It’s the dead of winter, which means cold weather, an early sunset and more time trapped indoors -- but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream of being somewhere else. In fact, this is the perfect time to start planning your next getaway.
Strapped for cash? Don’t count yourself out just yet. Want to know the ideal time to purchase plane tickets? There is one. And did you know you could actually save money by choosing a higher airfare? It's true!
We reached out to Kate Thomas of TravelWithKate.com for some budget-friendly travel tips and she gave us some great ideas on how to think outside the box and stretch those holiday dollars.
So, settle in and start planning with Kate's top tips for traveling the globe without emptying your bank account.
There is an ideal day and time to plane buy tickets online -- 3 pm EST on Tuesdays. Tickets are least expensive at this time because many airlines post sales on Monday evenings and by 3 pm on Tuesday, those fare adjustments are reflected on the reservation sites.
Off-seasons can be your on-seasons. Time-of-year specific destinations like Aspen, Whistler and Deer Valley can be less expensive in the summertime, when you’ll be hiking up the slopes instead of skiing down them.
A cheap flight to Cancun or the Caribbean may catch your eye, but pricey lodging, food and other expenses can weigh your budget down. Consider booking more expensive airfare to a destination where your money can go further. Examples include Peru, Costa Rica, Morocco, Thailand and Vietnam.
Follow all of the major airlines and ticketing sites on Twitter. They will often share sales, discounts and promotional codes with their followers. Also, search the hashtag #traveldeals. You’d be surprised at the savings Twitter can bring your way.
Don't be afraid to ask for a refund. If you notice that plane tickets you purchased have gone down in price, call up the airline or ticketing site and ask for the difference back. A great way to track your flight fare is to use Yapta.com. They will notify you if your flight price goes down.
The world of travel lodging is evolving and so are your options. When searching for a place to rest your head, don’t just search for hotels -- try searching for vacation rentals on sites like Airbnb.com or VRBO.com. A great site for free lodging is CouchSurfing.com. For the latter, you may not need money, but you will need an adventurous spirit.
Have you ever noticed those promotional code boxes when paying for online travel purchases? Try PromotionalCodes.com or CouponWinner.com to fill those boxes and save big on hotels, flights, rental cars and more.
There are certain blocks of time where people are traveling less and essential travel costs, including airfare, go down. With this logic in mind, keep your costs low by booking at least one of your travel days mid-week (Tuesday through Thursday). Also, book during less-trafficked times of the year. Try the last few weeks of January, or the chunk of time after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving.
Use your negotiation skills when booking your lodging. Hotels often say that they post their best rates online, but calling them and asking about current promotions and deals can lead to savings not found in cyberspace.
There are so many member websites out there that provide great deals on travel. On sites like SniqueAway.com and Jetsetter.com, members can save up to 60% on hotel packages. Another site, TripAlertz.com, is like Groupon, but strictly for travel and offers deals of up to 70% off. Lifestyle sites like LivingSocial.com and Bloomspot.com also have great getaway deals.
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