THE SEVEN BEST SITES FOR BUDGET TRAVELERS
I often get questions from readers (and friends) asking what sites I use to find the best deals for budget travel. I have many favorites and it's hard to narrow down to just 7. These are the sites that have been my life and money savor when planning trips.
Here is a fantastic airline site that lets you search for airports by entire countries and dates by entire months. This is the absolute perfect web source for travelers who are flexible for their dates, who don't mind budget airlines and who like a killer deal. Last Saturday I purchased a ticket from Michigan to Hawaii for $400. There are also no booking fees, woot woot!
Options include an entire house/apartment, shared housing or a shared room. I've used this site multiple times and it has led me to some beautiful places and amazing people. Both guests and hosts are reviewed on their profiles to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay for all parties. Prices are extremely reasonable and you can book anything from an igloo, treehouse or shipping container to a penthouse, Beverly Hills mansion, castle and private island in Fiji. Airbnb is all about letting travelers experience the cultural side of their destination.
3. Roadtrippers- Activities
If doing a road trip, set your route through roadtrippers.com. The site will then give you a map with directions along with places to stop on the way. You can sort and filter through categories like "nature", "attractions", "history" and "accommodation". A lot of the activities suggested are either free or very affordable. Some listings are placed on there for informational purposes only and be sure you don't miss when they are. Most of the time it is due to the attraction being on private property and if you don't research you could be at a really cool abandoned hospital in Ohio and end up almost getting arrested. Oops.
4. Hotwire- Last minute deals
It's also like the gambling of hotels, so that's fun. It highlights a specific map area in green and shows you the price you'll pay for a hotel looking to fill their rooms. The catch is that you have no idea what hotel you are booked at until after you have paid. Kind of fun huh? A crazy deal got Kalee and me in an all-suites hotel in downtown Toronto for the same price as a hostel. It was actually a little too fancy for us, and we stuck out like a pair of sore thumbs.
5. Kayak-Flights, cars, hotels
The site compares all flight carriers imaginable, including budget airlines that other sites can leave out. It also has a handy chart on the side showing the price trends for your ticket and suggests weather you should "wait" or "book" based on the past price patterns. Email alerts are also offered to let you know as soon as a price drops on a ticket you have been watching. Cars and hotels can also be booked through Kayak.
6. Couchsurfing- Accommodation
This is great for adventure travelers looking to meet locals and get ideas to explore hidden gems. Just like Airbnb, the host and guests are both reviewed and profiles can be verified to make sure no one is a creepy serial killer. Basically, the site is exactly what it sounds like. You bunk with someone in their home, whether you be sleeping on a couch or spare room, for free. Be smart and it's not dangerous like most assume.
7. Adventure Local- Activities
When I was first introduced to this website I thought "Why didn't I think of this?!". It helps travelers who want to explore with locals rather than tourists. Instead of paying to learn to surf from a major company looking for profit, you can search for locals in the area who are willing to teach you in a small setting for a decent price. It allows personal connections, cultural experiences and adventurous hands-on learning to take place all at once. The site was just launched in August and is perfect to keep up with the growing popularity of adventure travel.
All picture accommodation on this post cost less than $100/night.