The summer travel season is just around the corner, bringing us closer to our own personal paradise — whether that’s exploring historical sites and cobblestone streets or ocean-side beaches.  Unfortunately the summer travel season also happens to be the most expensive travel time of the year. So if you really want to get more “bang for your buck” this summer, here are seven insider tips you may want to consider to help keep costs down and your wanderlust-self fulfilled.

1. Time it right 

According to travel data site Farecompare.com, the cheapest days to fly for both arrivals and departures are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, because they’re the least traveled days of the week. In many cases, Tuesday and Wednesdays are usually when airlines launch airfare sales.  Some travel experts insist after 3 p.m. on Tuesdays is the “best time” to buy flights. The worst time? The weekends. Travel sites use very sophisticated pricing algorithms that “up” the cost during predictable purchasing windows, when consumers have more time on their hands. Experts also recommend booking your travel two to three months out to get the best pricing.

2. Throwaway tickets? 

One strategy some travelers use to get cheap airfare is a throwaway ticket (also commonly referred to as a “hidden-city” ticket). The idea is to buy a ticket to a destination that’s never reached, knowing the layover location is the place you ultimately want to go. Therefore, you throw the last leg of your ticket away, hence the name. It sounds like a bizarre tactic, but it’s been known to save travelers hundreds of dollars or more.

Sites like Skiplagged make it easier for travelers to purchase these cheaper hidden-city tickets, but fair warning: while it isn’t illegal, airlines aren’t too thrilled with folks opting for this money-saving method. Last February, Lufthansa sued a paying customer for engaging in the practice. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but still, travelers should weigh the risks.

It’s also important to note that this only works with one-way fares as airlines will cancel any succeeding flights if you fail to show. They also might not be so helpful or empathetic if your travel plans start to unravel. So proceed with caution.

3. Call the airlines

Sometimes air carriers showcase different prices online and don’t advertise inexpensive options. If that online ticket is too pricey, considering calling the airline and asking them if they have any “positioning flights” that go from your departure city to your final destination. Positioning flight is a term they use to get an aircraft from one location to another for logistical reasons. It’s not intended for revenue and can sometimes lead to large savings.

4. Clear your cookies

Do you ever wonder why that travel price you looked at yesterday has gone up a few hundred dollars today? Your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. If you’ve searched for travel packages and airline tickets, but didn’t purchase anything, clear your cookies or use a different search browser or device. Why? When you don’t, it signals to the site that you’re an eager buyer and therefore, they increase the rates. Sneaky, huh?

5. Sign up for alerts

Airfarewatchdog.com, Golastminute.com, Farecompare.com and the app Hopper are great options to notify you when flight deals are at an all-time low. Also, signing up for airline and travel sites’ newsletters will usually help give you a “first dibs” on special offers.

6. Book secret rooms 

If you see a hotel you want to stay at, especially for a fast approaching vacation, call the manager or director of sales to see if there’s any rooms that opened up and if they’re willing to sell them to you at a discounted rate. “Secret rooms” as they’re sometimes called, are rooms that aren’t available online and can be sold for 20 to 50 percent less than what’s advertised. This is usually due to events that fell through or last minute cancellations. You can also book non-disclosed secret rooms at luxury hotels using sources like Travelocity Top Secret Hotels and lastminute.com Secret Hotels, to name a few.

7. Use home rentals

Maybe this isn’t the most ground-breaking advice, but if you’ve rented rooms, houses or apartments from sites like VRBO.com, Airbnb and Homeaway.com, you already know you’ll pay a fraction of the cost compared to hotels. Plus, you’ll have access to a kitchen, which is great for saving on food. For instance, you can rent a nice flat in the heart of Paris for $53 a night. And if you like to travel in big packs, check out these 11 amazing mansions you can rent for well under $100 per person, per night.

One comment on “Top Travel Secrets That Can Lead to BIG Savings

  • I would have added call a travel agent. There are many home-based agents that charge little to nothing for our services. We find a great deal for them without them having to worry about getting a raw deal.

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