Thanks to @KAYAK, experts across the net are sharing their top travel hacks with the hashtag #KAYAKTravelHacker on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. KAYAK is a travel search engine that helps people travel confidently by searching hundreds of travel sites at once to show travelers the information they need to find the right flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. Read below for my top tips and follow the hashtag to learn about more great travel planning hacks.
Some people seem to get really great travel deals.
From the outside it can look like it requires an impossible amount of research and patience.
But, in fact, with some knowledge, skill and some great tools, it can be done by just about anyone.
Following up on How to Budget Your Trip on Any Budget, here are some tips, tricks and tools of travel planning, often referred to as travel hacks, to make travel planning easy and help you save money at the same time. You can check out KAYAK's Travel Hacker Guide here.
Travel Hacks for Trip Planning
- Choose a destination within your budget: There are so many amazing places to go in this world. And if money is what guides your decision as to destination, use KAYAK's Explore tool to see all the amazing places you can fly to within a certain price range. Use the filter to indicate your budget and the acceptable flight length to find the perfect spot.
- Get a hacker fare. This is a great feature on KAYAK that helps you find good fares by combining flight and hotel options from separate providers that I don’t see on other booking sites. When searching for a flight you may see a really good deal with “Hacker Fare” clearly identified under the price. “Simply select the “View Deal” button to start the process. Just be sure that prices for both tickets are available before booking. To do this, simply open each booking page in a new tab and double-check the price and availability. Book and you’re good to go.
- Control your flying experience using filters. Are you only interested in direct flights? Using the filters on the left hand side of the KAYAK website, you can exclude any flights with stopovers in a single click. Want to depart in the morning or land in the afternoon, use the filters to indicate your preferences. You can even use them to indicate airline preferences.
- See what flexibility buys you. When you choose your departure and return dates, you can choose whether to see flight prices based on your exact dates or other options such as a few days before or after your dates, different weekends or different months. Being flexible with dates can definitely save you money.
- Let the KAYAK skill on Amazon Alexa do the search for you. Alexa is the personal assistant developed by Amazon for its Echo products and KAYAK has a skill you can use for Alexa-enabled devices. So, you could be cooking dinner and say, “Alexa, ask KAYAK where I can fly to for $600?” and you’ll receive an answer within seconds. Or you can say, “Alexa, ask KAYAK how much is a flight to Vancouver”, or you can search for a hotel. Amazing!
- Choose your hotel with heat maps. Deciding where to stay in a city, especially a large city, can be a real challenge. But check this out – go to KAYAK's hotel page. Search on your destination and dates, then on the results page, click on the map in the upper left corner. Up will pop a heat map showing where the hotels are. On the upper right of the map, you can choose Eating, Sightseeing, Shopping of Nightlife. Click on any of them and the map will show which areas that have the most of what you're looking for. Here's a heat map for Paris.
- How to get special meals on a flight. If you would like a kosher, vegetarian or other special meal, order it when you book your flight. If you didn’t do this then, you can usually do so after by calling the airline’s reservation number. Do so at least 24 hours before the flight but earlier if you can.
Travel Hacks for Flying
- Check in online. Check in online and pack for a carry-on only and you'll bypass two lines at the airport. That could be an hour or more of standing in line that you've avoided. Your only line before your gate will be security.
- Go Carry-on. Most airlines allow you to take two bags with you on a plane. One piece of carry-on size luggage and a purse, backpack or computer bag. Go the carry-on method and your baggage will never be lost and you'll avoid lines before and after your flight. Read Bare Minimum Packing: Here’s Your Packing List for how to do it.
- Pack your liquids correctly. I was stunned when I got behind a woman at security who had bottles of liquids all over her carry-on. All your liquids must be in containers of 100 mL (3 ounces) or less and all these containers must fit into a 1 litre or 1 quart baggie that can be closed.
- Pack so that computers and liquids are easily accessible. At security you will have to remove your liquids and computer. In some countries, they are now going to be asking for phones and tablets as well. Pack these items so that they are easily accessible. I put my bag of liquids at the top of my carry-on so that a quick zip and they're out.
- Empty then refill your water bottle. Save on plastic for the sake of our environment. Bring a water bottle with you but make sure it's empty before you go through security. Refill it on the other side.
This post was sponsored by KAYAK. Of course, Solo Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.