Social media is a great place to hang out with friends, catch up on the latest updates, share your best moments with the world and now, even save money on travel. You heard that right. Even though your long hours spent on Facebook and Twitter may spell trouble for your work, they may save you some precious bucks on travel. All you need to do is look in the right places and act at the right time. So if you are a spontaneous traveler who cannot wait to pack your bags, here are a few tricks to travel on a budget using social media.
The Holidaze Travel Tips: 5 Tips on How Social Media Can Help you Travel Inexpensively Photo Gallery
1. Find Great Deals on Airfare
So that’s the first and the biggest expense right? Airfare is the one thing we all struggle to keep under the tab. That is why we go hunting on multiple websites to find the cheapest flight to a place.
A smarter approach to doing this would be to follow the right accounts on Twitter and like popular airline pages on Facebook. This way, you will keep receiving regular updates from airlines about the cheapest flights, and can plan a trip around the current offers. So if there’s this one airline offering discounted tickets to Bangkok for a limited time, maybe you can plan the Bahamas later and go Thai for now.
So what do we mean by following the right accounts? Well for starters, follow all the airlines you like to fly with. JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic have been known to give away some pretty cool discounts from time to time. You can check out the likes of @airfarewatchdog, @TheFlightDeal and @Skyscanner among many others that constantly post about discounted airfares and combo deals. And then of course, there are last minute discounts. Watch out for hashtags such as #traveldeals or #flashfares to know when an airline is selling the last few tickets of an almost full airline at sweeping prices.
2. Watch Out For Contests, Sweepstakes and Giveaways
A large number of companies are often giving away discounts and freebies in the form of contests. While it isn’t all that easy to win one of these contests, they mostly involve sharing your travel photos and stories. If you are a social media bug, you probably already enjoy doing that kind of thing, so why not throw in the right hashtag and you could win some benefits. For instance, the #HiltonStory campaign gave away two free nights stay anywhere in the world, to the entrant with the best pictures and post.
Social media is rife with such contests so just keep an eye open and you will bag something sooner or later.
3. Find Great Deals on Hotels and Alternative Accommodation
Right next to the airfare is accommodation, which is the other major expense. In addition to being expensive, hotels are also extremely difficult to choose between. The kind of hotel you stay at can make or break your experience and so, choosing the right one is crucial.
Now before social media rocked the world, you either had a friend to tell you of a good hotel, or quite simply, the pricier one was the better one, and there goes half your travel allowance.
Today, things are different. A lot different. You can compare prices from thousands of hotels, check out their ratings and reviews and then decide which would be the best hotel for you. Social media makes it even better with apps like HotelTonight and Foursquare. In addition to latest updates and ongoing deals, you can even find special tonight prices and last minute prices on these sites.
Then of course, there are apps like Airbnb and CouchSurfing that can help you find a place to crash for very little expense when that’s what you need.
It is also a good idea to follow the accounts of popular hotels on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the hotels from The Marriott to Hilton offer sporadic discounts which you can follow on social media. You can also join loyalty programs like Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors. Just follow them, like them and wait for a few offers to pop up.
4. Find Better Eat-Outs at Lower Prices
Hunting down restaurants in a new city, only to find an overly expensive joint that serves scammy-touristy food is one of the biggest letdowns of a trip. Once again, social media comes to the rescue and not only guides you to the best restaurants in your area but also lets you find inexpensive eat-outs and authentic street-food that not only saves money but also lets you truly savor the local culture and food scene like a true traveler.
You can simply shout out on your Facebook account to see which of your friends have been where you are, and get them to recommend. Or get on to Instagram to not only see restaurants around you but also view pictures of the food they serve. You can log on to apps like Foursquare and Roaming Hunger to find great food and deals, or get onto Eat Your World to truly explore the authentic local cuisine. To take your local experience a step further, check out Meal Sharing and eat home cooked food with one of the hospitable local families. It really doesn’t get any more authentic than that.
5. Find Cheaper and Far More Soulful Tour Guides
If you like to have a tour guide with you to truly get to know the best of a new city, social media helps you find not only plenty of licensed and experienced ones but also, it takes things a step further. You can find a number of truly interesting tour guides who work at much lower prices and have much more enchanting stories to tell, entirely new perspectives to share and far comelier personalities to possibly light up your experience. There are a number of locals who can be found at sites like Vayable and Localyoo, and charge just a nominal fee to show you around their city. If you are worried about what kind of a companion you may end up with, feel free to browse rating and reviews before selecting one.
If those hacks don’t have you wanting to get your bags ready and grab a (discounted) plane ticket right now, perhaps a trip through Instagram’s best travel hashtags will do the job. Get cracking on the above tips and tricks right away and let the deals that come your way do the planning for you.
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