Travel Tips 101: dead zones explained, hotel finds, rentals & more

We always get asked about the best time to travel, ways to snag flight deals, what websites we use etc. We constantly share tips on both our Twitter and Instagram story, so we decided to compile them into one blog post. Grab a pen and paper and take some notes.

What are dead zones and why should you care?
Simply put: off peak travel periods in which demand to travel isn’t high bringing in many travel deals for those looking for a less expensive time of year to travel. With that being said, i’m sure you are now asking what time frames are considered “dead-zones”. The first would be Jan-Feb with the exception of Valentines weekend and Super Bowl destinations (remember high demand to travel brings higher prices). Another dead zone takes place mid August-September and the first two weeks of November before the holiday travel craze kicks in.

What websites are good for Hotel bookings? (last minute options included too)
You never know when a good minute hotel deal will suddenly pop up. Often, when hotels have unsold rooms they release them at lower prices to get them sold. Make sure you click the links we provide and bookmark them. Below are just a few of the websites we have used and/or recommended:

  • Spent Travel: this website finds competitive hotel pricing PLUS offers you cash back for booking the hotels through them. Yup, no need to book through Ebates, you just book directly on their website. Some hotels offer up to 25% cash back! How it works: Sign up for an account (its Free). Book your hotel. Your cash back will be posted to your SPENT profile 30 days after you checkout. Once your cash back is available simply redeem through a connected PayPal account.
  • HotelTonight: The room bookings are non-refundable and the app lets you book up to one week in advance for stays of up to 5 days. In the screenshot below a stay at Freehand in Los Angeles is listed as $161 for tonight vs $189 on other websites. You can get $25 off your first booking with this referral link.
  • Booking.Com: this website allows you to book hotels without having to pay anything up front. You pay upon checking in! Yes this means you don’t have to cover those friends without any money at the time of booking, anymore.
  • One Night: great for same night reservations from 3pm-5am the following morning and check-in is right away. The app gives you the option to check in for more than one night if the option is available. There’s currently 14 cities included. In the screenshot below, the rate for the Blakes Hotel in London was 275 Euros per night vs other 390 Euros on other websites.

  • Bed Finder: this website is not only great for last minute bookings but it also lets you search for the lowest price accommodations worldwide. If you’re not sure where to go, do a worldwide search for the dates you are traveling on and see all the options come up by price (as shown on the screenshot).
  • Wimdu:

a website known as “Europe’s biggest portal for city and vacation apartments”. Its available to for bookings all over the world. The website offers really competitive pricing

  • Travelzoo: we love Travelzoo not only for their hotel deals but also for their deals on events, activities, cruises, restaurants and more. If you become a member (free) they send you the daily deal finds to your inbox.
  • HotelsCombined: another good website to compare all the top travel sites in one simple search. They don’t have any booking fees either.

    What are some good websites to check out lodging options that don’t include hotels?

  • Airbnb: great for home, apartment and room rentals worldwide. If you are new to Airbnb, get up to $40 off your first booking with this referral link.
  • Homeaway: similar to airbnb. Homeaway lets you choose a rental from over 2 million homes in more than 190 countries.
  • VRBO– part of Homeaway, so similar concept.
  • Tripping

Combines all results of the 3 sites mentioned above, into one search so its easy for you to compare prices and see options.

  • GoWithOh: this website is similar to the concept of Airbnb. It has expanded to included multiple parts of the world (when we first started using it was only available for Europe.
  • Homestay: Traveling solo doesn’t have to be expensive or lonely. This website has local host families renting out their rooms to people all over the world. Many hosts have multiple rooms available for rent just incase you and your friends are looking for some affordable options. Many host families even offer meals included in their price.

    What are some good websites to check flights?
    Many of the websites listed below are available in other countries too. Bookmark the following links:

  • Google Flights: We have a tutorial on some of the ways to use this website on our Instagram Highlights
  • Momondo
  • Fly.Com
  • Skyscanner App
  • Kiwi
  • CheapOair
  • Expedia
  • Jetcost
  • AirWander: We love this website because it gives you a calendar price map PLUS it lets you add stop overs & layovers. The site shows you what stopover/layover destinations would be less expensive as well. Checkout our Instagram Highlights under “Booking 2 in 1” to see a brief tutorial.Some Additional Tips To Keep in Mind
  • Competition drives prices down. If the home airport has a lot of competition among airlines you are more likely to see price dips for flights. If you’re in a smaller airport or an airport with one dominant airline in place, you’re less likely to see deals as often.
  • Keep in mind: if you’re trying to travel during a time that Travel to that destination is in high demand, prices usually increase NOT decrease. Law of supply & demand. So book ahead of time when you see a price you’re comfortable with. It is easy to get caught up in trying to get the “lowest fare” but you have to be realistic about the time you want to travel.
  • Open up your search to surrounding airports. Typically flying into the biggest airport will be less but SOMETIMES the smaller alternative could be less expensive. We see this often with flying into LGA or EWR instead of JFK, for example (All New York surrounding airports). If the alternative airport you’re flying into is a few minutes further away, check transportation options and costs vs flying into the main airport & compare the two before booking.For example: a lot of travelers avoid flying into/out of Newark NJ even if they see a good deal. However, the Airtrain offers service from EWR to Manhattan for about $13 one way. There’s also shared shuttle options such as Airlink, Super shuttle, Airport express & NYC Airporter.
  • If you see a good fare for a flight and you’re wanting to book a hotel: compare a package price first before booking your flight & hotel/Airbnb separately.
  • If you are flexible with your dates and/or destination use google flights to see what dates and/or destinations are less expensive to book.
  • Be familiar with the 24-hour cancellation rule for U.S based airlines. This will enable you to book a great deal when you see it become available while you sort out time off. If you can’t make it happen you have 24 hours from the time of booking to cancel it without any fee. Read more about it on this post.
  • Create a travel fund NOW so that when you are see a fare you like you can afford to book. Plus having a travel fund in place can also help you save money to spend during your vacations. See how we suggest creating one on this post.If you want to make traveling more often happen you can do it! You just need to setup a plan in place to be successful. Hope this information helps. We tried to provide as much as possible we will continue to update it as we continue to remember more of the tools we recommend. Please don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, credit our work and tag us on your travel pictures. If you are in New York City, or want to attend our first meet up of the year, get your tickets ASAP more details and ticket information HERE.Safe Travels!

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