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The easiest way to cut travel costs is to book your trip with the right websites. I recommend Hotels.com for all accommodations, SkyScanner.net for airfare and Uber/AutoSlash.com for rental cars.
Hotels.com is the best website for hotels, hostels, guesthouses and apartments because of their generous loyalty program. For every night you book and complete, 10% of the cost is rolled into your loyalty account and after 10 nights you can redeem the value for a free or discounted night. Let’s see how some other websites compare:
- Expedia: Expedia owns Hotels.com so you can expect identical prices. The Expedia reward program accrues 2% through their website and 6% for bookings made on their app.
- Orbitz: Orbitz calls their reward currency “Orbucks” and you can earn 3% through their website and 5% for bookings made on their app.
- Priceline: Rewards program requires signing up for their credit card.
- Agoda: Discontinued their rewards program a few years ago.
- AirBnB: No rewards program.
Hotels.com also has a best rate guarantee if you find a better price elsewhere. In practice, their prices and availability have always matched the other booking websites. You can find Five Star Hotels, Hostels and Guesthouses and their map search tool is much better than the competition.
For those inclined to using AirBnB, if you use my referral link we both get $35 off our first/next reservation.
SkyScanner.com is google flights on steroids. I usually save 10-15% off my flights using SkyScanner and they have an awesome feature where you put in your airport and select “anywhere” as the destination. Skyscanner then looks for the cheapest flights on the day you selected. This tool is tons of fun when you are backpacking.
I really like Uber because you don’t need a SIM card to order a car (you can order over WiFi). Uber is cheap, it saves you from tourist taxi scams, it keeps you out of ugly taxi cabs and it helps prevent destination confusion by giving your driver GPS to follow. It’s also cheap, here’s a look at some rides from Thailand ranging from 20 minutes to one hour.
We both get $20 off our first/next ride if you sign up through my link.
AutoSlash.com is the only way to book a rental car. The search sometimes requires manual submission for a quote, but they always get back to you within an hour and, most importantly, they continue to monitor your rental after you make the booking. If the price goes down, they book the new price and cancel your old booking – locking in the lower price. They do all of this automatically and send you an email notifying you of the price drop. I don’t know how they backend this website, but it really is amazing.