Just about everyone has a dream trip they’ve always wanted to take but assume is financially out of reach. While some ultra-luxe hotels or destinations probably are out of reach for many of us (like staying at The Hotel President Wilson in Geneva—its best suite costs $82,000 a night!), most people could probably afford their dream vacation with the proper planning.
So how can you make that fantasy trip a reality? One of the biggest keys is knowing the right travel tricks and websites to use.
There are sites that send you an alert whenever a low airplane fare to your destination becomes available.
1. Use alerts.
Websites like AirfareWatchDog allow you to register your dream trip. It will then send you an alert whenever a low airplane fare to your destination becomes available.
2. Explore flash sale websites.
Flash sale websites specialize in short-term deals (usually only offered for 24-36 hours) that are heavily discounted. There are a number of flash-sale travel sites, such as TravelZoo, that offer significant savings. They won’t always have deals for your dream destination, but if you keep checking in, you might eventually see your dream trip offered at a life-changing discount.
3. Get a hotel-rewards credit card.
Some credit cards allow you to earn points towards free or discounted hotel accommodations—earn enough free nights and suddenly your dream trip may seem a whole lot more affordable. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature cardholders, for example, can earn HHonors™ Bonus Points that can be redeemed for free nights at select hotels and resorts in Hilton’s portfolio of 11 distinct brands.
4. Consider package-bundling options.
Online travel agencies like Expedia offer many deals that bundle airfare and hotel (and sometimes other things like theme-park tickets). Generally speaking, a trip purchased through one of these package bundles is likely to be significantly more affordable than one where you book each component of the trip individually.
5. Be flexible.
Regardless of which of the websites discussed above you use, the most heavily reduced trips are often ones that must be taken soon or within a predetermined window. But if you can’t be flexible, all is not lost—there are good deals to be found that can be used at a later date. While being flexible is a major plus, a willingness to wait for the deal that’s right for you can also pay off nicely.
6. Search social media.
If you “like” or “follow” the pages or sites of airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and other vacation-oriented businesses, you’ll have your ear to the ground, so to speak, and stay informed about their deals and giveaways. Searching hashtags (like #giveaway) is also a savvy technique. If you’re really lucky, you might even win a free trip!
7. Travel in the off-season.
Some of the best deals come in the off-season, so it’s a great time to consider traveling. Since they vary by region, check your destination to figure out the best off- or shoulder-season times to travel—but remember to look into the operating dates and hours for the must-see attractions on your trip as well. You don’t want to book a trip to your dream island at an off-peak time, only to find out that the majority of restaurants are closed until their official tourist “season” begins.