Cheap Flight, Expensive Destination: How to Cut Costs on Your Entire Vacation Trip

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Cheap Flight, Expensive Destination:

You found a cheap flight to a great destination but food and lodging will be expensive. An example of a cheap flight, expensive destination might be Iceland; there are several discount airlines with very good deals to Reykjavik but some travelers say the meals and hotels can be pricey. The good news is you can cut costs on any vacation trip in big ways and small.

Find a cheap flight

To find a cheap flight, you must use a multi-airline airfare search site because no single carrier always has the best deal. If you know the month you want to fly and are flexible enough to travel anytime within that month, use a selective search tool like Getaway Map that focuses on your time frame, either by month or season.

Find a cheap destination

The next step is to pick the right destination and that means you’ll want to find a cheap destination. The good news is, you can find these all over the world and here are just a few of the traditionally cheap destinations: Boston, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale Puerto Rico, Cancun, Reykjavik, Dublin, London, and Paris.

Tip: Don’t miss the world’s most popular destinations for 2018

Find a cheap alternate destination

What if your heart is set on visiting a city that’s not so cheap such as Florence, Italy? One solution is to find a cheap alternate destination. For example, say you wanted to visit Florence or Venice (or both); Rome is cheaper, so fly there and enjoy that city for a bit before pushing on to your ultimate destination via one of Europe’s many cheap airlines (such as Easyjet and Ryanair) or get there on one of Europe’s cheap trains. Bottom line: Fly to the largest, hub-type airport near your final destination.

Tip: More alternative vacation destinations

Save on hotels

If your destination has expensive accommodations, you can still save on hotels and you can start right now.

Compare hotel prices: Just as you do with airfare, go to a hotel/motel comparison search site and look for deals (you can compare both airfares and hotel room rates on FareCompare).
Sign up with favorite chain: Sometimes hotel/motel membership associations offer discounts.
Credit card offers: Some cards give you points for flights and accommodations. If yours doesn’t, it might be worth switching or adding a card, but watch out for annual membership fees.
Alternative lodgings: Hotels aren’t the only places to stay and Airbnb isn’t the only alternative accommodation game in town; here’s a list of others Airbnb-type rentals including Flipkey, Homestay and more. Note: FareCompare provides this information solely as a convenience; we do not endorse any products.
Airline package deals: Some airlines offer discounts on flights+hotels; you can usually find these deals on airline websites but you’ll hear about them on social media as well.
Friends and family: It never hurts to ask, right? But ask if you can stay with friends or family early in case others are thinking of doing the same thing!

Save on dining

These tips can help you save on dining whether your destination is cheap or expensive.
Free breakfast: If the price of your room includes a morning buffet, take advantage of it. Have a big breakfast, and see if you’re allowed to walk out with a piece of fruit or two (many are fine with this); that’ll be your light lunch and all you’ll pay for is dinner.
Other ways to save: Put together your own meals; stop at a store for cheese, crackers, deli meat to eat in a pretty park or at the beach. If your hotel or B&B has a small refrigerator and/or kitchenette, stock up on breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

Save on attractions

Don’t pay full price for attractions without looking here first:

Official tourism websites: Go to a country, region and/or city official tourism site which often offer deals or steer you toward ways to save.
National Park deals: Many visitors can get discounts on entry fees to U.S. national parks; look here to see if you qualify.
Theme parks: Follow parks on social media and check park websites and fan sites (Disney has several) for the latest deals. Local residents should keep an eye out for deals tailored to them, such as Disneyland’s ‘SoCal Residents’ discount.

Anne McDermott
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