Finding great travel deals is a skill, but it’s one that can be honed—if you can be patient and flexible (and if you know you can take advantage of the 24-hour free federal cancelation policy to lock in time-sensitive deals). Here are some of the best travel websites you can use to snag your next trip on the cheap.
Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights
Yes, Google Flights is more user-friendly and has cool features (like the “explore” tool to see a map of your potential destinations and their prices), but if you mean business and are looking for the cheapest flight options you can find, Skyscanner is what you want to use. Here, you’ll find flights that will not even appear on Google Flights, and it even has an explore-like tool similar to Google’s where you simply input your local airport, select “whole month” for dates, and click “search” to find all the possible low-cost destinations for that month (I found a direct flight to Cancun from my home in Atlanta for $183).
You can catch last-minute flight deals and set alerts for cheap flights as well.
Use SecretFlying to set up alerts for their “Error Fares”
Airlines make mistakes sometimes, and as a savvy traveler, you need to be ready to take advantage of them when you can. SecretFlying is a travel deal website that works like many others, but it also has a special tool to find cheap flights that exist because of mistakes that airlines make. (For example, there was an enticing $95 roundtrip non-stop flight from Barcelona, Spain to New York last year.) The error fares go fast, and many might not logistically work for you, but if you ever do catch one of these, you’ll be bragging about it for years to come.
Use these online vacation package websites
There are many websites that sell you travel packages that include flights, hotels, food, tours, and even transportation (rails, bus, taxis, etc.) for much cheaper than you would find if you tried to book each piece individually. The catch is that these packages are typically strict on dates, and their cancelation policies are often less forgiving. But, you’ll be able to find amazing deals to locations you might not otherwise be able to afford.
Gate1, for example, has been around since the 80s—my mom has used it with my dad to visit the eight wonders of the world on a budget over the years. Their best deals come from their weekly specials (you can sign up for their emails) and last-minute deals where you can find multi-day trips for big discounts.
For example, you can do a 13-day Thailand trip for $2,249 with all this included:
- Roundtrip flights Los Angeles to Bangkok, or Bangkok to Los Angeles
- Intra-flight Chiang Mai to Bangkok
- 11 nights First Class accommodations
- Hotel taxes, fees, service charges, and porterage
- 18 meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
- Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
- Entrance fees per itinerary
Here are some other websites similar to Gate1 where you can find great deals on packages for your next trip: