Go Off the Beaten Path
Going to underrated and under-traveled destinations can help you save money on accommodations and activities andavoid the crowds associated with top tourist spots. The Telegraph has named several tourist destinations that it considers to be underrated when compared to more well-traveled locales.
According to The Telegraph, these underrated locations are:
- Bolivia: A four-star hotel in the heart of La Paz could cost $108 per night
- The Philippines: A five-star hotel in Manila could cost $122 per night
- Sierra Leone: A four-star hotel in Freetown could cost $141 per night
- Honduras: A four-star hotel on the beach in Roatan could cost $134 per night
- Albania: A five-star hotel in the heart of Tirana could cost $98 per night
While hotel prices might be cheaper in underrated locales, you do need to be aware that flight prices might be more expensive – and possibly at less convenient times with more stops – if it’s not a common route. For example, an August flight from Minneapolis to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil might cost around $857, but a flight at the same time from Minneapolis to La Paz, Bolivia costs $1,177. The distance is nearly identical, though most flights to La Paz require at least two (and, in many cases, three) stops, whereas there are flights available from Minneapolis to Rio de Janeiro with only one stop.
3. Create Fare Alerts
Since no one has time to check flight prices constantly throughout the day, it’s a good thing that you can ask someone else to do the searching for you. Sign up for a fare alert, which is a subscription notification (usually via email) that provides a selection of flights and prices to a chosen destination. For example, I receive a daily email that tells me the cheapest flights over the next six months to London, Paris, and Bora Bora.
You can set up an alert for either an exact set of dates or for the lowest price on any date. You can also choose to receive a daily email or a weekly email. Be aware that the weekly email might miss good flights that sell out before you receive your notifications. Theoretically, this can happen with the daily email too, though it’s less likely.
Two sites that offer fare alerts are Kayak and Airfarewatchdog. Kayak uses a computer-generated algorithm, while Airfarewatchdog employs analysts who are responsible for finding deals and sending out alerts.
4. Book at the Right Time
Rumors abound that when you book your flight matters, and there’s some evidence that this is true. For instance, an Expedia survey reveals Tuesday “is technically the least expensive day to purchase tickets when booked more than three weeks in advance.”
But don’t go setting a calendar appointment just yet. The study found that Tuesday wins by a very slim margin: only 5%. If you’re going to book a last-minute vacation, aim for booking on Sunday, which the study suggests is likely the best option. Remember that you’ll just be booking your tickets on a Sunday – ideally not traveling on Sunday.
The time of the week matters, but so does the amount of time before you intend to travel. CheapAir.com analyzed 1.5 billion airfares for just shy of 5 million domestic trips over the course of 2014 and recorded the lowest fare “for each trip every day from 320 days in advance up until one day before flight time.”