Twitter Travel Feeds Can Lead To Savings

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Organizing those we follow on Twitter into lists can help us sort relevant information on just about any travel topic. Helpful and engaged sources that work their Twitter feeds can add value to the time we spend online too. Grouping Twitter users into categories like “Fun,” “Movies” or “Sports” puts a focus on topics we find important. When it comes to travel, that same theory applies, as users can find the most current information, contacts to tap when problems come up and some of the best savings possible.

Here are some great travel feeds to follow on Twitter along with some recent tweets.


@Airfarewatchdog

Commonly tweeting savings and super discounted fares throughout the day via their Twitter feed, @Airfarewatchdog brings some amazing fares that travelers can’t find elsewhere. That’s because real people work there to find the best fares.

Still available: to $446 rt w/tax

@Airfarewatchdog also alerts followers to sales they might not otherwise know about, like this one posted recently:

New spring sale from Southwest

@TravelEditor
Travel tips and news from the editors of Independent Traveler flow freely from @TravelEditor with advice on saving money, as well as making the whole process of travel easy. Just yesterday, we saw:


A few tips for saving money on your next car rental:

For best results, avoid these 5 foods before flying:


@Wanderluster
Seattle’s Beth Whitman is founder of WanderTours and the Wanderlust and Lipstick, a website packed with inspiration and tours to exotic destinations for those who aim to be good world citizen.

Travel Hacking New Zealand: Finding Cheap Accommodation & Activities via

@ViatorTravel
Viator is a tour operator that understands the value of having a trusted resource you can rely on to help you find, research and book some of the world’s best travel experiences.

One of the qualities to look for in a viable Twitter source is frequency. On the hour, @ViatorTravel tweets money-saving tips. Some feature tours they sell, which stack up nicely compared to other tour operators, and some are simply budget-minded tips we can count on.

If you’re on a budget in you’ll have no problem finding free things to do (via )


@KidTravel
Nancy Schretter is founder and editor of the Family Travel Network and a mom of two. Via @KidTravel, she shares practical information on making family travel budgets work, where to go, and what to see with first-hand reports from destinations around the world.

Looking for a cool spring break trip? Round Up the Family for an All-Inclusive Ranch Vacation:


@Travelzoo

Tweeting some of the best travel deals worldwide, @Travelzoo alerts us to discount pricing on everything from hotels to car rentals, cruises and entertainment packages found on the Travelzoo website.

Take your stay up a notch. Luxe hotel for $90 off reg. rates.


Twitter's New Embeddable Timelines Put Twitter on Any Website


[Photo Credit- Flickr user joelaz]

How to Find a Cheap Flight

Another year has passed and the airline industry is still locked in its race to the bottom of quality and service. It now costs money to add anything special to your flight, from legroom to meals to Internet to in-flight television. Need to change your tickets? There’s a fee. Want to standby for an earlier flight? There’s a fee. On some carriers there’s even a fee to store your bags in an overhead bin, and others are removing bathrooms to make room for more paying passengers. Even Southwest Airlines, the king of no-hassle flying, recently announced that they’ll start charging fees for parts of their service.

No fee should surprise the frugal traveler at this point. The industry has adapted to à la carte pricing, which targets the casual and unwary traveler, and it’s up to the informed passenger to find the best priced and fee-free tickets. The good news is that these new fees have kept base fares low – it’s just a matter of finding the cheapest tickets. Here’s how you can get started in 2013. For 2012 tips, check out last year’s still very-relevant guide.

1. Cheat On Your Metacrawler
Oh, you use Kayak? Everyone does at this point, and though it’s hands down the best tool for quickly searching the widest spectrum of airline sites, it’s not the only authority. Sites like Momondo (based in Copenhagen) and Skyscanner (based in Edinburgh) often have access to different branches of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and can sometimes display completely different prices.

Here’s a recent example. A flight I recently booked between Munich and Berlin was coming up as $650 on Kayak via Airberlin.com. But Skyscanner pulled up availability on a site called Ebookers.co.uk for a cost of $560. Total savings by switching crawlers: $90.

2. Broaden Your Flexibility
The flexible tools on Kayak, Travelocity and Orbitz are great ways to find the cheapest availability, but if you want the best bang for your buck, check out the tools on ITA Software. The search tool, which is quietly owned by Google, has one of the most powerful engines for searching a huge range of tickets. You can select the number of days that you want to be gone, for example, and ITA will search for departures every day for a month. And that’s just in novice mode. In advanced mode, you can force connections in layover cities, call out specific carriers and integrate in a whole host of constraints geared towards finding the cheapest flight. Milepoint has an excellent thread on these commands.

The one drawback? ITA won’t actually book the flight for you. It’s not too hard to take its output and carry it over to Kayak or your local travel agent, but it adds an extra step that many don’t want to take.

3. Outsource Your Flight Searching
All of the searching in the world can help you find the perfect itinerary, but when the fares aren’t dropping, there’s always another solution: outsourcing. Flightfox is a service that allows you to fill in your ideal costs and constraints and then create a contest to identify the cheapest itinerary.

So you want to go to Paris from Chicago over the second weekend of February, right? But the cheapest fare on Kayak is $792. You can plug in your ideal price (say, $600) into FlightFox and then “experts” on the site dig through the myriad search engines to find you the best price. If someone finds an itinerary that matches your goals you can award them a fee from $24.

The best part about Flightfox, though, is that you can stipulate each requirement for your ticket. And that includes searches for mileage tickets. One of my recent requests was for a one-way ticket from Europe to New York City on a One World carrier departing on the 2nd of January for 20,000 miles. I had searched high and low on aa.com and over the phone, but a Flightfox user found a ticket from Madrid for me within two hours and my vacation was complete. For $24, that service was a godsend.

4. Stay Abreast With Sale Fares and Coupon Codes
One of the biggest misconceptions about airfares is that they’re constantly moving up, often with flashy headlines like “Spirit raises fares by $10!!!” If only it were that simple.

Airlines are absurdly competitive, and often, as soon as one carrier raises or lowers its price the others will follow suit to reduce that pricing advantage. It’s that competition that keeps costs from going through the roof.

One way that carriers have been working around that, though, is by using specialized fare sales and coupon codes. Just last week, Jetblue launched a weeklong flurry of fare sales up to 80% off when using a coupon code on their site. Virgin America and Southwest often do the same thing. By dangling those codes in front of passengers they convince consumers to use only their site when booking airfare – thus freeing you from the distraction of other competition out in the market.

It’s a good idea to keep up to speed with each airline and their respective fares when shopping for tickets. You can do that by browsing their respective websites, subscribing to their twitter feeds (a good list is here) and keeping up to date with newsletters from Travelzoo and Airfare Watchdog.

5. Manage your Mileage Program
There’s a tectonic shift moving loyalty programs around in the airline industry, and this year, budget travelers stand to lose precious ground. Delta Air Lines just announced that they’re changing the scope of their mileage program to factor in annual spend in addition to miles and segments flown. If you’re the budget traveler that scrapes together just enough miles for silver status or a mileage ticket on Delta, this is the year to consider other carriers. American and United are still regarded as the best airlines in the country in terms of mileage redemptions. Pick the one that best serves your home airport and give it a try.

6. Twitter Is Still King For Breaking Fares
Last year we pointed out that Twitter is the great aggregator of cheap breaking fares. Fact of the matter is, it takes time to put together blog posts and email newsletters and many brands are looking to gain clout in social media. To that end, they’ll often tweet fares before their email blast comes out, and those precious minutes can be the difference between a booked ticket and a missed deal. As suggested last year, make sure you follow and keep close track of @airfarewatchdog, @johnnyjet, @NYCAviation, @gadling, @globetrotscott and our very own @grantkmartin for any breaking airline news and fares.

Keep in mind, as well, that good deals don’t come up every day. Watching for airfare deals is like cultivating a Bonsai tree. It takes time, patience and a little bit of luck.

[Photo credit: Flickr user flyforfun]