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Five Ways to Save BIG on Travel

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Save Big on Travel Hip2Save

If you’re planning an upcoming vacation and are looking to save on airfare, lodging, entertainment, dining out and more, be sure to check out these “HIP” travel tips…

1.) Purchase Airline Tickets Early AND on Tuesdays

Airline Tickets

Does the time of day you buy your flight really matter? According to a recent Expedia report, whenever booking at least 3 weeks in advance, you should try to book on a Tuesday where you can save you as much as $28 per ticket (as opposed to booking your tickets on a Saturday). Buying a ticket on a Friday less than 3 weeks before your trip is the most expensive time to buy. That means the earlier the better…

BUT, does the early bird always get the worm?! According to Expedia, domestic travelers have a window between 50 and 100 days before a flight when airline tickets are the cheapest. Booking TOO early or TOO late will end up costing you hundreds of dollars for your flight. On average, the most precise day to book is 57 days in advance.

2. Download Hotel Apps for Incredible Deals

Hotel Tonight

If you’re looking to book a hotel room without spending a lot out of pocket, be sure to download FREE highly rated apps like Hotel Tonight or Hotels.com that allow you to book highly rated hotels at amazing last-minute rates…a win-win! When hotels have unsold rooms, they are loaded onto the app then allowing YOU to book those rooms at incredibly low rates for tonight, tomorrow or even next week.

3.) Discover Your Credit Card Member Perks

Credit Card Perks

If you’re a cardholder, be sure to check out the discounts and rewards that are associated with your credit card company. Several credit cards offer rewards like free flights, discounted hotel stays and more. According to this article, the best 2016 travel credit card for hotels is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the best card for airline miles is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Also, select banks offer entertainment perks for cardholders. For example, during the first full weekend of each month, Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders FREE admission to over 150 museums in 31 states with a Bank of America credit card or debit card. Planning a trip to a theme park? Discover cardholders can get a 5% discount on Six Flags season passes, play passes, admission tickets, parking, food, merchandise, the FLASH Pass and VIP tours.

4.) Buy Restaurant Certificates & Entertainment Books

Family Eating

if you’re looking to save on dining out or entertainment for your vacation spot, consider buying a few Restaurant.com Gift Certificates or an Entertainment Book for that area. An Entertainment Book comes filled with money saving coupons featuring local restaurants, entertainment and retail spots, grocery stores and more. Plus, they often go on sale for $10 or less, so consider grabbing a few books when a sale pops up!

Restaurant.com provides great deals for thousands of restaurants across the country – often up to 88% off! That means you can buy a $15 voucher for just $1.80 or a $25 certificate for only $3 when bought during a sale. However, be sure to read the restaurant’s special instructions before purchasing the certificate; many restaurants require that you make a minimum purchase, many add 18% gratuity prior to the certificate being applied, some may state valid for food or dinner only, and some may restrict the days that the certificate can be used (i.e. Monday-Friday only).

5.) Snag Daily Deals for Your Vacation Spot

Entertainment

Be sure to sign up for daily deals from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for the city that you’re traveling to. This allows you to see what restaurants are available in that area, entertainment ideas for the family, hotel packages and more! Plus, consider purchasing a few deals whenever there’s a discount code available and you’ll save BIG.


Travel

More Ways to Save on Travel:

Dunhill Travel Deals
Save up to 70% on Hotels, Cruises, Vacations, Airfare & more!

Shermans Travel
Save up to 70% off Travel Deals worldwide!

Rue La La
Search for various travel deals worldwide. Each day, they offer different Boutiques filled with the best of the best in travel, fashion, home, kids, and more.

TripAdvisor
Search the World’s Largest Travel Site with over 200 million+ unbiased traveler reviews and over 200+ sites to find the best hotel prices.

Expedia (and Expedia Disney Vacation Packages)
Plan your trip with Expedia. Buy discounted airline tickets, read reviews, reserve a hotel, find deals on vacations, rental cars & cruises with great prices guaranteed!

Booking Buddy
Search for your favorite travel websites with fewer clicks and in less time! Save on hotels, vacation packages, cruises, flights, cars and more – up to 80% off!

Booking.com
Get big savings on hotels in 85,000 destinations worldwide. Browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.

CheapAir.com
Search cheap airline tickets and book discount airfares and air tickets, including cheap last minute fares.

Groupon
Save BIG on various travel deals and local vacation spots.

LivingSocial
Looking for a memorable getaway? LivingSocial offers a wide range of relaxing and fun escape and hotel deals!

Request FREE Travel Brochures
Get your FREE, full-color travel brochures – many include bonus discounts, special hotel packages, and even the chance to win free getaways!

Request a FREE Alaska Vacation Planner
If you are interested in possibly traveling to Alaska, be sure to request this FREE travel guide filled with beautiful pictures, helpful information and more!

How do YOU save on travel?


Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 67

  1. lily

    Anybody have any tips for when to book for international flights? Planning on a honeymoon to Japan and while dates are available to book flight my dates are unavailable to book the hotel. Planning to go early November/late October

    • Laura

      I would suggest using a travel agent. We work directly with the hotels to come up with package deals that tend to be cheaper than separately booking flights/hotels. Also- you might want to consider a tour package. These tend to be significantly cheaper and a great way to navigate a new place… plus they include meals, guided tours, intercity transportation, etc.

    • Ashley57

      If you don’t have credit card debt, opening a credit card and getting the sign-up bonus can be a huge help. For my DH and I, we both opened United credit cards and both our flights to London in June ended up being $1000. We saved $1000+ doing it that way and never paid any interest.

      • Victoria

        Ashley, just curious what credit card you got and how many points? My sister signed up for the United Mileage Plus but they only give 30k miles which doesn’t get them anything 🙁

        • Laura

          Cards offer different sign up bonuses at different times. That United card sometime increases it’s bonus to 50,000 miles- which can go pretty far!

    • lauren

      Go through expedia. We have went to Japan twice last time being in July 2015 and they have the best deal on flights and hotels. Booked as a package it is really cheap. We book 3-4 months before.

      • Lily

        While Expedia may quite cheap prices, I have been burned a few times when travel plans change. So has my sister. We now only book direct with airline and hotels. You have more negotiating power with them if booked directly when things go wrong. Just a thought.

  2. Bridgette

    This is great!!! Thanks for the tips!

  3. ILuvH2S

    We just took a vacation to Myrtle Beach this past week. We ate at a restaurant that was one of the highest ranked out of the area. We ate at 6pm with our family and it was happy hour. We got wine for $3 a glass and half off appetizers!!!! The kids shared a happy hour appetizer for their meal. 🙂 It was great and they didn’t require you to eat at the bar to get the deal!

  4. Laura

    Speaking of #3: Right now Starwood has its highest offer of 35,000 points available! If you don’t have the card, now is definitely the time to get it because this is the highest the offer has ever been (it’s typically 25,000 or 30,000 points). American express in general is great because of their amazing AMEX offers. Right now they have great offers for both discounts on Carnival cruises ($75 back after spending $250) and Norwegian Cruise Lines ($100 back after spending $500).

    I also highly recommend consulting a travel agent because typically they can match or beat deals found online… and yes, I am a travel agent.

    http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

    • Freeda

      When booking a cruise, do you give extra perks to your clients? I have a cruise booked, wondering if it can transfer to travel agent?

      • Laura

        Depending on the cruise line you booked and time since you’ve booked, we might be able to transfer the reservation. Please feel free to contact message me via my Facebook Business page and we can discuss your specific reservations. Thanks!

        http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

        • Kristen

          Laura – how does it work using a travel agent? Is there a fee that we’d have to pay you as the agent or do you get paid through the cruise/hotel/airline?

          • Laura

            it’s 100% free to you. We NEVER charge you a penny and it won’t cost you any more than if you booked directly. We monitor your reservations (so we can apply discounts if they come up), handle any changes you want to make to your reservations, and save you time! We get a commission from the cruise/hotel/airline, but using a full-service agency (like mine is!) means that they work with LOTS of different travel vendors and can get you the best prices no matter where and when you’d like to go.

        • Tabi

          What price can you get on a Norwegian cruise….. Family of 4 (2 adults 2 kids – ages 10) aboard the Norwegian Escape – November 5th sailing – 7 day eastern Caribbean cruise?

          • Laura

            Right now the best price for an inside cabin is $2,02336. This is the total price, including taxes for your family of 4. On top of this, you can choose from ONE of these FREE choices: Ultimate Beverage Package,Shore Excursion Credits, Free WiFi Credit, or Specialty Dining Package. If you decide to book with me (message me privately via my Facebook business page) I will also offer you an onboard credit.

            • Celeste

              Laura, what is the best deal you can get on a cruise for a family of 4 on ANY cruise line? 5 day or 7 day. Sailing in late October or early November? Best deal meaning lowest price and/or best add on perks.

              ALSO, What about for this summer, middle of June – All of July through the first week of August …. For 2 adults 4 kids under age 12. What’s the LOWEST PRICE for any cruise line for a short cruise, maybe 3 day. What’s the lowest price you could get?

            • Laura

              Hi Celeste,

              I’d love to give you a quote. In order to give you the most accurate quote can you either email me (loneill@enchantedmem.com) or Facebook message me (http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura) the following info:

              1) Children’s ages
              2) Preferred departure port
              3) If you’ve previously sailed on any cruise line (discounts often are given for this)
              4) If you are active or retired military (discounts often are given for this)
              5) What State you are a resident of (discounts are sometimes given for specific states)

              Also can you clarify if it’s a family of 4 or if there are 4 children? Thank you!

            • Celeste

              For the summer it would be 2 adults and 4 kids – 8, 10, 12, 14. We live in Tampa, Florida so any surrounding port. I think there’s one in Orlando close to us, also maybe ft. lauderdale or Jacksonville? If only consider driving to those if the cruise is that much less than other cruises. We’ve never been on a cruise. We aren’t military. Looking for any cruise line, just a cheap cruise, maybe 3 day. Then I want to know about a cruise for late October early November. For 2 adults and 2 kids ages 8 & 10. But for 5 or 7 days. Again any cruise just best lowest price to get us on the boat.

            • Celeste

              Hi Laura. I left my info here, I don’t have a Facebook. I will look for your reply info. Thanks.

            • Laura

              Celeste- Carnival has the lowest rates for the summer cruise but it would require you to get 2 rooms because they have a 5 person occupancy limit. Would you be able to email me so we can further discuss options?

            • Celeste

              You can email me at jcpenneybuttons @ gmail

            • Laura

              I’ll get an over to you this morning Celeste. Thanks!

          • Laura

            That should read: $2,023.36 total. Plus one of those great extras 🙂

            • Laura

              Also- If you are military or have sailed with Norwegian in the past, I can see if there are any special discounts we can apply for you. And if you are an American Express card holder, check your Amex offers! There’s currently an offer for $100 back when you spend $500 or more… and that includes when you book through your preferred travel professional!

            • Tabi

              Is that with all taxes included?

            • Laura

              Yup! That’s the total price out the door. Right now NCL is running a GREAT deal which is what makes the prices so great! And even better with cruises you can pay a deposit down now and pay the balance off over time! In this particular cruise the final payment wouldn’t be due until August 7th.

              Working with a travel agent makes it so that almost any cruise or vacation package can be booked with a small deposit and the final payment isn’t due until later!

    • Lily

      I have the Starwood card too and it’s great but be aware Marriott is buying them out and it is not clear yet what changes may come for the loyalty program.

  5. Rachel

    Or use a travel agent! They know how to save you money! I just saved someone $320 because they would’ve booked with Apple vs another competitor, plus they get my help if anything goes wrong!
    https://www.facebook.com/EndlessDestinationsByRachel/

    • Tabi

      What price can you get on a Norwegian cruise….. family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids – age 10) aboard Norwegian Escape – the November 5th sailing – 7 day eastern cruise?

  6. Robyn

    Try using the HOPPER app! It watches airline prices and notifies you when to buy! It saved my tons on our trip to Disney last year!

    • Louise

      Robyn, What is the HOPPER app?

  7. Jessie

    Sign up for airline rewards programs! My husband has a business trip to FL over my spring break (I work at a school) so I’m tagging along. With all his work travel he’s accumulated a ton of rewards points with Southwest. We were able to use his rewards to pay for my flight!

  8. Susie

    On flights, I almost hate to let my secret out because it works so well, but I’ll share with my fellow hipsters. Set trip alerts on Trip Advisor for the destinations you’re interested in and they’ll shoot you an email when airfare from your home airport to the destinations you’ve chosen have dramatic price drops. I routinely see round trip tickets from Atlanta to Las Vegas under $100, as well as Atlanta to Denver, round trip for as little as $79. To be able to take advantage of the deals you must have flexible travel dates and act quickly when you receive the alerts because the cheap prices are limited and go quickly.

    • Shell

      I get these alerts as well. Haven’t found one as good as yours though. But keeping my eye out hehe

      • Susie

        It depends on where you’re going, like Jackson Hole, Wyoming never goes cheap, but I set alerts for Bozeman Montana and got a $200 alert on it last week, which is great for a Yellowstone area airport for the summer.

        • Tia

          I didn’t realize that was a secret! I thought everyone used price alerts. It’s also not just Trip Advisor. You can set alerts on Airfarewatchdog, kayak and expedia fare alert to name a few.

  9. Alison

    My friend and I both have spouses that travel for work. While the hotel is payed for by the company, our husbands accumulate points for the hotel stays through various hotel rewards programs, and we earn free night stays that we use on vacations. This is good to do when traveling anytime as you can build up points for free stays later!!

    • Tia

      I worked with a salesman once who took him, his wife and 2 kids to Disney (from NJ) for just the cost of admission. All the airline miles and hotel points earned by his traveling paid for the trip. That was like having a whole separate paycheck. I was jealous!

  10. Emily

    I love using price trackers for purchasing airfare – Kayak.com’s tracker is my favorite. Also, Airbnb has been an amazing way for my family to travel really inexpensively. We just got back from a budget friendly trip to Europe and stayed at a huge apartments for less than $50/night! If anyone wants to sign up through my link, I’d be grateful! You’ll get $20 off your reservation, which makes many of the places much cheaper than hotels: http://www.airbnb.com/c/emilyo248?s=8

  11. laura

    I’d love to see a post on getting deals on international travel! We live APO and want to take some vacations while we’re here. And get to as many places as possible. Or a post on family travel would be great too.

    • Denita Chambers

      Are you still interested in this? My company has a lowest price guarantee on ALL travel. If you find something cheaper, they will give you 150% of the difference. In some cases, they will send you on the trip for free! We book all over the world. Would love to hear from you. My name is denita and my email is denitadaugherty@yahoo.com. You can email me anytime, and with any questions!

  12. Kristin

    Whats the hookup on Disney World?

    • Laura

      1)Buy Disney gift cards online at Target with your RedCard for 5% savings. These can be used to pay off ANY (and all!) of your Disney World Trip.
      2)Open a Disney vacation savings account that gives you a $20 Disney gift card for every $1,000 saved. Book a package deal (these tend to save lots of money over booking hotel/tickets separately).
      3)Book EARLY. You can always apply newly released promotions to your reservation later, but booking early ensures that you get the hotel you want before they book up.
      4)Go “off season” if possible.
      5)Use a good travel agent that can monitor your reservation and apply the latest promotions to your booking for you.

      I’ve got lots more Disney tips if you want! http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

    • Tia

      Visit mousesavers.com – she’s pretty good. I get Florida resident rate but I’ve used her hotel deals before.

      • Tracy

        I second mousesavers.com. When we went to Disney (years ago), I found a GREAT off site hotel deal that included a hot breakfast in our hotel, food credit in their snack area and a shuttle to and from Disney. Worked great for us.

  13. Krystal

    We use Airbnb when we travel. We’ve saved hundreds per night over booking a hotel, and have stayed in way better places as a result. We’ve used them in California, Texas, NY, Georgia, Sweden, Norway, Aruba, France, Denmark, and England. We are planning to use them again on our summer vacation to France. If Collin will let me, I’m happy to share my referral for $20 off your first stay.

    Other websites we use are The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert.

    ITA Matrix is probably the best tool for searching flights as it is so flexible.

  14. Lily

    I am surprised no one mentioned vrbo. You do have to screen places carefully to be sure it’s legit but we have had fantastic luck renting houses and condos this way. We have also used agencies like ViVacations.com to rent villas in St. John and several Italian agencies to rent homes in Italy. We save a lot by cooking a few meals in (and have a kid with severe food allergies so sometimes this is just less stressful), and can pack less because we can use a washer/dryer in the villa.

    • patti

      PLanning an Italy trip this summer and was interested to see your message. Are you referring to the Hilton honors card (if you don’t mind my asking, which one do you have, looks like 5 different options, some you pay for and some are free.) Do they accept them anywhere in italy? As you can tell, I am not an experienced international traveler. Much appreciated! Also, we are debating on place to go, what was your most favorite?

  15. Lily

    If you get the Hilton Visa card the points aren’t that great, but there is one that automatically upgrades you to gold status and gives you free breakfast at their hotels. As well as access to their exec lounge where they have snacks, drinks, and heavy hors d’oeuvres. This is a pretty big perk when traveling with family. We fed 22 people in our family this way when traveling through Italy!

    • emma

      Can you please let me know which credit card is that? That looks like a nice perk for travelling. I’m trying to narrow down my options for a suitable travel credit card for upcoming travels. Thanks!

      • Laura

        Emma- I am pretty well-versed in the world of card rewards & if I had to guess, I’m assuming that she’s referring to the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. It comes with Gold status as a benefit of holding the card which is what gives it those perks.

        Personally, I recommend the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard for most travelers. The sign on bonus is 40,000 points (which translates to $400 that can be spent on travel). It has no foreign transaction fees (which makes it a great card to travel overseas with), and earns 2% on EVERYTHING (which can be redeemed for pretty much any travel). The best thing about this card is that there are no blackout dates or dealing with space availability. You simply book whatever hotel, flight, cruise, etc. that you want and once the transaction has shown up on your account, you use your points to pay for the travel! It’s great and super easy.

        http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

    • patti

      PLanning an Italy trip this summer and was interested to see your message. Are you referring to the Hilton honors card (if you don’t mind my asking, which one do you have, looks like 5 different options, some you pay for and some are free.) Do they accept them anywhere in italy? As you can tell, I am not an experienced international traveler. Much appreciated! Also, we are debating on place to go, what was your most favorite?

      • Laura

        Hi Patti- I’m not Lily, but if I do know a thing or 2 about rewards cards and if I had to guess, she’s probably referring to the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. It comes with Gold status as long as you hold the card, which is why you get the perks she refers to. It also has no foreign transaction fees, so it is a very good card to use while traveling internationally. Regardless of what card you use overseas, make sure it’s one that charges no foreign transaction fees or you’ll come back from your trip having spent A LOT more than you anticipated. Also- in addition to credit cards, make sure you always have at least some local currency when you travel abroad. My personal experience has been that ATM’s at the airport once you arrive at your destination have the best conversion rate. Some banks or credit unions also have lower fees than others, so make sure you know what your banks foreign transaction fees are before you withdraw so there are no surprises when you return. I would love to help you plan an upcoming trip to Italy! If you are looking for a travel agent, please don’t hesitate to contact me! http://www.facebook.com/EnchantedMemoriesByLaura

    • patti

      For some reason unable to reply to Lily and went to either side of her comments, Sorry. Hopefulyy Lily will see it:)

  16. Jean

    I find the best fares for international travel on fareboom.com. When flying internationally I always purchase travel insurance. There have been several instances where our luggage was lost/delayed for few days, delayed flights etc. We were reimbursed for clothing and sundries we had to buy (and food for when we were majorly delayed).

    I love staying at houses or condos when vacationing. Mostly for the laundry and kitchen ;). If anyone is looking to go to Panama City Beach FL, we have our beach house listed on VRBO. We find that families vacation together and split the cost :). https://www.vrbo.com/719428

  17. Nina

    Has anyone ever used a site European destinations. Com I can’t find many reviews and is significantly cheaper for tours which looks a little weird to me

  18. Suzanne

    For Disney vacations borrow points from someone who has a Disney Vacation Club membership. It works out to be about half of what the same rooms retail at through Disney. Lots of offers can be found at mouseowners.com.

  19. Pat

    I buy a ticket to Germany every year to see my mother. I have also bought tickets for my brother to go with me and my granddaughter too (my aunt reimbursed me for their tickets thank goodness). I always fly Delta as they have the best deals and I use the delta rewards cards so I usually can roll over my miles from last year to get a half price ticket. Then I pay it off in full and cancel the card til the next year so I don’t have to pay the yearly fee. I sign up the day I am booking my flights and get approved in minutes since I was a previous customer. I might check into a travel agency next time but doubt they will have cheaper prices since I don’t need a hotel or car rental. I use my brothers car while I am there or rent a car for 10 Euro a day from a car repair shop that my brother uses. I fly internationally mostly but I never need a hotel so I have never used a travel agent.

  20. Terry Yarbrough

    I am waiting to be a grandma and requiring an unscheduled trip to Texas from Michigan. Is there any redeeming anything for trying to book the best possible deal?

  21. TeresaAnn

    Great info! If anyone can give me tips on a 25th Wedding Anniversary to Maui the middle of July (date set/not flexible) that would be awesome! I know its last minute, but I have been searching like crazy, and checking every website for quite some time now but don’t know when to “strike” for airfare. We have never done the airfare thing so we don’t know what we are doing lol. Also, tips for car rental. So many horror stories out there about that part I’m lost. Our stay is covered so just looking for airfare, car rental..and any other saving tips from those who have been there..Thanks!

  22. Sharon

    Thank y’all for all this great info. I live in Central Texas and have been trying to decide on where to go for Spring Break(March 10-18). Just me and my 12yo son(looks and acts 17).Where are places in US that you recommend?

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