11th Hour Vacations
You can book flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and vacation packages, but where the site really excels is in finding last-minute bargains.
This site lists budget airfares from all major airlines, including Southwest (which often doesn’t show up on other budget sites). Type in your local airport and see today’s great fares (includes nearby airports), or subscribe to free airfare alerts. Search airfares, see today’s 50 best fares, read the site’s blog, and ask or answer a question on the message boards. There’s a widget you can put on your own website and a section for international fares.
Backpack Europe on a Budget
To see Europe cheaply, try backpacking. This site prepares you for your trip, with advice about packing, clothes, lodging, transportation, and taking care of tired feet.
This discount travel site monitors airfares and reports on travel news, cruises, tour packages, hotel rates, car rentals, destinations, and last-minute vacations. To be first to hear about the best deals, subscribe to Hot Deals by email.
The online home of Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine, this excellent site is indispensable to the budget-minded traveler, with articles on destinations, shopping, travel news and advice, and more—all geared to saving you money. Sections include This Just In, Real Deals, Destinations, How-to Handbook, Trip Ideas, Tips & Experts, My Budget Travel, and Magazine (where you can subscribe).
European Low Fares Airline Association
The mission of the ELFAA is “to ensure that European policy and legislation promote free and equal competition to enable the continued growth and development of low fares into the future, allowing a greater number of people to travel by air.” Visit the site to learn about the organization’s work and read its newsletter, find out about member airlines, and read up on current issues.
This site for budget-minded travelers focuses on backpacking in European countries. Get tips on all aspects of travel, from packing to safety, learn about destinations, make travel arrangements online, and listen to podcasts. Register for a free account, and you can talk with 17,000 other travelers in the site’s forums.
Hostels offer basic accommodations at bargain prices, and this site lists more than 23,000 hostels and other budget lodgings around the world. Read travel guides and hostel reviews and join in the forum discussions.
If you’ve got some flexibility in your travel plans, Hotwire offers an easy way to get better deals on airline tickets, hotel reservations, and car rentals. Working with leading travel companies, Hotwire resells unsold airfare, hotel rooms, rental cars, and vacation packages. Some bookings are “opaque,” meaning that you don’t know the name of the hotel or car rental company until after you’ve paid, but you do get limited information, such as a hotel’s location and number of stars, before you buy.
Last Minute Travel
If you can pack up and go on a moment’s notice, visit this site to find the best last-minute deals: flights, hotels, cruises, cars, and packages. There’s a discount travel club, newsletter, and blog, as well.
Generations of college students have set out to discover the world by relying on this budget travel guide. The Let’s Go website gives you budget advice and insider tips on worldwide destinations and has a store where you can buy Let’s Go books and gear.
This discount travel service lets you search for a flight, hotel, car, cruise, or vacation package, and then compare prices to find the deal you want. If you’re flexible, you can try naming your own price. Tell Priceline.com what you want (flight info, hotel or car rental location, dates, and so on) and the maximum you want to pay. Within hours, you’ll find out whether any company has accepted your bid.
Specializing in campground reservations, Reserve America can help you find an RV site, tent site, or cabin. View campgrounds on a map and reserve your site online. Also has featured campgrounds, a store, and a newsletter.
Bid on travel products—plane tickets, hotel rooms, vacation packages, travel gear, and more—in auctions that begin at just $1.
Students can find great deals on this site by taking advantage of special student rates that other travel companies don’t know about. Here you’ll find bookings (flights, lodging, vacations), rail passes, and discount cards—everything young people need to start exploring the world.
Twelve million people subscribe to Travelzoo’s free Top 25 newsletter, a weekly compendium of the best deals in travel. The website offers travel information and deals.
Travel writer Tim Leffel reports on affordable destinations, bargain vacations, and international travel deals.
More than a thousand people regularly listen to this podcast by Chris Christensen, whose shows are all about “travel for the love of it.”
The Indie Travel Podcast
If you’d rather travel on your own terms than join a group or tour, you’ll enjoy this weekly podcast about traveling independently.