You may have seen the commercials for popular travel sites that can hook you up with the best online deal on your next vacation. While these top sites can save you some money on hotel rooms, rental cars and flights, they may do little more than offer the best online price that you could have gotten from the destination provider directly. If you're determined to leave no stone unturned in your hunt for a better deal, check out our expert tips for all kinds of destinations. (For more on vacationing, check out 10 Tips For A Cheaper, Better Vacation.)

TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics

Find Your Niche
While a site like Kayak.com will give you a broad spectrum of pricing for major airline carriers and hotels from well-known chains, some travelers have special requests that won't show up with this common method. Myscha Theriault, seasoned traveler and the voice behind TrekHound.Com, suggests you search for deals based on your very specific interests; PetsWelcome.com, for example, can save you big on the cost of pesky pet fees at major hotels by disclosing these charges upfront. Feeling like a spa retreat is the only way to unwind? Check out Spavelous.com, a site dedicated to the art of relaxation and one of the more comprehensive portals for getting a great deal on your next spa getaway.

Don't Be an Airport Snob
Sure, we all know that there are major differences between Midway and O'Hare, for example, but one of those just may be the price. If you're open to going a bit out of your way, or don't care for the extra amenities that a larger or newer airport offers, you can shave some extra from your plane ticket price by being open to more airport choices. If you don't know where to start, Myscha suggests SmarterTravel.com, a site that lets you simultaneously search all the other aggregate sites, as well as alert you to deals by airport.

Get to Know Your Credit Card
While credit cards can be known for inflating the price of some perks to make them seem like a better deal, some are still very generous about the travel offers they can give to cardholders. "They often have deals and savings for cruises and travel packages negotiated for their card members," reminds Myscha. She also suggests that you use already-accumulated points to help bring the cost down even further. (To learn more about travel rewards, see Best Frequent Flyer Credit Cards For (Almost) Free Travel.)

Get Going, Going Gone
If the thrill of an auction is something you want to try for extra travel savings, there's a site designed to help you get into the fray. SkyAuction.com can save you an average of 60% when you bid against others for that airline ticket, hotel stay or restaurant meal. This option isn't recommended for those with last-minute travel needs, cautions Myscha; planning well in advance is the best way to take advantage of this adventuresome savings method.

Stay Loyal
The days of travel rewards programs are far from being over, and if you are able to shuffle loyalty cards, remember to claim bonus awards. Even if you don't plan on staying at a certain chain of hotels, it's wise to sign up for their rewards program; you never know when you may find yourself stranded in a layover destination and need to cash in on "member-only" perks.

The Bottom Line
The methods of saving on travel haven't changed much; they've just gotten more high-tech. Most of the sites mentioned above now have Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as access to mobile versions of their offerings; that's good news if you find yourself on the go and need to access discounts quickly! (For more related reading, check out Travel Tips For Keeping You And Your Money Safe.)

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    10 Reasons To Use Your Credit Card

    There are several benefits to paying with credit instead of debit, if you use a credit card responsibly.
  2. Personal Finance

    Oil Prices Are Down, Airfares Aren't. What's Up?

    Oil is down to $30 a barrel. But consumers are still hit with fuel surcharges on airline tickets.
  3. Credit & Loans

    5 Extreme Ways To Raise Your Credit Score

    Desperate to rebuild your credit score because you can’t obtain a loan with a decent interest rate? Here are some extreme options to try.
  4. Stock Analysis

    3 Obscure Twitter Accounts Making Money Off of You (TWTR)

    Learn how Twitter accounts that share quotes or information, such as @HistoryInPics and @Notebook, make money from their audiences.
  5. Budgeting

    Bespoke Post Review: Is It Worth It?

    Find out if Bespoke Post, the fast-growing, e-commerce subscription service for men's lifestyle and grooming products, is worth all of the hype in this review.
  6. Stock Analysis

    3 Predictions for Amazon in 2016 (AMZN)

    Learn the top three predictions for Amazon in 2016 as the company comes off an exceptional year in terms of revenue and expands into new markets.
  7. Investing

    7 Creative Ways to Save for an Early Retirement

    Take note of these out of the box steps you can take towards securing yourself an earlier, more comfortable retirement.
  8. Personal Finance

    5 Places Where Your Travel Dollar Goes Furthest

    The dollar is pretty strong right now, but where is it strongest? Canada? South Africa? Europe? Here are five places to travel to right now on a budget.
  9. Stock Analysis

    5 Reasons Alibaba's Earnings Disappointed in 2015 (BABA)

    Look at the reasons why Alibaba's earnings disappointed in 2015, including weak economic growth, the soft renminbi and allegations of counterfeit products.
  10. Investing

    Seven Sustainable Retail Dividends

    Seven retailers which pat sustainable dividends when examining both the companies' payout ratios and free cash flows.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Who are Google's (GOOG) main competitors?

    Google is a technology company providing products and services to organize information. Google, Inc. (GOOG) was founded in ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can you pay your Walmart credit card?

    Holders of Walmart credit cards can make payments on their balances due by mail, online or at Walmart and Sam's Club stores. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why are most airplane tickets nonrefundable?

    Airplane tickets are generally nonrefundable, because the majority of tickets sold are discount tickets. In exchange for ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is Apple Pay safe and free?

    Apple Pay is a mobile payment system created by Apple to reduce the number of times shoppers and buyers have to pay for goods ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can you use your Walmart credit card at Sam's Club?

    Consumers can use their Walmart credit cards to shop at Sam's Club. However, they cannot use their Walmart credit cards when ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How can you cancel your Walmart credit card?

    Walmart offers two types of credit cards: the Walmart MasterCard and the Walmart credit card. How to Close Your Walmart Credit ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center