5 Secrets to Cheap Travel

5 secrets to cheap travel Money, Money, Money by peddhapati[Image: Money, Money, Money!" by peddhapati via Flickr]

I am obsessed with saving money. Couponing, deal hunting and bargain shopping is a bit of a sport to me, but it started out as a necessity.

Whether you are a on a tight budget or just want to save same cash, there are several tricks to travel cheap.

 Hunt the deal, not the destination.

Don’t decided on a location and then look for a deal. Do a general travel deal search and let to destination come to you. The world is full of many amazing places that you might overlook. Start by checking out the lowest airfare deals. Kayak Explore and Adioso are both great places to start allowing users to search “anywhere” flights. Don’t forget to shop flash-sales. Southwest Airlines is a favorite airline to begin the hunt for discounts, plus you can check up to two bags for free. Travel Agents should also be able to help you out. Find the adventure awaiting after you found an amazing deal and you will have an amazing experience on a dime.

Pick up the phone.

Sure, Priceline and Kayak can be cheap, but the sites are only putting up a portion of their seat inventory up. Even on the airline’s site, you are only seeing what they want you to see. You can score deals that will put Priceline and other discount travel sites to shame. Call the airline and ask if there are any “positioning flights” available. This is a flight in which the carrier needs to get the specific plane from one city to another. Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, shared a story regarding how much he saved using this trick. “One of my staff had to fly one-way nonstop from Los Angeles to New York City the following morning. The lowest fare online: American’s $809. I called American and asked if the airline had a positioning flight.It did, for $109.” The staff member pointed out that some airlines charge a fee for speaking with an actual person. He responded, “Do the math. I saved you $670.

This applies to hotels too. We have covered this tip before and stand by it. Click HERE for more details…

Browser switch, clear cookies.

If you aren’t a fan of picking up the phone and feel you must book online, make sure you clear cookies and clean up your cache. When you are shopping for rates and return to a site, you might see a sudden hike in rates. Technology is helpful on both ends – it helps you quickly shop, but it also tracks your cookies and lets the site know you have been there before and it appears you are serious about buying. It may only jump a couple of bucks, but add on taxes to that slight price hike and you paying more than you need to.

 Last minute park ticket upgrades.

If you are traveling to those wonderful theme parks in Florida, you will need tickets and the prices are growing. A single day ticket to Disney’s Magic Kingdom will (currently) cost $99 for an adult and $93 for a child. (There is only one way to get a legitimate discount on a single day ticket to Disney without having to commit to a multi-hour timeshare pitch. Click HERE to find out our discovery.) As you purchase more days, the price per day drops. If you are unsure how much Disney you can handle, stick with the one day ticket. Guests can upgrade their tickets for the discounted multi-day rate in the park as long as they make the upgrade in park before it closes the same day they use it. The same goes for Universal Studios.

For example, for a family of four 1-day will cost $409 for tickets. If you get there, decide one day is enough, you aren’t out the money of pre-purchasing multi-day tickets. If you get there, decide you want to spend an extra day, you can upgrade in park for the discounted $773 price instead of paying for an additional single day price of $818.

Discounts for loyalty without joining the program.

If you found a specific hotel that you like, mention that when you call for rates. Often, hotels (chains or not) will offer a discount for guests who are making a repeat stay. You might get a slightly better rate offer if you are member of their loyalty program, but you will still get a discount either way.

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Cara is the jack of all trades. She started in fashion, but found her true passion in writing. After mixing the two into a fabulous cocktail of freelance writing about all things style, she started a family. Her 3 kids keep her Prada pumps moving as they explore the world one adventure at a time.

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30 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. DD June 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Is there really such thing as “cheap”? And what is considered cheap.

  2. Allie June 4, 2014 at 1:16 am - Reply

    These are all great tips, and so helpful when trying to save money

  3. Janelle June 4, 2014 at 1:24 am - Reply

    I’m always looking to save a buck, thanks for the tips.

  4. Pamela June 4, 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Very good tips, you just never know what shopping around can do and being aware of deals.

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy) June 4, 2014 at 4:58 am - Reply

    I had no idea about the cookies thing on my computer. I usually just book my flight on the date I want it, but that is good to know.

  6. BusyBee June 4, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply

    I never thought about calling the airline directly! I haven’t done that in years

  7. Jennifer Williams June 4, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I am definitely going to be in need of these. We do not normally travel and will be this summer – I have no clue where to look for deals.

  8. Erica June 4, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    These are great tips. Unless we can find cheap we enjoy staycations! It’s difficult to budget travel very far for the five of us. If we can drive there its likely more “doable.”

  9. Kay Adeola June 4, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    These are great tips,I never knew about the cookies with sites like that.

  10. Kristen from The Road to Domestication June 4, 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Great tips! Especially that cookies one! We’re about 30-45 minutes from Disney, so we honestly don’t go too often – but we’ll be there this summer!

  11. Kristen from The Road to Domestication June 4, 2014 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Sorry, my above comment made it seem like I didn’t read your whole post. Let me clarify: all your tips were good ones, I just gravitated to the theme park points (and even went on and read your Disney post) since we are close to there :)

  12. Liz Mays June 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    I’ve noticed that with the price of airlines that they go up when I come back. I also am a little suspicious of the “only 1 or 2 seats left at this price” statement.

  13. lawna June 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    I am all about saving money. Especially since we are a family of six and traveling can be quite expensive, so thanks for all the tips.

  14. Pam June 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I had heard of positioning flights before, but I didn’t know the discount for them was so big!

  15. Amanda @ Erickson & Co. June 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    These are great ideas. We dont travel much because it costs so much. maybe if we used some of these tips, we could take a trip!

  16. Sarah Bailey June 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Fantastic tips – I wish I could travel more, I will definitely have to take some of these on board and see if it can help me take flight more :) x

  17. alice chase June 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    I had never heard of positioning flights before. This is quite helpful. Such great information- I will be sharing!

  18. Tough Cookie Mommy June 5, 2014 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Traveling can be very expensive so it’s always nice to be able to cut corners here and there.

  19. Veronica June 5, 2014 at 11:45 am - Reply

    I need a vacation pronto, and yes, it has to be cheap. Thanks for the tips

  20. Jocelyn June 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    These are great tips – because traveling can be so expensive!

  21. Nikki June 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, I had NO idea about the cookies thing! I have to remember that, as I browse deals then return. I always just assumed rate hikes were because I missed some magic window!

  22. Tess June 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I need some secrets, lol! We are going on lots of trips this year.

  23. Marielle Altenor June 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Had no idea about the clearing the cache and deleting the cookies before going to shop for tickets online. Great tips!

  24. Triplezmom June 6, 2014 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Excellent tips here! Now I want to plan a vacation.

  25. DD June 6, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Those are some great tips! Got to love cheap.

  26. Janelle June 7, 2014 at 2:41 am - Reply

    These are all great tips, thanks for sharing.

  27. Allie June 7, 2014 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Placing a phone call is absolutely genius. I’ll have to try that.

  28. Pamela June 8, 2014 at 2:03 am - Reply

    The cookie clearing tip is a very good one, wouldn’t have thought of it!

  29. Jen June 8, 2014 at 4:17 am - Reply

    I’ve found calling helps you get deals for less than half the usual price!

  30. Jen June 8, 2014 at 4:18 am - Reply

    I love all these tips. The cookies clearing one is brilliant.

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