How to save money on travel
We all have our reasons for traveling—wanderlust, the love of a new culture, a desire to just leave it all behind, the need to take a break from your daily routine, or the need to meet new people. Whenever we get that itch to get out of town, the last thing we want is to spend a lot of time and money planning a vacation.
Our business is making your dream vacation affordable. So we’ve put together some clever tips for seasoned jetsetters and first-timers alike on how to save money when booking airfare, hotels, rental cars, and more.
5 keys tips for saving money on travel in 2019
- Book flights at least three weeks ahead of travel
- Book flights on a weekend
- Book hotels on a Friday night
- Start the journey on a Thursday or Friday
- Extend short, weekday-only trips to include a Saturday night
Read on for more of Expedia’s insider travel hacks for 2019:
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Tips on the best time to book
Believe it or not, there is a correlation between when you purchase airfare or accommodation and how much it could potentially cost. Here’s our advice.
Book your airfare at least 3 weeks out
According to Expedia’s annual Air Travel Outlook report, from most parts of the world
—regardless of destination— average ticket prices (ATPs) for economy and premium cabins tend to rise as the departure date gets closer. Waiting to book at the last minute can be an expensive gamble. Booking three weeks ahead of a trip is the “sweet spot” for fare savings.
Book flights on a weekend
Economy and premium cabin ATPs tend to be lower when booked on a weekend, usually on a Sunday. (New Zealand is one exception, where Tuesday is usually the least expensive day to book air travel.) Many people save up to 20%, and some can save as much as 36% by booking on a Sunday. The most expensive tickets tend to be booked on Thursdays and Fridays.
Book hotel stays on a Friday
Drawing from Expedia Group’s inventory of more than 895,000 properties offered, data analysts compared the average daily rates (ADR) across different reservation days. Results reveal travelers generally find lowest ADRs on Fridays. Unlike airfares, the most expensive day to book a hotel is generally on a Sunday.
Know the peak travel times to save money
Flight data confirms that traveling ahead of the holidays is bound to be hectic. These are the busiest air travel days of the year, and will likely be more expensive:
- Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day
- Friday before Christmas Day
- Friday before Labor Day
The least busy travel days of the year also fall around the holidays: the day after Christmas, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Consider flying on these days to save time and money.
Expedia also conducted a study last year that found rental car demand spiked on summer Fridays, specifically ahead of July 4th and Labor Day. These are clearly big weekends for travel and road trips, so it’s a good idea to reserve your ride early to lock in availability and a good rate. If you’re planning a trip during the holidays, try to avoid the peak travel days (usually the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Sunday following) to score better prices and shorter lines at the airport.
Plan around holidays to maximize your time off
Keep in mind for your vacation planning how to use the holidays to your advantage. Most of us don’t have unlimited time off from work, so building your trip around three-day weekends, like Labor Day, can be a smart way to extend your trip and get the most out of your vacation.
The cheapest days of the week to travel
No matter where you’re headed, start your journey on Thursday or Friday to save.
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Tips on how to save money on flights and hotels
Book your flight and hotel together
One surefire way to save money on spring break travel is to book a package. On a site like Expedia, you can save an average of $600 just by bundling your flight and hotel together, which is really significant.
Or, book the hotel later
Packages are a great way to save, but it isn’t always the easiest or most convenient way to book. In fact, nearly 50% of people prefer to book their flight first and come back for their hotel later. It makes sense – the flight is the easy part, but choosing a hotel requires researching your destination, comparing rates and amenities, flipping through room photos. And it’s expensive to book everything all at once.
You can get discounted hotel rates when you add on to your existing trip. Begin by shopping for your flight tickets, rental car, activity or vacation package on Expedia.com. After you book, you’ll instantly unlock savings up to 43% off select hotels until the day of your trip—giving you time to find just the right hotel. You’ll also unlock savings on rental cars and activities.
The ability to add on to an existing flight reservation is the perfect solution for travelers, no matter how or when they like to book.
Book vacation rentals rather than multiple hotel rooms
Enjoy the comforts of home—spacious living, privacy and fully-stocked kitchens—by staying in a vacation rental. Expedia has millions of unique places to stay around the world, and travelers who rent vacation homes often get twice the space for half the cost of a hotel.
Check out last-minute deals for the cheapest hotel room nights
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you can’t always plan ahead. Whether you’re booking a getaway on a whim or needing a place to rest during an unexpected event, the Last-Minute Deals page on Expedia.com has tons of flights, hotel, cruise and package deals that will help you save on travel.
Last-minute hotel deals: In some instances, waiting until the last minute to book a hotel can result in a lower average daily rate as some hoteliers look to fill as many rooms as possible.
Last-minute flight deals: Expedia’s cheap flight deals will save you money on your unplanned travel arrangements. Check out our huge selection of last-minute airfare, custom search options, and personalized recommendations to soar into your adventures tomorrow.
Use your Expedia.com account for exclusive rates
A really simple way to save on hotels and activities is by logging in when you visit Expedia.com. When signed into your account, you’ll immediately see more than 70,000 hotels and 10,000 activities worldwide available at a 10% discount. Members also get points for every booking, which can be used to shave dollars off your next trip.
Save money on travel using rewards points
The ability to earn points or miles or rewards is important, regardless of how frequently or infrequently you travel. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for ALL of the loyalty programs. Rack up the frequent flier miles, hotel points, and sign up for Expedia Rewards to double down—you’ll collect points on all your bookings and you can use them immediately.
Fly with points: When travelers collect enough points to cover the full cost of a flight, the “Use My Points” option will appear at checkout on Expedia.com.
Use as many or as few as you want: In addition to hotels, members can now redeem points to save money on rental cars and Things to Do (tours, attractions and activities). For added flexibility, you can redeem as many (or as few) available points as you want to shave a couple dollars off or to cover the full booking.
Redeem on packages: You also have the option to turn your points into a Flight + Hotel coupon worth $25 or more, which is good to redeem on any Flight + Hotel package on Expedia.com.
Finding coupon codes and themed discounts
Expedia offers regularly-updated hotel and package coupons. Bookmark that page and check back regularly. Typically, when someone wants to know how to save money on travel, they should also be aware that there might be special deals just for them. For example, we have special student travel discounts. The takeaway? Definitely do your research and consider all options.
Now that you have the best tips to save money on travel, visit Expedia.com to start planning your next vacation.