Are you looking for some great deals on travel now that countries are opening up their borders again?
You might find prices on popular destinations have increased to pre-pandemic levels quickly.
Unfortunately, as more people book tickets, prices on flights, cruises, and accommodations, prices go up. There are several things you can do to ensure you get the best deal — but it will involve a bit of looking around.
Use a travel aggregator to start your search
Using a travel aggregator, such as Expedia, Booking.com, Kayak, or Google Flights, is the ideal way to parse out the cheapest deals.
From there, you can get an idea of what airlines or hotel providers are offering the lowest fares and on what dates, explains McGrath. Some third-party providers sell tickets that are cheaper than buying them directly with an airline.
Weigh the risks and look out for red flags
Once you find a third-party company offering a sweet deal, you might be tempted to snap it up — but it pays to be patient.
If you haven't heard of the company, check reviews and see if there are many bad ones or if people had especially negative experiences. You can check to see if the company shows up on a consumer advocacy website, too.
"It's a good idea to weigh how much you are saving," she adds. "If it's a couple of hundred dollars, it may be worth it...but maybe not if it's 40 or 50 bucks."
Be flexible in your plans
If the price tag won't budge, check to see if an area close to where you are flying into could save you some money. Sometimes, simply choosing another airport in a state or province can save you big bucks.
For example, if flights into New York's John F. Kennedy airport are too steep, try booking a ticket into LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Similarly, McGrath advises looking into travelling via train in Europe if you can fly into a city close to your preferred destination.
If you're good at paying off your credit card, certain ones offer a viable way to save money on your travel plans through point systems.
Look for last-minute deals
Is it bad to wait until the last minute to book a deal?
While it is good to plan in advance, many travel providers offer great savings on last-minute deals. A good practice is to always check the section that includes these deals, whether that is through an airline directly or through a third party.
Set up travel alerts
If you know what route you want to travel, many websites allow you to set up alerts to notify you of when the price drops for your route. You'll get a notification when the price drops for your desired destination, McGrath describes.
Again, it pays to be flexible when hunting for the best deal.