How To Get Travel Deals

Six Easy Steps To Getting Travel Deals

Making travel reservations and getting travel deals on the internet can be a challenging process for a novice and can even be complicating for the internet pro.  With dozens of travel sites coming and going daily and hundreds to choose from, it's no wonder the online travel process can be so confusing for so many.

Our goal is to simplify the process and to take the mystery out of getting travel deals online.  We've questioned many internet travel pros and have put together a step by step process that will help you save time, save money and get you where you want to go with ease.  After reading this article, you'll be on your way to becoming an internet travel pro yourself and you'll be able to sleep well at night knowing knowing you're getting the best travel deal available.

Step 1 of How To Get Travel Deals is to start with a travel directory.  A favorite of our internet pros is GoPert.com.  It is a directory of just about every major travel site available and it can save you loads of time by allowing you to go directly to the major travel, airline, car rental and cruise line websites from a single site.  They also provide 800 numbers for all the sites so you can easily call the companies if you run into any snags. 

Do yourself a favor and bookmark www.GoPert.com .  Every travel site we mention here along with many more are linked to it for a convenient and time saving step on your way to getting travel deals and making travel reservations online.

Step 2 is to decide the where, when and how of your travel plans.  Will you fly? drive? stay in a hotel?  rent a car? Are your travel plans flexible? etc.  There are many variables and each one can have an impact on the deals available.  Now's the time to do your RESEARCH.  If you don't have a clue as to where, when or how you want to go, all the major travel sites have great ideas waiting for you.  Just browse their sites and you're sure to come up with something fun and exciting, nice and  relaxing or a combination that fits your needs.

If you need a hotel in a certain city but you don't know much about the hotels available, a great place to start is www.tripadvisor.com.  They have a good rating system and tons of helpful reviews from previous visitors to each hotel so you can get an unbiased opinion of a particular hotel's quality, service and other things people liked or disliked about it.  Once you've figured out the where, when and how of your travel plans it's time to move on to the next step.

Step 3 of How To Get Travel Deals is to join frequent traveler programs.  This is a great way to enjoy exclusive offers, preferential treatment and bonuses like points, mileage, discounts and upgrades.  Just about every airline, hotel chain, car rental agency and cruise line offers some type of frequent traveler program and it's smart to join as many programs as you can.  They're almost always free to join and companies often email exclusive offers and discounts to their members.

  • TIP:  Our internet travel pros say the best way to do this is to set up a free email account at www.yahoo.com or another site you're familiar with (use an address like yournametravelstuff@yahoo.com).  This will help you keep all your frequent traveler memberships and travel related emails in one place for easy reference.  The more programs you sign up for, the more email offers you'll get (this can be quite a few) so it's good to have this separate email account so it's there for you when you are planning to travel and you don't have to worry about it when you're not.

Another good idea is to join www.AAA.com.  Aside from the auto service they provide, many hotel chains and other travel related companies offer special AAA rates.  The cost of a basic membership is about $60 a year and it can often pay for itself with just one hotel stay.

Step 4 in the process of How To Get Travel Deals is to get a base price from one, two or all three of the major travel booking sites.  Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are the 3 largest travel sites online and a good place to start.  If you need airfare, hotel and car rental - check prices for them separately and also check the prices for a package deal (In theory, package deals should be cheaper but often this is not the case).

If you have plenty of time, check all three sites - occasionally one site will offer a special price on a hotel that the others are not offering.  If you're short on time, it's probably good enough to get a base price from just one of the three since most of the time they are comparable in the prices they offer. 

If you're really short on time or just don't want the hassle of searching for travel deals - Book your travel on one of these sites and be done with it!  You'll get a fair deal and you can move on to the more important things in your life.

  • TIP:  If your travel plans are flexible, be sure to check different dates and check them often before making your reservation.  Even if your dates are set, check your travel plans at different times of the day and on different days if you have the time.  It is not uncommon to see prices vary by 100% or more depending on the day and the time of day you make your reservation.

Step 5 in the process of How To Get Travel Deals is to check your travel plans at the "Second Tier" travel sites.  These include sites like Priceline and Hotwire that are unique in that they let you name your own price for travel.  Some people swear by sites these that let you "bid for travel" and others say they're a waste of time.  Most of our travel pros say that if you know what you're doing, they can be an asset to finding the best travel deals.  Be warned that you often won't be able to choose your airline, hotel, flight times, etc. but if you're not picky and you're flexible, these sites can produce some great deals.

   

 

  • TIP:  Be armed with the best deal you can find from steps 4 and 6 prior to the bidding process and try starting your bidding at 30% to 40% below that price.

Other "second tier" sites include travel search engines like Kayak.com, vacation sites like Southwest Vacations and Lastminute.com and hotel specialists like Hotels.com.  If you have the time, it's a good idea to check your travel plans at several "second tier" travel sites but make sure you pay attention to the booking fees and other fees that some of these sites charge.  If you're short on time, you can often skip this step entirely since you'll find most often that you'll get your best deal in the next step.

Step 6 in the process of How To Get Travel Deals involves comparing the deals you've found so far to the prices on the individual airline, hotel, car rental and cruise line companies websites.  Many individual companies offer things like "low price guarantees" and "no booking fees" so more often than not this is where you'll find the best deals.. 

  • Example 1:  You found a Hilton Hotel that everyone is raving about at Tripadvisor.com.  You checked the Big 3 travel sites and found the best price at Expedia.  You checked some of the "second tier" travel sites and you found an even better deal at Hotels.com.  Now go directly to the Hilton website and check the price there.

  • Example 2:  You found a package deal for airfare, hotel and car rental on Orbitz. They offered what seems like a good price that has you flying on United, staying at a Marriott and renting a car from Budget.  Now check the prices separately.  Go to United's or another airline's website and check the price for comparable airfare - go to Marriott's website and check the price for the hotel - and check some rental car agencies for a price on a similar car for the same time period.

Now that you're armed with loads of information and several different options for booking your travel plans, you can compare prices and book the best deal available.  You'll be able to sleep well knowing you're getting the best deal available.  Don't forget to use your frequent traveler numbers when making your reservations.

  • Remember:  Prices for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises can fluctuate wildly from day to day.  If you have the time, it's a good idea to check prices on several different days and at different times of the day.  Keep track of the prices so you'll know a good deal when you see it and you'll be able to grab it before the price goes up.

  • Tip:  Many of the large travel sites and search engines don't include the "low cost" airlines like Southwest and Jet Blue or many of the smaller regional airlines in their searches so it's a good idea to check the prices at these individual sites if they offer service in your area.

 

The following site were voted the "Best Travel Sites" by our internet pros for their:

 Award Winning Service - Best Prices - Ease of Use - Range of Options

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