Tag Archives: budget travel

Are You Letting The Airlines Get The Upper Hand On You?

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Today, there are so many on-line travel search engines that it can get overwhelming for the average person to know if they are getting the best fare for their flight. You can spend hours looking, searching and still not find the best fare.

Flexibility, even if you can’t be flexible, is the real key to searching for the lowest fare. If you can be flexible, even by one day, you may save hundreds of dollars. If you can’t be flexible you still need to make the airlines think you can.

Before we get to deep into how to find your flight, there’s one trick you need to know about. All booking sites record web browsing data. Some will use this information to increase prices when they know you are interested in a certain flight. Have you ever searched for a flight and get one price only to go back later and search it again only to find the price has increased? Always clear your web browser before you search again. You might just find the original price again. Now you are ready to shop.

Another tip, is don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight. Three months ahead is the best time to book and some airlines will give you an early-bird discount. Over three months really doesn’t have any dramatic advantages.

If it’s a vacation you are planning, you might want to consider going off-season. Various regions have different Off Seasons. If you can fly during these times, depending on your destination, you can usually fly cheaper. I have listed the off-seasons below:
* Australia & New Zealand – August
* Asia:January- February
* Europe: November- March
* South America: March – November
* The Caribbean: November – March

Make a list of the airlines you usually use and follow them on Twitter. Do the same for the Hotels and follow them. Some especially Jet-Blue and Virgin Atlantic are very active in promoting their hottest deals in real time. (Facebook doesn’t offer this, so its no use to add them there.) Hotels are great about posting their deals on twitter. Don’t forget that each and every time you do a search for an online fare, delete your cookies, cache and search history first.

Start your search with Kayak. It works for flexible or fixed dates on domestic and international flights. They also give you complete price, with taxes and fees, if for some reason you prefer to use another site, Skyscraper is worth looking at. It also has a flexible search tool. 52% of its customers are return users, which is a testament in itself.

Travelocity used to be the best travel search site, but today the company is not even in the running. They have a record for high-prices and poor customer service.

Some of the newer and better rated travel search sites are Vayama.com, Hipmunk.com, Google flights (www.itasoftworre.com). Google is great at pulling up every fare accurately, but the downside is you can’t book directly through google. You need to link out to anther site in order to book your flight.

Another way of getting cheaper flights is to fly into an alternate airport. Sometimes the alternate airport might even be closer to your destination. Even if you have to drive, it might be worth hundreds of dollars of savings to do so.

Now let’s talk a little more about the flexible date option, even if you can’t be flexible, Typically, how it works is you will put in a range of dates for your departure and return then you pick your original dates from the list. Some of the best travel websites to use when you are using flexible searching are :
* Kayack
* Skyscanner
* Orbit
* Hotwire – Only US flights
* Travelocity – only domestic flights

Word Of Caution: When using flexible date options with some travel searches, the taxes and fees are not added until you select your flight. Fees charged by the airport can vary dramatically.

Bottom line-Don’t make your final decision on price until your flight is selected and you receive the final total.

After you have found the fare you like, always compare it to the airline’s website, just to make sure their fare isn’t lower. One other point, when you are checking travel sites for fares, make sure you check the box to also search for alternate airports, near-by.

My last tip to help you get cheap flights is at auctions. You can save thousands of dollars, but auctions are not for the timid. If this sounds interesting, the best thing to do is first spend some time on the sites to see how they work. And always read the fine print before you bid. SkyAuction.com seems to be the best auction site, but there are others that are good also as long as you remember to read all the rules. Each one operates differently. Some of the others are LuxuryLink.com, FlightFax.com, and CruiseComplete.com – used for cruises. Priceline.com is good for rental cars and motels.

I hope some of these tips might help save you save money the next time you fly. If you find a deal using one of these methods or you have a different way that works for you, we would definitely love to hear from you, if you wouldn’t mind sharing. If you find this article useful I would appreciate you sharing it with your friends and family.

Summer Tips On Flying

What Day Of The Week Is Best To Fly On?

In this article we are going to talk about summer flying and what’s the best days to do so. During the summer months, vacation planning often includes a Sunday return to ensure the most time off (Saturdays and Sundays are the traditional weekend days for most work schedules). You’d better believe that the airlines know this and generally increase the cost of flights on those days. Not to mention, many business travelers travel on Sunday to reach their destination by Monday morning. For your summer trip, consider flying back on Saturday instead and you’ll save money.

graph for travelers

This graph was borrowed from CheapAir.com.  According to them a much more economical plan is to fly midweek. On average, summer flight data indicates that flying on a Wednesday is $74 cheaper than flying on a Sunday. That may not seem significant until you start examining the typical family vacation. A family of four will save nearly $300 on average for their summer vacation flights just by traveling on a Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s the cost of a couple hotel rooms, or a fancy dinner for four! Seems to be a no-brainer when you can swing a midweek departure and return. The money you save might be the difference between taking a vacation this summer and thinking you can’t afford it!

When Should I Buy My Tickets?

Flying during the Summer months and on Holidays requires a little more strategy then the other times of the year. More people are flying and the airlines also know this. The general pattern is that from the time a flight opens for sale, fares will drop slowly but steadily until reaching a low point somewhere between 27 days and 114 days out. That three month window, which is essentially between one and four months in advance, is what is called the “prime booking window”. Much more often than not, the best fare for a domestic trip will be offered at some point during that window.

If you don’t book within this window, it is generally better to book too early than too late. Those booking more than 114 days out paid an average of $32 more for their flight in 2014; those booking inside 27 days paid an average of $47 more (and a lot more than that if within 14 days).

For Summer and Holiday travel the rules are different. For summer travel last year, the best time to book was 76 days in advance on average – almost a month earlier than the rest of the year. And the danger in booking too early was much less pronounced. Fares booked 320 days in advance were, on average, only $8 more than their low point. More than ever before, air travel has become a seller’s market, especially in the peak seasons, and the airlines don’t have to be as aggressive as they used to in order to fill all their seats. This means that the deals you see early on for peak season flights are increasingly likely to be among the best deals that will be offered.

Additional Tips on Finding The Best AirFares

Here is some general advice on how to go about your airfare search:

– Since it’s impossible to know exactly the best day to buy an airline ticket, the best strategy is to check fares early and often. For travel during the summer or holidays, start your research as soon as you can. For other travel dates, try to check frequently in the one to four month lead-up to your travel dates. By checking often enough, you are likely to see both the ups and the downs as fares fluctuate– and you’ll be able to tell the difference and recognize a good deal.

– Aim for a good deal, not the best deal. With 70 different fare changes on average for each trip, you have to get very lucky to book your flight at their absolute rock bottom. So don’t get too caught up in trying to squeeze a few extra dollars off your ticket price. When you see a good deal, grab it since any good fare is much more likely to go up than down.

– Consider booking much earlier than the 47 days in advance if: (1) you are traveling for a holiday; (2) you are traveling during the summer; (3) you are traveling with a family or large party (three or more travelers); (4) or, you are particular about your airline, number of stops, travel times, or seat assignments and you see only a few flights offered that you’d be happy with.

– Avoid booking too early (before four months) if all of these are true: (1) you are not traveling during the summer or for a holiday; (2) you are traveling by yourself; (3) and, you’re flexible on the airline and flight times.

The Timing Just Got Easier With CheapAir’s Price Drop, Payback

Airlines are constantly raising and lowering air fares, a regular cause of confusion and frustration. For example, it’s usually good practice to buy early, but there are times when doing so will come back to haunt you when the fare actually drops after your purchase. So, how are you really supposed to know when to buy?

Price Dropping

At CheapAir.com they want their customers to know they are getting the absolute best fare they possibly can. They can’t stop airlines from constantly changing their fares in order to maximize “yield,” but they can help you to breathe a little easier with their recently launched free Price Drop Payback program, now in effect for the remainder of the year.

It’s as simple as this: if the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, they’ll pay you back the difference in the form of a travel voucher for up to $100 per ticket! They are proud to be the only U.S. travel site who offers this unique buyer protection and they hope this program will arm you with buying confidence.

To take advantage of Price Drop Payback, any time after your purchase go to the My Trips section of their web site to retrieve your itinerary. From there, with one click you can check to see if your fare has gone down. If it has, they’ll issue you a travel credit immediately. You can check your fare every week, every day, or as often as you want. It’s fast and easy and free.

Cheap Air is almost like your own personal travel agent as they can not only help you find cheap flights, they can also help you find cheap motels, rental cars, and even cruises. Why not check out their prices for your next flight.


Where Would You Travel To If You Could Stay There For Free?

Europe, New England, Australia, or somewhere in the United States? Think about it for a minute. Dare to dream. Just where would you travel if you could stay there absolutely free?

lake housePicture yourself setting in a log cabin by a beautiful Lake. You’re setting in a comfortable leather recliner looking out of three big bay windows where you can see tall pines covered in healthy green moss and the shimmering of the big lake nearby. Maybe there’s a big ole chubby grey cat curled at your feet. You’re so relaxed. You have no electric bills, no gas bills, nothing to worry about except buying your food and putting gas in the car, which you have access to also.

If this scene doesn’t strike you as what you are looking for, imagesthen dream of a beach house right on the beach, a cabin in the snow, a cottage in Ireland, a ranch in Colorado, where ever your imagination can take you. Now would you like me to show you how to make your dreams come true? Because, they can for single people, retired couples and even families.

What I am talking about is House-sitting. As a housesitter, you are able to experience what it is really like to live in certain areas. Most of the people (but not all) have a pet that they also want you to care for. It might be a cat or a dog or a horse or maybe some other pet. You choose from a very large selection images (1)of people from all over the world. They, themselves, are usually going on a vacation somewhere and they need some one to take care of their home and their pet while they are away. You stay for free and get to enjoy all of the scenery and/or events that might be taking place where you are at.

I found this great little hand-book that teaches you everything you need to know about how to become a house sitter. It’s written by two full time sitters. They are retired and enjoying just traveling all over the world. Whether it be for a week or two, a year or as a full time lifestyle this book tells you all you need to know to do the same. They show you how to find and get the perfect house sit. The handbook’s 10 chapters are organized to walk you through the process from total inexperience to the completion of your first housesit. They teach you how to make the most of the benefits and opportunities that exist for house sitting worldwide.

This book is definitely worth reading if this sounds at all interesting to you. House sits are available for weekends, long weekends, weeks, and months. You have so much to choose from. This book shows you everything you need to know, because not only do you have to find a house, they also have to approve of you. After you have done it for a while, it gets easier. Take your time and check it out. It won’t be a waste of time. Also check out this link, house-sitters, to look at getting started. Inside the book you will find links to several other sites.

Budget and Stick To It

Falls

Vacations are well deserved treats and money shouldn’t be a cloud over these precious times away. You shouldn’t be counting pennies while trying to have fun. I have a couple of tips to offer that may help prevent this from happening.

  • Start planning early with a budget in mine – When planning your trip, balance your total cost based on:
    1. Where you’re going
    2. How you plan to get there
    3. What you’ll do once you get there
  • Create a daily cash allowance -After you decide on what the cost of transportation and hotel will cost,  create an expected daily allowance for food, drink, activities and souvenirs/ shopping, then inflate it by 10 to 15 percent to allow for emergencies or unforseen expenses.
  • Practice the “Cash Diet” – Place each days allowance in separate envelopes – Stash the envelopes in the Hotel Safe. Each Day, use only what’s in one envelope.

The so called “Cash Diet” is not anything new. A lot of people have started applying it to their every day lives to help them get out of debt.

My site is dedicated to helping you to vacation on a budget, but if you learn to control your credit and possibly get out of debt you may be fortunate enough to be able to set more money aside for vacations. If you are interested in learning more about the “Cash Diet”, I would encourage you to look it up and read more about it.