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How I find the best travel deals online

Hey everyone! I've had a lot of people ask me what are some of the best sites online to find the best travel deals... While there isn't a singular particular site to go to, there are several sites that can help you narrow down your search. First things first when planning a vacation is to come up with a budget. A budget is how much you want to spend for your vacation, including transportation (flights, rental cars) and lodging (hotel, resorts, vacation property). Having a budget helps to make sure you don't break the bank while on vacation. A good travel budget (depending on where you want to go) can be anywhere from $1,000- $5,000. Again, it all just depends on where you want to go, what you want to do, and what type of lodging you want to stay at. I typically set my budget for $1,500 or less- and I've traveled internationally multiple times with that budget! So, it's doable.

When booking your vacation, be careful of the travel sites that promise you the "lowest rates guaranteed." That's just how they market and advertise to get you in. But how do you know if you're actually finding the best rate there is? You don't unless you're checking multiple sites at the same time. Which can be timely, stressful, and confusing if you don't know where to start. The only logical answer I have is that you MUST do your research if you want to save money.

Take your time and browse online vacation sites like Priceline, Expedia, even Groupon often has great 2 for 1 deals and group vacations. These sites usually have great deals on vacation packages that include airfare, and hotel stay all for one low price. However, the prices can tend to be a little higher because you're also paying a third party company to book the trip. Another option is finding yourself a qualified travel agent that'll take the hassle and worry out of searching for the perfect vacation. They do all the work for you, and all you have to do is pack your bags. But even that comes with a fee. The best way to save money is to do it yourself! Here are a few tips that you can use when it comes to finding the perfect vacation online:

1) GOOGLE FLIGHTS is a great way to look up multiple airline carriers all the same time. It also has an interactive calendar that allows you to see several different prices and on which day the flight will be the cheapest. That's always a great starting point if you're looking to book round trip or one way flights.

2) PRICELINE/EXPEDIA/GROUPON are good sites, but again- they're a third party booking companies that charges you to book your vacation. If you have the extra money to spend, then I say go for it. However, if you're looking to save a few dollars- then I would suggest you stay away from sites like these. There are usually no refunds, and cancellation fees are really high through these guys. Unless you're buying vacation insurance, I would be leery of booking with these sites.

3) TRAVEL AGENTS can make your trip booking experience easy and hassle free. But it comes at a price. Most travel agents typically receive anywhere from a 10%-25% commission off of your vacation, depending on how much you're spending. That extra 10%-25% could go towards souvenirs, food, or other useful things while on vacation. You can do the same thing as a travel agent, and save yourself the extra money if you're willing to put in the time.

4) TRIP ADVISOR is a perfect way to plan a vacation because they have a message board of travelers from all around the world asking and answering questions. The same questions you may have about a certain vacation, location, or if you just want some advice, your question may have already been asked or answered on this site. It's a great place to check out reviews, comments, and get an honest opinion on the places you're looking to visit.

5) DIRECT WEBSITES are also a good place to look. For instance- sometimes you can find great prices directly from the website of the place you're trying to go. Mostly all airlines, hotels, resorts, etc. have their own website that allows booking directly through them. Sometimes you may even find out that they're having a discount or a special rate going on solely through their website. Whether you're looking for a flight, or a hotel- I suggest starting at the source first. Airlines usually offer vacation packages to the cities or countries they fly to as well. It's always worth a shot.

These are just a few of my suggestions on how you can go about finding the best travel deals online. Again, it all starts with a budget and research. Planning a vacation is no easy task, but the more you do it, the better you'll become at it. Shop around, and don't be afraid to spend a couple hours a day just going from website to website in search of the best deals. That's really the only way to find them. Unless paying a travel agent is your thing, then I say GO FOR IT! Either way, I'm sure you'll end up with the best vacation for your budget.

If you've enjoyed reading this post or found any of the information helpful, share it with your friends, and help them plan their perfect vacation!! Thanks for reading and happy travels!!

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