There are two groups of people:
Those who love to plan, and
Those who want things done for them
Some of us just don’t have the organization skills or care to do every tiny bit of research when there are experts to rely on. We get it – but for those of us live for every detail, suffer from FOMO, need to know the best spots, then scan through every review and photo to make sure it’s legit, it can be a time consuming process. For my co-travellers, here are 5 tips I use to save on time and money when planning my own journey:
1. Travel Aggregators – It’s obvious but people still don’t think to use them
We see television ads for them everywhere, but they work and cut down on research time. I’m talking about travel aggregators. These are sites that do all the research for you to find the lowest price. Hotels use these companies so you find them. Out of all aggregators, I’ve come to like booking.com best because they’re very transparent with their users on the hotels ratings by highlighting reviews, sharing photos, facilities, location, and property surroundings, which cuts down on research time because I don’t have to look elsewhere for hotel reviews or what kind of facilities are included. It also shares the total price for the duration of your stay, not the average price/night which helps with budgeting. I don’t have to do (easy I know, but it’s still math) additional math to determine the total cost.
- Want to save further? Use services like getservice.com and ebates.com.
- If you booked a hotel and a week later you see the same room type for your hotel but cheaper, getservice will rebook for you at the lower cost. You just have to pay a percentage of the savings to them. Best part? It’s all done automatically.
- Before you even book, earn cashback with ebates.com. They’re a rebate site, so everytime you complete an online purchase you earn cash. Who doesn’t love free money? And because you’re booking a hotel, you can likely earn up to $20 because hotels are usually a big purchase.
2. Avoid FOMO
Wondering what to do while you visit? Trip Advisor is always a good go-to to see what is popular with tourists, but another way to try fun things that are targeted towards locals is by using Groupon. It creates a different trip from seeing the usual sites, and it’s pretty exciting and different to say “I went to Vegas and played Laser Tag.” Sidenote: you can earn cashback with Groupon when you go through Ebates. You can literally earn money on everything with them!
3. Get Touristy
But who are we kidding, you don’t visit a new city and not at least see some of the big touristy spots. Not sure what to see? Contact the cities tourism HQ, they’ll have details and local insights on everything, such as discounts and good eats. It’s their job to know this, and who knows, you might get something a little extra – one of our readers contacted Dallas Tourism and when her family arrived at their hotel room, there was a lovely gift from the Tourism office with coupon books full of savings and small gifts to welcome the family.
4. Save On Flights
Need to book a flight? Here’s one place to avoid- google. It’s convenient they have the feature built into their search engine however the price they quote you isn’t the final price. It’s the price before taxes and fees. This can make your budgeting even more expensive when the additional costs come as a surprise. I like to use kiwi or if I’m planning well in advance, the hopper app. Once you find a price and time, bring the flight (take screenshots) to a local flight agency. They’ll find the flight and even give you a small discount (remember to ask) because they want the commission.
- Hopper is good for advanced planning because you can choose a destination and put in the desired or estimated dates, then the app will notify you whenever prices drop. This way you don’t have to constantly be searching everyday, and feel comfortable that you’re getting a lower price.