Traveling over the summer is one of those goals that we all seem to have but quickly brush aside when we see the gigantic price tag associated with our dream destination. If you’ve ever wanted to book a flight and balked at the prices you see online, fret not: traveling on a budget is totally possible. There are some simple strategies you can try that will make it easier for you to afford.
Clear your cookies
It’s been reported that travel sites monitor your online activity, which can translate into you viewing higher-priced ticket sales. To better your odds of seeing an accurate representation of ticket sales, clear your cache and browser history and delete any cookies stored on your computer before you do a search. Search using “incognito mode” on Google Chrome or “private browsing” on Safari.
Spread out your costs
Maybe you’re already the type to plan vacations months in advance. (You super-traveler, you!) It’s no surprise that doing so saves you money by allowing you to scour for good deals before airlines raise prices as flight date get closer.
What you maybe haven’t considered, though, is that it’s beneficial for you to spread out the costs for other amenities in the months and weeks leading up to your vacay. Consider booking your flight first to lock in a destination and timeline for you to work with. Then, book your hotel a few months in, once you’re certain nothing will prevent you from traveling. Finally, rent a car or figure out the costs for car-sharing in the week or two leading up to your flight. You’ll be less overwhelmed by the whole process and avoid taking a huge hit to your checking account at once.
Set alerts on all of your favorite travel sites
One of the beautiful things about living in the internet age is that travel sites have really stepped up their game. If you’re not relying on points from one airline to book flights, combine the search power of sites that round up flights from all the major travel sites. Kayak is a good starter site for comparing prices across different airlines, though sometimes it’ll leave you guessing which flight you’ll be taking. Google Flights is also a great resource that churns out information in near-record speed. Finally, you can use Scott’s Cheap Flights to keep an eye on international flights that won’t empty your bank account.
Set alerts for your favorite destinations and bundle your email notifications in your inbox so you can check them only when you have the time. Doing so will cut down on having to scroll past flights you’re already ruled out or that are outside your budget.
If you can, gamble a little to reap the rewards
You’re not alone if you think that in order to save big on a vacation you need to plan very, very far in advance. But the opposite scenario, where you jump the gun on a last-minute deal, is just as likely to save you money. Set alerts on travel sites for last-minute flight deals and destination packages within a certain timeframe. Using a site like SkyScanner, you can set parameters to flights “everywhere” within a certain timeframe to see the best deals. By using an app like Hotels Tonight, you can also look up destinations that are closer to home. The app makes it easy to check for any unsold rooms that are often a fraction of what they normally cost.