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My favorite travel app now offers the money-saving hack I’ve been using for years – Business Insider


best travel deals vacation summer ocean tourist
It’s designed for the
indecisive who desperately need to get away.

Joe Raedle / Getty

Everybody has their favorite splurge.

Mine happens to be travel.

But as a financial planner
who enjoys finding a good deal, I’m not willing to pay a premium
for the trips I take. I’d rather visit an under-the-radar
destination during the off-season than fight the summer crowds in
Europe.

It’s a travel philosophy that has served me well over time. One
October, I spent 17 days in the Galapagos for $1,800, including
airfare. Traveling to Antarctica via Argentina in March cost me
just over $5,000. Another month-long trip to Australia, New
Zealand, and Dubai (thanks to a well-planned layover) in November
set me back less than $4,000. Although not cheap, the trips are a
steal relative to what most people pay to visit those
destinations.

The key to finding such great deals requires two things: research
and flexibility.

I tend to approach travel-planning knowing vaguely when I’d like
to travel (usually winter in New York City, so January through
March), and with a general sense of places I’ve never been but
would like to visit at some point.

Then, I search for airfare to see where ticket prices are lowest
during my desired time frame. I try not to pay more than $1,000
for round-trip airfare if I can help it. Even the most exotic
destinations have price fluctuations, so if you stay open-minded,
you can find something good.

Scouring the web for this year’s cheapest destinations is fun for
me. But most of my friends don’t have the patience to research
travel prices for hours. And that’s how long it usually takes me
— hours. I realize it’s not a budget travel tip that will work
for everybody.

If you’re enticed by the idea of saving money on your next trip,
but turned off by the amount of work my approach requires, I’ve
got good news. Travel app Hopper recently
launched a new feature, called Flex Watch, that automates this
process for you.

Hopper already offers useful flight price reports, which track and
analyze airfare to various destinations to help you figure out
“when to fly and buy” for the lowest cost. But to use the
reports, you have to know where you want to go. That may help you
find a good deal to a specific destination, but you could be
missing out on even better deal to somewhere just as good.

That’s where Hopper’s free Flex Watch feature
comes in. Rather than searching for a destination, it will
suggest locations that have the cheapest prices available right
now. It’s perfect for the budget-conscious traveler, as well as
the indecisive traveler who desperately needs to get away but
doesn’t want to overpay.

All you have to know is where you are traveling from (your home
airport, most likely) and when you want to go (this could be a
span of a few months or specific dates). Once you put in that
information, Hopper will return potential destinations that have
the best deals during that time frame.


Hopper Flex WatchCourtesy
of Hopper

Here’s why this is a great service. Let’s say you really want to
go to Thailand, and find round-trip tickets for $1,500. If you
book it, you’ll have less money in your overall travel budget for
fun activities, food, and accommodation. But, if Hopper happens
to find tickets to Cape Town for $850 during the exact same week,
you can adjust your travel plans accordingly, and visit Thailand
another time.

It’s really a win-win. I should know, because that’s a real life
example of another one of my trips. I found the deal on my own,
after my usual hours of searching. Flex Watch should make this
easy and fast.

You can find good travel deals in many ways — travel rewards credit
cards
come in handy, as do no-frills services like ITA Airfare (which is also one of my
favorites). Hopper’s Flex Watch is another good resource to add
to your travel toolbox, sort of like an AI-driven travel agent
that knows which sales will entice you to buy.

If you’re planning a vacation anyway, you might as well get the
best deal available. Who knows, maybe you’ll have so much left in
your travel budget that you’ll be able to take your next trip
sooner than expected.

My favorite travel app now offers the money-saving hack I’ve been using for years – Business Insider

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