Vacation deals .

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Indiana Mike, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    I keep hearing people around me talking about these awesome vacation deals they find. From ultra cheap flights to hotel deals to good to be true and almost free car rentals.

    When I inquire it's always, just look around online.

    Well , I have ,and must be missing something or they are full of it.

    What gives ? Any ideas where I can find these pots of gold?
  2. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    If you're a Costco member, they offer some good travel package deals online. We've booked 2 European trips through them so far. The prices aren't mind-blowing, but they've included some perks (meals, airport transfers, etc.) that we normally wouldn't have received if booking on our own.
    TolerancEJ and Indiana Mike like this.
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I usually do self guided city vacations. I manage to hunt up pricing I am pleased with by planning dates around airfare and not airfare around dates.

    Some of the best value in lodging has come from Air BnB.

    The few times that I go to resort destinations I have found that fellow beach bums got better value booking through Apple Travel than I did on my own.
    TolerancEJ and Indiana Mike like this.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    My friend has gotten some very good deals through Groupon, but I haven’t given it a shot yet to verify.
    Indiana Mike likes this.
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I use Google flights to price watch flights. It lets me know when there's a great deal.

    Indiana Mike likes this.
  6. -Kramer-


    Dec 9, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    My wife and I have been bitten by the travel bug - hard. We studied abroad together in Europe during college and loved traveling around but figured we didn't have the budget for it right after we got married. We took a trip to see some friends in Germany in 2016 and decided then that we wanted to make travel a larger part of our lives. Since then we have discovered a few tips and tricks that make affording travel easier. Since we have worked this out, we have managed to take multiple international trips each year since 2017, including 3 this year.

    First, you have to be flexible. Everyone wants to go to Paris during the summer when the kids are out of school. This means flights are more expensive, hotels/AirBNBs are more expensive, guides are more expensive, etc. I know you can travel for close to 1/2 the cost of peak summer if you are willing to go in October, maybe 1/3 the cost if you find the right deal. Which brings us to...

    Second, flights. This tip applies to international flights only. Scott's Cheap Flights. Whatever the premium version costs, just pay it (around $50/year). You tell them what airports you are willing to fly from and they send you alerts when there are deals out of that airport to ANY international destination. We have not paid over $500/person for flights to Europe in the last 3 years and if you live in the NE, I see flights out of JFK, BOS and similar for $200-$300. As I laid out above, flexibility is key here. These prices are typically good for 24 hours or less so you have to be willing to book ASAP. The available dates range from one to twelve months out. We booked tickets to Copenhagen in October back in February, but I saw a deal in the last day or two for tickets to central America for next month.

    Credit card points/hacking. For those of you who travel for work, you have seen a glimpse of the power of airline and hotel points. The rest of us will have a hard time even booking a single international ticket using points accumulated from regular spending. However, just like anything else in life, credit card points can be gamed and optimized. Churning cards for sign up bonuses and learning sweet-spot redemptions can lead to quick accumulation of points. Too much to discuss here, but Travel Miles 101 (take the free course) and the sister site ChooseFI (go to the credit cards page) are great resources. Rule #1 - NEVER redeem your points for cash.

    As a disclaimer, this will never work in your favor if you carry a balance on your card, the rate on these cards is high and you need the best credit scores to get the best cards. And no, opening and closing multiple cards per year will not wreck your score. I am not overly aggressive about new cards, but I have done 2-3 cards per year and my score is around 820.

    Most importantly, do your research! A good price to a place you won't enjoy is still a bad deal. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of travel blogs, vlogs, podcasts and other resources out there. All of Rick Steve's travel show is available on Hulu and YouTube, start with that and branch out from there. Some nights, our TV viewing for the night consists of going to YouTube and typing in the name of the next city we are headed to.

    Please excuse any typos/grammatical problems, I just typed this out on my phone at 6 am.

    Happy to answer any questions!
  7. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    My go-to for accommodation is AirBnB.
    I know there's issues with it but a bit of due diligence means I've stayed in places that don't cut into the housing market, for example.

    Last October I spent a week in New York, famously one of the most expensive cities for a bed.
    I got a room with ensuite bathroom in Harlem for 220 euro ... for a week!
    Groove Doctor and Indiana Mike like this.
  8. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    It's not much of a tip, but I've found if you book a hotel/flight combo or hotel/flight/car through United Vacations or Delta Vacations, you can save several hundred dollars. We've gone to Hawaii the last couple years from Wisconsin and comparing booking each component separately, saved between $300-600.
  9. Return tickets for flights are quite often the best price, but it has to suit your plans.

    Research Peak vs Shoulder vs Off Season dates for every destination. Avoid going when major events are on as no discounts then. Scan a range of dates for flights to find the cheapest deals.

    Be VERY flexible with travel dates, departure times, stopovers, etc.

    Book 6+ months in advance to secure the best accomodation locations/prices.

    Sign up for email alerts from several airlines, travel sites, etc.

    AirBnB is fantastic, solid references/ratings really helps. I prefer staying in a hotel the day I land after a long haul flight - more peace of mind & no one to disrupt if you’re badly jet lagged.

    Triple check luggage allowance & keep your luggage weight down. Some budget airlines charge you criminal prices if bags are overweight.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Oddly likes this.
  10. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    You can use the Google Flights map and search by price. You type in your airport, choose "flexible dates" and set your price limit. Then if gives you a map with all the places you can fly. Flights
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Indiana Mike and MJ5150 like this.