The best way to make a goal a reality is to budget and plan appropriately. If you know where you want to go, set an alert by subscribing via email – I particularly like Travelocity’s My Deal Alerts. Whether you’re looking for flights, hotels or car rentals, just create an alert and you’ll start receiving customized notifications directly to your inbox based on your travel needs. Also, I recommend following the major airlines on social media, signing up for miles + hotel rewards programs and subscribing to newsletters to get the inside scoop.
Some companies offer airline subscription services where they’ll do the monitoring for you. When they see a good deal or error fares, they’ll send out an email blast. For these, flexibility is key as you will need to purchase right when you see the good deal.
Have you ever noticed that if you go to a retailer site and look at a product, ads for that product will follow you around the web? The same thing happens when you search for flights. Airlines will show you progressively higher fares when they know you’re interested in a particular route.
To combat this, make sure to always search for airfare in private browsing mode. On Google Chrome, I use the shortcut ctrl + shift + n to open a browser cleared of cookies.
Travel in the Off Season
While summer is prime time to getaway, prices are also at their all-time high. Do the opposite and visit popular summer destinations in winter. While the weather will be cooler, you’ll also avoid massive lines at tourist attractions and save as much as half on hotels.
Europe can be just as beautiful in winter, when Christmas markets open in public squares and snow blankets its cobblestone streets. Instead of lying under a beach umbrellas in the sun, why not cozy up in a quaint pub by the fireplace?
Relive Your Youth
A new wave of “luxury hostels” are popping up around the world to apply trendy food, boutique lobbies and spotless, comfortable minimalism to re-brand the hostel experience.
Generator Hostels has locations in most major European cities, while Freehand Hotels has a similar offering in the United States. At $35 – $50 a night, that’s major savings.
Give Budget Airlines a Try
Budget airlines are increasing their routes and offering cheap fares to entice travelers. Norwegian announced new routes from more cities in the US to Europe and WOW Airlines has run a very popular “free stopover” in Iceland for the past couple years.
The key with booking budget airfare is to read the fine print. In exchange for a lower ticket price, amenities like reserved seating, on-board meals and checked bags can often cost extra.
Do Your Research
Before you arrive to your destination, take a quick look to see if cities offer a sights package. Large cities (including New York City, Paris and Copenhagen) will offer an all-access pass where you can purchase a multi-day card and get free entrance to the most popular sights. With a little planning, you can maximize a city pass to get the most for your buck.
Additionally, many museums will often have free hours or a free day of the month. While you don’t need to schedule your trip around this, if you happen to be in town for a couple days it makes sense to plan your sightseeing to the fullest advantage.