Regarding booking travel, flight prices tend to get the most attention. However, the cost of accommodations, including fantastic deals on flights and accommodations, can be equally — or even more — significant.
Bundled deals (flights + hotel) can often save you money. Here’s how to find them:
Use Multiple Websites
Using multiple websites to look for flight deals and hotel accommodations can help you find the best deal. Websites like https://www.retailmenot.com/view/expedia.com compare prices from airlines and hotels worldwide, allowing you to search by destination, dates, and number of stops. You can also use a tool to get alerts when the price of a flight you’re tracking drops or rises.
Other sites post mistake fares that can be great deals for anyone looking to travel. You can sign up for their newsletters or follow them on Twitter to see when they have a deal. Travel aggregators can also be good places to look for flight deals as they’re often cheaper than the major search engines and don’t charge booking fees.
Using an incognito window or private browser when searching for flights online is also a good idea. Websites remember your searches and can inflate prices based on your history. To avoid this, open a new incognito window or use the keyboard shortcut (control + shift + N) for a new private browsing session when searching for airfare.
Look for Bundled Deals
Almost any trip these days requires a flight and hotel. Savvy travelers are always looking for ways to streamline their travel and save money simultaneously, and bundling vacation packages can be an excellent way to accomplish both goals.
Several online travel booking services allow users to search for bundle vacation deals. These typically include a flight, hotel, and car rental, all for a low price. Many also provide recommendations based on where you live and the most popular destinations with your fellow travelers.
The most popular metasearch engine allows users to search for flights and hotels in one place, making it easy to find the best deal. It also offers filters that help users narrow their search, such as direct flights only, carry-on vs. checked luggage, depart and return dates, and airline alliances. It even lets travelers set up price alerts to notify them when flight prices change based on their criteria.
Another helpful tool has a feature that allows users to track airline prices and hotel rates. This makes it easier to spot and take advantage of airfare discounts when they happen.
If you have the time and flexibility, booking your flight and accommodation separately can help you find the best deals. Flight prices are more volatile than hotel rates, so locking in your airfare first makes sense.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the best time of year or month (or day) to book your trip, experts have some advice. Generally speaking, airlines increase ticket prices as the departure date approaches, so it’s best to search early and often.
A website can help you monitor flight prices and get alerted when they dip. Another great option is a range of hotels at your destination, plus the price of your flight and how far in advance you’d have to book to get the best rate. You can then book your flights and hotel a-la-carte or look for a vacation package deal that includes both. This is especially useful if your schedule isn’t flexible or you’re planning a memorable trip with family, friends, or colleagues.
Fly on Off-Peak Days
Flight prices are influenced by supply and demand, so it can sometimes take time to pinpoint the best time to buy. However, there are a few handy apps that can help you save. For example, an airfare-tracking app predicts flight prices up to a year in advance with 95% accuracy and alerts you to price drops. It can also track specific hotels and send push notifications for low rates.
Similarly, a comparison site has a “best days to fly” feature that displays flight prices on a graph so you can easily see when it’s cheaper to book. (Remember to search in incognito mode so your browser doesn’t trigger price increases.)
If you’re more flexible with your dates, booking a flight for later in the summer or autumn might be worth waiting for. That’s because demand slows down after the peak season of May, June, and July. Flights to popular destinations are also typically cheaper during those months. However, don’t be fooled by fares that seem unbelievably cheap—they might include extra fees like checking bags or bringing a carry-on.
As the world tinkers with travel restrictions, it pays to be flexible. Scouring last-minute deal websites can yield incredible results if your travelers aren’t attached to specific destinations or dates. Alternatively, try planning trips when demand is low in your favorite destination, and hotels may be more apt to offer flexible rates that allow for changes or cancellations without incurring costly penalties.
You can often find cheaper flights if you’re willing to search incognito (which resets your cookies each time you reopen the browser).
Airfare deals tend to pop up regularly, but it’s not always easy to spot them. We recommend setting up a Google Flights alert for your home airport to get notified when fares drop.