Timing Your Travel to Save the Most Money

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated May 2, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
May 2, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Are you looking for ways to save money on your next vacation? If so, it’s all about timing. If you plan everything out just right, including when to travel and when to book your travel, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These great insider tips will show you how to save the most money by timing your travel right.

One of the best frugal travel tips is to plan a trip is during the off-season. Each destination is different, however, so it is important to check to see when the off-season starts and ends for the specific place you want to visit.  For example, if you want to save on travel to Hawaii, it’s best to go in April, May, September or October. If you’re traveling by plane, keep in mind that the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

By Plane

Studies suggest that the best time to book your flight is 60 days before your trip. Experts also state that many airlines offer their best rates on Sundays, because this is the day when the most flights are booked.

By Boat

Cruise ships run special deals based on availability, so it is difficult to determine when a specific cruise line will offer discounted rates. It is recommended to start shopping around for the best rates on cruises 90 days before you want to take a trip.


Hotel rates are typically cheaper Sunday through Thursday, and many offer special weekly and weekend discounts if you stay for consecutive days. Prior to booking, always check to see if the hotel is offering any special deals, such as spend three nights, get one free. You are likely to get the best rate available by contacting the hotel directly and asking them what their “cheapest non-refundable rate” is. If you check in after 6 p.m., be sure to ask about any special rates or free upgrades that might be available.

Dining Out

Restaurants typically try to lure in locals during the off-season by offering special deals. These deals might not be on the menu, but if you ask some of the local residents, look for signs in the restaurant or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page, you should have no trouble learning more about these deals.

Car Rentals

Logic would tell you that the longer you rent a car, the more you’ll pay, but this is not always the case. In many cases, you will save money by renting a car for the entire week, even if you don’t use it for the entire week, rather than renting it for just five or six days. If you don’t absolutely need a larger car, you should book the economy car. Many times you can convince the car service to give you multiple upgrades for a significantly lower rate.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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