Maybe you only think of travel during the holidays to see family, or maybe you’re like me and search travel deals as much as you check your email. I’ve become obsessed by it, but I feel it’s a healthy addiction. Experiencing food and culture of different countries and trying new things are the best gifts you can give to yourself and to others. I took one of my best friends on her first trip outside the United States. My boyfriend introduced me to the culinary masterpieces of Spain. And I am always on the lookout for deals to the Virgin Islands. I’ve come to rely on a few favorite travel sites. These websites offer fantastic deals, email alerts and notifications, and range from last minute to 90 days out.
Every Wednesday Travelzoo sends out a rundown of the top 20 deals of the week for vacations, airfares and hotels around the world. On their website, I can be more specific in what I’m looking for and search by region, hotel, airfares and local deals for whatever city I might be in soon. The best deal I ever found: Travelzoo Newsflash- Roundtrip airfare on Delta from Tampa to Madrid for $212.
Groupon Getaways posts new hotel deals every Tuesday. These deals are fantastic and can range from 1 night to a whole week for bed & breakfasts, resorts, and all-inclusives in the USA, Canada and Central America. Sometimes there are added incentives such as special discounts on spas and/or restaurants. Miami, Chicago, Napa/Sonoma, Arizona, and Cancun offer some of the best deals. I recently purchased a one week stay at a resort in North America for $399. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Groupon offers special deals usually 50% off on a variety of things that you can custom select. I’ve purchased deals on wildlife cruises, aquarium memberships, restaurants, and airport parking. Special note: spa services are a huge category on Groupon and offer deep discounts. You can purchase Groupons for yourself or as gifts for others.
Many hotels offer loyal customers incentives to stay at their properties. Throughout the year, double or triple points are offered per stay, and deals like stay 2-3 nights get a night free and special rates during the low seasons are great ways to help you budget your trips.
I really like this site because not only can I get a package price for airfare and resort, but I can search my dates and airports to see how the fare changes. Prices go up or down according to the tourism season. June through November offer some of the best rates for the Caribbean.
This website is a good place to visit to get an idea on airfare prices and then compare prices on different travel discount websites. The main feature I like is that you get to see the price cost difference if your dates are flexible.
Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz
I go here first when I get a destination stuck in my head to check airfares, hotels, and package deals. This gives me a good idea of which company websites I should visit to search for possibly even better deals. For time-conscious travelers, these websites are the fastest in searching for your choices.
Book-It has some really great deals on hotels and vacation packages, but if you need quick answers, this site takes a while to load your choices. It’s still worth a visit.
And my absolute favorite way to rack up miles:
Every airline offers a mileage program, and these really add up especially on Delta. Not only do I rack up miles when I fly (sometimes double miles), but I also complete surveys on e-miles, get 3 points per dollar when I dine at a Skymiles partner restaurants, and by shopping online with partner merchants on Skymiles shopping. In the past 6 months I’ve almost earned 10,000 Skymiles from simple splurges like buying my dog’s flea medication (a special 35 miles per dollar spent), Groupons (5-10 miles per dollar), supporting the ASPCA (1000 miles) to Christmas presents for my family. Shopping for others is so much more enjoyable when you get something out of it, too.
Tis the season for giving and spending, and what better present to give or receive than the gift of travel!