I book a lot of travel, and there are definite tricks when it comes to choosing a travel site that’ll save you money. Depending on what type of trip you have coming up, these sites will provide the best deals:
(Pssst…none of these tips include using a mileage or hotel rewards credit card!)
1. Book vacation packages on Expedia to save over $600.
Expedia claims you can save up to $603 when you book vacation packages that include flights, hotel, and rental car. I recently booked a vacation package to Hawaii on Expedia instead of using my airline miles, because the Expedia package was actually cheaper!
Frequent travelers should sign up for their free Expedia+ Rewards program to earn two points for every $1 spent and member-only Unreal Deal discounts. After spending $5,000 on Expedia and becoming a Silver Tier member, I’ve earned 50% off hotel stays (knocking my $120/night hotel down to $60/night), $124 off any future trip, and 100% off my flight by booking an all-inclusive hotel in Mexico. You can still get member-only pricing as a Blue Tier member when you first sign up.
2. Get freebies galore when you book Disney vacation packages using Costco Travel.
The best part about booking Disney travel through Costco is the free stuff you get thrown in. For example, if you book a Disney trip through Costco Travel right now, you’ll get the following:
- Premium Disney Character Dining Experience (one per person, per stay) – a value of $49 per adult and $29 per child (ages 3 to 9).
- Disney Gift Card valued at up to $100 (one per package, value based on length of stay, accommodations at a Disneyland® Resort Hotel required).
- Magical Extras Savings Card valid at select Downtown Disney dining and shopping locations (one card per room, per stay).
- 15% discount on a Disneyland Resort Park tour.
- Collectible Disney pin with matching luggage tag and lanyard (one per person).
3. Use Cruise.com to get exclusive discounts and cruise details.
In addition to having low prices and exclusive cash back offers like up to $1,700 cash back on Norwegian cruises, this site has the most comprehensive view of your cruise itinerary and actual ship to help you feel comfortable about your upcoming journey.
See a thorough cruise itinerary that includes time spent in each port, as well as descriptions and photos of each port, including typical weather, shopping tips, and facts about the local government before you book anything.
Plus, check a ship’s ratings for cleanliness and comfort, as well as descriptions and photos of each deck prior to setting sail.
4. Use TravelZoo to look for the most flexible travel dates and destinations.
TravelZoo lets you check prices by month, or season, like “spring” or “winter.”
If you don’t have a destination in mind but know which continent you’d like to see, search entire continents for the cheapest flights so you can see if it’s worth it to fly to London and then take the train over to Paris.
5. Use Kayak to double-check that you’re getting the best flight deals.
Kayak aggregates prices from all the popular travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, and more. It’s an easy way to double-check that you’re getting the best price on a trip before you book, especially on flights.
However, some budget-friendly airlines like Southwest and Allegiant aren’t included on any of these travel deal sites, so if you like flying these budget airlines, be sure to check their sites individually for prices.
6. Get low-fare alerts to any destination using FareCompare.
I love setting up low-fare alerts for places I frequently travel, like flights to Portland to see my sister. Whenever these flights dip below a certain threshold, I get an email alerting me of the price change.
7. Bid on your ideal price-per-night for a hotel using Priceline.
This is the most risky way to book a hotel, but high risk often yields a high reward! Provide your travel dates and destination in the Name Your Price section of Priceline. Then give the price-per-night you’re willing to pay for a hotel, along with the minimum level of hotel stars you’re willing to accept.
For example, you may say you’ll pay $60/night for a 3+ star hotel in San Diego.
You have to provide your credit card to officially make the bid. If your bid is accepted, your card will be charged for the stay, and the trip is non-refundable.
You won’t get to choose the hotel (Priceline does that for you), but you will get an incredible deal if your price is accepted.