#1 Consider Buying Two One-Way Tickets Instead Of A Round Trip
Google Flights includes a search for two one-way tickets in a standard search. I have used this strategy several times. It simply puts you on a different airline for your return trip. Most of the search platforms do not include this, that is why I use Google Flights. It is always worth comparing prices for one-way flights, especially on international travel.
#2 Check Several Departing And Returning Days In Your Airfare Scenario
Many of the major travel sites are beginning to offer this feature in their searches, but my favorite method is using the Google Flight calendar. See video below.
#3 Always Consider Multiple Departing And Arrival Airports
This has saved me so much money over the years. A couple of examples - We were flying our entire family from Dallas to Los Angeles and saved over one thousand dollars by departing from Houston (just a three hour drive). We booked round trip airfare to Italy for less than $500 each ticket by flying out of Miami instead of Orlando (saved $300 per person).
#4 Compare Single Hotel Night Rates Against Multiple Day Purchases
I learned this one by accident when my itinerary changed — I discovered that the one day rate was actually increased when I booked several days at the same hotel. What? I thought you get a discount when you make a larger purchase. So, I just booked multiple one day reservations instead of a single reservation for four days. This makes absolutely no sense, but I have experienced it multiple times.
#5 Always Compare Airbnb Rates To Hotels
One of the reasons I favor Booking.com for hotel shopping is that they automatically include Airbnb. Even though it is somewhat integrated, you will still find more options by searching at the Airbnb site directly. Airbnb offers a great deal of savings, especially if you are traveling with children and need a larger space. No matter the number of people in your group, it always makes sense to include Airbnb in your comparison.
#6 Use A Proxy Server Or Incognito Browser To Shop For Online Travel
Well, I did not believe this one until I tried it myself — it is true! You may see higher prices based simply on your location. The workaround for this is to use the ‘incognito’ feature on the Chrome browser or a proxy server. Either way, once your location is hidden you may see different prices. This is not always the case, but often enough that it is worth trying.
#7 Shop Directly At The Airline Website Before Making The Final Purchase From A Travel Site
It is easier to shop directly at the big travel sites, but there are hidden savings to be uncovered by searching directly on airline websites. Hidden deals are common, especially with Southwest and JetBlue.
#8 Always Ask About Discounts If You Are An AARP Or AAA Member
Always ask about AAA and AARP discounts when booking a hotel or rental car. In fact, most people don’t know that both of these organizations have their own travel booking sites that incorporate the member savings. Discounts of an additional ten percent or more are common. In fact, anytime you are spending money you should ask about these discounts. Most people have no idea how ubiquitous these discounts are — even at restaurants and retailers in your own home town.
#9 Volunteer To Be Bumped From Your Flight For Free Airfare
This summer is expected to be an extremely busy travel season. As a result, airlines may be overbooked and looking for passengers to volunteer to be bumped. You will get another seat on a later flight and receive a travel credit that can be worth several hundred dollars. Some travelers even select the most popular flight itineraries for an increased chance of being bumped.
#10 Always Compare Offsite Rental Car Rates To Airport Location Rates
Rental cars are in short supply this summer, and rates will be higher than ever. This is why adding off-site rental agencies to your comparison list is a must. Even if you have to take an Uber across town, it could easily result in hundreds of dollars in savings.
Bonus Tip: Avoid Baggage Fees By Shipping Your Clothes Through The Mail Instead Of Checking Luggage
This is a great strategy, especially if you are visiting family. Save money and box up your clothes and other travel necessities and ship them by U.S. Mail. You also avoid the hassle of carrying your bags to the airport.