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11 Websites (You May Not Have Considered) For The Frugal Traveler

train

We’re all looking for great ways to save money on travel when booking vacations. There seems to be limitless resources out there that help us book flights cheaper, snag an inexpensive hotel room, swap our homes for a short period of time, etc. However, it can be difficult to navigate which sites out of so many are really useful AND easy to navigate. While I’m no travel booking expert, I’ve done my fair share of planning when it comes to vacations, and I’m always on the hunt for the next great resource I can use to plan a budget-friendly vacation.

Below is a list of 11 great websites that you can use to help book a vacation that will allow you to plan one that won’t dig too deep into your wallet (NOTE: this is not sponsored, and these are all websites I have used and enjoyed). There are some people I know who are very inflexible when it comes to booking flights and refuse to get up early, fly overnight, or endure a single stop over. These are easy things to change, and are usually aspects of traveling that make it more expensive. The key to budget traveling is that you can’t be lazy. It’s essential to put in the time to find the most competitively-priced accommodations and travel methods available to you, and that means doing research with valuable platforms. Take a look at the resources below that will help you save money while booking a vacation.

Google Flights

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Google flights has a very clean interface that is really easy to navigate. It quickly aggregates data that allows for multiple preferences, and variables.

Lonely Planet

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My go-to resource and a trusted travel companion. Lonely Planet offers extensive resources for booking flights and hotels, and offers incredibly useful guides and tips for a wide variety of destinations.

Priceline

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PRICELINE NEGOTIATOR! That jingle will be in my head forever, but seriously, this website is super helpful. It makes searching streamlined and simple to navigate.

JetSetter

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Offers flash sales and deep discounts on luxury hotels. If you see a great deal, jump on it!

Luxury Link

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 9.43.28 AMThe eBay of travel sites. It offers slightly more expensive but deeply discounted luxury hotel rooms you might not normally be able to afford.

Airfare Watchdog

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 12.12.12 PMA neat website that sets travel alerts about drops in airline prices. Since it alerts you when prices drop, it’s great for travelers ready to go at the “drop of a deal.”

Vayama

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A flight search engine that specializes in international destinations, and finding two-way flights on different carries. This will save you money as opposed to booking a round-trip flight through one airline carrier.

Rail Europe

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Trains are a great way to travel through Europe on a budget. It makes it easy to check timetables and book tickets without having to go to a specific country’s website for train service directly (which can often be difficult to navigate).

Tripadvisor

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For me, Trip Advisor is invaluable. It allows you to check reviews of restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc., and get reviews from people all over the world. I never travel without the help of Trip Advisor, and it makes me feel comfortable making decisions about where to go and what to do.

Booking.com

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What I love is that Booking.com let’s you input the dates of your travel, and displays the cost of the entire stay. It then compares that cost with a whole range of other places. It makes it easy to compare quickly and easily, based on the days you’re going.

There are so many great websites out there that can help you plan a budget-friendly vacation — leave your favorites in the comment section below!

  • Summer

    I freakin’ LOVE booking.com. Not only do they have a glorious, easy-to-use interface, so many of their booking options include free cancellation right up to check-in AND you don’t pay anything at all until you’re actually standing there in the hotel. I love having the ability to find what appears to be a suitable choice for my needs and be able to lock it down without a second thought because I can always cancel if something comes up.

    Really can’t rave enough about booking, I usually don’t even bother looking elsewhere for my lodging needs. That said, Trivago is my favorite for when I do want to price-check across various platforms.

    • Lauren

      Booking is a lifesaver when you need to compare, and the interface is very easy to navigate. Will check out Trivago! Tx for the tip

  • Oooh, I haven’t heard of some of these. Thanks for sharing! I still have some summer travelin’ to plan!

    • Lauren

      Thank you!

  • Chelsey Van

    Great post! I’m loving Lauren’s budget travel tips 🙂

    The only site I would advise against using is RailEurope for train ticket booking. The results it shows are often the most expensive, first class tickets. A cheaper, and still easy to use option is the German rail website, Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.com). There is an English version on the site and the search engine isn’t limited to just German trains. I’ve successfully used it all over Western Europe! The app also allows you to use e-tickets so as long as you have a smartphone, there’s no printer required.

    • Lauren

      Great =)Tthanks so much for the tip! I had never heard of that one

    • Summer

      Ich liebe deutsche Bahn.

    • Stephen Maras

      captain train costs nothing

  • Elisabeth

    Generally speaking a pretty good list, but I have to agree with the comment below me – absolutely don’t book with RailEurope!! I’m convinced it’s a scam to get Americans to buy inflated (usually first class only) tickets. You’ll notice if you try to book something that I addition to the expensive prices they also add a “booking fee.” So no. Just no. My advice: check your country’s own train website first. I’ve been able to switch the French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Moroccan, and Slovenian websites to English in the past no problem.

    • Lauren

      Thanks for sharing your advice here Elisabeth!

  • Morgan

    I’m surprised not to see airbnb on here! I <3 airbnb when traveling and always find it cheaper and nicer than staying in a hotel (so much cheaper to have access to a kitchen while travelling). If you haven't signed up before, I have a referral code to get $25 off: http://www.airbnb.ca/c/mfraser?s=8

  • chelster759

    If you’ve got a flexible schedule OR destination, skyscanner.net is amazing. I used it a ton when I studied abroad and wanted to go on side trips. In addition to the normal flight searches, you can either pick a destination and view up to a year of dates, or pick a date and get a list of the potential destinations ranked by price.