3 things you should comparison shop before travelling

If you’re planning a vacation, what’s your usual approach? If all you do is book through a travel agent and sign up for whatever they suggest, you may want to look into the alternatives out there.

You can save quite a bit of money by comparing various elements of a vacation before you commit to one hotel or one flight at one price. The benefits will pay off in a bit more spending money that can go towards you and your family enjoying an extra meal or attraction while you’re away.

Today, there are dozens of sites that will tally up prices from the many hundreds of booking sites to compare the prices for you at a glance. From Expedia, to SellOffVacactions to Kayak, millions of hotels, flights, and vacation packages can be surveyed at the click of a button. Always use a trusted website to make purchases so you avoid falling victim to cybercrime.

Below, we’re going to talk about three things you should comparison shop while travelling, plus some bonus tips at the end.

Flights

Stay away from booking your flight through the carrier if you can. I repeat: avoid it!

You can look at the carrier’s prices once you find something interesting on a comparison site, that way you can double check against the carrier's price to see if you’re really getting the better deal.

Use some online finesse to compare flight deals and packages. When you do this, you’ll find cheap flight packages that allow you to choose between literally hundreds of options.

Some are last minute, and some require you to be a bit flexible with your departure and return dates. If flexibility is an option for you, this is definitely a safe bet for finding the best price on flights. Plus, if you’re going the all-inclusive route, you’ll be able to find deals on comparison sites that combine flight and hotel into one price.

You’ll have to weigh whether having a long layover in an airport is worth the savings. The prices are also time-sensitive, so if you see a deal, you should grab it.

For example, we found one five-hour trip from Toronto to Mexico at a price of $448, while an 11-hour flight to the same destination cost about $65 more. The cheaper, shorter flight was a red-eye boarding at 1 am that landed at 5:15 am. So, that's the sort of thing you'll have to deal with to get the flight deals. 

Accommodations 

On the topic of hotels, have you ever noticed how many different prices there can be for the same room?

It’s a hotel industry circumstance: the hotels themselves just want to get certain rooms filled to fulfill occupancy quotas. They will sell off the rooms to brokerages at a discount to do so. And guess what? The savings, in a way, get passed down to you if you do some research and book through the discount sites.

Once you find a cheap deal on a hotel for the duration of your stay, compare it again. Compare it to short-term rental sites like Airbnb to see if you can get even more space (how does an entire apartment sound?) for a comparable or justifiable price in the same vicinity of your destination. These short-term rentals allow you to skip the classic hotel lifestyle in a way; you're able to live independently.

For hotel accommodations, you should compare between all-inclusive and nightly rates if your destination calls for the former. See if it all adds up. You are also able to compare cruise packages, if that floats your boat.

Travel insurance

Everyone is different, and therefore everyone will require a different level of travel insurance. Whether you’re healthy with young children or have a stable pre-existing condition, your quotes for travel insurance can be compared across multiple providers through a travel insurance broker.

Adding different coverage options (medical, luggage, cancellation etc.) to your list of needs will make this process go smoothly. Insurance sites will have quoter tools that can show you an insurance quote, fast!

But wait, there’s more.

Did you know that some of the same sites that allow you to compare flights and hotels will allow you to compare rental cars too? Plus, if you do a little digging on travel websites you’ll be able to find different prices for things like museum passes, local attractions, and entertainment venues.