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Old 07-25-2017, 11:27 AM
 
64 posts, read 34,214 times
Reputation: 52

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Hello,

Starting next month I am going to start traveling heavily to Europe and South America A LOT! As far as domestic Miami, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, DC.

I would like some advise from you the experts frequent travelers to see If i am getting the best deals?

This is the way I do things:

- I dont have hotel preference honestly i just book through kayak or hoteltonight sometimes hotels dot com etc for the discounted rooms but not sure if thats the best route

- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.

Thanks!
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,070 posts, read 19,008,543 times
Reputation: 24177
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
Hello,

Starting next month I am going to start traveling heavily to Europe and South America A LOT! As far as domestic Miami, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, DC.

I would like some advise from you the experts frequent travelers to see If i am getting the best deals?

This is the way I do things:

- I dont have hotel preference honestly i just book through kayak or hoteltonight sometimes hotels dot com etc for the discounted rooms but not sure if thats the best route

- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.

Thanks!
I'd agree 100% with the way you're booking your flights.

However, why not do the same thing with your hotel rooms? Find stuff on Expedia, Hotelstonight, or whatever. Then go to the hotel site itself, and it's usually cheaper. MUCH easier if you have to cancel. No booking charges. If you are a senior citizen, AAA member, etc. you can often get discounts if you book on the site. I rarely ever find a better rate than on the hotel site itself.

But if I were doing all this traveling about I probably wouldn't use so many hotels. In Europe, I'm very fond of B&B's. If I were younger, I might consider hostels. Airbnb is a bit of a crapshoot, but good more often than not. Our preferred method is a home exchange, but that won't work well if you are running from city to city.

I'm sure StealthRabbit will be here in seconds to recommend hospitality stays, camping, and couch surfing. It works for him, but not for everybody (including me).
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:31 PM
 
9,804 posts, read 5,008,332 times
Reputation: 33852
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.
That's what I do, unless I can find a good package deal through Expedia. But I always do my own confirmation that the package is actually cheaper than booking flight and hotel separately.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:34 PM
 
64 posts, read 34,214 times
Reputation: 52
Thanks for your reply

-Regarding hotels, booking directly with them MOST of the times its either the same price or way more expensive.....

-I book hotels last minute so i don't care about cancelation

-I am not a senior citizen thats why I don't qualify for AAA unfortunately
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:43 PM
 
3,611 posts, read 1,558,027 times
Reputation: 2525
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
Hello,

Starting next month I am going to start traveling heavily to Europe and South America A LOT! As far as domestic Miami, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, DC.

I would like some advise from you the experts frequent travelers to see If i am getting the best deals?

This is the way I do things:

- I dont have hotel preference honestly i just book through kayak or hoteltonight sometimes hotels dot com etc for the discounted rooms but not sure if thats the best route

- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.

Thanks!
airfarewatchdog is an excellent site.
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:13 PM
 
9,804 posts, read 5,008,332 times
Reputation: 33852
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
-I am not a senior citizen thats why I don't qualify for AAA unfortunately
AAA is not for seniors. You're thinking of AARP. Anyone can join AAA.
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,664 posts, read 6,485,537 times
Reputation: 4151
And actually, anyone can join AARP as well, which was news to me.. A lot of travel hackers do that to get discounts on British Airways flights
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,681 posts, read 16,101,231 times
Reputation: 7700
Expedia and other online travel agencies like booking.com and hotels.com do have their free loyalty programs (IIRC, hotels.com is roughly buy ten hotel nights, get one free) so if you're going to use a program at least once a year, generally what you need to keep points from expiring, you might as well join and not leave 'money' on the table.

For a lot of Europe and South America, the Accor family of hotels is frequently a good value and has a decent footprint. Their loyalty program has a lot of sales and promotional offers, and combined with some non-stay activities like market research surveys, it's pretty easy to get enough points for nights in an Ibis/Ibis Styles (do check reviews because not all Ibis are equal) or Novotel level properties.

If you're booking directly with the airlines, do sign up for their frequent flyer programs since most of the US-based ones are pretty generous with how long you can got without having to generate 'account activity' needed to keep your miles from expiring. I don't fly a ton, but pick up miles from auxiliary activities and have FF accounts for Delta (if I'm actually paying for a flight locally), United (awful airline, but so very easy to earn miles with them outside of flights), Southwest, and then I credit my American flights to either BA or Alaska.

The plan had been to have one FF per global alliance for me, and just credit international airlines to my host program, but I ended up with about 13K Alaska miles through a promotional offer as part of the Virgin America merger, and it was enough to stop crediting my American flights to alliance partner BA and build enough of a Alaska FF miles balance to be useful instead.
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:54 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,874,751 times
Reputation: 2263
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloaloha View Post
Hello,

Starting next month I am going to start traveling heavily to Europe and South America A LOT! As far as domestic Miami, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, DC.

I would like some advise from you the experts frequent travelers to see If i am getting the best deals?

This is the way I do things:

- I dont have hotel preference honestly i just book through kayak or hoteltonight sometimes hotels dot com etc for the discounted rooms but not sure if thats the best route

- The way I book my tickets (once again not sure If I am doing this correctly). I check Kayak for prices and schedules, stops etc once I find an specific ticket I like, say Delta for the price and time. I go to the Delta website and buy the ticket.

Thanks!
How often do you plan on traveling? If you are thinking about 20 nights or 4 round trip flights per year, then you may want to consider rewards cards to facilitate your travel. There is a website called Flyer Talk that is comprehensive on the overall ecosystem of travel & travel rewards.

I personally use Google Flights to shop for airfare. And Tripadvisor (and AirBnB) for hotels. I am usually more interested in quality and location for lodging, so I'm more interested in seeing pictures and reviews by actual travelers than in the generic hotel data used by Kayak, Expedia, hoteltonight, etc. After comparing on Tripadvisor, I'll prefer to book through hotels.com for their free night after you book ten program, unless other loyalty programs I use offer a better value.

If you will be traveling heavily, you should also take advantage of frequent flyer & hotel rewards programs.

There are a few airlines that will not show up on flight aggregators, so it is usually worth checking them individual (Southwest is a major example).
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Old 07-25-2017, 02:19 PM
 
Location: NY/LA
3,360 posts, read 2,830,457 times
Reputation: 2593
When price was a big concern for me, I used to use the "name your price" features on Priceline and Hotwire for hotels.

To get a good idea of where to start bidding, there are forums out there where people will post their winning bids for specific dates and times of the year, especially for big cities.

Once you find a good price to start at, there are also strategies to increasing your bid and bidding more frequently to improve your chances of getting a good deal.
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