Stretching Your Travel Dollar From an Unassuming Wanderluster

View towards tarmac from YVR passener holding areaMany of my friends and colleagues have often asked me about my approach to booking travel, this one is for them, thank you for inspiring me to share this with you here.

Do you prescribe to the myth that the best deals occur on trip bidding sites or on standby status? Reality Check! It’s all about research, research and more research! It can be worth it. It can be the difference between resting in four star luxury for the price of three star accommodation and sometimes the equivalent savings of a return flight. From the vault of my own travel experience, this is how I’ve come to get the best value for my wanderlust. Let me preempt that this isn’t intended for the audience that can take off on a whim. I’m like many of you who need to be considerate of work and other life commitments, in fact some of this knowledge has come from road warrior experience. But, also let me say that only you know what your preferences are. If you’re finding anything helpful from this post, only take what you need and adapt according to your needs and tastes.

Beware of days to book flights and hotels

  • Plan ahead (months ahead where possible), I can’t stress this enough, last minute deals aren’t as good as they used to be
  • Compare the prices for the same hotel and flight booked on a weekend versus a weekday and see if there is a difference*
  • Compare the prices again for the same hotel and flight booked in the morning versus the evening
  • I don’t know about you, but if my gut instinct sees a good deal, I nab it right away and halt further comparison shopping and don’t look back

Take it from Rick Steeves, if you think you’ve got a good deal, you better nab it before it’s gone.

*This may sound silly, but I’ve seen it before and yes I have had my moment also, it helps to remember to clear the cache from the browser to bring up the latest deal possible.

For some accommodations, such as with the larger chain hotels, you can often price match online deals with the chain’s own website offers and still consider options that cover a range of cancellation policies. If you have a AAA membership (CAA in most cases as well) or a partnership benefit, don’t forget to check off the special rate box for this. If you’re like me and happen to like a certain chain hotel experience, collecting rewards points on their member rewards cards can bring free hotel stays pretty quickly. However, watch out for the  credit card registration offers tied to these same establishments. Always consider the associated interest rates and rewards terms before signing up.

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