Ready to travel in 2016? So are we. And we're always looking for a good deal.
To help us figure out some sharp tactics for saving money and extending our travel funds, we interviewed Sarah Gavin, Expedia's travel expert, to get her best tips for travel in the new year.
As head of communications for the Texas-based company, she is able to access the company's insider data. Every year they perform nearly 8 billion flight searches, and when they crunch that data, they can spot some pretty good tactics for saving money.
Fortunately, she shared some of the best with us. And because we can't keep a secret, you're in on the tactics now, too. Whether you decide to tell your friends is up to you. (But sharing is caring, so go for it.)
Tip #1: Look to Asia for good deals
"It's a really good time to go to Asia," Gavin says. "Flights from North America to Asia are 13 percent less expensive year over year." She says the discounts can be attributed to a "capacity issue." There simply are more airlines going there than ever before, which means more seats and more fare sales.
Tip #2: Travel within Asia once you're there.
"Once you get there [Asia], travelers can find a lot of good deals on affordable flights between some of the top cities," says Gavin. Within the continent, there are a number of local and regional airlines that provide affordable connections between urban destinations. "You can get pretty good deals on the regional jumps at the last minute," Gavin says, "for example, if you have to go from Singapore to Malaysia at the last minute."
Tip #3: Look to Europe for savings.
It's still great time to go to Europe because of the strong U.S. dollar (which is expected to stay strong in 2016). That strong dollar helps travelers "stretch" their money, and flights from North America to Europe are down 8 percent because of fuel-related costs.
Tip #4: Expect to find good flight deals in general.
Gavin said Expedia's data show a 5-8 percent decrease in flight ticket prices, which is a substantial drop. Most of that savings comes from fuel costs, so as long as fuel prices stay low, 2016 could be a really good year for flights almost anywhere.
Tip #5: Bundle up for savings.
We're not recommending a trip to the Arctic. Instead, we're talking about the kind of bundling you do when you book flights and hotels together.
"For a really long time, it's been true that if you book flight and hotel at same time, you can save a lot money." Gavin says she expects that it's from bundled TV-phone and internet offerings from cable companies, but whatever it is, "People are starting to understand travel bundling for the first time." By booking a flight and a hotel together, "you can potentially save $800-900 on a weeklong vacation," especially at resort-type hotels like in the Caribbean, where travelers tend to spend most of their time on the hotel property.
The savings typically come off the price of airfare and hotel combined. The savings come from the fact that airlines want to sell the ticket far in advance, and Gavin explains that when people book a hotel with a flight, they are 75 percent less likely to cancel. And hotels, she says, "are highly incented to get you to book farther in advance so they can manage their capacity."
For five more tips to save money on your travels, read on at WhereTraveler.com.
Article author Geoff Kohl is chief travel editor for Where.
Photo Credit: ©Ana Guzzo/Flickr, Creative Commons