July 13, 2024

7 Best Ways to Find Cheap Travel

7 Best Ways to Find Cheap Travel
A smiling airplane passenger listening to music and looking out the window.

Image source: Getty Images

Find out how to travel the world without draining your bank account.

Key points

  • Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skip traveling.
  • Comparing prices, using subscription services, and being flexible with your schedule are just a few of the ways to save.

Travel gives people the opportunity to experience new places, food, and activities. However, even a short getaway costs money. But it may be easier than you think to find cheap travel. A great travel deal can help you keep more money in your bank account so you can continue to prioritize your personal finance goals while enjoying the world. Here are some of the best ways to find cheap travel.

1. Don’t ignore low-cost travel brands

While budget travel isn’t for everyone, it can offer significant savings. You may want to fly with an affordable airline or book a cheap hotel to spend less money overall. The next time you go to book a trip, compare prices between several carriers and hotel chains. The price differences may surprise you.

2. Use flight deal subscription services

Flight deal subscription companies make finding cheap flights easier. Some brands offer free subscriptions with limited capabilities, while others offer paid plans with greater functionality. As a member, you’ll get access to airfare deal alerts.

Some popular flight deal subscription services include Scott’s Cheap Flights, Dollar Flight Club, and Secret Flying. Thanks to one of these services, I once enjoyed a round-trip vacation to Chile for $221.

3. Being flexible could offer more savings

If you can be flexible with your vacation dates, you could save a lot of money. You’ll likely pay higher prices if you travel when everyone else does. Consider taking a trip during non-busy times of the year — like fall, late summer, or during the winter season.

Another idea is to travel to a less popular destination or let the price decide your destination. You can use tools like Skyscanner and Google Flights to search entire geographic regions — like a whole country or continent to find the cheapest deals for your desired travel dates.

Many travel brands advertise promotions through email newsletters and social media. You may be able to score a cheap flight or hotel stay by paying attention to these marketing messages. The next time you rush to trash a marketing email from your favorite travel company, reconsider.

Another way to find cheap travel is to use search tools. These tools make it easier to compare prices to get the best deal possible. Travel aggregators function like search engines, and they collect prices from different travel websites. Some examples of such tools include Skyscanner, KAYAK, and Momondo.

6. Book last-minute deals

Typically, booking travel in advance is the best way to save money. However, you may be able to save on last-minute trips, too. Many top hotel chains and airlines have a section of their website dedicated to last-minute discounts to select destinations, so it’s worth taking a look.

7. Get creative when making travel plans

You may need to get creative to score low travel prices. Here are a few creative ideas that could save you money on your next trip:

  • Fly in and out of a neighboring city’s airport.
  • Pick a destination that is drivable.
  • Travel on less busy travel days (like weekdays instead of weekends).
  • Stay in vacation rentals instead of hotels.
  • Take a flight with a layover instead of a more costly direct flight.
  • Travel with a friend and split the cost of your trip.

If you know where to look, are willing to try new tactics, and can get creative, you might make your next vacation more affordable. Being able to travel is a privilege, and it costs money — but there are ways to pay less without giving up your dreams of seeing the world.

Bonus tip: Spend with rewards cards to earn free travel

How you pay for your next trip matters. We recommend booking travel with a rewards card to earn points or miles on your travel spending. Once you’ve earned enough, you can redeem rewards for almost-free travel.

Here’s an example: If you have enough miles to book a free flight, you’ll only need to pay the taxes and fees for your ticket. Award travel can make the total cost of your next trip significantly cheaper.

If you’re not yet using a travel rewards card, you’re missing out. Review our list of best travel rewards cards to find a card that fits your globetrotting lifestyle — and might save you a little money on your next trip.

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