This post contains affiliate links.
I don’t know how much money I’ve spent on travel and flights in my lifetime, but I do know if I added it up the number would probably make me shed a tear or two. Because of that, I’m always on the hunt for free resources to help me save money on my trips, and these five websites, newsletters, and email lists are my favorites!
If you like to travel with packaged trips and all-inclusive resorts, TravelZoo is for you. Sign up for their newsletter and you’ll quickly see this resource is great for three reasons.
First, you can customize your departure airports, so you only get notified about deals that you’ll actually use, and second, you never buy from a third party. Every package you see is purchased straight through the company that offers it, so there are no scams or bamboozles here. And third, the deals they find are insane!
For example, a recent package offered an 8-night tour of China with hotels, food, and flights from the US for only $399! If I was more organized and ready to book my travel plans for next year, I would have been all over that.
The only catch is that usually the best deals are offered out of season, or only leave on certain, less-popular travel days, like a Tuesday or Thursday. If you’re looking for a structured vacay and flexible with your dates, though, this website will help you snag some of the best vacation packages I’ve ever seen.
2. Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights is an email list that sends awesome deals straight in your inbox. I love it because it is super simple and helps me discover destinations that usually haven’t even been on my radar before.
Scott and his ever-growing team find mistake fares and airline sales that are happening now and send out an email letting the masses know where the flight is departing from, where it’s going, and how to get tickets before they sell out.
For example, one of the most recent deals was from my tiny lil’ town of Dayton, Ohio to Sydney, Australia for only $714, which is honestly bananas. Usually, I can barely even get from Dayton to Europe for that price! You can also sign up for the Premium Service for $39/year to get more deals that the free users miss out on.
The only catch with this list is that the fares are usually only available for a short time, so if you’re going to book them you gotta book ’em fast. Once you choose your vacation days and budget, I suggest keeping an eye on this email newsletter for a couple of weeks to see if anything pops up as a perfect fit.
Ah, the ol’ reliable.
Skyscanner has been with me from the start. I booked my very first international flight through this site and have been going back ever since.
I love it because it’s so easy to compare flight prices to different destinations. I just put in my departure airport and my dates and set the destination to “everywhere” and it shows me all of the cheapest cities and countries I can visit. I start planning almost all of my trips with this feature. I’m also a loyal Skyscanner user because I’ve found that the site consistently shows me some of the cheapest airline fares for every destination.
For example, I found round trip flights from Dubai to Berlin for only $250 per person while planning my Christmas vacation in 2015. It was a great deal and I snapped it up immediately, but I never would have thought to look at flights from the UAE to Germany (and definitely wouldn’t have discovered this cheap fare) without the “search everywhere” option on Skyscanner.
The only catch is that Skyscanner shows a lot of offers from third-party vendors like eDreams, Expedia, etc. If something goes wrong with your flight, trying to sort out your refund or a new ticket can be a headache with these vendors. Still, Skyscanner is a great tool to start your planning with and check out your options, even if you don’t decide to book through the site.
Grabr will pay you to travel. Seriously.
You can read my full write-up on the app here, but this service basically turns you into a travel courier, delivering items from your home country to buyers in your vacation destination.
For example, if someone in Mexico City wants an Xbox from the US, they “order it” in the app and put the funds in escrow. You pick up the order, buy an Xbox, and bring it with you on your vacation to the city. Then, you deliver it to the buyer and their funds (plus an extra fee based on the price of the item) are released to you.
The only catch is that you have to spend precious time on your vacation meeting up with buyers. That, and the fact that they could also be crazed murderers ready and waiting to kill you (I guess it’s kinda like Craigslist on crack in that way). Of course, if you follow basic safety precautions you’ll walk away from the transaction in one piece and a few dollars richer for very little effort.
TRVL is a cool website that gives you your own hotel commissions. I used it twice and got $5 back, which was kind of nice for doing nothing other than what I was already planning on!
For example, sign up for a TRVL account (use this link and we’ll both get $20 when you complete your first stay) and search for your vacation destination. It’ll bring up hotel options and prices which you can then click through and book with any of your favorite booking sites like Booking.com or Expedia. But, once you complete your stay, you’ll get five to ten percent of your booking cost back (delivered straight to your bank account) without lifting a finger.
The only catch is that, actually, I honestly can’t really think of any. But I still feel compelled to still add this section so it matches all the others 🙂
These five websites and email newsletters are my go-to places to find cheap flights, save money, and just get inspired by all the insane travel deals they offer to beautiful destinations, even if I can’t book them at the moment.
If you’re planning your next vacation check these out today to get some huge savings! (And, if you book an awesome deal, let me know in the comments below so I can buy it too!)
Looking for more money saving tips? Browse the Interesting Reads Series to learn how to travel for free with the beginner’s guide to house sitting, discover five super cheap backpacking destinations, and so much more.