Travel isn’t so easy with the coronavirus raging across the world. But we hope that someday it will be back, and we want to be ready for it.
One of the great things about finding travel deals is that all of the information you need is at your fingertips. With enough time, anyone can search online for deals that will make travel easy and inexpensive.
Instead of going to many websites to search for deals, it can be easier to use sites that aggregate travel information. We’ve created a list of some of the best travel websites to save you the most money in many categories of travel. All are free to use.
Airfare prices are easy to track at sites such as Google Flights, Airfarewatchdog and Kayak. Simply enter your home and destination airport, pick the flights you want, and set an alert to track prices.
An email can be sent to you when the flight you’re tracking goes up or down in price. You can also see which days are cheaper to fly, such as on a Wednesday instead of a Monday.
If you’re unsure where you want to go and just want to travel somewhere, Scott’s Cheap Flights sends free email alerts in a newsletter with deals on domestic and international travel.
An app for the airline you’re flying should keep you updated on flight and gate changes, layover information and more, but two sites can be especially useful when planning a trip or going on one.
FlightStats.com can help you plan a trip with advice on the best time of day to fly from a specific airport and which terminals to avoid on connecting flights. It can also tell you when your flight is delayed through free email and phone alerts.
If you’re headed to the airport to pick someone up, flightaware.com can help by tracking flights and predicting flight delays.
Finding A Room
Finding deals on hotel rooms was one of the first things to do on the internet. Consolidators such as Priceline, hotels.com, Expedia and Travelocity allow travelers to search thousands of properties in seconds for deals.
The website HotelTonight lets users book hotels at low last-minute rates. Priceline Express Deals also offers bargains, but you only learn which hotel you’ve booked after you pay.
Some hotel search websites have rewards programs for people who use their services often. But if you usually stay at one brand of hotel, such as Hilton, the rewards when booking through Hilton can be much higher and the room prices cheaper.
If you’d rather rent a home and have more space to stretch out, VRBO and Airbnb are good places to look.
At the lower-cost end are hostels through hostelworld.com. It lists 36,000 properties in 178 countries, and has the levels of amenities you’d expect to find in a hostel.
More than 500 travel agencies at CruiseCompete aim to offer the lowest prices for dates, ports and ships that users specify. Cruises can be booked months in advance or at the last minute.
You must create a free account to get cruise deals from cruise lines that are shopping for your business. You detail what type of trip you want, such as by the length of the trip and location, and independent travel agents will respond with their best cruise values without knowing any information about you.
You can then choose which agents to call or email for more information or to book your cruise.
Rental cars can often be added in package travel deals, or even as an add-on when just buying a flight or hotel room.
Before renting a car through such packages, it can pay off to quickly check other websites too.
A good place to start is at Hotwire, which collects rates from eight rental car partners, including Alamo, Enterprise and Hertz. It also offers deals from rental companies that won’t be identified until you buy, like Priceline does with hotel rooms.
Another good place to check is AutoSlash. It applies the best coupons and discount codes to your rental and re-books your reservation if it finds a better deal.
If you’re planning on driving in Europe, check out AutoEurope. It offers deals at more than 20,000 locations, with Europe car rentals starting at $8 per day.
Emergencies can happen at anytime, including on vacation. Travel insurance can help prevent your travel plans from being ruined.
Two sites are especially helpful. InsureMyTrip offers free quotes online for trips, and has been insuring travelers for 20 years. It guarantees the best prices partly because travel insurance prices are regulated by law.
Another option is SquareMouth. It compares plans and prices from many insurance providers. You specify the kind of coverage you need and it finds the best deals.
During the coronavirus outbreak, it warns that certain types of coverage such as trip cancellation and emergency medical insurance may be available but limited.
Travelers from the United States can’t yet travel to Europe, so travel insurance options are limited. Contracting an illness may not be considered by some travel insurance providers to be foreseen, even during a global pandemic, so insurance for cancellation for health related reasons may be difficult to find.
The coronavirus is throwing a lot of curveballs at travelers and travel providers, so before buying check what the cancellation policy is from any business you’re buying from.