Getting the most for your travel dollar involves more than just finding the cheapest air travel deal.
Chances are, if you are staying at your destination for more than the business hours of a single day, you will need lodging, and possibly transportation while you’re there. If you are traveling to Europe, you’ll also need access and tickets for public transportation such as trains, buses, and subways. Guess what? Airline, lodging, and transportation companies have figured this out, and most of the major Internet travel search engines offer you the ability to do a single search for both the best airline fares and reservations at hotels near your destination. Such travel package deals enable you to greatly simplify your travel arrangements, and, by taking advantage of a few tricks, to save money at the same time.
Weekends Are Key
If at all possible, plan your stay so that it spans a weekend. Simply by returning on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday, you often save hundreds of dollars on the airfare portion of your travel package deal. Many Internet travel sites, such as Hotels.com, LastMinute.com, PriceLine.com, and others, actually specialize in weekend travel. Sometimes weekend travel package deals can afford you the opportunity to stay in a five-star hotel that happens to be under-booked at that particular time—for two- or three-star rates! Don’t miss out on this opportunity; plan your travel to span the weekend.
A Little Flexibility, Please!
Keeping some flexibility in your travel plans can be a huge help when looking for travel package deals. Even if you plan to go to some specialty destination—skiing, beaches, cultural amenities, or others—having a day or two of margin on either side of your target travel date can enable you to catch a deal on a late night or early morning flight that might be under-booked and subject to special rate concessions. Comprehensive search sites like Mobissimo.com, Airfare.com, and Kayak.com can help you locate such hidden opportunities, once you’ve made your plans with enough flexibility to take advantage of them.
If your work or other travel gives you the opportunity to acquire frequent flier miles, there are ways you can utilize these to save on travel package deals—beyond free air fare. Often, vehicle rental and hotel companies will partner with airlines to offer special incentives to holders of frequent flier miles. Sometimes these discounts are available in connection with special travel packages, and sometimes they are excluded, so be sure to ask.