I almost always use Kayak search engine during some part of a trip planning process because I love Kayak’s search preferences. So I’ve put together my favorite travel hacks that you can use on on Kayak flight, hotel, and rental car searches.
The following tips show you how adjusting search preferences (on any travel search engine) will save you thousands of dollars.
Cheap Flights Search Tips
Adjust Leaving Time To Save on Transportation
Ensure that your flight departure/return times allow you to take public transportation (or is at an hour where a friend/family member can pick you up). If your flight is leaving at 7 am out of Washington-Reagan Airport, the Metro won’t be open early enough for you to take it — resulting in a hefty cab fare.
Take Overnight Flights to Save on Accommodation
Check the “Red Eye/Overnight Flights” box to search for overnight flights. While red eye flights aren’t the most enjoyable for sleeping, that $75-$200 you’ll save in hotel costs will be nice.
Choose Nearby Airports to Find Lower Cost Alternatives
Frequently nearby airports turn up cheaper fares. Make sure you include them by checking the appropriate box when you search for your flight. For example, in a recent search I would save $103 by flying into LaGuardia instead of JFK in New York. (Newark was $20 cheaper than JFK.)
Include Taxes and Fees
Taxes and fees add up — even though Orbitz, Expedia, et al recently suspended some fees. Kayak automatically includes these, so there should be no surprises when you click through to buy.
Review Airline Fees (e.g. Checked Bag Fees)
TripAdvisor includes these in their search results. Kayak has a nice summary that’s frequently updated. You can save anywhere from $15-$200 depending on number of checked bags, snacks and drinks, and pet fees by carefully comparing airlines’ fees.
Cheap Hotels Search Tips
Choose a Hotel Nearby
If you’re in town for a convention, wedding, to visit relatives, or any other event where you’ll be frequenting one place more than most, choose a hotel near that location. Kayak allows you to enter an address, or choose from a landmark, to search for a hotel nearby.
Look for an Airport Shuttle
Choosing a hotel with a free airport shuttle can easily save $10-$50, and you’ll avoid the hassle of a cab or rental car.
Find Hotels with Fitness
Search for a hotel with a free fitness center to avoid shelling out extra cash to use the treadmill. Savings: $10-$15/day.
Search for Hotels with Internet
Find hotels with internet, then narrow it down to find free internet to save $5-$15/day.
Check Parking (if you’re renting a car)
If you’re renting a car or driving, you’ll save up to $40/day (depending on the city) by finding a hotel with free or reasonably priced parking. Bonus: In this economy, give the hotel a call and negotiate for free parking if they don’t already offer it.
Cheap Rental Car Search Tips
Adjust Miles per Gallon
Save money and the environment when you choose a car with better gas mileage.
Check the Unlimited Miles Box
If you’re driving a really long way (like Minneapolis to Chicago), check the unlimited miles box to save a ton (up to $0.89/mile).
There you have it. These tips can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your next trip.
How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets will be launched April 28th. Pre-order now (with PayPal) and Save 20%. How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets will be emailed to you on April 28th. When you check out, be sure to include the email address you want the ebook sent to.
Save Thousands with Flight, Hotel, and Rental Car Prefernces is published as part of our Cheap Travel Tips Series, in conjunction with our new ebook How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets.
If you’re ready to order How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets, Buy Now.