Escape - Without Going Broke on Winter Travel
If the cold, dreary weather of winter is bringing you down, you're not alone. Plenty of people opt to take winter vacations to escape from the snow and ice for a while. Winter travel can be surprisingly affordable, so if you're working with a limited budget, you can still find plenty of great airfare deals to destinations that suit your taste. Need some pointers on getting started? Here are just a few of the ways you can see the world this winter without breaking the bank.
Know What a Good Price Looks Like.
To get a good deal on airfare, you've got to be able to recognize good prices when you see them. Familiarizing yourself with typical airline prices isn't difficult. Just get into the habit of checking various travel dates on the main airfare sites, like Google Flights, Expedia.com, and Travelocity.com, on a regular basis. Over time, you'll get a feel for how much you can expect to spend on a flight to one of your preferred destinations, and you'll be able to recognize great deals right away.
You'll probably have to look at a number of airfare sites before you find the cheapest flights available. Different sites use different algorithms to search the web for fares, and some sites will find deals that others miss. Shopping around before you commit could save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you're booking more than one ticket.
If your travel plans aren't set in stone yet, staying flexible can save you a lot of money. Many travel sites give you the option of searching for flights during a range of days and comparing fares from nearby airports. Traveling on certain days of the week, like Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday tends to be cheaper than flying on busier days. Likewise, it may be cheaper to fly into a smaller airport than a bigger one.
Take Advantage of Overbooked flights
Overbooked flights might seem like a headache, but they can actually be a blessing in disguise. If you volunteer to give up your seat and take a later flight instead, the airline may compensate you with various perks, which often include free flight vouchers and an upgrade to business or first class on the flight you've been bumped to. Not a bad way to get free airfare for a future trip!
Use a Service That Helps You Find Deals
If you're overwhelmed by all the travel sites and deals available on the internet, don't panic. Sifting through travel information on your own can be a long and tedious task, but there are plenty of services that filter out the great deals so you can find them. Consider using a site like EveryDeal.com, which offers deals on vacation packages, to find your next getaway without getting overwhelmed in the process.
Sign Up for Alerts
Airfare prices change all the time, and if you don't spot a good deal right away, it may be gone just a few hours later. Make sure you know about great fares when they happen by signing up for alerts. There are a number of apps available that will alert you to great airfare prices when they become available. You can even sign up to be notified when fares to particular winter destinations are a good deal.
Use Your Bonuses
If you fly often, your frequent flyer miles can help you get cheap flights. If you don't travel much, consider signing up for travel credit cards. These cards let you collect points or miles that you can cash in for free or steeply discounted flights. What could be easier?
Consider Flying on a Budget Airline
Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet may not have all the luxuries that major airlines offer, but if you're on a budget, they're just as good as the expensive airlines for getting you to your winter destinations. These inexpensive flights are especially common in Europe, so keep your eyes peeled for deals if you're going to the Continent. Keep in mind that many cheap airlines charge extra for checked luggage, so it's a good idea to pack light if you can. In addition, be sure to eat before you fly or bring your own snacks for the flight, because most budget airlines also don't serve food.
Clear Your Cookies When You Shop
According to some travel aficionados, booking sites use a sneaky trick to charge you higher prices for the same flight. If the site recognizes your cookies and sees that you've been looking at a certain flight a lot lately, they bump up the price that's displayed on your computer. While it's never been officially confirmed whether this is true or not, it can't hurt to protect yourself. Just clear your cookies before each browsing session, or use a private browser window to look up airfares.
If you adopt the right strategies for finding good airfare, travel doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. There are plenty of ways to take a vacation this winter without going broke. Start making your winter travel plans today - there are plenty of deals out there that are perfect for you!