I have a secret obsession. It’s my one thing. I guess you could consider it a vice, but I like to consider it a super power. It’s called finding Great Travel Deals.
Here is the thing, I’m in my 20s, I’m single, I’m loving my life… and I figure, why not? I have this wonderful job that let’s me work from wherever and a great group of friends who are willing to be my travel buddies. I have a flexible lifestyle that allows for it. So I’m taking advantage of it while I still can.
The one thing most people won’t tell you about finding deals is that while it saves money it costs time and effort. A lot of it. I personally like to view it as a challenge and have fun with it. It’s my hobby that I do for just my own personal travel. But it may not be your thing. Which is totally fine but just as a fair warning, all of my methods require time and effort.
I get asked a lot how I find my Travel Deals… so here is my detailed guide.
Sometimes Airlines like to run specials… other times there is a glitch. Most airlines stand behind their glitches. My favorite glitch was when I booked 2 trips from LA to NYC for $26 ROUNDTRIP each. That was awesome. Most airfare deals aren’t quite on that same level… but you can save a lot. There is a usually one string attached to the great deals- specific dates they are available on. So if you aren’t flexible on your travel dates, it’s probably not going to work for you.
- DansDeals Twitter account. He posts about good deals, including airfare. I have all of his tweets sent to my phone. There are a lot of tweets and 98% of them don’t apply to me and I don’t use…. but that 2%. That 2% is totally.worth.it.
- SecretFlying, it’s a blog that posts great airfare deals. Daily. It’s harder to keep up with. I try to glance at it once a day and see if there is anything I would like it.
Here is the thing, when a deal hits- you have to book REALLY FAST. There is no sitting back and thinking about it for an hour, it’s either book it or miss out. I’ve lost out on several GREAT airfares because I didn’t book in time. It’s common. So just be prepared to book right away. If you don’t like to travel alone, have your travel buddies info saved on your phone- with their Date of Birth and Full name (including middle name). So in the 10 minutes they take to get back to you to say the dates will work for them, all of their traveler’s info is filled out and all you have to do it click submit.
When traveling, usually the biggest cost comes not from airfare but accommodations. What good is wonderful airfare if you spend an arm and a leg on accommodations? Not to mention, while I don’t mind skimping on airfare, I like to be able to sleep somewhere nice and without bed bugs. Hotel deals won’t always knock your socks off, but sometimes if you dig hard enough there is usually a great deal out there.
- Rarely you can find good hotel deals on DansDeals, problem is it’s only for specific dates.
- My usual go-to is Priceline. I use 2 different methods depending on the situation. Both requires time and research, but if you play your cards just right you can save hundreds. I sure have.
- Method #1: Great for if you want to stay in a specific area or hotel. Go to Priceline, pick a hotel within your budget read the reviews, then book it. Just make sure it’s within your budget and you’re okay paying that price- you may not get a better deal. When you book it make sure you book it with the “pay later” and “free cancellation policy” and then cross your fingers. I usually circle back to the hotel a week before I leave… usually (but not all the time) prices went down if the hotel isn’t completely booked. If you find a better deal, book Reservation #2 and cancel Reservation #1. As long as you’re within the Free Cancellation timeframe, it’s all good and you just saved a nice chunk of change. I just used this method for a hotel in Manhattan, NY and saved a few hundred dollars.
- Method #2: Name Your Own Price. This method takes the longest and is a bit of a gamble as there is not a free cancellation policy and you’re locked in to your reservation. If you’re not set on one specific hotel, it works wonders. I use the method outlined here. It’s time consuming, but I usually save the biggest with this method. I once got a Resort stay in Kauai for a ridiculous amount, around 45% off the listed prices for a week stay.
- Airbnb, people renting out their own homes. This is kinda hit or miss for me. Sometimes you get great deals and a nice place to stay… sometimes you don’t. Read all of the reviews the person makes- at least twice. But even reviews aren’t completely honest. Sometimes previous reviewers will err on the side of being nice to the Host, rather than blatant honesty.
P.S. When you visit Priceline (or other booking sites) they store a cookie in your browser that let’s them know you were already here, and they change their prices to reflect this (usually higher). To get around this system, either use a different browser or use Incognito mode. Click here to learn about Incognito mode.