Step 3: Check Expedia and Kayak
These two websites I work with regularly at my job and for personal use. They are reliable and the horror stories you hear usually end up being the customers fault, NOT Expedia or Kayak’s. My family has used them and so have many of my coworkers. By booking on Expedia, you can sometimes save up to $500.00 on your tickets, hotels, cars, etc. If there is a possibility of changing or canceling your flight, I would avoid these websites. That is usually where the issues come into play. They do charge steep change fees (as do most airlines), but sometimes these charges are a deal breaker for travelers. If you know you won’t be changing you flight times or days, then Expedia and Kayak may be your ideal money saver! Make an account today and track your destination daily. The prices change regularly.
Step 4: Use Hotels.com
This is also a 3rd party booking website like Expedia (but for hotels instead.) It provides you with several options for the area you are going to, detailed information, and great prices and rewards! If you plan to change and/or might cancel your trip, avoid this website as well. It is awesome if you are 100% positive about where you are going and when. I use Hotels.com at my job and they offer great rewards. It is entirely worth it because you can save hundreds on bookings.
Step 5: Compare your hotel prices
Hotels.com makes a great reference page even if you don’t plan to book on it. This allows you to see what really happens (they show you reviews) inside the hotel and it often times provides evidence if it is a sketchy/unsafe place that you should avoid. If the hotel on the direct website is $376.00 a night (for example), Hotels.com often times allows you to book the same hotel for up to 40% cheaper (maybe even more if you get lucky.) Compare these costs! I can’t stress that enough. Again, even if you don’t plan to book on this website, this provides you awesome information and insight on the place you’re planning to rest your head at night. Compare & contrast, people!
Step 6: Read reviews, Seriously
I always want people to be aware of where they’re going, where they are staying, what they’re driving, etc. Always check them out because you never should put yourself in a location that has bed-bugs, has dirty sheets, and doesn’t provide you security in areas where you might need it. The reviews that websites provide you are your friends. Always, always, always be aware of where you’re going and what the quality and concerns are. Don’t travel and be uninformed and uneducated! College students looking for a quick, affordable, and easy spring break often overlook this. Plan everything correctly and you can avoid an issue and have a perfect trip.
Step 7: Driving is sometimes the best choice (make sure you look into this option)
I know, I know. Flying makes everything quicker and easier. However, driving sometimes saves a massive amount of money. So, if your location is only 6-8 hours away, maybe consider splitting the drive amongst your friends and winging it. Make sure you calculate the possible/estimated cost of driving; you might be shocked with how much money you can save! Gas split between you and your friends is so much cheaper than a plane ticket for all of you. Be smart and watch your wallet. I know people who have driven up and down the country and they track their mileage and gas to the exact destination where they will need to re-fill. This gives them advanced notice to save the money quicker and they knew exactly what everyone needed to chip in for the cost. Driving can also be so much fun when you’re with friends!
Step 8: Food and drinks rack up the quickest (make sure to calculate it)
I love food and I love drinks (don’t we all?). When you’re going somewhere for a vacation and it’s a well-known and/or a fairly popular tourist destination, the food and beverages will quickly make you feel like you’re running out of money much quicker. When you’re spending all that money on your food, sometimes it’s easier to simply buy some basic grocery items and avoid eating out all the time. Some restaurants charge up to $6.00 for a soda because once you start getting re-fills, you’re in trouble. I always recommend planning/prepping for food and drink charges. They sneak up and get you when you’re not looking!