Almost everyone loves to travel, but how do you find those travel deals to stretch your travel dollars? Whether you're planning a cruise, a Las Vegas vacation, a flight overseas, or a hotel stay, there are travel deals for you - if you know where to look.
Deals on Airfare
Finding cheap airfare can be a challenge. Generally the best fares go to those who book early, both for domestic and international travel. The exception to this is the last-minute specials that major airlines post on their websites within a week of travel. These fares are limited to just a few city pairs and are generally posted on Tuesday for weekend travel.
Charter flights offer more options for discounted air travel. These planes, leased by tour companies to sell as their own, are generally offered between major airports and popular vacation travel destinations, such as Cancun and Las Vegas.
For overseas travel, consolidators, such as Bargain Travel, sell excess seats on regularly-scheduled flights at a substantial discount, although these fares generally carry more restrictions than the published airfare.
Finding hotel deals is a matter of asking and then asking again. Dozens of room rates often exist for a single hotel and many are not offered unless you ask for them. Make sure that the reservationist knows if you are a member of AAA, AARP, or qualify for a corporate rate (sometimes only a matter of having a business card).
Cruise lines reward passengers for booking early. Not only are the most desirable cabins only available to those who make their reservations early, but most major cruise lines offer an early booking discount, sometimes up to 30 or 40 percent. A few lines even offer an extra incentive - 10 percent or so - for passengers who pay for their cruise vacation at least six months in advance.
The exception to this is the few last-minute cruise specials offered for unsold cabins within one week of sailing. These are generally only feasible if you live near the port of departure, since buying airfare to get to the cruise within one week of departure will typically negate any savings on the cruise. Look for these travel deals on cruise line websites. Note that specials are not offered every week and some are limited to Florida residents.
Other Travel Deals
Other travel deals include airline, cruise, and hotel programs that reward frequent travelers. Such programs allow travelers to accrue points which may be used for discounts, upgrades, and even free travel. Even for occasional travelers, it pays to consolidate your travel on one airline, cruise line, or hotel chain.
Fans of Las Vegas will find frequent Las Vegas deals. Gambling junkets and charter packages from major cities, which combine airfare, hotel accommodations, and transportation, can offer significant savings over booking each component separately.
Enlisting the aid of a travel agent can help you find travel deals. Because they work with travel day in and day out, travel agencies are in a position to learn of the latest travel specials and alert you to them. A good travel agent can be invaluable in helping you to save your travel dollars.