When I said that I was going to Iceland last year (specifically in February), a lot of people questioned my decision-making abilities. I got a similar reaction when I planned a trip to Joshua Tree in November last year. First off, how dare you question me?! Second, if you knew what I paid for the trips, you'd be hiring me as your personal travel agent.
How do I do it? Newsletters. Let me first say that I subscribe to very few e-mail newsletters. I don't need an anxiety-producing inbox full of spam.
The select few that I allow to grace my inbox are mostly travel-related. More specifically, travel DEAL-related. I might not be spontaneous when it comes to planning trips, but when I see a really good deal in my inbox, there's an 80% chance that I'll have booked a trip within an hour, usually without consulting another human. In fact, three of the four past vacations that I've gone on were booked based on an e-mail I got -- that's how good the deals are. I'm talking a $150 round-trip flight from NYC to LAX. Yeah, they're THAT good.
Here are my top picks for travel deal newsletters...
Every Wednesday, Travelzoo sends out their favorite deals of the week, compiled from various sources. The destinations vary from Western Europe to Norwegian cruises to guided tours of Asia, so they cover a lot of places. The newsletters are comprised of 20 deals and are mostly full packages, so it makes planning and booking easy.
Recent booking: Five nights Iceland, $700 flight + hotel incl.
This is a daily e-mail that features seven to 10 deals, usually from and to all over the world. There's usually only one or two that actually fly from the East Coast (this is how Staci found a great price for her trip to Tokyo). That said, their destinations can be really interesting places that I've never considered going like Mahe Island, Seychelles and Quito, Ecuador. They also have crazy R/T deals on U.S. flights to places like Miami ($107) and Denver ($70).
Recent booking: Flight NYC - LAX, $150 R/T
Groupon gets a bad rap, and maybe it's not undeserved. But their getaway deals are legit. They're a bit like Travelzoo in that they compile a bunch of deals around the web, but most of the destinations seem to be either Caribbean or Western Europe. Occasionally, there's a tour of Asia thrown in.
Recent booking: (Ultimately through Cheap Caribbean), six nights Riviera Maya, $600 flight + hotel incl.
They specialize in "error fares," which means there's always a chance the airline might not honor your purchase. That also means that the fares are insanely cheap. They recommend that you wait on booking anything else (hotel, car, etc.) until the airline confirms.
Recent booking: None yet, but $290 from NYC to Bogota looks hella tempting.
Am I missing any?
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