Budgeting for travel can get expensive — especially during the warmer months, which are known as peak travel time. With more tourists exploring the globe, spring and summer often sees an increase in flight prices, room rates and lines to visit attractions.
Thankfully, digital innovations have created a more competitive travel industry, allowing customers to do more research to find the best available deal. With a ton of apps to choose from, the difficulty is knowing which one will actually help you save money and plan a better vacation. That’s why we’ve asked frequent flyers and travel experts to share their secrets to saving money while travelling during peak periods.
Organize your travel information: TripIt
Heather Greenwood Davis, a travel journalist and founder of Globetrotting Mama, has travelled the world with her family. To keep her family organized on the road, she uses an app called TripIt. While this app might not alert you to flight sales, it will help you stay organized as you plan your trip, which could save you money in the long run and help you avoid making last-minute or incorrect bookings.
TripIt collects travel confirmations and information for your upcoming vacation to create a master itinerary. Greenwood Davis recommends using this app when you’re working on multiple or multi-leg trips, where more information needs to be organized and there’s more room for error. The master itinerary can help highlight areas of your trip that might still need to be confirmed or arranged. Greenwood Davis recommends using the free option to start planning your trip and deciding later if you want to upgrade to the pro version for more functionality.
Save on activities and attractions abroad: Klook
Dan Christian, chief digital officer of The Travel Corporation, recently completed a three-month round-the-world family trip. He says that having the right apps on his mobile device made the trip a lot more efficient and cost-effective. To save money on activities and excursions, he recommends using Klook. The app allows you to buy tickets and book tours immediately and easily for most attractions at the lowest possible prices, all while earning credits to redeem for future bookings. Christian used this tool to book attractions like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Sentosa Island in Singapore and even the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo — saving not only time, but also money.
To save on printing fees and paper waste, Christian recommends showing the voucher directly on your phone through the app.
Search for travel discounts throughout the month: Skyscanner
Having a flexible travel schedule can help you find the lowest rates for flights and hotels. Travel journalist Julia Eskins’ favourite travel tool is Skyscanner, which she uses to find flights tailored to her travel budget, travel dates and airline preferences. Skyscanner aggregates deals through their third party booking platforms to provide the best prices available. You can also set alerts so that you’ll be notified when fare prices drop. Eskins recently travelled through South and Central America for seven months to visit countries like Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica. Using the month-view on Skyscanner, she was able to see the cheapest days to fly.
Unsure of where to travel? Eskins recommends doing the "everywhere” search to find which destination is cheapest during your preferred month of travel, which may lead you somewhere you would have never considered exploring.
Cash in on a loyalty rewards program: Marriott Bonvoy and Aeroplan
The secret to becoming a “points guru” is to accumulate points as often as possible. According to travel expert David Duran, finding rewards programs that you can be loyal to and book with more often will help you reach your points goals faster. For hotel bookings, Duran recommends signing up for a loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 6,700 hotels in 130 countries in their portfolio. Marriott Bonvoy has partnered with a number of brands ranging from luxurious options like the Ritz-Carlton or W Hotels, to more budget-conscious selections.
For Canadians who are looking to accumulate miles for flights, consider using the Aeroplan booking tool. Duran recommends using it not only when you want to redeem your miles, but also when you are booking flights, car rentals and accommodations. You can earn Aeroplan Miles by making cash bookings and purchases through their online store. This will also allow you to accumulate miles quicker.
Want to accumulate even more loyalty rewards? Duran suggests signing up for a credit card that is linked with a travel rewards program, and to use it on regular purchases and expenses.
Sign up for the deals: Expedia
When it comes to planning the perfect trip, doing your research will help you save time and money. Travel blogger and social media expert Elaisha Jade finds all of her best travel tips on Pinterest, where she scours posts to find hidden gems and must-see spots. When it comes to saving money while travelling, though, she recommends signing up for newsletters from airlines and online travel agents like Expedia so that she can be notified about upcoming sales.
When booking your trip through Expedia, Jade recommends waiting for a sale or looking online for promotional codes to redeem on bookings. However, the window for booking these sales is often short, so when you see a good price book it as soon as possible — and always collect Expedia Rewards points.