Finding Travel Deals

As frequent travelers, we are often asked how we are able to travel so much. Most people view travel as a luxury, something that only the rich are able to partake in. Well I’m here to tell you, that is not the case!  The key is to finding deals, and there are a ton of them out there! If you notice just by being on social media, there is a huge boom in traveling these days. Everyone and their mother is going on trips and that is because not only is it more accessible, it’s cheaper than ever to go to that destination you have pinned on Pinterest!

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My favorite site to search for airfare is Skyscanner.  You can download the app by clicking here.  It’s not only for flights, but also hotels, car rentals, making this a great tool for researching your trip.  One of the best features of Skyscanner is the everywhere search.  If you put in your home airport into the from field, you can then select everywhere in the to field. If you are flexible, instead of selecting specific dates, select the whole month. You will get results of the cheapest flights all over the world from your home airport. We rarely have a destination in mind, we book based on what’s cheapest, allowing us to travel more frequently.  To give you an idea, our airfare to Thailand cost under $500 per person  Costa Rica was under $300 and our upcoming trip to London was under $400. Hard to beat that!

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There are also what are called glitch fares.  These generally don’t last long, but if you are lucky enough to score one, your flight or hotel can cost as little as a penny!  The best way to be notified of current glitch fares and travel deals from your home airport in general is to subscribe to Secret Flying and The Flight Deal emails. They come daily to your inbox, with lots of great deals to places all over the world. Some deals are last minute, but many are not, giving you time to plan.  You can also follow each on Facebook. I highly recommend switching notifications to “see first” that way you are notified first when these deals come up. We have booked quite a few glitch fares using these sites!

Since these are glitch fares, they are often removed rather quickly. The one thing you don’t want to do is call the airline, inquiring about it. This will definitely make the fare disappear and ruin the deal for everyone.  Basically, if you see a fare that’s too good to be true, purchase without thinking too much because chances are it will be gone within the hour!

Similar to the above is Travel Pirates.  Their emails don’t come as often, but when they do, there are some great deals to be found! Subscribe to their emails and follow them on Facebook for some great travel deals.

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Another great app is Hopper.  They will track your desired route and notify you when the airfare drops. Hopper combines millions of daily, real-life prices to find the best airfare.  It also predicts what future airfare might be, and whether you should buy now or wait.  So far, it’s been pretty accurate for us!

logo-xlarge-copy-copyIf you are traveling with just carry ons, Skiplagged is your best friend! Developed by a 22 year old college student, this website will find the cheapest fare using a trick that’s been around for years. The key is to book one way flights.  Say a flight from from LAX to DAL is $350 but a flight from LAX to AUS is $150 but it includes a stop in Dallas.  You book it, get off in Dallas and don’t continue to Austin. The trick to this is, you can only travel with carry ons, otherwise your luggage will continue to the final destination. And, book one ways because many airlines will cancel your return itinerary if you don’t complete all flight segments.  Like I said before, this works best for people without kids or those who don’t pack much, since many people with children have checked luggage.

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If you have a budget in mind,  Wherefor is the site for you.  It tells you where you can go, for what you can spend.  Put in your budget, dates you want to travel, number of travelers and home airport and let the site do the work for you.

Priceline

While we haven’t used Priceline for airfare, we use their bidding feature for hotels and car rentals all the time! Examples of awesome hotels we’ve gotten (all for less than $100 a night) are Grand Cayman Marriott in the Cayman Islands, Sir Francis Drake, A Kimpton Hotel in San Francisco, Renaissance San Diego downtown hotel, Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Hotel Nikko in SF (one of the best scores!), SeaCrest Oceanfront hotel in Pismo Beach, La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, Intercontinental in Miami, Hyatt in Monterey, Silverado Resort in Napa, NY NY and MGM in Vegas during very peak times, Grand Hotel in Krakow Poland, Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, Sheraton on the Falls in Niagara Falls, Sheraton Le Centre in Montreal, Intercontinental Boston,  and Aruba Marriott Resort.  Just to name a few! Priceline is awesome if you know how to work it. I suggest you study up and read Better Bidding and Bidding for Travel to learn how to work the site and to see what people have paid for hotels in the area you are looking to travel to.

Credit Cards

There are so many travel reward credit cards out there! I personally use the Chase Sapphire Reserve but I won’t go into too much detail, and I highly recommend visiting The Points Guy, since he breaks them down better than I ever could! He’s been talking about the CSR since it came out, it’s the best travel card out there right now!

I also have the Southwest cards (both personal and business) and earned the companion pass in February this year.  That means that Milana flies for free as my companion on every flight for the rest of this year and all of next! This is one of the best perks of travel, I highly recommend earning the companion pass if you plan to fly SW at all in the future! If you apply for a personal card through Chase, you only get the 40k sign up bonus. If you use this link, you will get 50k, putting you closer to the companion pass! Click here for an application:  Southwest Application

I recently got the Hilton Amex, which has no annual fees and give you 75k points after just $1k in 3 months. We’ve already utilized the points for free rooms in Europe in March and have plenty left over.  To apply for this card, go here: Hilton Honors Card

The Amex Hilton Surpass is even better and with a referral, you get 100k sign up bonus, which is one of the highest they offer and you will also get automatic gold status which comes with a ton of benefits. You can only get the 100k with a referral from an existing customer. You can apply for both cards and have enough Hilton points for several trips. To apply for the Surpass, go here: Hilton Honors Surpass Card

Other cards I have and utilize points/miles from on a regular basis are the Marriott Rewards Premier Card (you get 80k points after spending $3k in the first 3 months) and the United MileagePlus Explorer card, which will give you 50k miles if you spend 3k in the first 3 months.

Cash Back Sites

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

I use Ebates constantly.  I’ve gotten a ton of cash back just for shopping and lots of travel sites (Priceline is one) are on there too! All you need to do is sign up, search for the store you want to shop in and that’s it. Easy way to get even deeper discounts on travel!

As you can see, there are a ton of travel deals out there. You just have to be on the lookout and you too will find them. Happy travels!

Do you have any tips for finding travel deals? Share them in the comments below!

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20 comments

  1. So many tips…wow, you remind me of a cousin of mine who calls herself ‘Deal Queen’. 🙂 Should make a note of these and try using some myself. I suppose, you need a lot of dedicated effort and perseverance to take advantage of these options…somehow I’m never trying hard enough..

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  2. I had never heard of Skiplagged. I am off to investigate the website right now. Thanks for that awesome tip. I already use skyscanner and love the flexible button 🙂

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  3. Yessss Secret Flying is the absolute best. I find that liking their Facebook page is the best way to keep track of all the deals, since you can see them as soon as they come up (rather than wait for an email). I just snagged a roundtrip flight to Munich for dirt cheap through them (only $600 Canadian) which means I can spend the holidays with my boyfriend. SO so excited and thankful!! Skyscanner is a great tool too. Great list!

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  4. I have only just started using Skyscanner and I love it! Have never thought to use it for hotels though so I will need to look at that! I just grabbed 2 tix to Vietnam almost a $1000 off yippeee! I thought I knew all the bargain tricks in the book but some of these I haven’t heard of so I will need to check them out.

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  5. I love hopper! I just booked flights for my whole family to St. Thomas on hopper and they had the lowest prices by far. I also like how their platform is so easy to use. I’ve never heard of Skiplagged before but it sounds similar to cleverlayover! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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  6. Brilliant tips! The key to getting a good deal is to be spontaneous and always ready to book when you see the deal. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. Its great to have all these resources in the one place!

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  7. These are all fantastic websites – some I have never heard before. I usually have used Skyscanner and another website called I Know the Pilot. If you are flexible with your dates, it is easier to find travel deals.

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  8. A useful list of resources including a few I’ve never heard of. I’ll be checking out Travel Pirates, Hopper and Skip Lagged. The airfare marketplace is so competitive it’s pretty tough finding great deals these days.

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  9. Great post! These travel deal tips are just amazing. We especially found Wherefor site superb which suggests us destination depending on our budget. Credit cards are definitely something widely used to grab some of the best deals around.

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  10. I use Skyscanner regularly for years and I always track the price for a while. A few months ago we discovered Hopper and I am totally in love with it! But you know, in the end, a combination of few search engines helped us to find cheaper tickets. If there is no special promotion, one is definitely not enough.

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  11. Great round up! SkyScanner has always been my go-to site, and i’ve used hopper at bit recently too. Skip-lagged seems such a great idea, but I’ve found it doesn’t really work so well outside of the USA – but things are always improving so i’m going to keep trying to get the best deal from it!

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