The Best Ways to Find Deals on Hotel and Airfare

Travel savings are out there but you will have to spend a little time researching the best deals.  I have written about saving money on travel before but have recently uncovered some other opportunities to travel inexpensively.

Negotiate for Lodging – Call the hotel direct and ask if they are offering any specials.  Hotels sometimes have last minute cancellations and they may be willing to give you a discount to fill an empty room.  Another option for lodging is to name your own price with www.priceline.com.

Buy Flights at 12:01 AM Wednesday morning in the time zone where the airline is based.  According to AARP's Peter Greenberg, travelers who booked flights over the weekend but did not pay for their ticket lose them.  Their loss can be your gain as these discounted tickets are dumped back into the airline's system Tuesday at midnight.

Fly at Off-Peak Times – Fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday for best rates and also at mid-day rather than early morning or evening.

Travel in Off-season – Look for travel discounts to ski resorts in the Summer and Beach Resorts in the Winter.  In addition, try traveling during the shoulder season, May or September, for discounted cruises and hotel, and smaller crowds.

Visit After a Major Event – Travel to cities after they have hosted a major event like the Olympics or the World Cup.  Cities such as Beijing, Vancouver, and South Africa recently hosted major sporting events and have a surplus of hotel rooms which means great deals for travelers.

Pay with Credit Card – Credit Cards offer certain legal protections that debit cards, checks, and cash do not offer. When you use a credit card you are only responsible for the first $50 of unauthorized charges.  In the case of bankruptcy of an airline or other travel related business, it is advisable to file a claim with your credit card company .  Using a credit card offers some protection but worldwide travel insurance is your best protection against the unexpected.

Try Staying at a Hostel – Hostels are not just for poor college students anymore.  Hostels are now catering to families with children and business travelers.  Many hostels offer free wifi and fully equipped kitchens.  Some hostels have swimming pools and nightclubs.  A great place to start is Hostelling International which offers access to hostels worldwide.

What ways do you save money on travel?

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