Discounted travel

A brief discourse on how to find the best travel deals.

  • Sign up for the automatic fare notification services offered by Travelocity and Expedia. You tell them what cities to watch for, and they’ll email you when the price changes. Sometimes price changes only last for a few hours, so it’s nice to have someone else on the lookout for you. Also, when you look for one of the fares they’ve found, they’ll present you with a calendar of availability. That’s nice because an airfare is only good if you can get it — and these services will help you get it.

  • Check for special airfare deals at Digital City. The link here is to the Washington, DC list — but you can go there and switch to another city. They track deals better than almost anyone.
  • Also check out Travelocity’s Dream Maps. You enter a city and a price range, and Dream Maps will show you on a map where in the world you can go.
  • Another great list of inexpensive airfares can be found at Smarterliving.com.
  • I have installed SideStep onto my computer. Every time I search for airfares (or hotels), SideStep knows. It pulls the information out of my search and sends it to each of the individual airline websites. It’s much more efficient than going to each airline separately, and with SideStep I know I’ve found the best internet-only deals.
  • I book most of my travel with Orbitz. The strength of this site isn’t what the antitrust zealots claim — that they have access to inventories noone else does (although to some extent that’s probably true). The real strength is in their mathematics. Their search algorithms are better than the other sites. For complex itineraries, Orbitz pieces flight segments together in ways that noone else thinks of to come up with better prices. I also still use the beta test version of Orbitz because it has some features that aren’t available on the main site.
  • If the price of your airline tickets go down after you’ve already booked them, you’re not out of luck! Just call the airline and ask for a voucher in the amount of the difference. Most airlines do this without hesitation.
  • Once I’ve bought my tickets, I naturally want to fly first class. Regardless of the class of service, though, I still want the best seat — so I consult the SeatGuru.
  • Then, when I need a hotel room, I check out Hotel Discounts.com. I also go to Bidding for Travel.com which reveals the secrets behind priceline. People post their winning and losing bids, so that you know what priceline will accept in advance. They also build a hotel list, so you know what hotel you’ll get in advance. Make sure to reach their Hotel Bidding FAQ first, though, because it will teach you all of the ins and outs. I frequently stay at the best 4* hotels around the country for less than $50 a night…
  • Then there’s the rental car discounts

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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