Three ways to use social media for cheap travel

When the internet came on the scene (the commercial iteration) in the mid-1990s, the traveling public got excited over the prospect of making buying easier – and pretty soon after, we started thinking about deals. Plenty of websites arose to satisfy our urge for cheaper travel. Then, social media arrived, and we became even greedier.

No, I’m not suggesting that we change – not at all. What’s wrong with wanting to get as much as you can for as little as possible? Do you overpay at the grocery store just to be a good guy? Exactly.

So, let’s talk about exploiting these opportunities. There are plenty of deals floating around on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You just need to know how to score them. Here are three ways to put a few more bucks back into your pocket:1. Know where to look: are you a fan of your usual airline or hotel chain on Facebook? Do you follow it on Twitter? Start now. Just like the e-mail alerts you’ve been getting for years, you’ll get information you can use to keep your wallet fat.

2. Get the timing right: some social media deals exist on a schedule, like JetBlue‘s “Cheeps” on Twitter, which are last-minute and incredibly cheap. These tweets come out at 10 AM or so on Tuesdays. Not everyone makes it this easy, though. Some are totally random, in order to keep your eyes on their brand as much as possible. So, balance timing with vigilance.

3. Score some extras: you can use these sites for customer service, as well, with @Delta and @HyattConcierge among the companies using social media for this purpose. Also, check out the hotel or airline you’re about to use. You may find that it just happens to be active on Twitter or Facebook (such as @Colonnade). While you don’t get any formal advantage, talking to the people on the ground always leads to a better experience.