The Best Websites To Use To Help Cut Travel Costs, According To Budget-Conscious Travelers

Traveling should be accessible to all — unfortunately, this is often not the case. Getting out of town and finding a new place to explore doesn't have to break the bank, though. It's entirely possible to travel on a low, even barebones, budget. Thankfully, there are a slew of websites that aim to help potential explorers save money along all of their journeys.

Between slashed flight prices, deals on high-end accommodations, and ways to stay almost free, some of these sites seem too good to be true. Fear not; there's nothing shady about these trusted travel sites, and they have come up with some creative ways to save people tons of money on trips.

By comparing prices from many different travel sites, sifting through travelers' experiences using various money-saving sites, and applying our own travel experience, we've hand-selected the very best sites to help lessen travel costs. You better start arranging for more time off — your travel budget is about to go a lot farther.

Google Flights helps plan a trip from scratch

Sometimes, what you're looking for is right in front of you. Google is not only the likely first place you'll go to when planning a trip, but it also happens to be one of the best places to look. We're not talking about just randomly looking at destinations either, as Google Flights has a very user-friendly database of flights all over the world.

The search engine giant isn't going to be pushing for any major deals on your behalf, but Google Flights allows you to customize the results of your desired trip based on your exact budget. You can also compare prices of different destinations using the map, making it easy to see where you could travel for less.

Price isn't the only thing customizable about Google Flights. The map and filter features give you an all-encompassing visual of what it will cost to get you to any major airport in the world. By zooming in or out and dragging across the map, you can adjust your travel options to your liking. Using the resource, some travelers have even found transatlantic flights for less than a standard car payment. That means more opportunities to tick delightful destinations off that bucket list.

Spontaneous travelers use Hotel Tonight for last-minute deals

Whether you've waited until the last minute to book a hotel or have embarked on a spur-of-the-moment adventure, HotelTonight can save you some serious cash. As its name suggests, the booking site specializes in same-day bookings, but you can also plan a trip ahead of time with them.

Travelers are able to plug in their destination city and arrival day to get notifications on deals that come up closer to their booking date. If you know where you're going but don't mind flying by the seat of your pants a bit, HotelTonight's app drops custom daily deals. They are available for 15 minutes only and bring up some pretty great discounts. The more you book with the app, the bigger the discounts, so frequent impromptu travelers can stay even cheaper over time.

If you're someone who needs extras when staying in a hotel, booking with this service may not be for you. The low prices are a result of the leftover nature of the rooms, meaning you can't be choosey about the particulars. These rooms are reported as ones located in noisier parts of the hotel and lack great views. For travelers who are often on heart-led adventures that lack an itinerary, though, it's good to have HotelTonight on stand-by.

Skyscanner can help choose the most affordable destination

Every now and then, you just have to get the heck out of town, no matter where you end up. With Skyscanner's Explore Everywhere feature, you can input your vacation timeline — or even just your vacation month — and see what each destination would cost you. You can also search using a flexible departure date, enabling you to find the cheapest time to travel.

Skyscanner is great to use as a jumping-off point if you have a budget in mind but no destination. Even if you have your heart set on an Icelandic expedition or French Riviera rendezvous, the site can show affordable flights to get you there. Two of the most attractive aspects of the service are that it is free to use and doesn't act as a direct booking site. This means you won't have any subscriptions or third-party fees eating into your savings. They also boast more intimate relationships with travel agencies and airlines than any other similar site, resulting in reliable information and prices.

If you need concrete evidence that waiting a few weeks to take a trip could cut your plane ticket in half, Skyscanner offers it. The monthly calendar view displays daily prices, where it's not uncommon to see notable price differences even over a short time.

Try out house sitting with Trusted Housesitters

A large chunk of a travel budget — typically around a third of a trip's total expenses — goes towards accommodations. With this in mind, finding fabulous deals on lodgings is a great way to cut costs. So, how does nearly free sound? Finding a house-sitting gig in your destination city is relatively easy and low-risk with Trusted Housesitters.

The service helps match visitors needing a room with city residents who are leaving their homes behind to travel elsewhere. Sitters may be responsible for simply looking after a home, but more often than not, pets are present and need caring for. In return, house-sitters can use the home as if it were a hotel or Airbnb. The bartering system gives both parties exactly what they need with no money exchanging hands. Hosts and sitters must be full members of the website, with background checks and transparent reviews from other members making the process relatively safe and secure.

Trusted Housesitters has a yearly membership fee, but it is generally less than or equal to just one night's stay at a hotel. If you use it twice in a year, it practically pays for itself. The money you save by staying in someone else's home for just the price of your presence allows for even more adventures to new destinations.

Find female-friendly accommodation with Host a Sister

This one is just for the ladies! Host a Sister is a Facebook group full of women worldwide connected by a love of travel and the exchanging of culture. This community is an excellent place for women who are traveling solo, whether to find a female travel buddy or free accommodations along their path. Traveling as a woman, especially solo, can come with the extra baggage of anxiety and safety concerns. Everyone should feel safe when traveling, and this is another step in the right direction.

Whether you're looking for a couch to crash on, a female travel buddy, or an apartment swap, Host a Sister allows you to put out your digital feelers for the perfect match. With over half a million members and dozens of women posting every day, it's a great resource when looking to match your travel plans with other women all over the world.

Gentleman travelers shouldn't feel left out, though, because there are several couch-surfing sites that aren't female-exclusive. TrustRoots allows travelers to build a trusted community, or "circle," of like-minded travelers and hosts. While a much smaller resource, it could lead to plenty of free accommodations on your journeys.

HostelWorld can help you find a cool hostel

Are you looking to save a ton of money on accommodations but still want some of the structure of the hospitality industry? Staying at a hostel may be perfect for you. There are many fantastic hostels in the U.S., and both Europe and Asia have long-established hostel cultures. HostelWorld is hands down the best place to turn to when you want to stay in one of the budget room shares.

HostelWorld offers bookings and usually includes thoughtful descriptions and insights into potential accommodations, allowing you to compare your options. Staying at a hostel is often a very social experience, which is a highlight of the site and a big plus of the hostel experience. Travelers who book a stay can connect with other guests ahead of time with the service's group chats. This allows for forging relationships before you even set out on your trip, making it possible to plan outings as groups.

The social benefits of HostelWorld have the potential to save you money on outings, like splitting transportation and food costs. What about the bookings themselves, though? The travel site boasts big discounts, but booking directly with hostels could see the best deal. Even so, HostelWorld offers a "Best Price Guarantee," and if you find the exact same accommodations elsewhere for a lower price, they will meet you there.

Get luxury accommodations at budget prices with Secret Escapes

Cutting costs doesn't mean you can't live your bougiest life on vacation. It just means you have to be smart about it. Secret Escapes specializes in finding the best deals on luxury accommodations packaged with excursions. Not only can you have your cake and eat it too, but you'll avoid the stress of planning every aspect of a trip.

Secret Escapes offers accommodations and packages in some of the most desirable vacation spots in the world. Travel to Icelandic lagoons to see the Northern Lights, soak up some sun in the Maldives, or marvel at magnificent animals on an African safari; it all sounds great, especially if you can get it on a deal! And a week of island hopping in Greece with flights and ferries, breakfasts, and high-end accommodations for around $1,100 per person sounds like a sweet one.

This Greek Adventure is just one of the packages featured on the website. Whether you're interested in booking a luxury hotel or a full destination package, you can find something to fit those dreams of a glitzy getaway.

All Inclusive Outlet is for lovers of an all-inclusive getaway

Planning a trip can be half the fun for some travelers but quite the opposite for others. If you dread the planning part of a vacation, an all-inclusive trip is likely a great option, and All Inclusive Outlet can be a great way to book a trip without much effort on your part.

Whether you want an adult-only getaway or a family-friendly adventure, All Inclusive Outlet has resort packages that take care of everything once you arrive. While you'd have to get to most of the resorts, the travel service also has cruise packages where you will have very little legwork to do. The service is so confident of its ability to get you the best price that it not only has a "Best Price Promise" but tacks on a 10% payout if they get it wrong.

Fans of an all-inclusive resort on Reddit have spoken and had some great experiences with the discount travel site. One user cites a "flawless" trip with no added expenses, and another recommends All Inclusive Outlet as a stream-lined experience with the lowest price for their trip. While it still could benefit you to shop around, the travel service is a solid option for those who want to travel affordably and simply.

Save money on tours and attractions with Viator

Getting to your destination and finding out where to stay are the two biggest hurdles of planning a trip, but what are your plans once you're finally there? Viator is great for finding things to do once you've reached your destination, and you can book directly on the website.

Viator is a third-party booking site, but while most similar services employ a finder's fee to be paid by the customer, the business pays the commission here. This means that prices seen on Viator are typically the same as if you were to book directly with the attraction's main site. However, the primary benefit of booking with Viator is the reward system that allows travelers to save money on future excursions.

With an extensive catalog of experiences, tours, and attractions all over the world combined with the lowest price guarantee, Viator is a fabulous addition to your travel planning package. You're not going to get upsold, and your next trip will see your money go a little further.

Track your dream trip and get notified on deals with Going

Going (formerly Scott's Cheap Flights) allows users to input their preferred destinations and departing airports to receive an ongoing conveyor belt of deals sent directly to them. The rebranded travel service has a long history of saving its clients a boatload of money.

Let's say you're planning a trip to Italy for next spring. Instead of scouring sites for the best deals, you can sit back and let Going send specialized flights arriving in Rome and departing from your local airport. Though there is a free version, the best deals come from the annual subscription-based service. At just a few dollars a month, even if you only book a deal once, it's worth the savings.

Going is best utilized when you don't have any set travel plans. By tracking multiple bucket list destinations and taking advantage of offers that are too good to refuse, you can essentially let your notifications plan a trip for you.

Skiplagged is the ultimate cross-reference site

Using Skiplagged feels like you're getting away with something criminal — its prices are the ultimate steal. In fact, the website's tagline literally states that its prices are so low that United Airlines sued them. No one is breaking any laws here, though, as the prices are based on discovering loopholes and taking advantage of flight stops.

If you've ever booked a flight before, you know that many are not straight shots. Skiplagged uses connections to give you wildly cheap prices when visiting destinations it calls "hidden cities." While you won't find deals in every city, it could save you major money to cross-reference your trip with any deals found on the site.

The drawback here is a lot of the best deals require you to pack light, as checked baggage isn't an option. If you overpack and have to check a bag, your belongings will end up in your flight's end city rather than where you get off. Another drawback? Airlines hate skiplagging customers because they lose out on money. Skiplagged warns you when checking out its site not to overuse this brilliant travel hack.

Remember the golden rule of booking

There's a certain high you feel when finding a killer deal, but don't jump the gun on booking. Instead, remember the golden rule of travel booking — take a second to cross-reference your trip. A second, third, or even fourth opinion is just a few clicks away and could easily keep a few bills in your pocket. Your date and destination may perfectly align with another website to bring you an even lower price, elevating that money-saving euphoria to new heights.

What's the most important thing to implement when practicing the golden rule? Always, always, always check the main site for a lower price before booking with a third party. Often, a travel site will claim to offer you the lowest price available, but fees bump your total price over what the mother site offers. This goes double for hotels and hostels; sometimes hostels even have special discounts when booking directly with them.


The best way to get solid travel advice is by asking people who travel often. The advice we've provided here is a conglomeration of our personal experience searching for travel deals, tales of fellow travelers we know personally, and online storytellers who have shared their knowledge publicly. We've found these tips across Reddit, TikTok, and travel blogs. You can now reap the rewards of all the budget travelers that have come before you.

To back up the murmurings of these money-saving travel sites, we tested them out. No, we didn't go on dozens of trips (we wish!) just to prove that they were the best, but we did go through the motions. By going through the booking process on multiple platforms for a number of the same imaginary trips, we were able to compare prices and see which site came out on top in terms of affordability and deals more often. Of course, travel prices are always in a state of flux, but these trends don't lie. Happy saving, and happy travels!