by Erin Gifford
We all love to save money on travel, but no one has the time to monitor for price drops on hotel rooms and car rentals, even airfares. Fortunately, you don’t have to since there are a number of websites that want to do the work for you. Here are seven must-bookmark travel sites that will keep more money in your pocket.
The free AutoSlash service hunts for the best daily and weekly rates across available rental car companies at your pick-up location, then monitors the rates and automatically re-books you if and when the rates drop. AutoSlash also checks the rates at other rental car companies at your location and will re-book you with another company at a lower rate with your permission.
RewardExpert is a free service that was created to help travelers maximize available credit card and airline programs so they can quickly earn free airline tickets. Simply input where you’d like to go, like Rome or San Francisco, and RewardExpert creates a personalized plan to quickly build up your reward points and cash them in for free airline tickets.
It’s tempting to hop on a non-refundable hotel deal because the price is that much better than the rates that allow for free cancellation. But, what do you do when you can’t use the hotel room after all? You put it up on Roomer so other travelers can scoop up your room. When they do, you’ll earn back a chunk of what you paid for the room. Super simple. And, it’s free.
Booking your stay at boutique hotels from Fifteen Beacon in Boston to The Savoy Hotel in Miami is as easy as sending a tweet to @Stayful using the #TweetStay hashtag with your dates of travel, price range (e.g., budget, mid-range, etc.) and dates. You’ll then receive a tweet back with some hotel deals that Stayful has negotiated on your behalf at no charge.
Since you pay upfront when you book an airline ticket, you never really know whether you’re getting the best deal. Sites like Kayak will advise you whether you should buy or wait given the current fares, but what if the price drops after you’ve bought your ticket? Head to Tingo, enter your flight details and look out for an email if the price of your flight drops below the airline’s change fee.
- The Flight Deal
The Flight Deal is a fantastic website for travelers who have flexibility and are willing to travel anywhere when an amazing fare pops up (and you’ll see many of them). Even better, the fares you’ll find on this site are truly great fares, not just 20% less than last week, which may not have been a very good fare. Follow the Fare Deal Alert on Twitter for up-to-the-minute fare deals.
Of course, no listing of the best sites to save money on travel is complete without InsureMyTrip. Before you embark on any vacation, consider whether travel insurance is for you, especially when traveling out of the country. Travel insurance can help keep money in your wallet when faced with an unforeseen trip cancellation or an emergency requiring medical assistance.
Erin Gifford is a Washington, D.C.-based travel writer and founder of Kidventurous, an award-winning family travel resource. Her writing can also be found on TravelChannel.com, TravelAge West and Fodors.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Kidventurous, connect with her on Facebook or get the latest tips and tricks for traveling families at http://www.kidventurous.com.