How to save money on travel? Five tips for cheaper flights and hotels

1. Finding cheaper flights

Those who are strategic about saving spend 23% less on flights than those who aren’t, according to a survey of budget travelers by the booking site VacationRenter. 

Top strategies include booking with a budget carrier (52%), sticking to one carry-on bag (48%), using credit card points or rewards (39%) and tracking ticket prices (28%), it said.

One in three respondents said they use apps to save money on flights. One such app, Skyscanner, lets users set price alerts, search flexible flight dates and nearby airports, and mix and match airlines to find the best rates, according to its website.

Fewer are willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience by booking “red-eye” flights (25%) or choosing an airport that is farther away (16%).

Price alerts on apps like Skyscanner check fares so travelers don’t have to, notifying them when fares go up or down.

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Having flexible travel dates is one of the top ways to score a flight deal, according to the travel app Hopper, which said departing on a Wednesday instead of a Friday saves around $35 on average.

The same tactic works for hotel stays, says Hopper. Checking into a hotel for a two-night stay on a Thursday, rather than a Friday or Saturday, can shave an average of $60 off the bill, it said.

Another tactic is to watch for new routes or new airline services that enter local airports. When an airline adds a new route, competition among carriers can cause airfares to fall, according to Hopper. Airlines often launch promotions to get the word out too, it said.

That’s what happened when Frontier Airlines started services from Chicago Midway International Airport this summer, said Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist. 

“Airfare from Chicago to Tampa

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