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article-save-winter-travelEveryone needs a vacation — and there’s no time like the present to think about your next trip. If you’re looking to plan a getaway, but are worried about the expense of a trip, take heart: You can travel on a budget.

Use these seven tips to save money on your next vacation:

  1. Fly during off-peak times for off-peak prices. If it works for your schedule, travel during less popular periods to save on airfare and accommodations (and keep your budget happy!). For example, avoid flying during holidays or busy periods like Spring Break. Instead, take off in January or February after the holiday buzz has worn off and before the school breaks begin. If Europe is on your list, visit before or after the July and August rush. Feeling spontaneous? Plan your trip at the last-minute based on the best deals out there.
     
    Tip: Be aware of any travel advisories or any medical shots you may need before you book a flight.
     
  2. Take the road less travelled. Some destinations become hotspots during certain times, and the price may reflect that. Instead of going to popular, well-known locations like Mexico or Miami, consider something a bit off the beaten path. Think Colombia, Nicaragua or Jamaica.
     
    If you do go to popular destinations, such as Cuba or the Dominican Republic, consider going during less popular times, such as at the end of March/early April. Cuba is the third most popular travel destination for Canadians, next to the U.S. and Mexico, with more than one million Canadian visitors every year.
     
    Tip: Be flexible with your location and plan your trip based on the best deals.
     
    Related: Quiz: What type of traveller are you?
       
  3. Timing is everything. We all know that timing is everything. This also applies to your flight. When you book a flight, including your departure and return dates, may significantly impact your ticket price.
    • When to book: In general, it’s best to book a flight on Tuesday or any time early in the week. It’s also a good idea to book your trips as far out as possible, and to research various flights and schedules for the best deals.
       
    • When to fly: Consider flying at off-peak times, such as early morning or on a red-eye flight, to score some serious savings. Also keep in mind that it’s often best to depart on a Saturday or on a weekday and return on a weekday, if possible. Typically, Fridays and Sundays can be busy times to fly, so check alternate days for the best price.
       

    Tip: To save time, consider using the travel app Hopper or search engine Kayak to help find the best deals. 

  4. Use a private browser. If you’re looking for the best price, be sure to use a private browser when searching and booking your flights. One thing you should know is that your browser will store cookies about your flight searches. While cookies may sound like a tasty treat, these sort of cookies will let travel sites know what flights you’ve been looking at and may result in price hikes.
     
    When searching for flights, either use a private browser, or clear your browser history after each time you look at flights. This will ensure that those devious cookies don’t let travel sites know what you’ve been looking at.
     
    Tip: Google Chrome®* lets you browse privately using their incognito mode.
     
  5. Save on accommodations. Nothing says going off on holiday like flopping onto a clean, soft hotel bed. But finding one near the area you want to be in at a decent price may be difficult. To save on accommodations, consider using AirBnB®†. This can land you in someone’s well-furnished guest room or have you take over their whole space for a fraction of the price of a hotel.
     
    If you’re low maintenance and like socializing more than you like sleep, you might consider a hostel. Some even have private rooms, where only the kitchen and bathroom are shared.
     
    In addition, consider a home swap. While you may be dreaming of a tropical vacation, people living the island life may be interested in visiting Canada. You can use sites like HomeExchange.com to start viewing potential accommodations.
     
    If you do opt for a hotel, see if your credit card or CAA card can score you any discounts.
     
    Tip: Be sure to read user reviews of your accommodations, so you’re not in for any unwanted surprises.
     
    Related: Saving for your next vacation?
     
  6. Consider a package deal. Looking to save time and money? Consider booking a cheap vacation package that includes your flight, hotel, some attractions and more. If you’re between 18 and 35, Contiki®‡ is a great option to handle all of your travel needs, so you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on a budget. Other options for booking cheap vacation packages include Top Deck, G Adventures®**, Travelzoo®†† and Expedia®‡‡. Sign up for their newsletters to get the best deals straight to your inbox and follow them on social media for the latest updates.
     
    Tip: Read the fine print, as some package deals may have additional fees and/or restrictions.
     
  7. Maximize your rewards. Do you have airline miles to burn? Now is the time to use them! If you have enough miles to cover a flight, you can greatly reduce the costs associated with travelling. Some miles may even be transferable to another airline, so be sure to do your research on redemption.
     
    Consider booking your travel on a credit card to boost your rewards. Just be sure to always pay it off so that you accrue points, not interest.
     
    Tip: Make sure there are no blackout dates and watch out for any expiration on your miles.

 
 
®* Registered trademark of Google Inc.®† Registered trademark of Airbnb Inc.
®‡ Registered trademark of Jagwar Holdings (Canada) Ltd.
®** Registered trademark of G Adventures Inc.®†† Registered trademark of Travelzoo Inc.
®‡‡ Registered trademark of Expedia Inc.

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