a real deal. Also check for discounts such as AAA, senior discounts, miles etc.
-Timeshare & Condos-
I prefer to stay at a condo or timeshare rental because they are normally resort facilities (luxury), have a fully stocked kitchen (cuts food costs), have multiple rooms, and many times free laundry. Here are a few sites that allow you to rent a home or timeshare (keep in mind that most timeshare rentals will rent for a full week and should not require any timeshare presentation, these are timeshare owners who are renting their timeshare - not selling it):

  • VRBO - find vacation home rentals. You do need to watch the prices here, because they will sometimes add cleaning fees, deposits, pet fees etc. Make sure you are aware of all the costs. Many times you can negotiate for lower prices with the owners.
  • Vacation Timeshare and Rentals 
  • Vacation
  • HomeAway
  • Ebay (search for: timeshare rental): You can get some really good deals here, but they are most often for specific dates. Don't bid too early, make a last minute bid and try to buy from a reputable seller - someone with positive feedback.
  • KLS Classified

*Note: If possible use Paypal or I like my Amex for payments just for added security.

-Bring Your Own - If you are staying at a hotel with a refrigerator/microwave or staying at a timeshare, condo, or rental home you can save a lot by bring your own food or buying items at the grocery store there. I will often times get prepared meals from Costco that can easily be heated up. 
-Deal Sites - As you plan for your vacation, keep an eye on Groupon or Living Social which offer deals all over the nation. If you know you are going to San Diego for instance, you can look up Groupon's for the city of San Diego and watch specifically for restaurant deals. Both sites offer deals for hundreds of city's - just check daily for any deals you may be interested in. This may also be a great way to save on some fun activities in the city too - I saw a Groupon deal in San Diego for Whale Watching that would be half off.
-Watch for Coupons - you can also keep your eyes out for coupons from national restaurants that you can bring along with you to keep your meal costs down. Also, look directly on restaurant websites for any coupon offers before you go. 

What are some of your travel tips or deals? Let us know in the comments.

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