Money-savvy travelers have never had a wider variety of digital tools at their disposal for finding low fares and prices. As a seasoned traveler, I’ve found the following websites and digital tools most useful for saving money on amazing trips. Add these to your budget travel toolkit by bookmarking them now.
While I book most of my flights using strategically earned points and miles, I occasionally choose to pay cash for a flight. When I do, Kayak is the first booking site I turn to. Kayak, whose motto is “Search One and Done,” combines hundreds of other travel booking sites together — so searching on Kayak means you’re searching all of them.
Kayak also features a very handy price predictor. This forecasting tool uses historical information to predict whether the price you’ve just searched will likely go up or down in the future — and whether you should book now or wait.
Should it recommend that you wait to book, Kayak also offers fare alerts. And because Kayak’s links are static (which is not always the case with travel booking sites), you can also bookmark the results page of your search and come back to it later.
Kayak Explore is a fun and interesting feature if you don’t know where you want to go and simply want to see your options. Set a home airport, and it displays an interactive map of the world with the lowest fares for each destination.
2. FareCompare Twitter feeds
FareCompare’s website is a little clunky, but its airport-specific @flyfrom… fare alert Twitter feeds are quite useful. My home airport is DFW, so I follow @flyfromDFW to be alerted to cheap airfares, usually offered only for a short time period. Search Twitter for “flyfrom” plus your three-letter airport code to find your FareCompare fare alert account. You can also get fare alerts emailed to you based on the actual destination and general departure window of your next trip.
Travelzoo employs a team of travel experts who scour the Internet for the best travel deals available, from airfare to hotels to entertainment. Travelzoo is independent, so deals are selected based on actual merit, and reviews are unbiased. Subscribe to weekly emails or use the RSS feeds with an RSS-to-email IFTTT recipe to have the latest deals sent to you on a more frequent basis.
Flyertalk is the ultimate online community for mileage junkies and travel hackers (people who strategically take advantage of mileage reward programs to collect large amounts of points and miles). As a forum with a highly niched user base, it can be intimidating for new users, especially if you’re unfamiliar with travel hacking. However, it’s a good place to learn about the world of budget travel and be among the first to find out about unusually low-cost deals. The best way to use Flyertalk is to immerse yourself in it, so take some time to read through the threads to familiarize yourself with how this site can help you plan your next trip.
There are a lot of great websites and resources out there, but I consider these to be among the best. Bookmark these four sites, and you’ll be well on your way to saving money next time you travel.
Photo credit: Megan Van Groll